The green season in the Luangwa Valley starts when the rains have restored river levels and it’s possible to view a lot of the wildlife by boat. Operating from late January to April, this trip offers a totally different view of South Luangwa's wildlife paradise.
It’s rarely possible to travel by boat along the Luangwa River as it is invariably full of crocodiles, hippos and fallen trees. However, this ultimate green season safari begins once the rains have freshened everything up, the water is high enough to permit boat safaris and the vibrancy of the vegetation and the colours of the birdlife have to be seen to be believed!
This suggested itinerary includes time spent at two different camps in South Luangwa National Park, allowing you to fully immerse yourself in a true Zambian wildlife experience.
For more inspiration, read regular clients' John & Hazel Belchamber's blog on their trip to Zambia in the green season.
Day1: Depart UK
Day2: Arrive Lusaka
On arrival at Lusaka airport, you will be met and transferred to your hotel, located in the centre of the capital. The rest of the day is free to relax.
Days3-9: Fly to Mfuwe & transfer to South Luangwa National Park
Transfer by light aircraft to Mfuwe, the gateway to South Luangwa National Park. The flight takes just over an hour, and there are spectacular views from the air as you fly into the South Luangwa Valley. On arrival at Mfuwe Airport, you will be transferred to your lodge. After enjoying afternoon tea, there's time for a wildlife viewing activity and night drive.
Your seven nights here are normally split between two or three tented camps/lodges, all with meals included. Safaris from all the camps and lodges are conducted both by open 4-wheel drive vehicles and on foot (in the dry months of mid-May to early November), with armed scouts and fully qualified safari guides. Night drives with powerful spotlights are a highlight.
Day10: Depart South Luangwa
Unfortunately, it’s time to depart South Luangwa on a flight from Mfuwe back to Lusaka, and onward overnight flights to the UK.
Day11: Arrive UK
Our trip ideas are offered to inspire you and can be tailored to suit your requirements.
Duration and price including flights from/to UK: 11 daysfrom £4,525 pp
Duration and price excluding international flights: 9 daysfrom £3,775 pp
Single supplement: From £none
Single supplement: From £none
When to go: Jan-Apr: Late January to mid-April
Comprising some 9,050 square kilometres of unspoilt African wilderness, South Luangwa is undoubtedly the jewel of Zambia’s national parks and a magnet to outstanding wildlife, particularly leopard. Its eastern boundary is the meandering Luangwa River whose regular changes in course leave scenic oxbow lagoons.
Excellent for: Walking safaris, Wildlife photography, Photography tours with Nick Garbutt, Vehicle safaris, Walking with wildlife, Just Conservation
Starting life as a village, Zambia’s capital city was expanded by colonial settlers and is now very much the beating heart of the country. With vibrant market stalls and tree-lined boulevards, it offers an authentic African experience as well as a variety of good quality accommodation and a cosmopolitan sensibility.
Where: Southern region of the Central plateau
Excellent for: City stopover
Suggested accommodation options are shown below.
for further recommendations.
Kakuli is a luxurious ten-bedded tented camp located on an elevated section of the Luangwa’s west bank. As well as offering walking safaris, and day and night drives, you can watch wildlife on the river and even the lawn right in front of you, from the camp’s central thatched dining area.
Nestled under an ancient ebony grove, the intimate and exclusive Luangwa River Camp is made up of just five bush suites. The surrounding oxbow lagoon and plains of the Luangwa Valley hold vast concentrations of wildlife, including elephant, leopard, lion, hippo and puku, as well as over 400 bird species.
Located on private land just outside South Luangwa National Park, this lodge lies in an area of ebony woodland and open grassland that is superb for wildlife viewing. It consists of six cool and spacious chalets - including one for a family - built from woven bamboo with stone floors and thatched roofs.
On a sweeping bend of the river, in the heart of the South Luangwa National Park, lies what was the first photographic safari camp in Zambia, dating back to the early 1950s. The dining room overlooks the river where elephants come to drink and cross, with the bar overlooking a busy waterhole.
This conveniently located hotel is close to both the city centre and the airport in Zambia’s capital city, Lusaka – the perfect stop before or after your safari. It has 142 modern en suite rooms and suites, all with balcony and air conditioning, and a variety of leisure facilities are available.