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Luambe National Park

This national park is distant and remote, it accounts for the under-development and absence of safari operators and visitors. A destination for the appreciation of natural beauty, landscapes and complete peace and not for game which can be rare. Main ecoregion of the park is made up of Zambezian and Mopane woodland.

  • The vegetation and woodland is healthy
  • One lodge approximately 140 kilometres from Mfuwe
  • The park spreads across 247 square kilometres of floodplains

It sits in the Rift Valley of the Luangwa River in the Eastern province of Zambia, marked by three river banks for borders – The Luangwa River in the east, the Lupita River in the north and the Kangwa River in the south. Luambe officially gained national park status in 1938. But being so remote and isolated it remained under developed for many years and ignored by the growing tourist industry. The park’s fortunes changed with the involvement of Luangwa-Wilderness, a non-profit association which aims to help with the preservation and rebuilding of the park. This is being achieved with close cooperation with the Zambian Wildlife Authority and the involvement of local communities. Today the park’s unspoilt natural beauty and expanding herds of Zambian wildlife is an indication of their blossoming success.

Zambian wildlife roaming the valley floor and riverside include lion, hippo, elephant, buffalo, wildebeest, roan, impala, eland, bush pig, wild dog and serval. A Zambia safari in the Luambe National Park is probably among the most breathtaking because of your fascinating surroundings. The Luangwa River carries water permanently and is adjoined by hundreds of smaller affluent rivers that only carry water during the rainy season. This leads to a changing topography of its river banks and the small adjacent lagoons. This combination of water and land has created a very special ecosystem, an important habitat for animals and plant species.

Bird life

The life force of the Luangwa Valley lies in the Luangwa River. After the rainy season is over, numerous lagoons still remain alongside the main river channel. A very special ecosystem has developed due to this combination of water and land. The bird life is prolific and is often described by ornithologists as some of the best in Zambia.

How to get there

Luambe National Park can only be accessed between April and November. The first heavy rains of the season turn the soft black soil into a quagmire which will challenge even the most experienced 4×4 drivers. Even during the dry season the tracks of powdery dark sub-soil make for difficult driving. A single road runs through the Luambe National Park. Visitors should make prior arrangements with the one place you can stay in the park, safari operators in North and South Luangwa National Park or bring all their own camping equipment and supplies. Only experienced travellers should attempt exploring without a knowledgeable guide.

The closest airport is at Mfuwe with scheduled connections to Lusaka International Airport or from Lilongwe, Malawi. The Waka-Waka airstrip is for light charter planes. Transfers by road may be arranged from Mfuwe Airport.

Where to stay

The Luangwa Wilderness Lodge is near the park’s entrance. The lodge at the bank of the Luangwa River is a serene spot ideal to take in the views, wildlife and birds. The building of this lodge in Luambe National Park has already had an impact on the recovery of this national park as it is visitors that helps with the financial needs of the area after all.

The private management of Luambe National Park

Luambe National Park was unfunded until 1999. As a consequence, excessive poaching led to a drastic decline in wildlife and only a few shy animals remained. Luangwa-Wilderness, a non-profit association, works together with Zambian Wildlife Authority and local communities to improve the area. Lessons learnt from the neighbouring North Luangwa National Park (through work undertaken by the Frankfurt Zoological Society) has illustrated how animal populations can be increased significantly with appropriate management and planning.

The overall aim is that the Luambe National Park will be managed entirely Zambians and open up to tourism whilst preserving a unique part of Zambia and Africa. The main aim here is the recognition and preservation of the diversity of nature here together with the long term sustainable involvement of local communities who share their habitat with the plants and animals here. For this reason conservation concentrates on establishing schooling, medical care and the creation of jobs for local communities. The success of the improvement of Luambe National Park is dependent on local people benefiting from conservation projects.

About 5-700 meters above sea level some areas comprise of forests and flat grassland plateaus, with occasional dense vegetation and isolated lagoons set among mopane trees.


  • African wild dog
  • Buffalo Bush pig
  • Bushbuck
  • Cookson’s wildebeest
  • Eland
  • Elephant
  • Genet
  • Giraffe
  • Hippo
  • Hyena
  • Impala
  • Leopard
  • Lichtenstein’s hartebeest
  • Lion
  • Puku
  • Roan antelope
  • Serval
  • Warthog
  • Waterbuck
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra

Some of the bird life

  • Bee-eaters
  • Fish eagle
  • Ground hornbill
  • Martial eagle
  • Pel’s fishing owl
  • Vulture and any more