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A collection of stunning, award winning safari destinations that combine wilderness, luxury and responsibility – Chiawa Camp, Old Mondoro and Puku Ridge. Chiawa Safaris offers an experience that is unpretentious and personalised, with high quality safaris, fabulous cuisine and lavish tented accommodation. Chiawa and Old Mondoro sit on the Zambezi River in the Lower Zambezi National Park and Puku Ridge nestles in the wilds of South Luangwa National Park. Enjoy the safari adventure of a lifetime with personalized service, varied safari activities, world-class hospitality and friendly, knowledgeable guides.
A stylish, unique and independent lodge situated in a remote part of South Luangwa National Park with abundant and uncongested game viewing on its doorstep. Lion Camp is distinguished by its friendly staff, personalised service and excellent food. Lion Camp has just nine canvas and thatch chalets accommodating a maximum of 18 guests. Built on raised wooden platforms, they are linked to each other and the main area by a raised wooden boardwalk.
Set beneath shady trees by the Manzi River, it is the simplest of Bushcamp Company's camps but Kuyenda embodies the authentic charm of old Africa with its cluster of traditional thatched grass huts and back-to-nature feel. As for the wildlife, you hardly need look for it as it will come to you. Settle down in the lounge and look out over the rippling grasses of the neighbouring plain where the drama of the African wilderness is played out each day. Kuyenda is the classic African bushcamp, lovingly rebuilt each season.
A remote and romantic camp situated in a prime location on the Kapamba River, and one of only two Bushcamps to be open from April to January – the other being Zungulila. In a remote corner of the South Luangwa National Park lies Kapamba, a camp that combines the isolation and superb game-viewing opportunities of a true bushcamp with a touch of luxury. Set on the banks of the shallow, spring-fed eponymous river, Kapamba is surrounded by some of the park's richest wildlife.
Central to the lodge is the spacious lounge and dining area that has been thatched in a traditional African style. A tall old semi-evergreen wild mango tree in the centre gives shade on sunny days. Here is a welcoming camp fire which is lit each evening as the sun goes down and guests and guides meet around the fire to share the latest stories of wildlife encounters or, simply to listen to the sounds of the bush. The wooden deck above the waterhole provides our guests with undisturbed views over the plain.
Island Bush Camp offers untouched wilderness and walking safaris in the heart of South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. This authentic Zambia bush camp is set under the cool shade of old mahogany trees on the banks of the Luangwa River. With views that stretch from the Chendeni hills in the Eastern corners of the Luangwa Valley to the Muchinga escarpment in the West, you are presented with the complete natural boundary of this remote and achingly beautiful wilderness. Every day is presented with new experiences.
A sublime tented camp on the edge of a permanent lagoon with the Chindeni Hills providing a truly breathtaking backdrop. In an enviable location on the edge of a lagoon where hippo chortle and elephant wallow, stands Chindeni. Combine that thrill with style and comfort in one of its four opulent tents. At Chindeni you can combine that thrill with style and comfort in one of its four opulent tents. Gaze out from your private veranda onto the lagoon which attracts birds and animals from miles around.
Chikoko Tree Camp is situated 8km upstream from Tafika. Here three twin chalets are raised above the ground ensuring that they sit, rather romantically, within the surrounding tree canopies. The Chikoko Tree Camp's uniquely raised en-suite chalets enhance the views of the spectacular surrounding Acacia grove, the array of wildlife that frequent it and the associated wildlife activity that unfolds throughout the day. At Chikoko Tree Camp the well-trained staff attend to a guest's every need.
Early morning views don't get much better than the rippling waters of the Luangwa River, the gentle rise of the Chindeni Hills and a vast African sky – especially when you're lying in a four poster bed in a handsome stilted tree-house. You don't even need to leave your bed to see the wildlife – from your unique vantage point you can watch as animals roam across the landscape, or swing through the trees above your head. There are just three stilted chalets at this exclusive camp.
Grown 'organically' out of the surrounding landscape, the stunning Bilimungwe safari camp in Zambia, has four raised thatched en suite rooms nestling beneath a huge mahogany tree. By the open waters of the Luangwa River you can watch an enviable display of spectacular birds and wildlife from your doorstep! Here, the traditions of the African bushcamp meet elegance and style to create a stunning camp that feels like it has grown organically out of the surrounding landscape.
Perfect for small private groups, this isolated, classic tented safari camp delivers an authentic African safari experience. The newest camp in The Bushcamp Company collection, Zungulila is a charming camp that embodies the essence of old Africa and a bygone era, with breathtaking views onto the Kapamba river and an expansive plain where natural springs attract huge herds of game. Zungulila is eminently peaceful, and you may be tempted to stay forever!
Built in 1972, this historic property maintains its original colonial style, with a majestic arched entrance leading into a spacious lounge. This lodge offers quality accommodation with 10 elegant Victorian suites. Outside the grand dining room, a long veranda offers amazing views of the Luangwa valley and river, all prime game-viewing territory. With a dedicated children's program, Sanctuary Chichele Presidential Lodge is perfect for families. This lodge also offers game drives and walking safaris.
The panoramic views of Sanctuary Puku Ridge Camp are astounding. Built on a hillside, it provides stunning vistas of the floodplain. Lying nestled in a remote game-rich area of the park, lion, leopard, elephant and zebra can frequently be seen. The camp has been constructed to blend into the local surroundings and designed to leave the lowest possible carbon footprint. Perched on an escarpment overlooking a floodplain with perfect game sighting opportunities.
On the banks of the Luangwa River with great views of the animals and birds that come to drink and feed. Two luxury bedrooms, large bathroom, central sitting room and dining area, private kitchen, chef and valet. For game viewing activities, you get a guide and safari vehicle of your own, so the pace of the safari can be totally flexible. Robin's House is a small, private and exclusive house on the banks of the Luangwa River, ideal for young families or friends seeking a more indulgent type of safari.
Situated in the exclusive Nsefu Sector Tena Tena sits nestled under a magnificent and thick grove of mahogany trees. On a double tiered river bank each room enjoys its own private view onto a long stretch of the Luangwa River. Tena Tena is synonymous with Robin Pope Safaris as it was the first camp which Robin opened and ran and has become a favourite amongst many safari lovers over the years. Tena Tena when translated means 'temporary home' .
This uniquely designed private house by Robin Pope Safaris, in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, caters for up to eight guests. This magnificent private house is the ultimate in luxury and the perfect getaway for families. It has four large en-suite bedrooms and a spacious dining and sitting area. With private chef and house manager and exclusive activities for house guests – private game drives, night drives, walking safaris and more. All of which is magnificently set off by the back drop of the Chindeni Hills.
Luangwa River Camp sits nestled under an ancient ebony grove on the banks of the Luangwa River overlooking the game rich area known as the Luangwa Wafwa. The subtly decorated bush suites with brick walls and thatch roof each have ensuite bathrooms with sunken bathtubs looking out onto your own private corner of Africa. Both the bedroom and bathroom are afronted with large sliding doors leading onto a decked area allowing a lovely breeze into the room and great views onto the river.
Situated in the exclusive Nsefu Sector on a magnificent meander on the Luangwa River across which elephants often cross lies the historic camp Nsefu. Nsefu is one steeped in history and was built in 1951 and barring some upgrades the camp and rooms are still in the same place in the original style. The Nsefu sector was first pronounced a game reserve in 1966 some five years before the South Luangwa was even declared and has always been recognised as an outstanding game-viewing area.
Overlooking the South Luangwa National Park, Nkwali Camp is based in superb game viewing country, a blend of ebony woodland and open grasslands. Leopard, lion, wild dog, elephants and giraffe are likely visitors to the waterhole near the thatched dining room. Chalets are cool and spacious. Run by Robin Pope Safaris. The Luangwa Valley is vast, remote and home to both people and a truly impressive variety of game, one of the last wildlife sanctuaries.
Run by Shenton Safaris, this camp overlooks the Luangwa River deep within the prime area of the South Luangwa National Park. Kaingo Bush Camp has a relaxed, personal and friendly atmosphere, and offers its guests fantastic game-viewing opportunities within an area of incredible beauty and varied terrain. Built and run by Derek Shenton, Kaingo has a stylish design with a large centrally located open-sided sitting room, a dining area, library and Kaingo's renowned thousand year old lead-wood bar.
In addition to Kaingo Bush Camp, Shenton Safaris operate Mwamba Bush Camp, providing an opportunity to explore the park's heartland. Wonderfully remote and peaceful, the site is a relaxed 3-hour bushwalk or 20 minute drive from Kaingo. Both walking safaris, and game drives, day and night, are offered from Mwamba. Set on the banks of the Mwamba River, the camp, sited under huge evergreen ebony trees, enjoys shady views of perennial water-holes. Mwamba takes only 6 guests in 3 reed and thatch chalets.
Operational since 1986, it is one of the most established safari companies. Robin Pope Safaris has developed a fine reputation internationally for the quality of their safaris, the comfort of the accommodation offered and for their exceptional standards in guiding and hosting. Among other activities, safari packages include night drives, game drives and walking safaris. Based in the Luangwa Valley, Eastern Zambia, with four safari camps and two private safari houses of its own, which can be booked across the country.
Mushroom Lodge offers luxurious safari accommodation in South Luangwa National Park, barely 30 minutes drive from Mfuwe International Airport. Surrounded by nature, this is a perfect place to enjoy a safari. Weddings and honeymoons can be booked at Mushroom Lodge. This is a unique venue in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia, where you will be surrounded by nature. Relax knowing that the Mushroom Lodge professional team will help you put together the perfect event just to your liking.
A Zambia safari lodge built around two lagoons where an endless stream of wildlife are constant visitors. Mfuwe Lodge in the South Luangwa National Park offers 18 luxury thatched chalets scattered along the shady lagoon banks. Enjoy walking safaris, game drives, lounging on the open deck or taking a dip in the pool. The lodge also offers you the chance to relax at its bush spa. This is an award winning safari lodge set in the most prolific game area of the South Luangwa.

South Luangwa National Park

Seasonal changes enhance the national park’s scenery. It shifts from dry and bare in the winter to a lush green paradise during the summer, as a result of summer rains. Between January and February, the Luangwa River floods and it turns the area into a rich, productive and beautiful ecosystem.

  • It plays an important role in the ecology of South Luangwa
  • Rich in diverse history
  • one of the few parks that offers night safari drives

South Luangwa National Park and its history

The Luangwa River, which flows right through the heart of South Luangwa National Park, is one of Africa’s most intact river systems. The river’s lagoons form the park’s eastern boundary and its muddy waters host an extraordinary number of Nile river crocodiles which can often be seen basking on the river banks. The Luangwa River is also home to several hundreds of hippos. South Luangwa National Park is not only renowned as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, but also boasts of being the first national park in the country to pioneer the now extremely popular walking safari. South Luangwa National Park covers 9,050 square kilometres. It is sustained by the Luangwa River which is the park’s lifeblood and main source of water.

Founded as a game reserve in 1938, it became a national park in 1972 and is the most accessible of the four national parks found in the Luangwa Valley (the others being North Luangwa National Park, Lukusuzi National Park and Luambe National Park).

Current on-going excavations have revealed some of the earliest evidence for humans in South Central Africa. Some of the discoveries that have been made have included Stone Age tools said to date back to at least two million years ago.

In December 1866, when world renowned missionary and explorer David Livingstone crossed the Luangwa at Perekani, he is known to have said of the area, “I will make this land better known to men that it may become one of their haunts. It is impossible to describe its luxuriance.”

Ecology and habitats

The park spans two eco regions, both of them woodland savannah, distinguished by the dominant trees in the area. Southern Miombo woodlands cover the higher slopes of the valley, while Zambezian and Mopane woodlands cover the bottom of the valley. This is because the Mopane tree tolerates the higher temperatures and lower rainfall found at lower elevations, unlike the Miombo trees found on the higher plateau. The Luangwa valley has several different types of trees, the most common being the Leadwood, Winterthorn, some beautiful Baobabs, large Ebony forests, the tall Vegetable Ivory Palm, Marula, and the magnificent Tamarind tree.


The concentration of game around the Luangwa River and its oxbow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa, so much so, that some refer to it as a crowded Zambian game park. Since most travellers on a safari want to experience Zambian wildlife, South Luangwa National Park is a premier safari destination.

The Luangwa valley has one of the highest concentrations of hippos in Africa, estimated to be at least 50 per kilometre of the Luangwa River. South Luangwa National Park is also known for its huge herds of elephants and buffalos, which often move in hundreds. This game park is also home to an impressive 14 antelope species. The most common type of antelope is the Impala, which can be seen in herds all over the park. Impala is a favourite prey of the African lions and the numerous leopards that can be found in South Luangwa National Park. The Puku is another type of antelope likely to be spotted. It is similar to the Impala in size but is much fluffier with a rich orange coat. Arguably the most stunning of the antelopes is the Greater Kudu, with its majestic spiral horns and delicate face. The Reedbuck, Roan, Sable, Hartebeest, Grysbok, Klipspringer, and Oribi, can also be found in the park but are harder to encounter.

Unique to the Luangwa national Park is the beautiful Thornicroft’s giraffe. Other animals that can be spotted in the park include Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra. Apart from the lions and the leopards, other carnivores present in the park include Caracal, Wild Dog, Serval, and the Side-striped Jackal. Not to be outdone, Hyenas are fairly common, and their plaintive, eerie cry can be heard most nights. The most common primates that can be seen are the yellow Baboon and Vervet monkeys. Other primates are the rarer Maloney monkeys, and bush babies.

It is also famous for pioneering walking safaris when visitors can experience the African wilderness first hand and feel part of it, while being led on foot by safari experts and armed guards.

Bird life

Avid birdwatchers will not leave South Luangwa National Park disappointed. With about 400 of Zambia’s 732 species of birds appearing in the Luangwa Valley, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, South Luangwa provides plenty of bird watching and photography opportunities regardless of the season.

Hundreds of large water birds can be seen wading through the shallows of the Luangwa River near the end of the dry season when the river and oxbow lagoons recede. These include the red faced yellow bill, the striking 1.6 meter saddle bill and the pelican, which have a tendency to hunt in lines, driving the fish before them in shallow water before scooping them up into their beak pouches.

The more patient hunters include the marabou stork, great white egrets, black headed herons, open billed storks and the stately goliath heron that can stand in the same position for hours before pouncing. Some of the most beautiful birds to be seen are the elegant golden crane which congregates in large flocks at the salt pans. Special sights during the dry season include the impressive flocks of crowned crane, and from August onwards, the carmine and white-fronted bee-eaters which gather to nest in the river bank. Migratory birds from Europe that visit the valley just before the rains include the red chested cuckoo, white storks, and European swallows.


Interestingly, the name Luangwa means “fishing basket”, a reference to the great number of fish residing in the many pools, lagoons and Luangwa River itself. So there are without a doubt many fish to be caught. However, generally speaking, the Luangwa River is only navigable in the rainy season.

When to travel

The best time to visit the park depends on what type of game you wish to view. The dry season begins in April through to October and game concentration is at its greatest in the hottest months.

The wet season begins in November, transforming the dry bare land into a lush green jungle. At the end of March, the rains tail off and the migrant birds arrive, making it a birdwatcher’s haven. This is known as the green season, with many Zambian wildlife species will be nursing their young.

Getting there

If you want to get to the park by plane there are regularly scheduled one hour flights from Lusaka to Mfuwe airport, where a safari operator will collect you for the short drive to your safari accommodation.

By road, travel is more difficult, and sometimes impossible in the wet season. If you are driving you can can approach South Luangwa National Park from three sides. The usual route is from Chipata. This is a good road, if a little corrugated, and the 123 kilometre drive takes about two hours to Mfuwe which is just outside the Park. A robust 4×4 vehicle is recommended.

The Northern access is from Mpika on the Great North Road, or Lundazi, near Zambia’s eastern border with Malawi. Just below Mpika there is a road running down the Munyamadzi Corridor between North and South Luangwa National Parks. It is passable but only open between August and October. The mountain pass down the escarpment is quite formidable, very rocky and bumpy but the view over this, the tail end of the Great Rift Valley, is quite spectacular.


  • Savannah Woodland
  • Southern Miombo Woodlands
  • Zambezian Woodlands
  • Mopane Woodlands
  • oxbow river lagoons


  • Buffalo
  • Bush Babies
  • Caracal
  • Cookson’s Wildebeest
  • Crawshay’s Zebra
  • Elephants
  • Grysbok
  • Hartebeest
  • Hippos
  • Hyenas
  • Impala
  • Klipspringer
  • Kudu
  • Leopards
  • Lions
  • Maloney Monkeys
  • Oribi
  • Puku
  • Reedbuck
  • Roan
  • Sable
  • Serval
  • Side-stripped Jackal
  • Thornicroft Girraffe
  • Veret Monkeys
  • Wild Dog
  • Yellow Baboons


  • Bee eaters
  • Black headed herons
  • European swallows
  • Golden crane
  • Goliath heron
  • Great white egrets
  • Marabou stork
  • Open billed storks
  • Pelican
  • Red chested cuckoo
  • Red faced Yellow Bill
  • Saddle Bill
  • White storks

Places to stay in South Luangwa:

  • Bilimungwe Bush Camp
  • Chamilandu Bush Camp
  • Chichele Presidential Lodge
  • Chikoko Tree Camp
  • Chindeni Bush Camp
  • Croc Valley Camp
  • Crocodile River Camp
  • Flatdogs Camp
  • Island Bush Camp
  • Kafunta River Lodge
  • Kaingo Camp
  • Kakuli Bush Camp
  • Kalamu Lagoon Camp
  • Kapamba Bush camp
  • Kapani Lodge
  • Kuyenda Bush Camp
  • Lion Camp
  • Luangwa River Camp
  • Luangwa Safari House
  • Luwi Bush Camp
  • Mchenja Camp
  • Mfuwe Lodge
  • Mushroom Lodge
  • Nkwali camp
  • Nsefu Camp
  • Nsolo Bush Camp
  • Pioneer Camp
  • Robin’s House
  • Tafika Camp
  • Tena Tena Camp
  • Track and Trail River Camp
  • Zungulila Bush camp

The dry season offers better game viewing as most of the animals can be seen near the Luangwa River, drawn to it as a source of drinking water.