The Best of South Luangwa Tour is a twelve day adventure to one of the most pristine and authentic safari destinations in Africa. South Luangwa is known for high concentrations of wildlife along the Luangwa River and its oxbow lagoons. Visiting this reserve feels like you’ve been transported to a place untouched by humanity since the dawn of time. Whether it’s your first or fiftieth safari, South Luangwa offers a safari experience unlike any other.
The Luangwa River system is the most intact in Africa, spreading extensively through the 3498-square mile reserve where its fertile waters support a huge variety of plant and animal life. The reserve is home to 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species.
Some of the most anticipated and exciting wildlife you’re likely to encounter are hippos, elephants, leopards, African wild dogs, hyenas and prides of lions. There are also unique plains game including Crawshay’s zebra, Thornicroft’s giraffe, Cookson’s wildebeest, and pukus. Some of these species are unique in the world and only found within this park’s borders, making game viewing a truly special and once-in-a-lifetime experience.
The scenery is varied and breathtaking. The Luangwa Valley floor, bordered by the Muchinga Escarpment on the northwestern and western sides, contains grassy open plains and mature lush woodland, creating dramatic landscapes and fascinating backdrops. Expect to see some magnificent trees including baobab, ebony, mahogany, leadwood, and mopane.
When to Visit and What to Expect
The best times to visit for optimal game viewing is during the dry season, which runs from June to October. During the peak dry season and especially towards the hottest month of October, the river becomes a magnet for game looking for water, drawing huge concentrations of wildlife into the open for spectacular game viewings and dramatic predatory events.
In June, expect warm and sunny days with crisp, cold nights. Day and night temperatures rise in September and October, so be prepared for the heat. The reward for traveling during these hot and dry months is some of the best game viewing of the year, as abundant wildlife is drawn towards the River and lagoon water sources.
After an early breakfast at the Protea Hotel in Lusaka, we will be transferred by road to the Lusaka airport for our chartered flight into Mfuwe. The flight to Mfuwe is about one hour. At Mfuwe Airport we will met by one of the Guides from Nsefu Camp and transferred by road to Nsefu Camp. The road transfer is about 2 hours and is a fascinating experience, passing through local villages, game management areas and eventually into South Luangwa National Park where you’ll have your first view of some of South Luangwa’s unique wildlife.
Accommodation: Nsefu Camp
Nsefu Camp is a charming camp located in the game-rich Nsefu Sector of South Luangwa National Park, and our first camp during the Best of South Luangwa tour. It is one of only two camps in the entire area, creating a private and peaceful safari experience. Nsefu has some of the best game viewing in the reserve, especially for sightings of the rare African Wild Dog. The lodge is situated on the Luangwa River with sweeping views over a busy watering hole. Over lunch, you can relax and watch majestic herds of elephant make their daily crossing to the watering hole.
Nsefu accommodates just 12 guests in one double and 5 twin rooms to ensure you get a truly personal experience. Each room is beautifully decorated for that nostalgic safari look, spacious and semi-open air to deliver a unique feeling of living in the wilderness. You can view the riverside from each room or from your own private wooden veranda, ensuring picture-perfect moments and panoramic river views throughout your stay.
After four incredible days at Nsefu Camp, we will depart after our morning game drive across the Luangwa River to Kaingo Camp. It is about an hour’s journey.
Accommodation: Kaingo Camp
Our second camp during the Best of South Luangwa tour is Kaingo Camp.
Kaingo Camp is a family-run lodge located between the Luangwa and Mwamba Rivers. You can expect striking views on all sides of incredible terrain making for exceptional game viewing. This area is particularly well known for lion and leopard viewing. Because Kaingo Camp is located deep within the reserve, the density of other vehicles is very low and we have the opportunity to spend more time in sightings and often without other vehicles. Kaingo Camp maintains several photographic hides on the reserve. During our safari, we will make use of the Carmine Bee Eater Hide and the Hippo Hide, allowing for close up and unique action shots.
Designed along eco-friendly practices and offering timeless appeal through stylish décor, the camps are the perfect place to relax, unwind and revitalize your spirit. The camp only sleeps 12 guests in 6 traditional chalets, all with an en-suite, private outdoor bath, and high-quality fittings. You can view game and the dramatic landscape of the park right from your doorstep. Every morning, we will enjoy our hot coffee with the sunrise at the main Luangwa River deck.
Kaingo Camp is literally right across the river from Nsefu Camp. We will depart Nsefu early in the morning with our bags and make our way towards the river where we will be met by our Guide from Kaingo. After a short canoe ride across the river we will transfer in an open safari vehicle to Kaingo Camp.
Accommodation: Mfuwe Lodge
Located right on the edge of the South Luangwa National Park, less than an hour's drive from Mfuwe Airport, lies Mfuwe Lodge.
As soon as you arrive you’ll understand why it has been voted Best Lodge in Zambia. Combine the view of the two lagoons and the incredible wildlife with delicious meals followed by a pampering massage at the Bush Spa, and your trip to Africa couldn’t get any better. Each of the chalets includes a private deck for you to use as your own wildlife viewing perch, best appreciated with a favorite cocktail in your hand, perhaps, as the sun sets on the horizon. Breathe deep in the airy, open plan of the central lodge, with dining and bar areas for you to enjoy with your travel companion, or enjoy a relaxing solo swim in the spacious pool.
There are eighteen thatched chalets on wooden decks; two suites, three family rooms, three double rooms, and ten twin rooms. Each chalet is equipped with en-suite shower, twin basins and WC, and a comfortable sitting area. The suites’ king sized beds and en-suite bathtubs add an extra level of indulgence to these luxurious accommodations. Set beneath a canopy of ebony and mahogany trees, the charming wood and textile decor of the lodge’s interiors pays homage to the splendor of the natural world outside.
From Kaingo Camp we will transfer in an open safari vehicle and make our way towards Mfuwe Lodge. We will be doing some game viewing along the way, so it is by no means a straight transfer and can take anything from 2-4 hours depending on how long we stop for wildlife along the way.
Best of South Luangwa is a vehicle-based safari. We recommend covering a wide range from 24mm to 400+mm. Our safaris in the evening will continue after sunset when the predators are active, so a we recommend lenses with a fast aperture (2.8 if possible) to handle the low light. The scenery is stunning, particularly at stops along the river, so a super-wide angle lens may come in handy too. Don’t forget sunscreen and a hat. Expect hot and dry weather so breathable clothing is a must.
Why Best of South Luangwa with Wild Eye?
- Densest leopard & hippo populations in Africa
- One of Africa’s wildest & most remote national parks
- Incredible scenery – large oxbow lakes, rivers and magnificent trees
- Enjoy incredible predator viewing on the banks of the Luangwa River
- We will be visiting camps in the remote corners of the park – a private safari experience second to none
We look forward to welcoming you on what will be an incredible adventure and experience on the Best of South Luangwa Safari.