The Luangwa Valley is one of Africa’s prime wildlife sanctuaries, with concentrations and varieties of game and birdlife that have made it world famous. This is the landscape of the ‘Real Africa’, with herds of antelope sheltering under thorn trees, or roaming the plains, predators skulking in the shadows and primal drama in every vale.
Experts claim South Luangwa is one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and not without reason. The concentration of game around the Luangwa River and its ox bow lagoons is among the most intense in Africa. One does not have to be an expert to recognize that!
If you’re in your own vehicle or in one of our sturdy 4x4 vehicles, be sure to get a map of the park from the helpful scouts at the park entrance and follow the loop roads in the park, past dams bursting with hippos, crowned cranes, grazing antelope and scurrying baboons. In case you wish to conduct your own private safaris in an open game viewing car or are travelling in a big group, make sure to have a look at our rental safari vehicles. Our cars seat up to nine persons, so nobody misses out on good sightings. A bonus for these mix & match (self & guided) drives is that there are no time restrictions and you can enter the park for the entire day inclusive of a "night-drive"!
If you’re staying at one of the Valley’s lodges, their guides will ensure you have every opportunity to see all that the valley has to offer of its wildlife, birds and varying vegetation and habitats in both morning and afternoon drives. Lodge game drive activities are at set hours, leaving around 6.00 and returning 10.00 hours for the morning and leaving around 16.00 to return between 19.30-20.00 hours for their afternoon drives. Prices for game drives range per lodge and are paid per person per drive or sometimes are inclusive in their accommodation rates.
There are many places to stay in the Valley ranging from luxurious safari camps to the lower budget chalets and camping. Most of the lodges are spread along the east bank of the Luangwa River, in the adjoining Game Management Area, conducting game drives and walking safaris along the west bank and in the Park itself. Some of the Lodges have bush camps deep in the Park for remote walking safaris. Check out some of our favourites or ask assistance, we are here to help.
As currently there are many operators in this area, there is plenty of choice. Most budgets or requirements can be catered for, however we must warn you: “South Luangwa does not come on the cheap” and real backpacker accommodation is not available. The best choice for the budget tourist would be to opt for a day visit, book a village stay or camp and arrange self-drive safaris with one of our rental vehicles.
It is difficult to name just one good place to stay, as there are so many! You can drop us an e-mail with your inquiries on any style of accommodation and we are happy to send you our references, but can also assist you with bookings and other reservations.
At our link page, we have listed a few of our favourites, but again the choice is really yours!
Seasonal changes are very pronounced in Luangwa.
The dry season begins in April and intensifies through to late October, the hottest and locally called suicide month, when game concentrations are at their height. Warm sunny days and chilly nights typify the dry winter months of May to August. The wet season begins mostly in November/December as the leaves turn green, and the dry bleak terrain becomes a lush jungle. The rainy season lasts up until the end of March and the migrant birds arrive in droves. Each lodge stays open for as long as access is possible, depending on its location in the area.
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Top things to do around South Luangwa National Park. For people wishing to experience a bit more of the life in and around South Luangwa.
But understand and remember all activities are carried out in an unfenced area, where wild animals roam free!
Our top picks, but we can recommend some more....
A relaxing holistic wellness treatment is the ideal way to break up an exciting safari! But not to worry, game viewing can even continue at the unique Bush-Spa in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia.
The setting is dreamy, on a secluded deck next to a lagoon that sees permanent heavy hippo traffic and a wide diversity of other animal visitors. This provides a unique soundtrack to your treatment, with the constant grunt and gurgle of hippo pods given a more musical backing by birdsong and antelope alarm calls. The spa has individual and couples’ treatment rooms, a tub, an open air “bush” shower, all in open-sided compartments that allow you to enjoy the living soundtrack and feel the natural breeze in your hair.
The treatment menu includes all the classic spa staples with a local twist, utilizing indigenous African oils and local techniques to offer intriguing options such as a detox Heart of Africa massage, an African Goddess Anti-Ageing Facial, a Luangwa Valley Mud Wrap and the varied Big Five Pampering Aqua therapy Packages.
The views are hard to beat and the treatments are adapted to suit the surroundings and are not only terrific value for money, but really do leave you feeling revitalized. The Bush-Spa is open daily during daylight hours and "not to be missed" when visiting South Luangwa!
Personal Touch is proud to be able to offer specific "Safari & Spa" wellness packages, tailor made to your itinerary, combining purely private safaris with guaranteed availability at the unique Bush-Spa of South Luangwa.
Too good to be true! So do check out our Safari & Spa suggestions
More information about the spa can be found on The Bush-Spa site
A genuine chance of experiencing rural Zambian daily life.
The Luangwa Valley is well known for its unique wildlife and the excellent standard of safaris. To date, village trips have been short excursions undertaken between game drives. Kawaza Village gives the guest a rare chance to meet with the local people on their terms.
The Valley is the home of the Kunda tribe who migrated from the Luba area in Congo in the first half of the 19th century. The Kundas form a small tribe of about 35,000 people. Traditionally the Kundas were hunters but today the majority live as subsistence farmers. The conditions are tough, with extreme seasons and crop raiding animals. The villagers in the Nsefu area are still living in the very traditional way.
Upon arrival, and depending if you choose a day or overnight visit, a detailed program based on the wishes of the guest is drawn up.
The options may include:
- A walk in the bush, hear about the different flora and their traditional uses
- visiting local institutions (the local church, the clinic)
- spending time with the traditional healer
- interacting with the school children at Kawaza School
- depending his availability, a visit to the palace of the Senior Kunda Chief
However, probably the best way of getting close contact with the people is to take part in the daily life activities. Guests are invited to join the villagers in drawing water, hoeing the field, grinding maize, brewing the local beer or whatever the villagers will be planning for the day.
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These are just our top two picks! Upon booking your itinerary, we are more than happy to send you more information about this beautiful area we are fortunate to call home and "things to do" here. We would also suggest using the extensive information found on the web. There is so much to see, to discover and to experience in South Luangwa! We look forward welcoming you to this amazing part of the world.