South Luangwa National Park

The southernmost park in the Luangwa Valley and home of the biggest concentration of hippos in the world, South Luangwa National Park is one of Africa’s great wildlife sanctuaries.

South Luangwa is world-renowned for its plentiful game, including four of the Big 5, with herds of elephant and buffalo hundreds strong. First made a game reserve in 1938, it was declared a national park in 1972 and was the first wildlife area to offer walking safaris. Guided game walks still offer visitors a thrilling yet intimate bush experience.

The different seasons bring their own rewards. In the rainy season, animals are dispersed within the park but the park is a lush green wonderland. In the dry season, the landscape is a sere brown but game gathers in great numbers near the Luangwa River and its oxbow lakes and pools. This is one of the few parks to permit night game drives, an excellent time to see the park’s well-known predators, which include lion, leopard and hyena. With more than 400 bird species here, it is possible to fill a birding checklist with more than 100 species in one day – look out for the critically endangered hooded vulture.

Highlights In South Luangwa National Park

  • Game-viewing drives, including guided night drives, are a wonderful way to see the park’s wildlife
  • Enjoy nature walks and cycling excursions for a more personal and thrilling bush experience
  • River cruises on the Luangwa River offer up wonderful viewing opportunities of the park’s hippos, crocodiles and elephants – who wander down to the river bank to drink
  • Join a birding safari with an ornithologist or an expert birding guide