About South Luangwa
The jewel in Zambia’s wildlife crown
Back the 1950s, a young game ranger and conservationist named Norman Carr encouraged the chief of the Luangwa Valley to set aside a portion of land as a game reserve. He quickly realised that photographic safaris and not big game hunting was the future for the region’s wildlife and built the first dedicated game-viewing camp. The area was established as a National Park in 1972 and it quickly became one of the finest game-viewing destinations on the continent.
Today, the park is a timeless, unspoiled wilderness, characterised by the vast Luangwa River that meanders through a landscape of cool forests and open plains, glittering lagoons and verdant water holes. It’s this varied habitat that allows for such a huge concentration of animals including elephant, hippo, giraffe, lion, leopard, buffalo and many more.
It’s also our home and one that we can’t wait to share with you at Nkonzi Camp.
The varied habitat of the South Luangwa supports an equally diverse number of animals. You’ll find plenty of plains game as you wind your way across the plains and through the forests, including dainty herds of impala and puku. Buffalo and elephant are common sightings, often in large herds, and the soundtrack to your safari will be the hippo harrumphing merrily in the Luangwa River.Two endemic subspecies stand out in the South Luangwa too – the Cookson’s wildebeest and the Crawshay’s zebra.
The main predators in the South Luangwa are lion, leopard and spotted hyena. Of the cats, lion are probably the most common but there’s a good chance of finding the elusive leopard in the South Luangwa. The park is, in fact, referred to as the Valley of the Leopards and our guests are often delighted at the incredible sightings of the enchanting felines – whether that’s because there are several around or it’s down to Gavin’s fantastic guiding, we’re not sure! African wild dog are rarer, although they den in the park and sightings have become more common in recent years.
They don’t call the South Luangwa the home of the walking safari for nothing! It’s here that the walking safari was pioneered in the 1950s and at Nkonzi Camp, we’re proud to continue the tradition. Exploring the park on foot allows you to focus on nature’s quirks and charms that you might miss from a vehicle and after each walk, you’ll be even more in awe of the landscape than you were before…
We also offer game drives in the early morning and late afternoon and, on special request, all-day expeditions. Driving is the best way to spot larger game and predators in action and you’ll cross open plains, navigate tangled thickets and explore pretty woodlands in search of the wildlife. The South Luangwa is one of a few parks on the continent that offers night drives and at Nkonzi, we use a powerful spotlight to look for rare (and sometimes elusive!) nocturnal creatures.
Find out more about our safaris and activities at Nkonzi Camp here.