South Luangwa


Wild terrain, famed for leopard, wild dog and walking safaris; the South Luangwa is an inspired choice for those seeking untouched landscapes and incredible wildlife. These credentials make the South Luangwa an integral addition to any Zambian safari and can be easily combined with the Lower Zambezi National Park and Victoria Falls.

Undeniably beautiful, seasonal sand rivers carve through pristine woodland savannah. Concentrations of wildlife along the meandering Luangwa River are intense and diverse.

“South Luangwa retains the pioneering spirit of safari. The landscape is infused with exceptional wildlife and home to expert guides, creating an immersive safari destination off the beaten track”

Ben Oxley-Brown

Personal Travel Designer

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Ben Oxley-Brown

The Valley of the Leopard

There are just a handful of locations in Africa to head to for remarkable leopard sightings. South Luangwa National Park delivers these in spades but without any of the contrivance found in smaller reserves. Aside from the big cats, the park is home to vast herds of buffalo, elephant are ubiquitous and antelope of many species graze the shorter grasses alongside the lagoons.

With so many plains game species here, they need to keep a nervous eye out for the African wild dogs which are regularly seen hunting in this area. The river bustles with hippos and brightly coloured scarlet carmine bee-eaters flash in flocks from the sand banks.

Silent Walking

"Zambian guides are rightly regarded as some of the most qualified and experienced in Africa. It is their expertise in reading your surroundings that enables you to find and then observe the wildlife – sometimes at close quarters"

In such a vast wilderness area with so few camps, it is easy to see why this reserve is the original home of walking safaris. The landscape with open river banks and mixed savannah is the perfect blend to allow safe but rewarding walking.

Each of your senses goes into overdrive, listening for oxpeckers which signal the presence of buffalo, learning to read the signs in the dust which your expert guide will use to steer you to incredible wildlife sightings.

Safari Exploration

Concentrations of all species intensify along the Luangwa River throughout the dry season – peaking in September and October when the heat builds to fierce levels. As the rains break in November, the dry sand channels ripple back into life and the park transforms into a verdant lush panorama.

After the heat and dust of the dry season, plants spring into leaf and blossom and this is then birthing season for most of the animals. Combined with the migrating bird species arriving from further north in Africa and Europe, the green season refreshes, renews and reinvigorates the South Luangwa.

Wilder Wildlife

For seasoned safari-goers, several endemic species can be found, Thornicroft Giraffe, Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s Zebra. Given the plethora of rare and more common plains game, its perhaps not surprising that the Luangwa Valley has the world’s highest naturally occurring population of leopard.

To maximise your game viewing, days on safari start in the pre-dawn cool when the predators are at their most active. Early starts and late finishes are offset by long lazy lunches and siestas during the heat of the day and pay dividends for the crepuscular activity. Heading out of camp by Land Rover means you can cover more ground, before picking up tracks and trails and then exploring further on foot. It is only on foot that you are able to notice the minute details which combine to paint a bigger picture. Night drives back to camp after sundowner drinks, illuminate yet more nocturnal creatures and frequently leopards too as they set about their night time adventures.


The original safari camps in the South Luangwa were small authentic bush camps, simple in design and by necessity as the early guides pioneered walking routes and explored the wilderness. Now in addition to the under canvas no-frills experience, there are new camps and lodges catering for every comfort level yet distinctive in retaining their sense of place.


Chinzombo Main Area 8
Chinzombo Luxury Safari Tent 9
Chinzombo Luxury Safari Tent 4
Chinzombo Luxury Safari Tent 13
Chinzombo Main Area 1
Chinzombo Main Area 5
Chinzombo Family 2


Wildly luxurious, Chinzombo is a striking contemporary tented camp with private plunge pools and stripped decks overlooking the river.

Natural building materials, vintage and modern styling combine with the best attributes of a traditional bush camp. The six suites made from an award-winning design are huge and open fronted with linen drapes, freestanding baths and astonishing attention to detail. From the pool, extraordinary views showcase the Luangwa river and the ebb and flow of the wildlife around it.

The ultimate base from which to explore the South Luangwa.

“Taking safari style to the next level of sophistication, Chinzombo is a design masterpiece. Immaculate yet seamlessly open to its surroundings”


Sleep out under the stars. A makeshift fly camp in the dry river bed is the perfect spot to lie out and spot shooting stars and the milky way. With zero light pollution this is a magical way to round off a day.


Luangwa Safari House Zambia
Luangwa Safari Hse 34
Luangwa Safari Hse 29
Luangwa Safari Hse 28
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Luangwa Safari Hse 2

Luangwa Safari House

The perfect house for families or groups of friends who are looking for all the sanctuary a solid structure offers, yet surrounded by the wooded savannah and overlooking a very productive lagoon.

The four large bedrooms in this quirky castle-esque house are as individual as every other element. You have all the benefits of staff and private guides and vehicles for your safari.

“Take a refreshing lunchtime dip in the house pool and watch as elephants do the same in their lagoon below the house”


Being self-contained and away from other camps, Luangwa Safari House is the perfect choice for multi-generation families. Set your own timetable to keep children fed on time and holding an impromptu party won’t disturb others meaning you can fully relax and enjoy the house.


Mchenja Safari Tent 10
Mchenja Safari Tent 14
Mchenja Main Area 15
Mchenja Main Area 1
Mchenja Main Area 3
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Mchenja Safari Tent 17

Mchenja Bush Camp

A bush camp that blends with its surroundings with simple stylish rooms under thatch set along the river bank, Mchenja is extremely comfortable and wildly romantic. Strong eco credentials at this solar powered camp really give a back to nature experience.

Mchenja harks a return to all the best things about an authentic bush camp. Bucket showers, utter tranquillity and a true sense of identity, Mchenja proudly keeps one foot in the past, a simpler past where the distractions are your surroundings. Just a gathering of a few rooms, simple mess, small pool and an incredible location means that the camp focus is all about the experience. At night, Paraffin storm lanterns light the sand paths, the bush fire is a focal point for the days stories and candlelight at dinner time flickers off the backdrop of linen drapes and reed thatching.

“This bush camp is refreshingly simple, with everything you need and nothing you don’t – allowing you to be subsumed by the safari experience”


A bush camp that has eschewed wifi and the trappings of more modern technology and so retains a truly authentic bush camp ambiance.


Victoria falls, Zambia


As a spectacle, the thundering force of the Victoria Falls will leave an indelible impression either before or after your safari. In peak flow, the water cascades over 100 metres into the gorge below, throwing up a curtain of spray which can be seen from a huge distance. After the dust of a safari, a few days along the river banks of the Zambezi upstream from the Falls is the perfect way to rejuvenate. Life here understandably is focussed on the river, with boat trips and fishing but for those wanting to continue their safari experience there are some excellent options to explore.

STAY: Matetsi

An uber-luxury designer, riverside lodge upstream from the Falls but with an ace up its sleeve. Matetsi fronts the Zambezi but also has 136,000 acres of private reserve behind the lodge. Here it is truly possible to combine ultimate luxury, Big 5 safari and time at the Victoria Falls.  The lodge offers the finest in cuisine, service and hospitality, whilst safari on the home range is guided in a similar spectacular style. Being upstream from the Zimbabwean side of the Falls, you are away from the noise and bustle of town so get the best of both worlds.



To the north of Kafue National Park – Zambia’s oldest and largest reserve, are the vast Busanga floodplains.  A mineral rich grassland habitat which seasonally floods is the perfect combination of ingredients to create some of the most pristine and diverse habitat in Africa. Giant herds of buffalo, antelope of every size and colour imaginable and elephant are drawn in their thousands to this wetland region. Uncountable flocks of birds incessantly lift and move between the splashes. The predators are never far behind this moveable feast, giving the opportunity to see dramatic wildlife encounters. The burgeoning lion population here is evidence of a balanced ecosystem.

STAY: Chisa Nests

Deep into the north of Kafue is the Busanga Plains – a rich wetlands habitat that abounds with wildlife. Your home here is the Chisa Nests, high in the trees above the plains mimicking the weavers nests. Comparable to the Okavango Delta but with only a handful of camps and attracting the finest guides expect unparalleled wildlife sightings.

The Chisa Nests are designed to blend into the landscape and give you a raised perspective of the surrounding savannah, the ideal vantage point to watch buffalo and impala grazing with your morning coffee. Busanga Plains attracts safari-goers looking for unfiltered experiences and hence the guiding is exceptionally good. You’ll explore the wetlands which throng with birdlife and keeps all the large mammals sustained through the drier months. The population of big cats is impressive and being such a wild area, game drives will be sure to reveal unexpected  species and interactions.


Lower Zambezi

Here the rapids of the upper Zambezi have been replaced by a more sedentary pace, the river glides between sand banks and meanders towards the Mozambique border. The Lower Zambezi National Park borders the river to the north, to the south lies Mana Pools giving an enormous contiguous wildlife catchment area. The Lower Zambezi is dominated by the backdrop of the Zambian escarpment and this range of biomes from riverine to woodland and savannah makes it a biodiversity dream. Wildlife abounds, nourished by the ever present river.

Stay: Lolebezi

Unashamedly contemporary, underpinned by one of the most experienced operators in the central belt of safari Africa, nothing has been left to chance in the design and execution of this new lodge. Pioneering, eco but remaining impressively luxurious. The lodge has over a kilometre of exclusive river frontage onto the Lower Zambezi. A host of safari activities are on offer from walking to 4×4  as well as finding time to spend on the river for some fishing and gaining a different perspective on the area. Lolebezi has a spa and yoga for those who wish to relax even further.

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