March 22, 2023 3 min read

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia: A Comprehensive Guide

Immerse yourself in the unspoiled wilderness of South Luangwa National Park, Zambia's premier wildlife destination. Known for its stunning landscapes, abundant wildlife, and exclusive safari experiences, South Luangwa offers an authentic and unforgettable African safari. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the best time to visit, the wildlife highlights, and the accommodation options available.

Introduction and Overview of South Luangwa National Park

South Luangwa National Park covers an area of 9,050 square kilometers (3,490 square miles) and is located in eastern Zambia. The park is centered around the Luangwa River, which supports a diverse range of ecosystems, from dense woodlands and lush riverine forests to open grasslands and lagoons. South Luangwa is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including the Big Four (elephants, lions, leopards, and African buffalo) and over 400 bird species, making it a must-visit destination for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers.

Best Time to Visit: Advantages and Disadvantages of Each Month

January - March

  • Advantages: Lush green scenery, excellent birdwatching, and lower rates at lodges and camps
  • Disadvantages: Heavy rainfall, increased humidity, and some camps may be closed due to inaccessibility

April - June

  • Advantages: Cooler temperatures, lower visitor numbers, and moderate rates at lodges and camps
  • Disadvantages: Cooler mornings and evenings, occasional rainfall, and vegetation may still be dense

July - October

  • Advantages: Dry season, excellent wildlife viewing, concentrated animal populations around water sources, and lower risk of malaria
  • Disadvantages: Peak season with higher visitor numbers, higher rates at lodges and camps, and chilly mornings and evenings

November - December

  • Advantages: Lower visitor numbers, moderate rates at lodges and camps, and pleasant temperatures
  • Disadvantages: Unpredictable rainfall, increased heat, and the onset of the wet season

Wildlife Highlights and Key Attractions

The Big Four

South Luangwa National Park is home to four of the Big Five, offering excellent opportunities to spot elephants, lions, leopards, and African buffalo in their natural habitat. The park is also home to the endangered African Wild Dog. There relentless hunters are often seen and makes for exciting wildlife encounters.

Unique Wildlife

South Luangwa hosts several unique and endemic species, such as the Crawshay's zebra, Thornicroft's giraffe, and Cookson's wildebeest.

Leopard Sightings

The park is renowned for its exceptional leopard sightings, making it one of the best destinations in Africa to observe these elusive predators.

Dusty Boots Travel - Leopard Sightings in South Luangwa National Park

Walking Safaris

South Luangwa is the birthplace of the walking safari, offering a unique and intimate way to explore the park's stunning landscapes and wildlife up close.

Photographic Safaris

South Luangwa - an extraordinary, must-visit destination for avid wildlife photographers and passionate nature enthusiasts. 

Dusty Boots Travel - Mwamba Photographic Hide in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia


With over 400 bird species, South Luangwa is a prime destination for birdwatchers. Species such as the Lilian's lovebird, Pel's fishing owl, and African skimmer can be spotted throughout the park.

Dusty Boots Travel - Carmine Bee Eaters at Sungani Lodge in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Accommodation Options and Safari Packages

South Luangwa National Park offers a range of accommodation options to suit different budgets and preferences:

Luxury Lodges

These upscale lodges provide a luxurious stay, complete with fine dining, spa services, and high-end amenities.

Dusty Boots Travel - Time + Tide Chinzombo Bath and room View - South Luangwa National Park

Tented Camps

Tented camps offer an authentic safari experience while still providing modern comforts such as en-suite bathrooms and comfortable beds.

Bush Camps

These seasonal, remote camps provide an intimate and immersive safari experience, allowing guests to truly connect with the surrounding wilderness.

Dusty Boots Travel - Kuyenda Bush Camp - South Luangwa National Park

Budget Campsites

For budget-conscious travelers, basic campsites provide an affordable option, with shared facilities such as bathrooms and cooking areas.

When it comes to safari packages, there are various options to choose from:

  1. Private Guided Safaris: Enjoy a personalized experience with a private guide who will tailor the safari to your interests and preferences.
  2. Group Safaris: Join a group of like-minded travelers and explore South Luangwa National Park together, providing a more cost-effective option.
  3. Fly-In Safaris: Save travel time and access remote areas of the park by flying directly to airstrips near your chosen accommodation.
  4. Self-Drive Safaris: For the adventurous traveler, a self-drive safari allows for the freedom to explore the park at your own pace and create your own itinerary.


South Luangwa National Park is a must-visit destination for any wildlife enthusiast or safari seeker. Its diverse ecosystems, abundant wildlife, and range of accommodation options make it an ideal choice for an unforgettable African safari experience. We hope this comprehensive guide has provided valuable insights to help you plan your dream safari to South Luangwa National Park. Stay tuned for our next destination guide: Okavango Delta, Botswana: A Comprehensive Guide.

Contact Dusty Boots Travel via emailInstagram or Facebook today to start planning your dream safari holiday.

Images by our travels partners Time + Tide Africa, Shenton Safaris, Bushcamp Company

Riaan van den Berg
Riaan van den Berg

Leave a comment

Comments will be approved before showing up.

Also in Dusty Boots Travel Blog

Dusty Boots Travel - Mokoro at Xigera - Okavango Delta Botswana Luxury Safari
Unleash the Wild Luxury: Your Ultimate Guide to Botswana Safaris

May 22, 2023 13 min read

Experience the wild heart of Africa with our ultimate guide to luxury Botswana safaris. Discover the best lodges, wildlife viewing tips, travel advice, and more. Embark on a journey of luxury and adventure in Botswana's pristine wilderness.
Dusty Boots Travel - Elephant at Ruckomechi Camp in Mana Pools - Image by Wilderness Destinations
Mana Pools National Park, Zimbabwe: A Comprehensive Guide

April 13, 2023 3 min read

Explore the pristine wilderness of Mana Pools National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site renowned for its extraordinary wildlife and breathtaking landscapes. In this comprehensive guide, we'll delve into the best time to visit, the wildlife highlights, and the accommodation options available to ensure an unforgettable African safari experience.
Dusty Boots Travel - Elephant in water at Sunset by Wilderness DumaTau, Linyanti, Botswana
Best African Safari Tours

March 31, 2023 7 min read

Discover the best places for African safaris with our ultimate guide. Explore top destinations, find the best safari in Africa, and embark on unforgettable African safari tours.