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Destinations Africa Zambia Holidays to South Luangwa National Park

Holidays to South Luangwa National Park

One of three protected areas in the beautiful Luangwa Valley, South Luangwa is the undisputed queen of National Parks in Africa. Spread out over 9,000 pristine square kilometres, South Luangwa supports an extraordinary number of exotic creatures. And they are not shy.

Situated in the eastern part of the country, South Luangwa’s history goes back to 1938, when it was founded as a game reserve. Established as national park in 1972, it was a pioneer in establishing ‘walking safaris’, which are still the preferred way to see the park. South Luangwa contains two eco-regions of woodland savannah. Majestic mopane trees, with their distinctive butterfly-shaped leaf, dot the terrain, as do beautiful tamarind trees, baobabs and forests of ebony. The Luangwa River is the valley’s lifeblood and the pronounced seasons make for yearlong changes in South Luangwa scenery and wildlife migrations. The ‘big 5’ is best seen in October, the hottest month and driest month, whilst the wet season (November-March) blankets South Luangwa in a lush green and sees the arrival of millions of migrating birds.


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The most visible mammal is the hippopotamus – which you will see basking in the river and lagoons along with countless crocodiles. Zebras are also plentiful, as are giraffes. Hyenas are everywhere and antelopes are easily seen on night drives through the park. In fact the only animals that are elusive are lions and leopards, though if they are around, the parks skilled guides will find them.

The birdlife at South Luangwa will have you breathless. Towards the end of the dry season, yellow-billed storks proliferate around the river and lagoons. One of the greatest joys is watching the expertise of pelicans as they trawl the river way for small fish, or seeing a heron pounce on its prey from a perfectly still position. In November the park is invaded with more familiar migrants from Northern Europe, such as cuckoos, eagles and buzzards.

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