South Luangwa National Park
The South Luangwa NP is Zambia's premier National Park and is one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world. The concentration of game along the Luangwa River and its associated ox-bow lagoons is amongst the most intense anywhere in Africa. It is truly an un-spoilt wilderness.
The meandering Luangwa River teems with hippos and crocodiles and provides a lifeline for a great diversity of habitat and wildlife. With over 60 species of mammals and over 400 species of birds, the South Luangwa National Park has earned its excellent reputation. It is home to two endemic species, the Thornicroft Giraffe and Cookson's Wildebeest and is one of the best parks in Africa to view leopards in their natural environment.
One exciting success story of recent years is the resurgence of the African Wild Dog population. This species was almost wiped out by anthrax in the late 1980s but over the past decade has strengthened considerably in numbers. Today, although far from guaranteed, sightings of wild dog are common and Luwi and Nsolo bush camp are some of the best camps in the Park to see these special creatures; in recent years the dogs have been known to den between the two camps.
The National Park is 9,050 km² (3,500 square miles), unfenced but bordered to the West by a steep escarpment and to the East by the Luangwa River. Once known as ‘The Valley of the Elephants', back in the early 1970s it was home to the world's largest population of elephant. Although ivory poachers reduced the population dramatically, the Park authorities and their fellow conservation outfits such as SLCS are taking control once more and the population is regenerating strongly. There are plenty of young to be seen and numbers are visibly on the increase once more.
Apart from its wildlife, the Luangwa Valley is also renowned for its high levels of guiding. No company in Zambia has more to be proud of in this respect than Norman Carr Safaris. The walking safaris practiced in the Luangwa Valley were first started by Norman Carr back in 1950. Several of the guides working for the company now were trained by Norman himself.
Accommodation in the South Luangwa tends to consist of either a permanent lodge, of which Kapani is an original example - most are situated in the central Mfuwe area and are open all year round - and one of the smaller remote bush camps, rebuilt every year such as Luwi, Nsolo, Kakuli and Mchenja.