We’ll be looking at what makes South Luangwa National Park in Zambia so special. Famed for pioneering the walking safari, South Luangwa has long been described as one of the greatest wildlife destinations on Earth.
Still relatively unknown to UK travellers, South Luangwa has taken its place among the best national parks in Africa – not only for its incredible wildlife, but also for its innovative community projects and anti-poaching work.
8 reasons to visit South Luangwa in Zambia
1. Three unique animals
Among the countless species that inhabit South Luangwa National Park, there are three endemic animals you wont find anywhere else; the Thornicroft’s giraffe, Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra.
2. The Spice Boys
Have you ever seen a ginger lion? These two brothers, named Garlic and Ginger, have become local celebrities in South Luangwa National Park for their unique colouring and special bond. Throughout the course of their lives, from cubs to their current status as coalition males, Ginger and Garlic have helped generate valuable data on lion population dynamics, prey selection, coalition dynamics and habitat use. This critical information has helped guide conservation for the Zambia Carnivore Programme.
3. 350 and counting!
South Luangwa National Park is now home to the largest number of African wild dogs in Zambia. Thanks to the safeguarding of these painted wolves, approximately 350 adults and youngsters are now living and thriving in the Luangwa Valley – largely thanks to the collaborative efforts of Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) and the Zambian Carnivore Programme (ZCP).
4. Conservation Success
2019 was an incredible year for conservation in Zambia. In South Luangwa alone, Conservation South Luangwa (CSL) and the DNPW successfully:
• Recovered 554 snares
• Confiscated 66 firearms
• Apprehended 117 suspects
• Confiscated 100 tusks
• Confiscated 866 kgs of bushmeat
• Read the full report here >
5. Carmine-bee eaters
Every year between September and October, thousands of Carmine-bee eaters flock to the banks of the Luangwa River to dig their nest-holes and breed. To see these stunning birds in action, pick up your binoculars and head over to Shenton Safaris’ own Carmine Bee-eater Hide for an unforgettable birding experience.
6. Art for Community and Conservation
Mullberry Mongoose – Located on a well-trodden elephant path in Mfuwe, local craftswomen are tackling poaching, supporting the community and empowering women all simply by creating beautiful pieces of jewellery. Using only local and natural materials, from guinea fowl feathers to vintage coins, each piece is unique and has an inspiring story behind it. Their most celebrated collection mixes snare wire collected by anti-poaching patrols with semiprecious stones, freshwater pearls and hand carved wooden beads. Visiting Mulberry Mongoose is a must do whilst in South Luangwa. Every piece sold includes a donation to anti-poaching patrols and helps the community and wildlife in the park.
7. Award-winning lodges & camps
A truly iconic safari destination, South Luangwa is home to some spectacular lodges. From small and intimate camps such as Remote Africa, Kafunta Safaris, Shenton Safaris, Lion Camp and Thornicroft Lodge, to slightly larger lodges such as the famous Mfuwe Lodge and Flatdogs Camp, there’s an option for everyone who seeks an authentic safari experience.
New Camps – Chiawa Safaris’ new lodge, Puku Ridge, is brimming with authentic history, creativity and conservation ethos. The sweeping decks allow visitors to relax and unwind whilst taking in the surrounding views. The pioneering eco-friendly safari operator, Green Safaris, opens its newest camp Shawa Luangwa Camp on 1st July 2020. It’s located on the banks of the Luangwa River in the heart of the Lupande GMA.
8. The Valley of the Leopard
This National Park has one of the highest densities of leopard in the world, giving rise to the park’s nickname – The Valley of the Leopard. Whilst notoriously difficult to spot, these elusive cats are often seen resting in tree branches, where they also like to hide their prey.
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