South Luangwa is Zambia’s leading national park located in the Eastern part of the country. Luangwa Valley is vast, remote and home to people and a remarkable abundance of animals. It was David Livingstone who first recognized the extraordinary allure and unique nature of the South Luangwa Valley. Crossing the Luangwa River in 1866. It was in 1938 that the area was declared a game reserve, and then awarded national park status in 1971. In 1961 Norman Car put the Luangwa on the map as a safari destination leading the first walking safari in reserve.
Over 60 different species of mammal call South Luangwa National Park their home, drawn by the diverse variety of habitats like the sandy seasonal river flowing to the mineral-rich alluvial floodplains that reach out to distant blue hills. Predators like lions, leopards and wild dogs stalk the smaller prey, while primates like yellow baboons and vervet monkeys sway through the trees. Down on the river, vast densities of elephant, hippo, and crocodile enjoy the calm waters.
South Luangwa National Park is about 9050 sq. km big has a river, its tributaries and the riverine layers being the focus of the wildlife viewing. There are diverse habitats, from substantial oxbow lagoons of varying stages of maturity, woodlands, ebony groves, grassland, and thickets, that imposing a host number of animals. The birdlife is similarly excellent with around 450 species to be seen.
The Luangwa River prevails one of the last untouched significant river systems in the world. Every year the river drops to almost knee level, and the Emerald Season it rises to the height of the banks. The river rises to 4 meters deep and usually averages 400 meters wide and at peak 47 million gallons per hour. Boating safaris during the high-water months of January to March are a unique experience!! The Luangwa Valley with the Luangwa River now flowing over into the brimming lagoons. Boating into these lagoons, flooded ebony groves and streaming channels give you a view of the Valley which is usually inaccessible during this season. The Luangwa River is a significant river in Africa, and even in the world, that has not been dammed for hydropower. This vast river still annually arises, flooding into lagoons and channels, changing the course that results in new pools creating a rich floodplain river system. Accessing the heart of the park, at peak flood time from January to March is quite an adventure and activities will consist of walking, driving, and boating. Most of the animals in this area remains at the park all year, and so the game viewing is always excellent and reliable though it is more of a birder paradise during the time of the year.