South Luangwa National Park, situated in the Eastern Province of Zambia, a one-hour internal flight from the Capital Lusaka to the local airport of Mfuwe, has rightfully earned its reputation as one of Africa's premier national parks. The story of this 9,050 km2 park, Zambia’s premier National Park, is woven into the fabric of African conservation and showcases the beauty of its diverse ecosystems.
It was in 1938 that South Luangwa was declared a game reserve by the British colonial authorities, recognizing its ecological significance, with one of the park's defining moments occurring in the 1950s when visionary conservationist Norman Carr pioneered innovative wildlife protection strategies, including the concept of walking safaris. His efforts laid the foundation for sustainable tourism and the preservation of South Luangwa's unique flora and fauna.
Today, South Luangwa National Park is celebrated for its incredible biodiversity, including over 60 animal species and over 400 birdlife species. The park, known to many as the Valley of the Leopard is especially renowned for its large populations of predators, including lions, wild dogs and the eponymous leopards. In addition, large numbers of elephants, buffalos, hippos and a variety of antelope offers visitors unparalleled opportunities for wildlife viewing.
South Luangwa's commitment to responsible tourism and community engagement ensures that the park remains a model for conservation and sustainable development and firmly cements its position as one of Africa's premier national parks and a must-visit destination for any nature enthusiast, photographer or wildlife lover.
There is no ‘wrong’ time to visit South Luangwa National Park, with each season having its own attractions: The Cool Dry – mid-to-late-April / to late-July; the Hot Dry - August to October; the Early Rains – early / mid-November & December and the Peak Rains - January to March.
At Chikunto Safari Camp & Lodge their Emerald Season runs from mid-February to the end of May, with a combination of water-based and land-based safari options available (subject to water levels) with fabulous light conditions and an ideal time for ‘birders’. For details on your preferred dates or for a more detailed description contact Chikunto directly.
The peak safari season runs from June to the end of September, with what is known as the ‘shoulder season’ running from October to the middle of November. As the Luangwa River starts to dry the concentration of animals around the dwindling water sources grows ever higher.
We didn't know what to expect when we showed up, but three days into our stay we decided to book it for next year!! I can't say enough about this place. Everything from the food to the staff. We came as strangers and left as family!!
A fabulous experience from start to finish. The accommodation was excellent, the food delicious and the staff delightful. Chikunto is well placed to access the best parts of the South Luangwa National Park and our guide James had both an extensive knowledge of the animals and of their behaviour which allowed him to position the Land Rover for the best view of the action. We were thrilled to watch ...
Leopard Heaven – if you want a ‘sure thing’ stay at Chikunto Safari Lodge Seeing is believing! Three leopards later on my first game drive with Chikunto Safaris there was little doubt in my mind that South Luangwa is indeed The Valley of the Leopard. And Chikunto’s guides are expert at finding them. Talk about good 'spotting'! Finally, my dream had come true - I was in ‘leopard heaven' as our ex...
We'd heard that there were wild dogs in the area and obtained some excellent help and advice even though we were not residents. This included a short tour of the facilities which seemed very luxurious from a stunning pool to the small number of exclusive cabins. Definitely one for the bucket list as it was clear that you'll be well looked after
We purchased this safari lodge completely blind based on a choice largely driven by a travel deal during the height of Covid-19. But, Chikunto Lodge turned out to be an incredible experience; with exceptional safari guides, long and eventful safari drives twice daily, incredible dining experiences throughout the week and a staff that demonstrated kindness, care and knowledge. The lodge caters to...