South Luangwa National Park
South Luangwa Travel Blog› entry 8 of 11 › view all entries
September 15th, 2009 – by: sarahsan
South Luangwa covers an area of 9,050 sq km and is situated in Zambia´s Luangwa River Valley. It must be the finest wildlife reserve in Africa with the highest density of animals. The Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Etosha, Kruger and Moremi all claim the title "Africa´s best game park", but non of them have South Luangwa´s high quality of guiding together with its remarkable wildlife spectacles, day and night, in the isolation of a true wilderness. Not many parks have night safaris, but South Luangwa does and it is spectacular. A night drive opens up a different, nocturnal world to view. The Luangwa river is amazing, very few rivers of this size in Africa have been so unaffected by man. There are no dams on it, no commercial agriculture along its banks, and incredible little pollution.
The plague of commercial poaching, which hit the country in the 1980s, was fought with a large share of the resources allotted to all of the county´s national parks. The valley´s black rhino population was sadly wiped out. The good news is that five black rhinos were re-introduced into a special protected area within the North Luangwa National Park in 2003. A further ten followed in 2006. Two of the rhions have later died, but two calves have since been born. Further relocations are planned. Today there is minimal poaching in the park, as demonstrated by the size of the animal population, and certainly no lack of game.
The entrance to South Luangwa and its main cluster of lodges lies about 100 km from Mchinji on the Malawi-Zambia border. Zambia Wildlife Authority does not run the camps in the park.
South Luangwa National Park is not an ideal safari destination for a budged traveler or a backpacker, but there are a few camps outside the park. We stayed at Flatdogs Camp, a very good choise, just outside the parks entrance. No point in paying $400-700 pr person pr night when you can get away with about $200 (meals and safaris included) just by staying 5 minutes outside the park. Even if you stay inside the park it doesn´t mean that you can start your game drive earlier or stay out there later then those staying outside the park. Then why pay the extra?
The best time to visit is June to September, but game viewing is excellent throughout the year.
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