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South Luangwa Central
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The Central Sector

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... of South Luangwa National Park is one of the richest areas for wildlife in Africa, with a particular reputation for elephants, lions and leopards.

But in many ways, this is the least attractive sector of the reserve, largely because of the high traffic volumes focussed on the busy area around the critical Mfuwe Bridge Gate. The areas immediately inside the park can become cluttered, it is not unusual to have several vehicles at the same sighting, with others waiting.

It is not only the volume of traffic, but also the tonality, with a high proportion of budget safari operators and self-drivers, who often do not comply to the usual etiquette on sightings. It really can become quite distasteful, especially Jun/Oct.

It is also worth noting that the considerable expansion of villages along the main road between the airport and the Mfuwe Bridge Gate means that this area now feels a good deal less wild than it used to.

But don't write the area off just yet, there's a number of good camps here, which deploy a number of different strategies to avoid this traffic and continue to offer high quality safaris. Most are located in the various Game Management Areas on the eastern side of the river and access the park directly by pontoon or motorboat, thereby avoiding the Mfuwe Bridge Gate completely.

It is also important to note that this central section is the only part of the reserve to have a decent network of all-weather roads, so is the only area to remain properly open outside the Jun/Nov dry season.

Another reason to stay here is to visit the various villages and humanitarian and philanthropic projects in the neighbourhood.


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