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South Luangwa
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South Luangwa National Park


... is generally considered to be the finest safari area in Zambia and, arguably, one of the top ten wildlife reserves on the continent.

Set in a broad valley, bordered by impressive hills and centred on the languid meandering Luangwa River, this place has a really hypnotic quality. It is somewhere that people fall in love with and return to year after year.

The wildlife here really is extremely strong, especially during the Jun/Nov dry season, when the animals cluster along the river. The area has a particular reputation for lion and leopard sightings, but the sheer range of wildlife on view here really is very impressive. There is very rarely a shortage of sightings during the dry season.

But what makes South Luangwa so very special is the selection of truly exceptional small safari operators here, who have long and hard-earned reputation for offering a truly intimate, authentic and involving safari experience. In the best small camps, many of which have only three or four rooms, guests are very much up on stage with the animals rather than watching from the audience. The whole cast of lions, hippos, elephants, leopards and so many others perform around you day and night.

The area has an exceptional reputation for walking safari in particular. This is one of only a handful of reserves in Africa where guides will make deliberate approaches onto elephants, lions and leopards.

The reserve also permits a limited amount of night vehicle safari, which is also quite a rare thing these days and a great chance to catch some of the nocturnal creatures as well as seeing the predators whilst they are more active.

The main potential downsides are the fact that the area is relatively little known, it is quite difficult to access, that prices inside the reserve itself are unavoidably high and that many of the more remote camps here are only able to operate over a relatively short season.

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Lenny Franklin
Lenny Franklin, Senior Safari Consultant
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