Known to many naturalist professionals as one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, South Luangwa National Park is one of Zambia’s premier destinations and one of the most majestic safari settings in Africa. These titles are well earned, with the mighty Luangwa River and its many lagoons acting as the essential lifeblood of the park and attracting some of Africa’s largest concentrations of wildlife. Of Zambia’s 732 total bird species, 400 reside in South Luangwa National Park, as do 60 different animals, including impalas, pukus, waterbuck giraffe, and buffaloes in the plains; leopards in the woodlands; herds of elephants in the marshes; and hippos in the river waters.

Hardly an accessible location, South Luangwa National Park hosts very few visitors, thus preserving its pristine condition and limiting the guest-to-wildlife ratio for more secluded and personalized safari experiences. Since there is a limited network of roads in the park, most of the game viewing is actually done on foot, with some of Zambia’s finest professional guides leading the way. In fact, the now famous walking safari originated in this park and is still one of the best ways to experience South Luangwa’s pristine wilderness first-hand, walking among the brush to view amazing animals like zebra, leopard, lion, and elephants amid the immense scope of wilderness. South Luangwa is also one of the few parks to allow unique and rare night safaris, when guests travel on incredible excursions via 4×4 in search of the region’s predators and other nocturnal species.

For those with a truly adventurous spirit, South Luangwa offers incredible overnight safaris under the stars with Norman Carr’s Return to the Wild program. Armed with a bedroll and a mosquito net, guests venture out from camp on foot mid afternoon with a guide and scout team to find a spot to make camp for the night in the remote Luwi dry riverbed, drifting to sleep while the millions of stars shine brightly overhead.

Whether visiting a traditional Zambian village, setting out on a walking safari, or luxuriating in a wide range of fine accommodations, guests to South Luangwa National Park will not be disappointed by the warm offerings of this exceptional region.