South Luangwa National Park in eastern Zambia, the southernmost of three national parks in the valley of the Luangwa River, is a world-renowned wildlife haven. It supports large populations of Thorneycroft’s Giraffe, and herds of elephant and buffalo often several hundred strong, while the Luangwa River supports abundant crocodiles and hippopotamuses. It is one of the best-known national parks in Africa for walking safaris.
The park spans two ecoregions, both of them woodland savannah. Southern Miombo woodlands cover the higher slopes of the valley, while Zambezian and Mopane woodlands cover the bottom of the valley. Within these woodland savannahs are larger patches of grassland, so that grazers such as zebra and leaf browsers such as giraffe are found in profusion in the same areas. Patches of flooded grassland habitats (floodplains) are found close to the river, on which hippopotamus graze at night. Their dung released into the river fertilises its waters and sustains the fish population which in turn sustains the crocodiles.
The Luangwa valley contains a variety of animals including Cookson’s wildebeest and Crawshay’s zebra which are endemic or near-endemic to the valley. The Luangwa”s often-tuskless elephants can be seen foraging for illala palm fruit or wading through the river. Visitors also have the chance to see leopard, genet, civet, elephant shrews and white-tailed mongoose.
Guided walks and game drives are two of the activities visitors enjoy in this area. South Luangwa is renowned as the best walking destination in Africa.
Safaris to this area: