The sheer scale of the Luangwa Valley puts it firmly amongst Africa’s greatest game viewing destinations. Yet unlike its better known cousins elsewhere on the continent, Luangwa is curiously little-visited. With the Luangwa River as its lifeblood, the valley is divided by North and South Luangwa National Parks, where you’ll see crocs camouflaged in the mud, pods of hippos clustering in the water, and brightly-coloured bee-eaters nesting in the banks.
In South Luangwa, night drives make the park a great place for spotting leopard (just look up for the flick of a spotty tail amongst the sausage trees). As for the day-time, much of it can be spent doing what South Luangwa does best: walking safaris. Taking a morning stroll after a hearty breakfast and ambling from camp to camp couldn’t be simpler, but like us you’ll probably find it’s one of your favourite activities.
Though North Luangwa shares the same landscape, vegetation and wildlife as its southern counterpart, it is vastly different. Wild and largely untouched, this is one of the few parks in Africa where game viewing is almost exclusively done on foot. The slow pace and tranquillity of crunching through the mopani forest is broken by a sudden adrenaline rush as you stumble upon a family of elephants or an enormous, solitary hippo. This is a place to get African dust under your shoes and into your soul. Not open to the public and with no permanent lodges, North Luangwa provides an intense experience, rarely offered anywhere else.