Luangwa Valley


One of Africa’s best-kept safari secrets


The Great Rift Valley, as you may remember from geography class, runs from the Red Sea through East Africa. As the valley cuts through northern Zambia, however, its course splits in two valleys: one goes east and tapers out in Mozambique, while another goes west and ends in the wild Luangwa Valley.

Hailed as one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries, the Luangwa Valley is a portrait of what is often referred to as ‘Real Africa’. As the Luangwa River that snakes though the Valley silts up, it swells and changes course, leaving ox-bow lagoons and lush riverbanks in its wake. In the dry season antelope, elephant, giraffe, and buffalo, and more congregate around the river’s life-giving waters while predators skulk in the shadows. Hippos and crocodiles look on from the waters as the bush’s game of survival plays out on the banks.

The Luangwa Valley encompasses four national parks. The North and South Luangwa National Parks are both responsible for earning the Valley its status as one of Africa’s most foremost wildlife destinations, but only the southern park is open to the public. Two smaller, more underdeveloped parks – Luambe and Lukusuzi – lie on the eastern side of the Luangwa River.

 
Highlights:
 
  • Widely regarded as one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries
  • Thornicroft's giraffe and Cookson's wildebeest are endemic to the valley
  • A paradise for bird-watchers with over 400 species of birdlife recorded here
  • Home to four national parks: South Luangwa, North Luangwa (which is not open to the public), and Luambe and Lukusuzi (which are both smaller and more underdeveloped)
 

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