North Luangwa National Park
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North Luangwa National Park is a remote tract of land covering 4636 square kilometres and offers one of the finest wilderness experiences in Zambia.  Like South Luangwa it lies between the  Luangwa River and the dramatic Muchinga escarpment which rises over 1000 meters from the valley floor.  

Access to this park is recent.  In 1989,  Mark and Delia Owens, famed for their book ‘Cry of the Kalahari’,  set up a research station in the park. Through their influence authorities allowed entry to the park to a few  safari operators who bring limited numbers into the park for guided walking safaris and game drives. Their efforts in the North Luangwa are documented in their book ‘The Eye of the Elephant’. 

The beauty of this park is the truly remarkable opportunities to experience a  wild and untouched area of Africa. Access is with one of the few safari operators granted permission to conduct walking safaris there. There are very few roads and you’re unlikely to see anyone else for the duration of your trip.

Wildlife - Out on the plains you’re bound to see the large elephant herds, reaching up to 70 in number. Buffalo are abundant and spread throughout the valley.  There is estimated to be at least 50 hippos per kilometre of the Luangwa River.  Thornicroft’s Giraffe, unique to Luangwa Valley should be easily spotted.

The park has 14 different antelope species, most of which are easily seen on game and night drives.  Elusive bushbuck inhabit densely covered areas. The duiker  inhabits the back country of the Luangwa Valley. The largest of the antelope is the eland, usually near the Nsefu sector of the park. The most numerous antelope is the impala, these gregarious animals can be seen in herds all over the park. Not to be confused with the Puku, of similar size but a much fluffier buck with a rich orange coat and also prolific. The beautiful Kudu, with its majestic spiral horns and delicate face is fairly common but not easy to find due to preference for dense bush.. Reedbuck, roan, sable, hartebeest, grysbok, klipspringer and oribi are all here.

Primates include the baboon and vervet monkey. More scarce is Maloney’s monkey. Present, but unlikely to be seen except on night drives are the night ape, and the nocturnal bushbaby.

Birdwatching is superb in the Valley. Near the end of the dry season, when the river and oxbow lagoons begin to recede, hundreds of large waterbirds can be seen wading through the shallows. The red faced yellow billed storks move along with their beaks open underwater, disturbing the muddy liquid with their feet until the fish flop into their mouths. The pelicans tend to operate in lines abreast, driving the fish before them into shallows before scooping them up into their beak pouches. The striking 1.6m saddle bill stork makes quick darting movements into the water. Then there’s the marabou stork, great white egrets, black headed herons, open billed storks and the stately goliath heron that can stand in the same position for hours before pouncing. Of the most beautiful are the elegant crowned cranes, with their golden tufts congregating in large flocks at the salt pans.

Around the same time, just before the rains set in, in November, the palearctic migrants from Northern Europe and the intra-African migrants arrive to exploit the feeding opportunities that the warm rainy season brings. These include the red chested cuckoo, white storks, European swallows. Swifts, hobbies and bee-eaters, as well as birds of prey such as the Steppe eagles and Steppe buzzards that come all the way from Russia. A special sight is the hundreds of brightly coloured carmine bee-eaters nesting in the steep sandy banks of the river.

Luangwa also offers a magnificent variety  of trees including  acacia, mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, some beautiful specimens of baobab, large ebony forests, the tall vegetable ivory palm, marula, the magnificent tamarind tree, beautiful sausage trees, and red mahogany.


In North Luangwa

  • Kutandala Camp




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