May 282009


The Luangwa River is one of the major tributaries of the Zambezi River, and one of the four biggest rivers of Zambia. The river generally floods in the rainy season (December to March) and then falls considerably in the dry season. It is one of the biggest unaltered rivers in Southern Africa and the 20,000 square miles (around 50,000 square kilometers) that make up the surrounding valley are home to abundant wildlife.

The upper and middle parts of the valley contain the North Luangwa National Park (ca. 4 636 km²) and South Luangwa National Park (ca. 9 050 km²) of Zambia, which are among some of the finest in Africa. The river itself is home to large populations of hippopotami and crocodiles. The world’s largest concentration of hippos lives in the Luangwa Valley. In the dry season they are restricted by the shrinking river and pools, and are easily seen, especially in isolated pools.

In addition to being a source of water, the oxbow lakes and pools increase the biodiversity of the valley in other ways. The hippopotami which live in them feed on land vegetation at night. Their dung feeds some fish and fertilizes the pools, increasing fish life which in turn feeds crocodiles and birds.

The principal settlement in the Middle and Upper Luangwa Valley is Mfuwe which serves the tourism industry and has an international airport. Very few humans otherwise inhabit the valley.

ZAWA - Zambia Wildlife Authority - officers patrol the South Luangwa National Park with an airboat.



Location (from 10° 0′ 0 S, 33° 19′ 60 E to 15º 37′ 37.22″ S, 30º 24′ 54.48″ E)

View Luangwa River in a larger map

service providers

Service Providers

The South Luangwa Conservation Society is a non-profit community based organisation, committed to the conservation of local wildlife and natural resources of the National Park and surrounding Game Management Areas.

The Bushcamp Company operates five intimate and exclusive bushcamps in one of the last unspoilt wilderness areas in Africa, the South Luangwa National Park. These remote camps provide an unmatched wilderness experience where the African walking safari was pioneered.

Formerly a private Presidential retreat, Chichele Presidential Lodge occupies one of the most breathtaking sites in the entire South Luangwa National Park. Since the original structures, built in 1972, the building was transformed to create a spectacular ‘turn of the century’ safari lodge, designed to complement its natural surroundings.

Croc Valley Camp, a quaint new tourist facility opened in February 2005, is an oasis of calm, beauty and diversity for the budget traveler. The en-suite chalets on stilts, built from local materials perfectly in tune with the environment, are set in quiet surroundings and spaced for maximum privacy. Croc Valley Camp is close to the Mfuwe International Airport and open throughout the year; self-catering facilities are available.

Flatdogs Camp offers chalet rooms, camping and self-catering facilities. Flatdogs Camp is designed for kids of all ages and the only thing we take seriously is your enjoyment!

Kafunta River Lodge is an ideal location to discover the game rich Mfuwe are;  the seasonal Island Bush Camp, small & personalized, is located in a remote corner of the very South of the National Park.

As one of the handful of safari camps allowed to operate inside the National Park, Lion Camp offers game drives and walking safaris.

Luangwa River Lodge offers a myriad of activities to enhance your experience. These include walking safaris, which originated in the area, as well as driving and riverboat safari trips (depending on the water level of the Luangwa River).

Mfuwe Lodge is one of the few places in the South Luangwa National Park that stays open during the Green Season. During this time the landscape in the valley changes into a lush green environment that attracts Wild Dogs as well as many species of migrating African and European birds.

Zambia is the home of walking safaris. Norman Carr Safaris, as the first company to have practiced such safaris over 50 years ago, is Zambia’s original safari company.

Remote Africa Safaris operates quality game viewing safaris in both the North Luangwa and South Luangwa National Parks of Zambia. Renowned for excellent guides and the ultimate luxury of private space in a pristine wilderness area, guests enjoy an exciting variety of activities such as walking trails, day and night drives, microlight flights, mountain biking or a quiet afternoon painting beside the Luangwa. Visits to the local village and school give an insight into the culture and life style of the local people.

Robin Pope Safaris offers the best Zambia safaris – with private walking safaris, exclusive game lodges and some of the finest luxury houses in Africa.

Shenton Safaris is the South Luangwa safari operation of choice for wildlife lovers and professionals alike. BBC, National Geographic, Discovery Channel  and world famous wildlife photographers Frans Lanting and Andy Rouse have all stayed and filmed or photographed from here.

Located on the banks of the Luangwa River, Track & Trail River Camp is as enchanting as its surroundings.

Puku Ridge Camp is situated in the remote, wildlife rich South Luangwa National Park. Named for the Puku antelope that inhabits the Kakumbi Dambo (floodplain), which the camp overlooks, Puku Ridge Camp is built on a hillside, providing stunning vistas of the floodplain and the wildlife that frequents it.

  2 Responses to “Luangwa River”

  1. Airboats such as the one in the picture in this blog post are so thrilling to ride. I never turn down the opportunity to cruise a River in one.

  2. Looks like a great way to travel! I will have to tryan airboat if I ever visit Zambia.

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