South Luangwa National Park in the eastern part of Zambia, is one of the best African safari destinations and renowned for its abundance of wildlife and excellent light for wildlife photography.
The Luangwa river is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life blood of the parks 9 050 square kilometers. The park hosts a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. The now famous “walking safari” originated in this park and is still one of the finest ways to experience this pristine wilderness first hand.
There are 60 different animal species and 400 different bird species. One special being the Thornycroft Giraffe, found only in the Luangwa Valley. Some magnificent trees grow in the Valley among the more common are the mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, baobab, large ebony forests, vegetable ivory palm, marula and the tamarind tree.
The changing seasons add to the parks richness ranging from dry, bare bushveld in the winter to a lush green wonderland in the summer months. The dry season begins in April and intensifies through October, the hottest month when game concentrations are at its height. Warm sunny days and chilly nights typify the dry winter months May to August. The wet season’s begin is November, as the leaves turn green and the dry terrain becomes a lush jungle. The rainy season last up until the end of March when the migrant birds arrive in there droves. The lodges in South Luangwa stay open as long as access is possible depending on their location. The lodges and camps in the valley all offer game drives and walking safaris.
South Luangwa is very attractive during the winter months and the summer months, allowing at both times excellent safari experiences, yet in very different ways. For photography enthusiasts it might be the hardest decision to make, as both times are great for wildlife photography on African safari, yet the rich green of the summer months might make the better background. Visiting winter and summer might be the best solution to experience it all.
Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa
Source: safari destinations, image: kapani lodge