Sample Trip

River Journeys – Emerald Season South Luangwa

“Experience the Luangwa River that few others get to see in the Emerald Season”
Budget level: Mid-Range
When to Go
Jan to Mar
7 Nights
Safari Type
Boating, Lodge and Canvas
Luangwa Valley
Kids Min Age

A unique wet season experience that has you exploring South Luangwa National Park by boat, on foot and by vehicle. By boating between two of the best safari camps in the areas, this is the Luangwa as few ever get to experience it!

Itinerary in Brief

zambia south luangwa national park river journeys emerald season 14

This safari covers one of Zambia’s premier parks – South Luangwa. The Luangwa Valley, which marks the end of the Great Rift Valley, is one of the last unspoiled wilderness areas and possibly the finest wildlife sanctuary in Africa.

The Luangwa Valley is at its most dramatic in the Emerald Season, with the Luangwa River now flowing over into the brimming lagoons. Boating into these lagoons, flooded ebony groves and flowing channels gives you a view of the Valley which is normally inaccessible during this season.

The Luangwa River is one of the last remaining major rivers in Africa, and even in the world, that has not been damned for hydropower. This vast river still annually rises, floods into lagoons and channels, changes course and resulting in new lagoons and in so doing creates a rich flood plain river system. To be in the heart of the park, at peak flood time, staying at the first camp built in Zambia (Nsefu) with the river being your only access, is quite an experience.

This safari has you exploring the flooded Luangwa river and lagoons between two different iconic safari camps by boating, walking safaris and game drives.

Detailed Itinerary

Day 1: Nkwali Camp

On arrival at Mfuwe International Airport a guide from Robin Pope Safaris will meet you. The drive to Nkwali Camp is 1 hour through colourful local scenes of villages, agriculture as well as bush. Nkwali Camp has a wide view of the Luangwa River. On Robin’s private land, and overlooking the South Luangwa National Park, Nkwali is ideally situated for the start of your safari. The six rooms all look out over the river and have open air bathrooms.

Day 2: Nkwali Camp

 This is a day to explore The South Luangwa National Park with a mix of walking, game drives and boating

Day 3 – 5: Nsefu Camp

Today you will take the boat up to Nsefu Camp. A leisurely game viewing and birding experience; which will take between 2 and 4 hours depending on what you see on the way. The Luangwa River will be high and many of the lagoons will be full. The bird life is amazing along the river and you will often see a bull elephant or a lion on the banks. Nsefu Camp is on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River. There are six round rondavels with luxurious en suite facilities and each room has a clear view of the river through large windows and from the new wooden verandahs. On arrival at Nsefu you will be shown to your accommodation and then lunch will be served followed by a well-deserved siesta before you set off on an afternoon activity. Over the next few days you will explore the area by boat and by foot. There are many lagoons, ebony groves and channels that will be flooding and so you will be boating over land which is the driving area of the park in the dry season. Also, taking a scout with you, you will be able to enjoy a walk to explore further afield in the park for an all-day picnic. Lunch will be under a tree or next to a lagoon and you will then be able to take a siesta or simply spend a lazy couple of hours reading a book or watching the fascinating animals and landscape around you. Returning to camp when you are ready – you may decide to continue straight on your evening boat ride and return to camp at sunset – these are very flexible days.

Day 6: Nkwali Camp

Today you will boat back to Nkwali in the morning, where you will enjoy wide views across the Luangwa River. Depending on your arrival time in the day you will enjoy a lunch looking out over the lagoon to the back of Nkwali or if in the afternoon for tea and the afternoon and night game drive.

Day 7: Nkwali Camp

At dawn breakfast is served around the campfire. The porridge heated on the fire and toast cooked by the coals. The morning walk or drive will leave soon after and your photographic expedition will begin, entering the park by boat from the camp or by the nearby pontoon. The game in the area is excellent – and includes many family herds of elephants and the endemic species of giraffe, the Thornicroft Giraffe. A mid-morning break of tea, coffee and cake will be taken by a scenic point on a lagoon or the Luangwa River. Return to camp for lunch around mid-day. After lunch you can cool off in the swimming pool or siesta. Tea will be served in the afternoon and then off on an afternoon game drive that continues into the early night giving the chance to see the nocturnal world. Usually one returns to camp about 20.00 hrs with dinner generally at 20.30

Day 8: Departure

After breakfast you will be transferred to Mfuwe Airport for your onward connection.

When To Go

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zambia south luangwa national park river journeys emerald season 14

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