leopard portrait

Leopards of Luangwa

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Leopards of Luangwa exclusively visits the leopard hotspot of South Luangwa National Park. Recognised as amongst the best destinations in Africa for leopard sightings this is an ideal itinerary for leopard lovers and general safari goers alike.

Prices: On request

Duration: 7 nights

Availability: Mid-May through October

Destinations: South Luangwa National Park


i) Visit South Luangwa National Park, one of the leopard hotspots of the world. 

ii) Stay in intimate and authentic camps and immerse yourself into wild Africa

iii) Experience the bush at close quarters on exciting walking safaris

iv) Understand local cultures and their connection with wildlife and the Luangwa Valley

All about Leopards of Luangwa.


An exciting week long safari exclusively exploring the different sectors of the South Luangwa National Park. Being one of the most reliable parks in Africa for spotting leopards, this usually elusive feline will almost certainly be a sighting over and over again. South Luangwa is also home to a huge diversity and abundance of wildlife ensuring you an extremely rounded safari experience. Camps have been chosen to fit with the rhythm of the safari and offers intimacy and authenticity with very few other tourists. Unlike many other national parks South Luangwa allows walking safari and night game drives. This will go a long way to ensuring you see as many different species as possible.

Best time to visit?

So what is the best time of year to take this trip to maximise your overall experience? Without knowing you yet this is a difficult question to answer. With so many variables to consider we need to know what is important to you before we advise on the preferable time for you.

There are many variables to consider when attempting to recommend the best time to visit. Specific considerations include the whereabouts of migratory animals, the effect the density of the vegetation and height of the grass has on wildlife viewing, special wildlife moments such as the birth of baby animals, and the effect weather patterns has on wildlife behaviour. Other factors to consider are the variation in prices at different times of the year, visitor traffic, whether you prefer a lush or relatively arid environment and of course the annual climate, namely temperature and rainfall values.

For this reason we present detailed information for each individual destination in the locations section to help you understand what may work best for you. We will of course have an in-depth discussion with you prior to making a booking so you are completely happy with the time of year you decide to travel.

Included activities:

  • Game drives
  • Night drives
  • Walking safari
  • Motorboat safaris (seasonal)
  • Village excursions and cultural experiences

Optional activities:

  • All available activities are included in the price
The tour package inclusions and exclusions at a glance
What is included in this tour?Items that are included in the tour price.

  • Domestic return flight Lusaka to Mfuwe Airport
  • Ground transfers as described in the daily itinerary
  • 7 nights accommodation as stated
  • All meals and drinks
  • All relevant taxes and surcharges
What is not included in this tour?Items that are not included in the tour price.

  • International flight to and from Zambia
  • Airport transfers in home country
  • Applicable VISAS
  • Tips and gratuities
  • Health innoculations and medications
  1. Day 1 Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure Begins

    Board your overnight international flight from your chosen airport to Lusaka, Zambia.

  2. Day 2 Luangwa River Camp (all inclusive)

    On arrival at Lusaka International Airport, you will be met by one of our representatives. They will assist you with immigration and customs clearing and check in for your flight to Mfuwe, South Luangwa. At Mfuwe International Airport a guide from Luangwa River Camp will meet you and transfer you to camp. On arrival you will be introduced to staff and receive an orientation of the camp prior to settling down for some richly deserved food. Depending on your time of arrival you will enjoy your first game drive or head straight out onto a night drive to witness the happenings in South Luangwa after dark.

  3. Days 3 Luangwa River Camp (all inclusive)

    Today you will enjoy your first full day exploring the magnificent South Luangwa National Park. The park is the flagship park of Zambia and amongst the most game productive in Africa. The camp has a flexible attitude to safari so each day is different and is designed to maximise your game viewing. Activities available are walking safaris, game drives and night drives, as well as cultural visits to local villages. Maybe start the day early on foot on a walking safari. This will give you the opportunity to really appreciate the bush and spot smaller creatures that are often missed on game drives. Return to camp for a late breakfast and relaxation. Enjoy a filling lunch before heading out in the afternoon on a game drive. These drives are often extended into the evening so you can enjoy sundowners in the bush before embarking on a night drive back to camp.

  4. Day 4 Tena Tena Camp, South Luangwa National Park (all inclusive)

    After an early breakfast you will transfer up north to Tena Tena Camp in the remote Nsefu Sector of the park. The transfer is entirely in game viewing areas within the park so will double up as a game drive where you can stop for any interesting sightings. On arrival at camp you will be familiarised with the camp and team before enjoying lunch. The camp is located in an extremely remote and intimate part of the park and provides a true feeling of solitude. After lunch you will head out on a game drive to explore the Nsefu Sector. This area boasts phenomenal wildlife viewing but with a fraction of the visitors of the central sector of the park. The game drive will continue into the hours of darkness where you will have the chance to see nocturnal creatures such as African civet, large spotted genet, Cape porcupine and large predators hunting. Return to camp where you will find dinner served al-fresco under a huge Mahogany tree in camp.

  5. Day 5 Tena Tena Camp, South Luangwa National Park (all inclusive)

    Today is a day to explore the Tena Tena area fully with the opportunity to drive or walk through the ebony groves. You may however decide this is an ideal day, depending on the heat and time of year, to explore further afield. Possibly an all day picnic drive, day tour to Kawaza Village for a cultural experience or a mix of walking and game drives. Nothing is set in stone, all will be tailored to your interests.

  6. Day 6 Nsefu Camp, South Luangwa National Park (all inclusive)

    After an early breakfast you will enjoy a transfer game drive through the park onto Nsefu. The camp was the first game camp in Zambia and dates back to the early fifties. The camp, as is suggestive of its name, is also based in the northern Nsefu Sector of the park. On arrival you will be shown to your rondavel and then lunch will be served followed by a well-deserved siesta before the afternoon and evening game drives.

  7. Days 7-8 Nsefu Camp, South Luangwa National Park (all inclusive)

    These next two days will be spent exploring the area around Nsefu and will be enjoyed at a more relaxed pace given the greater length of time spent here. Following breakfast around the camp fire your safari will continue with another adventurous day of morning and evening game activities. Depending on the time of year an all day picnic drive to the salt pans that will cover different habitats comes highly recommended and is an exceptional day’s safari. Nothing is set in stone and your days will be designed and planned around your particular interests. You can mix and match activities to maximise your experience in this game rich and remote area of the Luangwa Valley.

  8. Day 9 The End Of Your Ultimate Wildlife Adventure (B)

    Sadly, all great things must come to an end as you call time on your trip of a lifetime. You will transfer to Mfuwe Airport ahead of your flight to Lusaka International Airport. Here you will reflect on everything you have experienced in such a short period of time before boarding your international flight to your home destination.

Our Recommendations

Luangwa River Camp
South Luangwa National Park

Overview: The small and intimate Luangwa River Camp is located on the banks of the Luangwa River on the edge of the South Luangwa National Park.

Accommodation: 5 luxury bush suites. Each has ensuite bathroom with double basins and a bath.

Facilities & Amenities: The camp has central areas including dining area and living area. A swimming pool is also available

Power & communication: The camp is equipped with full mains electricity supply. Charging facilities are available in each suite. WiFi is unavailable but mobile phone network is possible.

Activities: Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, boating safaris (Jan-Apr), village tours, wildlife education centre, tribal textiles

Children: Children of 7 years and above are welcome in camp

Accessibility: Fly into Mfuwe Airport and then transfer through colourful villages and game viewing areas (1 hour)

Availability: Mid-March to November

Nsefu Camp
South Luangwa National Park

Overview: Situated on the Luangwa River in the northern Nsefu sector of the South Luangwa National Park. The camp was built in 1951 and the buildings remain in the same place making it one of the most historic camps in Africa.

Accommodation: 6 rondavels each with ensuite bathrooms including wash basin and shower.

Facilities & Amenities: Minimal facilities as one may expect in such a small camp

Power & communication: Fully equipped solar power with backup generator and full water supply. Evening breeze cooling units. No WiFi or phone signal.

Activities: Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, boating safaris (Jan-Apr), village tours, wildlife education centre, tribal textiles, children tailored activities.

Children: Children of 12 years of age and older are welcome in camp.

Accessibility: Fly into Mfuwe Airport and then enjoy a 75 minutes transfer through colourful villages and game viewing areas.

Availability: Open late January through March and then mid-May to mid-November

Tena Tena Camp
South Luangwa National Park

Overview: Situated in the exclusive Nsefu Sector, Tena Tena sits nestled under a magnificent and thick grove of mahogany trees. Thanks to the double tiered river bank each room enjoys its own private view onto a long stretch of the Luangwa River.

Accommodation: 6 safari style tents with ensuite outdoor bathrooms including wash basins and shower.

Facilities & Amenities: Minimal facilities as one may expect in such a small camp.

Power & communication: Fully equipped power and water supply. No WiFi or phone signal.

Activities: Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, boating safaris (Jan-Apr), village tours, wildlife education centre, tribal textiles, children tailored activities.

Children: Children of ages 12 and over are welcome.

Accessibility: Fly into Mfuwe Airport and then enjoy a 75 minutes transfer through colourful villages and game viewing areas.

Availability: Open mid-May to late October


Luangwa River Camp
South Luangwa National Park






Nsefu Camp
South Luangwa National Park





Tena Tena Camp
South Luangwa National Park






Luangwa Zambezi Explorer, South Luangwa National Park - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Quick Facts

  • Special Status: N/A
  • Location: Eastern Zambia
  • Land mass: 9,050 km²
  • Mammal species: 60+
  • Bird species: 400+
  • Big 5 reserve: No (Rhino are absent)


  • World class walking safaris
  • Multi-day walking expeditions
  • Game drives
  • Night drives
  • Fly camping
  • Boating safaris (seasonal)

Luangwa Zambezi Explorer, South Luangwa National Park 2 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures


  • World-leading leopard destination
  • African wild dogs
  • Large abundance and variety of game
  • A plethora of varied safari activities

South Luangwa National Park is the flagship park and jewel in the crown of Zambia’s safari circuit. Despite this it is little known outside of the enthusiastic safari community. This relative obscurity protects it from overcrowding for now.

With a total land mass of 9050 km² South Luangwa protects a very respectable area of pristine African wilderness. It is located in the Luangwa Valley in the north-east of Zambia, nestled between the remote North Luangwa National Park and the Lower Zambezi National Park.

The park is reachable overland from Lusaka but the more medium budget, and certainly high-end safaris, fly in and out of the Mfuwe Airport close to the park’s border. Flying is much more efficient and helps to easily combine South Luangwa with other locations in the country and across international borders. Due to its location and domestic flight schedules it is most easily combined with the two aforementioned national parks, as well as further south with Victoria Falls.

South Luangwa National Park is unfortunately only recognised as a Big 4 location. The notable absentee, as is the case in many wildlife reserves across Africa, is the black rhinoceros. Its fate caused by uncontrolled poaching. Despite the best efforts to reintroduce this magnificent animal attempts have unfortunately failed so far.

The park has all the other big game you would expect to see on safari. It is perhaps recognised as the best place in the whole of Africa for observing leopards, only rivalled by the Sabi Sand Game Reserve in South Africa. If you are desperate to see leopard then visit South Luangwa for a great opportunity. As well as leopard, it is home to all the other cast of predators including lions and spotted hyena. Cheetah are present but the environment is less suited to their hunting style. Wild dogs reappeared back in 2015 and sightings are being reported as pretty reliable given their well-documented elusiveness.

The predators are supported by a diverse number of prey species including impala, greater kudu, warthog, bushbuck and waterbuck. The park is also home to three special sub-species that are endemic to the Luangwa Valley, these being Cookson’s wildebeest, Thornicroft’s giraffe and Crawshay’s Zebra. Other ungulate highlights include the 18,000-strong hippopotamus population, the densest in the world, that populate this stretch of the Luangwa River.

Birders will be especially keen to witness the 400 plus species of birds, especially the thousands of carmine bee-eaters that migrate to the Luangwa River for 3 months of the year.

Luangwa Zambezi Explorer, South Luangwa National Park 3 - Ultimate Wildlife AdventuresLuangwa Zambezi Explorer, South Luangwa National Park 4 - Ultimate Wildlife Adventures

Best Time To Visit

The climate of South Luangwa National Park can be simplified by dividing it into the dry season and wet season, with two transitional shoulder seasons. Each season, and indeed the months within each season, offers you a different experience. There is no time of year that offers you the best of everything so we provide you with a balanced account throughout the year so you are able to make an informed decision on the best time to visit based on your preferences.

The dry season runs from June to October. It is at this time of year wildlife viewing is at its best. The season, as its name suggests, is characterised by blue skies and no rain. A perfect time to be on safari. As Zambia is in the Southern Hemisphere this time of year is winter. The coolest months are July and August when night temperatures drop enough to necessitate warm clothing for early morning game activities. However, the sun quickly raises the mercury so expect to be basking in 30 degrees Celsius by lunch. Temperatures increase as the season draws on with October being extremely hot and dry and uncomfortable for those who do not enjoy such high temperatures.

Wildlife viewing is at its best in the dry season as the animals migrate towards permanent sources of life-giving water. This predictability and reliability makes game viewing much more reliable and predictable. Huge volumes of wildlife can be seen in one place which makes for great photographic opportunities. The negative aspects of the dry season are the premium price tags the camps carry at this time of year and also the dry and dusty park isn’t as beautiful as in the wet season.

The wet season runs from December to March. Rainfall is a feature of most days in the form of heavy showers and thunderstorms yet it rarely rains all day. Travel can be difficult at this time of year and some roads may become washed out. The presence of water throughout the park and beyond its boundaries allows wildlife to disperse into the hinterland making game viewing generally more of a challenge. However, many species of animals give birth at this time of year so it is the best time to travel for the cuteness factor.

Prices are at their lowest at this time of year but it must be noted most of the remote camps are closed. However, permanent lodges stay open and offer attractive rates. The wet season is definitely the best time if you are looking for an exclusive safari where other tourist vehicles are a rare sighting. Although South Luangwa National Park certainly isn’t a busy park it can suffer occasional crowding around water sources in the dry season.

The transitional shoulder seasons are November and April and May. At these times of year they represent a transition from the dry to wet season and wet to dry season respectively. These months are considered to offer a compromise between the two main seasons.