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South Luangwa: Africa’s Hidden Gem

We were lucky enough to return to Zambia recently – visiting some of our favourite camps in the South Luangwa.

Where to stay in the South Luangwa

We visited some of our favourite camps in the area: the Norman Carr camps (now under the umbrella of Time + Tide) but also inspecting some newly refurbished camps – such as Puku Ridge and Lion Camp.

Each camp was impressive in their own way and we were particularly blown away by Puku Ridge (where we were lucky enough to be some of the first guests!) and Mchenja Camp, directly on the Luangwa River.

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The ‘Valley of the Leopards’

The South Luangwa abounds with wildlife – but is particularly famed for its leopards – earning the nickname ‘The Valley of the Leopards’. And yes, the name is well suited!

Beyond these magnificent cats, wild dog, lion and hyena are plentiful. If anyone may hope to see cheetah in the valley, they’ll likely feel cheated upon departure as the fastest cats haven’t been seen in the region for more than a decade.

Bee Eaters
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Africa’s hidden gem
The scenery of the Luangwa Valley is as dramatic as the sightings – with areas of open plains in the Northern sector, to the banks of the mighty Luangwa where the carmine bee-eater’s burrow. The park covers a vast area of 9,059 square km, with much of the game concentrated along the valley floor and in drier months, near the river.

There is also the remote Muchinga escarpment, which acts as a physical barrier to many of the park’s animal species, and where the elusive hartebeest, sable and roan, among others, can be found if you explore that area with a guide who knows where to look.

Rich in history, steeped in stories and dense with wildlife, the South Luangwa really is a hidden gem!

Find out more about Zambia and the South Luangwa and where to stay.

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