The South Luangwa National Park is the most popular of Zambia’s parks and has year-round access. It is an wonderful ecologically unspoilt wilderness areas and is over 9,000 square km and home to over 420 species of birds and over 60 species of mammals. The park is renowned for its population of leopards which are commonly seen on night drives, large herds of elephant as well as great numbers of hippo and crocodile in the river. Lions are frequently seen and it is the only place in the world where the large prides, often numbering up to 20 animals, are known to kill hippos. The Thornicroft giraffe and the Cookson’s wildebeest are native to the park.
The rains from December to March bring a period of abundance, food and water is plentiful. The Luangwa River is in full flow and all the pools and lagoons are filled with water. While spotting game is harder, and some areas are inaccessible, this is more than made up for by the lush green abundance, flowers, lots of baby animals – including birthing hippos - and it’s the best time for bird watching. The scenery is incredible and towering clouds (each estimated to weigh more than 100, 000 elephants) provide a dramatic backdrop. The rains are mostly short showers, often in late afternoon and rarely constant. The night sky can be interrupted by lightening and roaring thunder among the sounds of the flora and fauna, but as the sun comes up, the clouds disperse and behold, a crystal clear day!