Although Kenya's Masa Mara and South Africa's Kruger Park take the plaudits for Africa's most visited safari parks, a hidden gem located up the northeastern corner of Zambia is the South Luangwa National Park. South Luangwa is a bit off the beaten track but this; therefore, it lacks the hoardes of packaged tourists that throb the aforementioned two national parks.. You can either fly in on a chartered flight from Kampala or (Malawi's) Lilongwe or take the arduous two day road trip from Kampala which includes a night's stop in Mufe. I opted for the latter although I nearly bit the bullet and caught a flight on to Lilongwe given the rigorousness of the ride before a Dutch couple residing in Mozambique offered me a free lift back to Mufe. Those brave enough to make the journey however will be glad they did as South Luangwa is simply stunning. This is perhaps the best place in the world to catch a glimpse of the 'big 5' as elephants roam, lions feed, buffaloes bask, hippos laze and even leopards stalk here. In fact, this is a fantastic place to get a glimpse of the elusive leopard - perhaps the hardest of the big 5 to spot.
Although I can't speak for other campsites in the region, the Lonely Planet Guide's recommended Flatdogs Camp is a great choice. Their luxury tents are situated right on the Luangwa River, overlooking the national park and while you may need a permit to cross over into the animal's territory, they don't need one to come into yours. This only adds to the magical experience as elephants, giraffes and even the odd hippopotamus roam freely between the tents. And as you sleep, you can hear the sound of something munching at the trees just outside your tent! They offer morning & night drives as well as walking safaris. I intended to stay a night but wound up camping for three, taking a morning drive, a walking safari and two night trips. The highlights of these being seeing a pride of lions devour an elephant, almost getting killed by an angry pack of buffalo and of course spotting not one, but three leopards after numerous attempts to spot one in various parks throughout Africa.
One of the most difficult things about the trip was trying to decide which photos from South Luangwa would or wouldn't make the site. I wound up with over 250 photos from only two days of safaring so after endless hours of rummaging through the hordes of shots I took, these are the ones chosen for display. Perhaps the best way to see these animals though is to go to South Luangwa yourself! To view the rest of the photos from this trip, check out my main site @:
The photos can also be accessed through this public Facebook link: