South Luangwa National Park is the southernmost of three national parks in Zambia’s Luangwa River valley.
A world-famous wildlife sanctuary, the South Luangwa National Park encompasses 5,629-square miles and its valley is home to impressive concentrations of wildlife. The heart of the park is the Luangwa River which is the most intact major river system in Africa.The historic fertility of the region is perhaps primarily attributable to its topography. The Muchinga Escarpment forms the park’s western and northwestern boundaries, sloping steeply down to the river from the west side. The river valley, continued to the west by the Lunsemfwa River valley, forms a natural barrier, and to this day there are no man-made roads spanning the valley. Woodland savanna is the dominant ecosystem of the park, with Zambezian and mopane woodlands covering the valley and southern miombo woodlands on the higher slopes. Large patches of grassland traverse the woodlands and serve as floodplains at the valley floor.
Largely protected from human agricultural or commercial development, the park remains a haven to wildlife including 60 different animal species. Visitors can expect to encounter many of the park’s over 400 species of fowl including marabou stork, great white egrets, black headed herons, open billed storks, hornbills, pelicans, cranes, and the stately goliath heron. But more popular are the great herds of giraffe, zebra, duiker, eland, impala, puku, kudu, roan, sable, and hartebeest that roam the valley.