North Luangwa National Park borders its bigger brother South Luangwa and offers one of the finest wilderness experiences in Zambia. Covering an area of 4 636km2, it is home to a wide range of animals. What makes visiting this park so special is the truly remarkable opportunities to experience Africa as it was. It is wild and untouched, and you are simply a shy witness to its natural beauty. There are very few roads, and you are unlikely to see anyone else for the duration of your trip. Like the South Park, it lies on the western bank of the Luangwa River bordered on the other side by the Mwaleshi River.
Wildlife to spot in North Luangwa
North Luangwa is famed for its incredible biodiversity. The park shelters a remarkable array of wildlife, including large herds of elephant, buffalo, and endemic species like the Cookson’s wildebeest. Predators such as lion, leopard, and spotted hyena also roam freely, showcasing the complete circle of life in the African savannah. As large prides of lion inhabit the territory, it is not uncommon to witness a kill.
The two surrounding rivers boast not a fascinating landscape including dense bushes, woodlands, and open planes, but also exceptional animal watching opportunities. Because the rivers recede in the dry season, leaving many pools along the way, it draws the animals from the bush to its banks in search of water. The park is a haven for birdwatchers too, boasting over 400 bird species, making it a birding paradise.
As a result of massive poaching in the 80s, the park’s rhino population became extinct. North Luangwa National Park felt a need to act against it and spread awareness and founded the North Luangwa Conservation Programme in cooperation with the Frankfurt Zoological Society. NLCP supports the conservation and management (including reintroductions where necessary) of endangered species that are critical to the biodiversity of the North Luangwa ecosystem. The black rhino was reintroduced to the park in 2003, they have settled into their new home and are breeding successfully.
In line with the conservation effort of wildlife and nature is the commitment to sustainable tourism. This commitment ensures that the park remains pristine for generations to come, preserving the delicate balance of its ecosystem.
Things to do in North Luangwa
Visitors can embark on guided walking safaris, which provide an incomparable opportunity to immerse themselves in the wilderness. Walking through the bush offers a close-up view of the landscape and wildlife, allowing for a greater understanding of the complexities of this extraordinary ecosystem. It’s an experience that heightens the senses and offers a deeper connection with nature.
The bordering Mwaleshi River offers a picture-perfect backdrop for various outdoor activities like picnics, swimming, and fishing. The riverbanks are often frequented by a variety of animals, making it an ideal spot for wildlife viewing and photography. And of course, the usual game drives are also offered. For those seeking a more relaxed experience, game drives are a popular way to explore the park. The drives often end with breathtaking sunsets painting the sky with hues of orange and red, a perfect close to a day in this captivating wilderness.