And now the renowned South Luangwa National Park in Zambia – the birthplace of walking safaris – is accessible for travellers on a modest budget.
The eight-bed tented Nkonzi Camp, nestled deep inside South Luangwa National Park, offers the unique chance to savour the raw essence, magic and beauty of the Luangwa Valley in blissful privacy - and on a budget.
This safari offers a wonderful combination of walking and vehicle-based game viewing that will appeal to experienced safari-goers and first-timers alike. The exceptional game viewing, tracking on foot, epic bush breakfasts and unforgettable sundowners will ensure that you leave South Luangwa with a wealth of unforgettable memories to cherish for many years to come.
South Luangwa National Park is Zambia’s premier safari destination. Situated in the low-lying Luangwa Valley, the national park encompasses a unique ecosystem supporting one of Africa's highest wildlife densities. A range of varied and fascinating habitats are found here, and big game species such as elephant, buffalo, giraffe and zebra are often encountered resting in the shelter of a mopane thicket or journeying across the undulating grasslands.
Nkonzi Camp is a seasonal bush camp operating from June to October. It is a rustic tented camp run by a small team of dedicated Zambian staff, which offers comfortable accommodation without the 5-star luxury trappings. The camp sits on the banks of a sandy, dry riverbed in a stand of shady mature trees.
Your guide Gavin Opie is the owner of Nkonzi Camp. Gavin has lived in Zambia’s remote wildernesses for over 20 years and his Grade One certification qualifies him to lead both driving and walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park.
LOW Season: Jun-July
Per person sharing
HIGH Season: August-October
Per person sharing
Please enquire about our FAMILY-FRIENDLY AND GROUP SAFARIS:
Kids over 12 welcome at Nkonzi camp, a maximum of 8 guests in camp
Meet and greet at Mfuwe International Airport and transfer to Nkonzi Camp. Four nights of accommodation at Nkonzi Camp. This South Luangwa safari activities include guided safari walks and a full-day game drive. All meals, including lunch on the day of arrival and a signature bush breakfast on departure day as well as local beverages. South Luangwa National Park entry fees, bed night levies, and Luangwa Community and Conservation Fund fee, all service charges and taxes and 24/7 office support.
International or domestic flights, visas, excess baggage charges, imported beverages, items of a personal nature, travel and medical insurance (essential on all safaris), gratuities, gate fee for private vehicles, and any activities not specified in the itinerary.
Your South Luangwa safari will begin mid-morning (of a Monday) with a hearty welcome at Zambia’s Mfuwe Airport by your expert guide Gavin Opie, who will escort you to Nkonzi Camp. Guests choosing to travel overland from Chipata will be met at an arranged spot in Mfuwe Village. Once everybody has settled in at Nkonzi Camp, Gavin and his wildlife scout will provide a short safety briefing before joining you for a relaxing and wholesome lunch.
Your first night safari will kick off just after 16h30. After enjoying sundowners en route, you will drive through the enigmatic African dusk, watching closely for nocturnal species such as honey badgers and African civets, while the Milky Way gradually comes to life above you.
Back at Nkonzi Camp, a welcoming fire, drinks, hot showers, and a delicious dinner will await. As you kick back to rest, the calls of lions, hyenas, scops and Pel’s fishing owls will lull you to sleep.
This day in paradise begins around the campfire, with the dawn chorus in full swing to herald another beautiful morning on safari. After coffee and a light breakfast, the safari vehicle will arrive to whisk you off on your first morning game drive. This is an enchanting time to spend in the bush as wildlife is at its most active in the cool of the day, and the soft morning light saturates every colour.
Brunch will be served on your return to Nkonzi Camp, and the early afternoon is then yours to enjoy at your leisure. Once the midday heat has subsided, it will be time to leave Nkonzi Camp on foot to head deep into the wild. As you walk, Gavin Opie will introduce you to the fascinating art of tracking – a skill that involves all five senses and a wealth of experience.
You will walk for between two and three hours in the afternoon, before returning to camp for dinner just as the sun dips below the horizon.
After breakfast, you will embark on your second walking safari, during which you will learn more about the unique South Luangwa flora, including some of the traditional and medicinal uses of some plants found in the valley.
The afternoon activity is a chance to combine some walking and driving. We will jump into the game viewer and drive into a different area and take the opportunity to explore different areas and habitats on foot. We will return to the vehicle to enjoy sundowners. This means that the drive home will take the form of another night drive, so another chance to catch up with some fascinating nocturnal creatures before arriving in camp at around 19h30 for dinner.
This will be a remarkable day, as you will head deep into the remote northerly sections of South Luangwa National Park on a full-day game drive. As you will be accompanied by a wildlife scout, you will also have the fantastic opportunity to combine a driving and walking safari.
Whether Gavin leads you on foot from the vehicle to take a closer look at a lion kill, or you find yourself walking alongside a group of giraffe or examining a colourful beetle, the freedom that this day allows to explore Luangwa is unrivalled. The journey will also take you through atmospheric ebony groves and lagoons in search of eland and Cookson’s wildebeest.
Late afternoon sees you winding your way back to Nkonzi Camp, arriving back in time for a sundown drink and freshen up before a barbeque dinner under the stars. This will be a long but hugely rewarding day, and you will quite likely fancy an early night after all the excitement!
You can expect the final morning of your South Luangwa safari to be a celebratory affair, with a hearty bush breakfast cooked over an open fire. No specific destination or target will be set for this morning, which will offer the marvelous freedom of just driving until we find a great spot or some beautiful wildlife, at which point our chef will rustle up a delicious spread!
Finally it will be back to Nkonzi Camp to prepare for your airport transfer. But before you leave, there will be a bit of time to catch up on your safari journal and bid farewell to Gavin Opie and the Nkonzi Camp team!
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