Luangwa Safari House
South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
At a Glance
Marvel at the 25 enormous leadwood trunks, each weighing more than a ton, which support the house
Gameview from the catwalk-style deck, overlooking a permanent waterhole
Choose your days as you please - rise early like the predators and head out on safari or relax by the pool
Enjoy a delicious dinner under the stars on the main deck as the African night serenades you
Visit the mighty "Big Baobab" in the park, big enough for eighteen people to hold hands round it
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Zambia has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zambia's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game-viewing, the drier months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb bird-watching at the end of the rains.
Call us on to start planning your vacation to Luangwa Safari House or take a look at our itineraries to Luangwa Valley
The Luangwa Safari House is an extraordinary, castle-like four-bedroom private house offering space and luxury with nature on your doorstep. The House comes with a private guide, host and chef who all provide a truly first class service in the bush!
Luangwa Safari House is a stunning private house situated on private land. The house is owned and run by Robin Pope Safaris who were among the first to operate safaris in this area. The superstructure of the house is made up of 25 ancient leadwood trees, with an imposing entrance faced with local stone. The house comprises four large ensuite bedrooms, a substantial dining/sitting area, and a private pool.
The views from the house are awe-inspiring, as it is built on the edge of a seasonal lagoon, with a backdrop of the Chindeni Hills. From the terrace, a magnificent raised walkway leads to a wooden deck surrounding a small group of huge ebony trees in the middle of the lagoon. There is a large leather sofa, a hanging chair and a dining table and chairs for al fresco meals. The waterhole is nearby, and if you sit quietly, you may see families of elephants coming to bathe. There is even a sunken hide for incredible photographic opportunities at the waterhole.
All activities are exclusive to the house guests. Your private chef and house manager will discuss daily menus and activities to suit all ages and preferences.
Accommodation is in four double rooms, each has a style of its own. Extra large beds, both king size or twin fit into each room under one mosquito net. There is a wooden ceiling fan inside each net. The beds have all been designed differently, from two poster beds to raised futon style. The materials used in the bedrooms are hand painted and made locally at Tribal Textiles. Each bathroom has a different theme for the fittings, reflecting the colors of the rooms. From copper for the "Coral room" (including a hand made copper bath) to recycled sandblasted aluminium in the "Blue Agate" bedroom.
Children 7 years and over are very welcome at Luangwa Safari House, there is a whole range of family safari activities available including game drives and nature walks to learn to identify animal spoor and droppings, birding for beginners and learning to use spotlights at night. Families may want to do activities together but if a child wants to stay behind they can be looked after and entertained. Other activities available include safari packs with fun quizzes and puzzles, trips to Kawaza School to meet Zambian children, helping out in camp or playing games in the house. The older boys love going to the workshop for the morning, playing sport (beach cricket) or even having a sleep in, lazy morning and fry up by the pool.
There is a private chef and house manager who will tailor food and menu plans to suit. Activities and are exclusive to house guests and can be designed to suit the individual group requirement.
To one site of the quartz tiled terrace there is a large plunge pool. From this terrace a magnificent risen walkway leads to a wooden deck surrounding a small group of ebony trees in the middle of the lagoon. There is a large leather sofa, and a hanging chair plus dining table and chairs for al fresco meals. The waterhole is only meters from the deck and families of elephant frequently come to bathe here.
Activities are entirely chosen by the guests and tailored to their requirements. Guests have the option of a walk or a game drive. The drives include morning, afternoon and night drives. An all day drive, with a picnic lunch, is also available. The walks are led by very knowledgeable guides, and escorted by armed National Park scouts. The standard of the guiding is outstanding.
During the months of December to April (Emerald Season) the Luangwa River is rising and falling depending on the rainfall. January to March it is flowing bank to bank. At times it is near full and pouring into the adjacent lagoons. Whatever the level, boating on the river during these months is simply magical.
Alternatively, guests can choose a cultural visit to a local village and school as well as Tribal Textiles an industry based in Mfuwe producing gorgeous hand printed fabrics.
Louisa Verney (Staff)
I loved Luangwa River House as it is one of the most perfect places for a family or group to stay. As the house is private your stay is fully flexible with you own chef and depending on the size of the group up to two guides meaning that half the group can go out on a game drive while the others go on a game walk with the other guide.
In 2007 Luangwa Safari House were ranked among the top 101 hotels in the world by Tatler UK.
Luangwa Safari House ranked among the best 'Private Party' hotels:
Zambia was in the spotlight this year with safari chief Robin Pope building two lodges. The first, Chongwe, is wonderfully eccentric, a sort of hobbit home. Luangwa, on the other hand, is a deeply elegant house perfect for friends or family. It sits on the edge of a seasonal lagoon close to South Luangwa National Park, one of Africa’s best game reserves: wild, out of the way, stuffed full of predators. Architect Neil Rocher, who had such success creating Shompole in Kenya, has merged the bush with the interior. Cathedral-style doors open onto a two-storey sitting and dining area. Thereafter, the house is exposed to the wilderness with a quartz-tiled terrace and plunge-pool – an ideal spot from which to watch elephants and giraffes at the lagoon. Each of the four bedrooms (two up, two down) has a different look – kill for the one with the copper bath – and its own terrace or verandah.
Game Drives in the South Luangwa
Game drives are the most common way of exploring the African bush. A vehicle allows you to cover distance quickly and comfortably and offers visitors the best opportunity of getting very close to wildlife in a safe and controlled way.
Green Season Game Drives
The Green Season, Rainy Season, Emerald Season, Secret Season - what ever you decide to call it, this is a beautiful time of year to be on safari. Activities are rarely disrupted by weather and the bush is full of life.
Green Season Walking Safaris
Walking in the African bush is a special experience at any time of the year, but the opportunity to walk in somewhere like the Luangwa Valley in the Green Season is a treat for even the most experienced visitor to Africa.
Mulberry Mongoose workshop
Take a trip to the workshop of Mulberry Mongoose, a local company which employs local women to create fantastic hand-made jewelry and accessories, while giving back to the community and the environment.
If you get the opportunity to head out after sunset you should take it. The bush transforms under the cover of darkness as the nocturnal wildlife gets going. Using a spotlight your guide will scan the bush for eye-shine picking out some great action.
Private photographic guide South Luangwa
Spend a day (or more) in the company of a professional wildlife photographer to hone your skills and make sure you take back some fantastic photos of your safari in the South Luangwa.
Zambia Safari for Teenagers
Livingstone, South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi
from $10400 pp 10 nights
- A perfect vacation for families, staying in exclusive private safari houses
- Each house comes with its own guide, hostess and chef - plan your days as you wish!
- Incredible game-viewing in the Lower Zambezi and South Luangwa National Parks
Location & directions
South Luangwa National Park, Luangwa Valley, Zambia
In the Nkwali area of the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Luangwa has a great bush location overlooking a waterhole and the backdrop of the Chindeni Hills.
How to get there
10-hour international flight to Kenneth Kaunda International Airport, Lusaka. After a 70-minute flight from Lusaka, you arrive at Mfuwe Airport where you are met for a game drive transfer to camp, through South Luangwa National Park which takes approximately 30 minutes.