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South Luangwa in the Emerald Season

South Luangwa National Park

A wonderful exploration of South Luangwa in the Emerald Season staying at two of Robin Pope Safaris' best camps and venturing out on foot and by vehicle to spot game on exciting day and night drives into the National Park.

At a Glance

  • Stay at two of Robin Pope Safari's best camps during the Emerald Season

  • Experience top-class guiding on day and night game drives in open vehicles with your expert guides at both camps

  • Visit the Nsefu salt pans, famous for their population of crested cranes and hot springs

  • Nsefu camp is Luangwa's oldest camp, and retains its original rooms, all with beautiful views of the Luangwa River

  • Enjoy a fun river crossing on Nkwali's pontoon to take you to the more remote areas of South Luangwa

Wildlife, Adventure, Culture, Honeymoon

We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 858 345 1761 to start planning your vacation.


For wildlife enthusiasts, Zambia's South Luangwa National Park is the perfect spot to be in November, on the cusp of the Emerald season. Throughout October, the days get hotter and drier, as the entire country gathers itself for the first trickle of rain. Whereas October is a very dramatic month, full of heat and the dust, as the country draws breath for the rains - November is when it seems to exhale - thunderheads and electrical storms start to roll around the edges of the horizon, creating spectacular skies and sunsets, the bush bursts into verdant green after the long months of the dry season, and impala and warthogs give birth to their young. It’s a wonderful time of plenty and rejuvenation after the bush has been dry for so long and the perfect time of year to visit.

The wildlife is amazing, with leopard, lion and wild dog being spotted, as well as large numbers of elephant, hippo and buffalo, who gather in numbers to follow the water. For those interested in birds, it’s a superb time to visit – as the Luangwa's bird population swells to over four hundred due to all the migrant species arriving - in their brightly colored breeding plumage - for their breeding season. You can expect wonderful sightings of rarities such as the Angola pitta, Arnot’s chat and the racket-tailed roller, as well as the yellow-billed storks starting to build their nests for breeding.

The trip starts with a stay at Nkwali Camp, the flagship of Robin Pope Safaris, situated on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River looking across to the park. Nkwali is an intimate little camp with excellent guiding and easy access to the national park either by the Nkwali pontoon, or the main bridge into the park. From here explore the park on morning and afternoon game drives, with a highlight being the spot lit night drives back to camp.

From Nkwali you will then head into the Nsefu sector of the park, the only part of the park which is on the eastern side of the river, and included in the park's boundary due to the incredible environment, comprising the Nsefu Hot Springs. This area is a Mecca for wildlife, and throughout the year large groups of crowned cranes can be found at the springs. Here you will stay at Nsefu Camp, on the banks of the river, and the oldest camp in the whole valley. The focus here is on walking safaris, but day and night game drives are also on offer to really explore this fascinating part of South Luangwa.





Fly to Lusaka (via Johannesburg)
Lusaka to South Luangwa Light aircraft flight
4 nights

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Nkwali Camp
4 nights

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Robin's House
3 nights

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Nsefu Camp
South Luangwa to Lusaka Light aircraft flight
Fly home from Lusaka (via Johannesburg)

Location & Directions

South Luangwa National Park

When to go

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.

Best time to Visit

Good time to visit

Average time to visit

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We design each itinerary around you, so this suggested itinerary is a starting point that we can tweak or transform into something completely bespoke to you. Call us on 858 345 1761 to start planning your vacation.

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