South Luangwa and Lower Zambezi Safari
Home to one of the natural wonders of the world and a wealth of game, Zambia is a fantastic destination for both scenery and safari lovers. Create the ultimate trip by visiting two of the country's best national parks, and then finish with a high - quite literally- as you look up at Victoria Falls.
Itinerary at a Glance:
- Wonder at all the wildlife you'll spot while out on a walking safari in the South Luangwa
- Canoe along the mighty Lower Zambezi during a water based safari in the Lower Zambezi National Park
- Be amazed by the gushing waters of the Victoria Falls - and try not to get soaked by the spray!
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When To Travel
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Day 1: Arrive
On arrival into Johannesburg you will connect across to the onward flight to Lusaka, which takes two hours, with your bags checked through all the way to the Zambian capital. You land in Lusaka around lunchtime and connect onto one more short (just over an hour) domestic flight to Mfuwe in the South Luangwa.
Finally emerging into Mfuwe arrivals area you'll find a driver waiting to grab your bags and whisk you into the 4x4. From the airport the drive to your lodge should be around 45 minutes and will take you into the heart of the national park, passing wildlife on the way.
When you make it to the lodge, settle in with a cold drink and get your first taste of a 'sofa safari' as you watch game drinking from the river from the comfort of the lounge tent.
Day 2: Wildlife Wanderings
After a busy day of travelling yesterday, enjoy a lie in this morning, forgoing the morning game drive for a bush walk instead.
Thanks to the great guides and plethora of wildlife, the South Luangwa is well known for being one of the best destinations for walking safaris in the world, and with 3,500 square miles of bushland to explore, each walk is different to the last. Look out for 'Big Five' game, wild dogs and over 400 species of birds as you go.
Head back to the lodge in time for lunch and then while away the afternoon with a good book or a siesta. Come evening, go out on the evening game drive and enjoy spotting the park's nocturnal wildlife.
Day 3: Last day in Luangwa
Use your last day in South Luangwa to explore a different area of the park and hopefully spot some of the wildlife you didn't tick off yesterday. Start your day bright and early with the morning game drive; venturing further afield in the 4x4 than you could on foot.
Then, after breakfast, take a walk with your guide, looking out for birds and the species that you can only really spot on foot. The evening is then yours to enjoy relaxing and watching the sunset light the sky orange. As night falls the sky is no less impressive, and the twinkling stars are incredibly clear in this part of the world, with virtually no light pollution meaning this is an ideal stargazing spot.
Day 4: To the Lower Zambezi
Say goodbye to the South Luangwa this morning and head instead for the Lower Zambezi.
To get there you'll be transferred back to Mfuwe and then catch a short domestic flight to Royal Airstrip, where a driver will be waiting for you.
After making the transfer to your lodge the afternoon is yours to spend as you please. You might prefer to simply relax and get to know your surroundings, or want to go out on the evening game drive. Whichever you choose will, of course, be followed by a delicious dinner.
Days 5-6: Sun, Sundowners and Safari
Over the next two days you have the opportunity to compare your safari experience in South Luangwa with the experiences you'll have here in the Lower Zambezi.
Backed by domineering mountains in the north and the mighty Zambezi in the south the park is an incredibly diverse landscape and offers an equally diverse safari experience, with walking, driven and boating safaris all available.
A highlight for us are the canoeing safaris which see you getting a really interactive safari experience, getting up close to the animals bathing and drinking in the river. Elephants are one of the most frequently spotted animals here and are often found wandering through camps or splashing each other in the river. Photographers will also want to snap the lush colours and reflections around the river and many lodges have dedicated photography hides to ensure guests get the best possible pictures of the wildlife.
- Opt to swap your room at the lodge for a bush sleep-out under the stars on one of your nights.
Day 7: To Livingstone
Embark on the final leg of your Zambian adventure this morning as you fly from Royal Airstrip to Livingstone, via Lusaka. The total journey should take around three to four hours.
When you land in Livingstone a driver will collect you and take you to your lodge on the banks of the Zambezi River, around 30 minutes away. After you arrive, settle in to your surroundings, spotting game in the Zambezi National Park on the opposite side of the river as you unpack your things. Then, enjoy a sunset cruise along the river and watch the light fade as you sip on drinks and nibble some snacks. Dinner is served back at camp.
*Please note that if you are visiting the area during September or October we might suggest you stay on the Zimbabwean side of the falls to get a better chance of seeing the falls flowing with lots of water.
Day 8: The Falls
Today you'll make the trip down river to Victoria Falls, otherwise known as one of the seven natural wonders of the world.
The mighty and majestic falls are the largest in the world due to their combined height and width (354ft and 5,604ft respectively) and just as stunning in real life as you might imagine.
Combine the huge amount of water spray with the shining sun (hopefully!) and you'll also be treated to a bright rainbow arching over the falls - the perfect Insta-snap to remember your trip by.
Back at the lodge by the afternoon you are then free to enjoy another of the activities on offer. Fishing trips, birding walks and village visits are popular choices, and alternatively you might like to explore the town of Livingstone with one of the lodge guides.
- Helicopter flight over Victoria Falls
- White water rafting
Day 9: Home Time
Unfortunately, the time has come to head home today, so with one last breakfast and a morning at leisure overlooking the river, head to Livingstone airport with your driver. You'll then catch an international flight to Johannesburg which takes an hour-and-45-minutes before connecting with your onwards flight home.
Charlotte C is our expert for this itinerary and, as a seasoned traveller, has the inside track on the most memorable adventures.