South Luangwa National Park in the eastern part of Zambia, is one of the best African safari destinations and renowned for its abundance of wildlife and excellent light for wildlife photography.
The Luangwa river is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life blood of the parks 9 050 square kilometers. The park hosts a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. The now famous “walking safari” originated in this park and is still one of the finest ways to experience this pristine wilderness first hand.
There are 60 different animal species and 400 different bird species. One special being the Thornycroft Giraffe, found only in the Luangwa Valley. Some magnificent trees grow in the Valley among the more common are the mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, baobab, large ebony forests, vegetable ivory palm, marula and the tamarind tree.
The changing seasons add to the parks richness ranging from dry, bare bushveld in the winter to a lush green wonderland in the summer months. The dry season begins in April and intensifies through October, the hottest month when game concentrations are at its height. Warm sunny days and chilly nights typify the dry winter months May to August. The wet season’s begin is November, as the leaves turn green and the dry terrain becomes a lush jungle. The rainy season last up until the end of March when the migrant birds arrive in there droves. The lodges in South Luangwa stay open as long as access is possible depending on their location. The lodges and camps in the valley all offer game drives and walking safaris.
South Luangwa is very attractive during the winter months and the summer months, allowing at both times excellent safari experiences, yet in very different ways. For photography enthusiasts it might be the hardest decision to make, as both times are great for wildlife photography on African safari, yet the rich green of the summer months might make the better background. Visiting winter and summer might be the best solution to experience it all.
Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa Source: safari destinations, image: kapani lodge
Booking an African safari holiday comes with excitement about the safari destination, the Big Five, one wish to spot, the choice of the game reserve and the time of the year for the right weather and best wildlife sightings. During this process questions will be asked about the number of persons travelling, the available budget and more of this kind. When finally the booking is made, some more information is requested and for a good reason.
Travelling comes always with some risk and travelling to the African bush adds the adventures of the wild. Although professional rangers/guides and lodge staff will look you after, nature can have its surprises. Extreme rainfall can cause floods or in the dry season a bush fire can occur. As said, the professionals will look after you, but there is always a rest risk of the unforeseen.
Besides nature’s moods, you could fall ill during a safari or do a misstep and twist your foot. These things can also happen while you are at home, but there medical aid is in general right at hand. When being at a private camp on a high ranked safari destination like the Okavango Delta, medical aid is not in direct reach. A light aircraft transport will be necessary to get you to a hospital. This is also quick, but costs a bit.
In order to assist you best in case of an emergency, some essential information is needed:
1. Your passport details for registration with medical/evacuation services. 2. Your travel insurance name and number to cover the costs of medical aid and possible evacuation/repatriation. 3. Your health insurance name and number. 4. Information on possible medical conditions the operator should be aware of. 5. Information on possible allergies and dietary requirements. 6. The name and phone number of a person to be contacted in case of an emergency. 7. Your cell number for operational emergencies like changed transfer/flight times or similar.
By providing this information, safari ground handlers and lodge staff can efficiently and quick help and organize whatever might be necessary to make sure you are safe. Your African safari should be worry free, also when the unforeseen happens or nature turns wild.
Ute Sonnenberg for Roho Ya Chui, Travel Africa image: Mike Myers