20 Safari Camps In South Luangwa National Park

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There are many national parks in Zambia, but the South Luangwa National Park is one of the most stunning. From the landscape to the wildlife, a safari in the South Luangwa is an unforgettable experience. The South Luangwa National Park is more popular than its counterpart the North Luangwa National Park because it is more accessible. You can reach this national park by road (from Lusaka via Chipata) or by air to Mfuwe Airport.

South Luangwa National Park is an incredible place to safari because of the abundance of wildlife. The Luangwa River and its lagoons attract incredible wildlife including four of the ‘Safari Big Five’: elephants, leopards, buffalo and lions. You can also be in with a chance of seeing wild dogs. Like any safari at any destination, wildlife sightings are not guaranteed but if you go at peak time (between July and October) chances are you won’t be disappointed. The South Luangwa National Park is a wonderful destination but the safari camp you choose really does make a difference to your stay. For accommodation for all budgets check out these 20 best safari camps in the South Luangwa National Park.

20 Best Safari Camps in South Luangwa National Park

Luxury $$$$

1- Mufwe Lodge

Mufwe Lodge’s iconic advertisement photo is of an elephant walking through the lobby of the lodge.

In fact, these huge families of elephant’s meander through the lodge in late October and mid-December to eat mangos from the large tree on the grounds of the property.

Mufwe Lodge offers stylish comfort with a strong connection to nature.

It’s even been voted the ‘Best Lodge in Zambia’ on several occasions.


One of the best things about this lodge is that it’s located just within the national park.

Right in front of the lodge there are two lagoons.

These lagoons are home to a plethora of hippos.

There are 18 thatched chalets perched on wooden decks.

Right from your room you will be able to see elephants, hippo and maybe more if you are lucky.

Mfuwe Lodge provides game drive, walking safaris, community visits, spa treatments, sundowner rides into the bush and they also specialise in photographic safaris led by a professional.

2- Kafunta River Lodge

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Kafunta River Lodge is a stunning safari camp that faces the Luangwa River, fractionally outside the bounds of the national park.

When you first enter this luxurious safari lodge you will be instantly drawn to the deck area that overlooks the floodplains and the Luangwa River.

There is a large circle communal seating area with a fire pit with incredible views.

There’s no ruffing it here, guests will surely safari with style.

There are lounge chairs, a swimming pool, the Fig Tree Spa, a skilled chef and even a wildlife hideout to take pictures of animals without them spotting you.

They offer all the classic Zambian safari experiences including photography safaris.

They also have packages that include safaris in the South Luangwa at Kafunta River Lodge and trips to Lake Malawi beach across the border.

If you are looking to safari with sophistication look no further than Kafunta.

3- Three Rivers Camp

The stunning Three Rivers Camp is set at the confluence of the Lusangazi, Kapamba and Luangwa Rivers.

It’s a wonderful natural setting for a safari lodge.

You don’t technically even have to go out on a game drive to see wildlife as the camp faces a lagoon that’s full of life.

This tented campground sits under sausage trees which provide the perfect amount of shade from the hot summer sun.

One of the special things about the accommodation at this camp is that they offer star beds.

Each private accommodation has a semi sheltered bed where you can relax in the day or watch the stars and hear leopards growling in the night.

A typical day at Three Rivers includes a 5:30 wake up call, morning tea, morning safari, a buffet brunch, afternoon tea, a night safari and a four-course dinner.

4- Kapamba Bushcamp

south luangwa lions
One of the fascinating things to do in South Luangwa National Park is to watch lions feeding in the wild.

As the name suggests this bushcamp is situated on the Kapamba River.

Zambia experiences a rainy season between mid-November and April.

Kapamba is one of only two bush camps in the area that is open between April and January.

While it’s not the optimal time for wildlife viewing because of the dense vegetation it is still an interesting time to visit.

This bushcamp has four spacious thatched chalets raised on decks.

The central living and dining area sits under matumi and sausage trees and there’s a wonderful deck and swimming pool.

It’s the perfect cosy, modern yet rustic setting for a safari holiday.

They offer game drives, night drives, walking safaris, sundowners, spa treatments and specialised photography safaris.

5- Time + Tide Chinzombo

Another excellent safari camp in South Luangwa is Chinzombo by Time + Tide.

Set on the banks of a meander on the Luangwa River, Chinzombo epitomises safari luxury.

Chinzombo is named after a local tree that surrounds the camp.

The property takes all its inspiration from nature from the materials used to build the lodge to the services provided.

There are six spacious safari tents each with its own private pool, soaking tub, and of course panoramic views of the river.

When eating dinner on the lodge’s private deck just know that they will have grown most of the produce themselves.

They offer day and night game drives, walking safaris, in-room spa treatments, sleepouts under the stars, boat safaris, local culture tours, and activities just for the kids.

6- Chikunto Safari Lodge

Chikunto Safari Lodge
Chikunto Safari Lodge is one of the impressive lodges in South Luangwa National Park. Photo: Chikunto Safari Lodge.

Located inside the South Luangwa National Park, Chikunto Safari Lodge looks out over a large meander in the Luangwa River.

The whole area is surrounded by rolling plains and plateaus.

Chikunto prides itself on being an eco-friendly camp.

They have five luxury tented suites that make you feel like you are immersed in nature.

The whole lodge is built on raised stilts to allow nature and wildlife to be as undisturbed as possible.

Take a dip in the pool during the day, sit by the campfire at night, enjoy freshly brewed coffee in the morning and of course head out on an awesome safari.

This lodge offers day and night safaris, walking safaris, and boat safaris.

7- Bilimungwe Bush Camp

Another safari camp from The Bushcamp Company is Bilimungwe.

Bilimungwe is an ideal destination if you are searching for an intimate safari experience as there are only four reed and thatched rooms available.

The accommodation at Bilimungwe is perfectly perched on a deck overlooking a watering hole.

And what do you get from a watering hole in South Luangwa?

Lots of animals! From herds of elephants to an array of birds and smaller animals like tortoises, there’s always something going on.

The lounge area of the camp is built around a termite’s mound under the shade of a large winterthorn tree.

Enjoy breakfast with views of the Luangwa River and an evening spent around the fire pit listening to bush coming alive at night.

They offer day and night game drives, walking safaris, private guides, and specially adapted photographic safaris at Bilimungwe.

8- Nkwali Camp

Part of Robin Pope Safaris, Nkwali Camp offers simple elegance and comfort for the duration of your safari holiday.

There are six spacious chalets, all of which can be fully opened at the front to reveal awe-inspiring views of the river.

An added room bonus are the outdoor showers.

There’s nothing better than cooling off with a shower under the trees, listening to the sound of monkeys playing in the trees.

Due to its location on the eastern side of the Luangwa River, game drives start with a boat trip across the river.

They offer all the usual safaris as well as a range of boat excursions during emerald season (from December to April) when the South Luangwa turns into a green jungle.

9- Puku Ridge Camp

south luangwa safari vehicle next to elephants
Going on a safari in South Luangwa National Park should be on your African bucket list. Photo: Christina Pfeiffer.

Puku Ridge is a small and intimate camp that provides eight semi-tented suites all with wrap-around views, private plunge pools, bathtubs with a view, outside showers, and a private deck.

The camp’s main area has an open-air lounge and campfire where guests like to sit out at lunchtime or in the evening.

For activities take a game drive in one of their 4×4 luxury vehicles.

A day at Puku Ridge usually starts early with a four-hour game drive and then back out again in the late afternoon.

Afternoon safaris are nearly always rounded off with sundowners including a cocktail of your choice and snacks before returning to the camp.

In need of more animal sightings then head back out for an evening safari.

Puku Ridge also has a wonderful photographic hide.

This is a wonderful place to photograph the resident herd of elephants.

10- Sungani Lodge

This family-owned and operated safari lodge is located on the southern banks of the Luangwa River.

This lodge prides themselves on their close-knit community, with almost everything you see in the lodge being created by the family or local people.

The camp is stylish and elegant, yet it still retains its safari ruggedness.

They might call the seven rooms “tents” but the presence of canvas doesn’t mean luxury disappears.

Private decks and plunge pools help give that lavish feel.

In the main part of the lodge there is an indoor and outdoor seating area and lounge.

If you are one of those that likes to stick to a routine on holiday, there’s a well-equipped and air-conditioned gym just a short walk from the main deck.

Photographers may also strongly consider booking a stay at Sungani as there’s a dedicated photography studio with 27” Apple desktops with Adobe.

Whether you are watching animals from the safari van, the boat, on foot or in the hideout, Sungani Lodge provides a professional and informative safari experience throughout.

Mid-scale $$$

11- Kakuli Camp

south luangwa buffalo
Buffaloes in South Luangwa National Park.

Kakuli Camp is brought to you by Time + Tide who have camps across Zambia.

Kakuli means ‘old buffalo bull’, this was the nickname given to Norman Carr who pioneered the walking safari.

Their bright and airy safari rooms embrace the outdoors and make the most of the panoramic views that surround the lodge.

Fancy an outdoor shower in nature? Well, your room will have an inside and outside shower.

Their elevated main lounge area looks out over the river and the year-round lagoon.

It’s the perfect place for guests to congregate and chat about their sightings of the day.

The camp also has a resident lion pride, a seasonal colony of vibrant carmine bee-eaters and an unparalleled leopard sighting record.

As well as the common safaris they also offer wildlife hides and special sleepouts that are run by Time + Tide across their camps.

12- Tafika Camp

south luangwa national park bird
South Luangwa National Park is a fantastic place for birdwatching.

The Luangwa River separates Zambia’s Muchinga Province from Eastern Province.

Tafika Camp is on the banks of the river on the Eastern Province side.

Tafika’s location is such that it allows guests access to three diverse habitats: the Luangwa River, the salt pans and Mutanda plains.

The salt pans are wonderful for spotting crowned cranes (Uganda’s national bird) from August onwards.

Safaris in this area are game rich on both sides of the river.

Tafika Camp offers four people vehicles for their safaris for a more enriched wildlife viewing experience.

As well as the traditional South Luangwa safaris there is also a hideout at the camp for excellent wildlife photography.

They also offer cultural visits to Mkasanga village where you can meet and get to know the warm and friendly Zambian locals.

Something that people love at Tafika Camp is the food, especially the chef’s homemade coal baked bread and the fresh vegetables from the garden.

13- Shawa Luangwa Camp

Green Safaris operate several lodges in the South Luangwa as well as the Lower Zambezi.

With their green ethos at the heart of every visit one of the unique things about this camp is their silent safari vehicle’s.

Though safari guides and drives are skilled at working in harmony with animals, safari vans are noisy compared to the silence of the bush.

Shawa’s fleet of vehicle’s are all electric!

Shawa also provide walking safaris carried out by expert guides who will provide you with information on just about anything you see or think of.

When you are back at the camp head straight into the camp plunge pool to cool down.

The accommodation at Shawa includes couples’ tents and family tents.

Their tents are incredible.

You really feel like you are sleeping outside with the tent’s sides opening to allow you to walk onto your private deck.

14- Flatdogs Camp

For an unforgettable safari that is affordable and sustainable head to Flatdogs Camp.

Flatdogs doesn’t just claim to be sustainable, it is the first lodge or camp to be awarded the Fair Trade Tourism certificate in Zambia.

There are a variety of accommodation options at the camp.

There are family friendly chalet rooms, traditional safari tents, the private crocodile nest, and an incredible treehouse.

Their treehouse is open air overlooking the watering hole and it’s ideal for honeymooners.

They offer morning, afternoon, and night drives as well as walking safaris.

You will be amazed by the skill of your guide, who doesn’t need a radio to find animals, just their tracking knowledge.

15- Luangwa River Camp

south luangwa deer
One of the denizens of South Luangwa National Park.

Nestled under an ebony grove next to the Luangwa River, the Luangwa River Camp is in an area rich with wildlife.

The Luangwa River Camp has five bush suites that have adorable, thatched roofs.

The rooms are complete with ensuites, some with sunken bathtubs. All chalets look out towards the river.

The camp offers game drives, walking safaris and seasonal boat tours.

Emerald season is the time to appreciate nature from the water.

They also offer some excellent discounts for the Emerald season that you should consider, especially if you have been on a traditional safari before and want to experience something different.

16- Robin’s House

Another facet of Robin Pope Safaris is Robin’s House.

Located next to the Luangwa River, this is a private house with two large ensuite bedrooms.

It’s an ideal secluded safari retreat for family or a group of friends.

Owing to the nature of a safari experience many safari camps do not allow children under the age of 12 but children of all ages are welcome at Robin’s House.

This private house has a plunge pool, a private chef and offers all the experiences that Nkwali Camp provides.

Budget $$

17- Marula Lodge

a bloat of hippos lying on the sand in south luangwa
Hippos sleeping by the river in South Luangwa National Park.

If you are searching for a budget friendly safari lodge, then consider Marula Lodge.

This is a camp that caters for a variety of budgets and comfort styles.

For backpackers there’s a mixed dormitory that sleeps nine people.

There are also chalets that come in luxury, standard and family sizes.

Then one of the most affordable but private options is a riverfront tent.

There are six tents that arguably have the best view right in front of the river.

You can literally see hippos from your bed!

These tents are basic, it’s a tent-like structure sitting on concrete but inside there is a bed and bedside table.

The bathroom is open-air around 10 metres away behind the tent.

At night time you will need to shout for a guard to escort you in case there’s a resident hippo going for a stroll.

Taking a walking safari with the guides from Marula Lodge is a highlight of anyone’s trip.

They are knowledgeable, fun, and enthusiastic.

Their guides in the vans are also skilled at spotting and tracking animals.

Take a safari with Marula Lodge and it’s likely that you will be able to spot the intriguing wild dogs (of which there are only an estimated 6,600 left in the world).

18- Croc Valley Lodge

Situated next to Marula Lodge, Croc Valley Lodge isn’t as scary as it sounds!

Croc Valley prides themselves on their affordable safaris, an experience that has for so long been for the more affluent.

Whether you are a backpacker, camper, overlander, family, individual or group there’s an accommodation and game drive option for you at Croc Valley.

They have riverfront tents that come with a full board option.

There are also chalets with a self-catered kitchen.

Then there are the turtle rooms which sleep 2, 3 and 4 people and are bunk bed style.

Finally, there are the eco tents which are basic but super affordable and you can also bring your own tent and camping equipment.

They offer game drives, walking safaris, village tours, and even tribal textile and art safaris (kids love this).

They also provide a free taxi service to visit Mulberry Mongoose which is a handcrafted jewellery company located next to a well-trodden elephant walkway.

19- Thornicroft

Thornicroft Lodge
Enjoy the rustic luxury of Thornicroft Lodge in South Luangwa.

In the same area as Marula and Croc Valley there is Thornicroft Lodge.

Thornicroft offers a plethora of safari activities for the whole family.

There are game drives (morning, afternoon, and night), day safaris to Nsefu Sector (one of the richest parts of the South Luangwa), guided walks to the village, birding safaris, walking safaris, and bicycle tours.

At the lodge there’s lots to do.

There’s a swimming pool, table tennis table, pool table, a kids play area and a foot trail to the local lagoon.

If you are traveling with younger children Thornicroft is a great place to consider as it is suited to kids and even has a Kids Cadet Program.

There are river view chalets, bush style chalets and tented chalets.

20- Lupande Lodge

Directly behind Thornicroft Lodge set back from the river is Lupande Lodge.

The lodge might not overlook the river, but it does have its own little watering hole.

If you are looking for excellent service and unmatched prices, then Lupande Lodge is the place to be.

This lodge doesn’t have a large social media and internet presence but like many things in Zambia it’s recommended through word of mouth.

Locals and Zambian residents find this to be a great place to enjoy a safari that won’t break the bank.

They offer game drives and walking safaris and their guides really know where to find the animals, with a particular proclivity for lions.

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Harriet Comley
Harriet Comley is a travel enthusiast, freelance travel writer and a lover of safaris. Since 2017 she has been travelling the globe living in the UK, Canada, Vietnam, China and now Zambia, where she is completing her PhD in Sustainable Tourism. For 3 1/2 years she taught English in Vietnam and China. Now she has turned her attention to writing, having contributed to a number of travel blogs and websites always focusing on what she loves most…exploring!