The North Luangwa National Park is one of the most spectacular surviving wilderness areas in Africa and has been called one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world today. It is not open to the public and there are no permanent lodges exist in the park.
The park is noted for its massive herds of buffalo and large prides of lion. It’s not unusual to witness a kill. If you are a traveller looking for adventure rather than the run-of-mill safari, North Luangwa National Park is “the corner of the earth that smiles on you above all others”.
Access is only through one of the few safari operators who have been granted permission to conduct walking safaris in the park, although you can apply for special permission to enter the park at the Department of National Parks services in Chilonga or Mpika.
Exploring on your own is not advisable. The remoteness of the area mean serious trouble for the self-explorer should anything go wrong. There are very few roads and you are unlikely to see anyone else while you are there.
Two main rivers, the Lufila and Mwaleshi, run through and along the park. The latter cascades down in a series of rapids and waterfalls before reaching the valley floor by means of the delightful Chomba Waterfall. This cool crystal waterfall, in the heart of North Luangwa Park, boasts some of the largest herds of antelope along its river course.
The diversity of habitats in this park leaves you feeling bewildered and dazzled. There are areas of pure mopane forests, lush riverine forests and sausage trees laden with long dangling sausage-looking fruit. This leads to an awesome variety of birds from the Pel’s fishing owl to the purple crested turaco.
For years the north was the poor relation to the South Luangwa National Park, but this has changed, thanks to the presence of renowned researchers and authors Mark and Delia Owens. Due to their conservation efforts, there has been a great reduction in poachers. The park now has some of the most zealous game rangers in the country.