WHAT TO DO IN SOUTH LUANGWA
You have chosen one of the best parks in Africa for the ultimate safari experience but what can you do here? Make the most of your trip and sample all the valley has to offer!
Did you know South Luangwa is the birthplace of the walking safari? Brought to fame by the pioneer Norman Carr, this is the park to explore by foot. The guides here are wildlife detectives looking for clues of a broken branch, footprint, listening for the alarm calls, the bark of the baboon or the shriek of the birds, utilizing all of their senses the guides expertly maneuver over the dry dusty soils of the Luangwa Valley finding creatures a great and small. Teaching you all about the fauna of the area, the magnificent ebony forests with their dark wood and deep green leaves against the light sandy soils beneath them; smelling the wild jasmine that lines the park and provides the sweet smell of our gorgeous surroundings, tasting the fresh wild mangoes just as the elephants and monkeys do; or poking the fresh elephant dung to see what insects are happily making a home in their buffet of choice! Take the time to learn how to track and trace the animals paying close attention to smaller species and the birds. There is also the thrill of potentially approaching the big game on foot at a safe distance with an armed scout, walking upwind of the larger more dangerous species as you find a space to stop and observe their behaviour. An absolute must do for all those avid safari goers in search of a bit of adventure.
The classic safari activity of choice, kick back and relax in your seat as your guide expertly guides you round the park stopping to see the wildlife. Here is the time you can get up close and personal with the larger, more dangerous game. Habituated to the shape of the car they take no notice of the noise of the engine and allow you to study their behaviours within just a few meters. This is the easiest and safest way to get the “shot” with your camera, happily snapping away whilst our wild models happily oblige. Your guide will stop at any point to explain anything you see no matter how big or small or he will track the prints from the car along the roads to find you the animals you are hoping to see. Each game drive is accompanied by a welcome drink stop, either a sundowner or coffee stop, depending on the time of day (or drink of choice) where you can stretch your legs and chat about all the excitement of the drive!
Whilst we do not offer a boat safari per se at Msandile we do take you in and out of the park with our speed boat and can offer small trips up and down the river. Perhaps hippos and crocodiles are high up on your list of animals or you desperately want to spend more time with the water birds, whatever the reason we can make it happen. Watch the carmine bee-eaters from the water as the dash in and out of their nests in the riverbanks, the flash of pink, red and blue, perhaps the monitor lizards, snakes or larger birds will come down to try and snatch an egg or chick as the Carmine’s mob the offender. Get the camera down to water level to take the beautiful shots of the hippos yawning, fighting or snorting the water into the golden sun! An incredibly relaxing way to get to the park without the lengthy pesky queues at the gate this is truly a transfer in style!
Shopping may not come high on your list when you think of your African safari, it's hardly New York City at Christmas! However, you would be surprised what you can pick up in town. Not to mention all the shops we have given back to the community and conservation efforts so you can spend away with a guilt free conscience. From the stunning jewelry at Mulberry mongoose made from snare wire cleared out the bush to the incredible hand printed homeware items at Tribal Textiles. It’s not just souvenirs, although there are plenty of those too, there are carefully crafted and curated timeless pieces you will want to take home for yourself. A centerpiece of the animal printed tablecloths or a pair of guinea fowl earrings provide a talking point to ensure you can bring up your Zambian safari again and again!
It is not all wildlife in South Luangwa, the nearby town of Mfuwe has a long rich culture and most of our staff come from here. Here they can teach you about the traditional Zambian way of life from traditional healing herbs to a typical day living in the bush from traditional foods and drinks to traditions passed down generation to generation, dances, learning to weave what woods you can use for what etc. See how they carve curios from the surrounding fallen trees to singing songs around the campfire, learn about the skills needed to live in harmony with the dangerous surrounding bush!
Need we say more? Book now to experience the magic that is Msandile River Lodge!