Private North Luangwa Mobile Camping Safari

A 12 day trip to Zambia 
5
5 out of 5 stars
3 reviews

In Zambia’s North Luangwa National Park, luxury is in the experience. Vehicles cannot penetrate this wilderness, and the park is only open June to October, and only to visitors on foot. The Big Five roam here, along with a diverse cast of four-legged icons. You are completely immersed at mobile camps along the rivers, then astonishingly intimate on a private 6-day walking safari. It is perhaps Africa’s deepest and rarest connection with the big-game world. 

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General Information

Photos
Detailed Itinerary

Places Visited 

Livingstone, Zambezi River, Victoria Falls, South Luangwa National Park, North Luangwa National Park, Mwaleshi River, Luangwa River

Departure Dates 

Dates are flexible and customizable for private departures.

Detailed Itinerary 

Day 1: Livingstone – Welcome to Africa with a Sunset Cruise on the Zambezi River

A lodge on the Zambezi River provides a dreamy introduction to Zambia. Your spacious chalet is perched above the water, stocked with the décor from an old-world boutique hotel, and as luxurious as any accommodation in the country. You are greeted at the airport, and spend the afternoon resting at the lodge, looking out toward the hippos and watching the baboons swing past. A sunset cruise leads you into the night, cocktails and canapes served as the hippos emerge. Orange colors reflect off the water as dinner is served, a three-course culinary extravaganza that marries local flavors with Western styles. You keep cruising, inspecting the banks for the hippos out grazing, then return to the lodge for a quiet evening.

Please consider reading some of our travelers' reviews for Zambian safaris to learn more about this enchanting tour.

What’s Included: airport transfer, accommodation, tour, dinner

Day 2: Livingstone – Admiring Victoria Falls and Lounging on the River

You rise from bed to a relaxed morning, waking to the sounds of nature, settling into the atmosphere of the river. After the flight to Zambia, it is good to have a couple of days recuperating and getting over the jet lag, before setting off into the real wilderness. After lunch, you journey downriver to Victoria Falls, the mesmerizing mile-wide sheet of falling water that separates Zambia from Zimbabwe. Explore a series of self-guided walking trails, journeying parallel and beneath the falls, taking in the thunderous sounds as well as the awesome visuals. Return to the lodge, and tonight’s dinner is served on the banks of the river, beneath the branches of an ancient ebony tree.

What’s Included: accommodation, transfer, tour, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 3: South Luangwa National Park – Game Drive Introductions to the Wild

It is a two-hour flight north to Mfuwe, an airstrip on the edge of South Luangwa, Zambia’s most famous national park. Mopane trees rise from the landscape, and you can spot leopards draped across their high branches. Floodplains extend, crossed by herds of zebras and wildebeests. Elephants rumble past, occasionally hooting upon their arrival, and giraffes and buffalos block the trail, slow and languid walkers in the wild. Next, you will find the lions, a pride of them basking on the grasslands, taking in the sun. Today is spent on game drives in South Luangwa, an introduction to the ecosystem and the animals that live here. On most African safaris, visitors arrive with a particular list of animals they want to see including the famous Big Five. A walking safari is about the atmosphere, not the checklist, and this first day is a chance to see many of the most famous species, leaving your mind free for the walking safari tomorrow. Your accommodation is at a luxury lodge in the park, and it is the perfect way to indulge before your real journey begins.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 4: North Luangwa National Park (Mwaleshi River) – Flying into Isolated Wilderness and Starting the Walk

Hop north in a four-seater plane, touching down on a dusty airstrip in the heart of North Luangwa. It is only a 60-mile journey, but going by vehicle would take a full day, such is the dilapidated state of the four-wheel drive trails. Start walking, tentative steps at first as you grow accustomed to the atmosphere. Baboons call from above your head, a herd of hartebeests stops and stares back at you, and two elephants are seen from across the floodplain. A herd of buffalos waits up ahead, and the guides immediately know that they are bachelor males, so you reroute and walk around. You will arrive at the camp for brunch and a few quiet hours, allowing the heat of the day to pass. After afternoon tea, you will head out once more, wandering the areas that vehicles cannot penetrate, exploring the raw authenticity of big-game Africa.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 5 – 6: North Luangwa National Park (Mwaleshi River) – Where No Vehicles Go: Exploring the Big-Five Mwaleshi River Area on Two Feet

You will start walking early, maximizing the cooler hours when it is easier to walk, and the animals are more active. Giraffes lope past, and you follow their journey, admiring the colors. A vast herd of buffalos fills a floodplain, and now you get closer, creeping silently within 10 – 20 yards of the harem. Elephants dominate the banks of the Mwaleshi River, and you watch in awe as they splash in the shallows, using their trunks as snorkels, and intimately interact with other herds. Zebras and wildebeests are seemingly everywhere, and you walk with the herds. These animals would usually run from a vehicle, but the guides quickly teach you how to be a non-threatening and non-obtrusive presence in the park.

Each day you return to the camp for brunch before an afternoon walk explores a different area. The camp is simple yet comfortable. Your tented suite has a bed raised off the ground, chairs for lazily watching wildlife at the river, plus a bathroom with a Western toilet seat, and hot showers available. Luxury comes from the experience here as animals roam through the camp, coming to drink from the river below. Sporadic sounds occupy you into the evening, while each morning you wake to new prints in the surrounding sound.

Over these three days, some of the walks will specifically seek out black rhinos, bashful creatures that hide in the bushes. Trackers follow spoor and behaviors to keep you well clear of resident lions and leopards; however, there is a real thrill to finding evidence of their presence on your walks. A walking safari is never a race, and you will move slowly, inspecting the clues, learning about the environment, and immersing yourself in a rare world. Smells perforate, sounds echo, and the landscape holds you captive. Memories come from the animals and scenes you encounter, particularly how close you can get, but most of all, they are the result of the ambiance and the exclusive experience of walking in this big-game territory.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 7: North Luangwa National Park – (Luangwa River) – An Expedition between the Great Rivers of Africa’s Ultimate Walking Safari Destination

Begin your expedition, following the elephants, connecting the Mwaleshi and Luangwa rivers. It is a full day of walking, stopping for a picnic lunch beneath a lone acacia on the floodplains. The Mwaleshi area sees a trickle of visitors, but the section around the Luangwa River may only be seen by a small handful of foreign eyes each year, and it is almost certain you will not see other people here. Follow the prints, then relax at the fly camp, a more rudimentary camp on the banks of the river. Erected specifically for your walking safari, it has a basic but spacious sleeping tent with a raised bed and a separate washroom tent. It is not luxurious, but you will be lounging on the camp chairs in the evening as the elephants and buffalos wander nearby.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Days 8 – 9: North Luangwa National Park (Luangwa River) – Fly Camping and Walking in a Big-Game Landscape Rarely Seen by Human Eyes

These two days continue the safari program, with walks in the morning and afternoon, plus downtime through the hottest part of the day. Wake to hippos grunting and open the tent flap to watch them barreling into the river. A kudu herd ambles past, grazing on the grass around your camp, seemingly oblivious to your presence. Start walking, and you follow a herd of waterbucks, tracking them toward a lagoon that is populated by bushbuck. A standoff ensues, and it is fascinating to watch and listen to the interactions. Out on the open plains, you are surrounded by huge herds of impala and puku, animals that run from almost everything but do not feel particularly perturbed by your presence. Wildebeests canter toward you, beards flowing on the breeze, coming to inspect the mammal on two legs. Baboons and monkeys dominate the trees, another continual presence on this 6-day walking safari.

This Luangwa River area showcases classic Luangwa wildlife, similar to those more famously found in South Luangwa National Park. Leopard prints are seen in the sand, and you might encounter hyena or wild dog from a distance. By now you will understand the actions of buffalos and elephants, interpreting how they feel and what they will do next. This kind of knowledge has been around for millennia, passed down from the ancestors. Local tribes have coexisted with wild mammals, so it is not that unusual for people to be walking in the big-game bush, but very rare for foreigners to be doing so. Learning from the guides and trackers is a huge part of the experience, allowing you to feel and understand the nuances of this untouched safari landscape.

What’s Included: accommodation, safari, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 10 – 11: South Luangwa to Livingstone – Relaxed Days on the Zambezi River

The journey away from North Luangwa showcases just how remote you were. First return to the airstrip for the charter flight to Mfuwe, where you connect on a scheduled two-hour flight back to Livingstone. Both these flights provide amazing vistas over the parks, swooping low over rivers, woodland, savannah and the open floodplains you have been exploring. Touch down in Livingstone and the final two days are completely at your leisure. Settle into the contemporary luxury along the banks of the Zambezi and spend languid days recuperating from your journey. Six days in such a remote world is energizing, inspiring you through such a rare connection with solitude and surreal wildlife. However, it is also good to go back to cold drinks in the fridge, hot showers on demand, and comfy bathrobes.

What’s Included: accommodation, domestic flight, transfer, breakfast, lunch, dinner

Day 12: Livingstone – Departure

Leave Africa from Livingstone International Airport after breakfast. The airport is only a 20-minute transfer from your lodge.

What’s Included: airport transfer, breakfast

Price

Price 

Your custom trip package will include accommodations, transportation within the country, guided tours and activities, unique experiences, trip planning, and 24X7 support during your trip. 

Please inquire for a custom trip quote based on your travel preferences and travel dates!