South Luangwa – Emerald Season

At a Glance

Schedule Overview

DAY 1

  • Meet at Lusaka International Airport
  • Domestic flight to Mfuwe Airport
  • Road transfer to Mfuwe Lodge
  • Afternoon game drive
  • Accommodation at Mfuwe Lodge

DAY 2 – 7

  • Morning game drive
  • Afternoon game drive
  • Accommodation at Mfuwe Lodge

DAY 8

  • Morning game drive
  • Road transfer to Mfuwe Airport
  • Domestic flight back to Lusaka
  • International flight home

South Luangwa’s green season is a magical time and place for wildlife photographers. This is not common knowledge and is still considered a secret. The colourful vegetation, animal action and interaction of the breeding season, amazing cloud formations and few tourists in the Park makes this an ideal time to add something spectacularly different to your photo portfolio.

This safari is specifically designed to offer the most affordable way to experience a photo safari to one of Africa’s top National Parks in Isak’s favourite season. You will have the chance to learn the techniques to create your own stunning portfolio of wildlife photographs by having a professional photographer close at hand, both on the two game drives a day, and the classroom style presentations that will be conducted between the game drives. Photographers of any level are welcome, whether you are picking up a camera for the first time, or if you are already an expert photographer. Isak will help you take your photography to the next level.

The Luangwa Valley is a magnet for wildlife. It is one of the few wild and untamed wilderness areas left in Africa, making it no surprise that it’s one of Isak’s favourite wildlife photography destinations. Lions, leopards, wild dogs and hyenas flourish in this rich ecosystem that is a paradise for elephants, buffalo, zebra, giraffe and other general game. With the backdrop of the winding Luangwa River, the massive forests of African Ebony Trees, and the oxbow lagoons, you can’t beat this as one of Africa’s top wildlife photography experiences.

From December to April each year, South Luangwa transforms into a an emerald green jungle. The colourful vegetation adds a new dimension to the typical brown-toned photo portfolio of South Luangwa’s popular dry season. Mfuwe Lodge is the perfect location for the green season. All the general game and predators are still active around the Mfuwe Lodge area, the Lodge’s all-weather roads is the reason that the lodge is one of only a few that can stay open in the wet season, and being one of the only open lodges located inside the park it conveniently eliminates the drama of entry through the park gates on each drive. There is a good chance that you will experience a rain shower during this safari, which is considered a great advantage to capture those unique “animals-in-the-rain” photos. So, be prepared not only with a good rain coat and camera protection, but also to add a new dimension to your photo portfolio!

DESTINATION

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Experts have dubbed South Luangwa to be one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and not without reason. The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons, is among the most intense in Africa. The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life-blood of this 9059 km2 Park. The Park hosts a wide variety of wildlife, birds and vegetation. 

Experts have dubbed South Luangwa to be one of the greatest wildlife sanctuaries in the world, and not without reason. The concentration of animals around the Luangwa River, and its oxbow lagoons, is among the most intense in Africa.

The Luangwa River is the most intact major river system in Africa and is the life-blood of this 9059 km2 Park. 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 Africa’s pristine wilderness first-hand. The changing seasons add to the Park’s richness, ranging from; dry, bare bushveld in the winter, to a lush, green wonderland in the summer months. There are 60 different animal species and over 400 different bird species in South Luangwa National Park. The only notable exception is the rhino, sadly poached to extinction.

With about 400 of Zambia’s 732 species of birds appearing in the Park, including 39 birds of prey and 47 migrant species, there is plenty for the birdwatcher to spot, whatever the season. An interest in the vegetation of Zambia will enhance your experience of the bush. Some magnificent trees and plants grow in the Luangwa Valley and it certainly adds to the richness of one’s experience to be able to recognize the different tree species and to discover exotic wildflowers. Among the more common trees in the valley are the mopane, leadwood, winterthorn, the tall vegetable ivory palm, the marula and the magnificent tamarind tree. The are some magnificent baobab specimens and a few large ebony forests to admire.

Seasonal changes are very pronounced in Luangwa. The dry season begins in April and intensifies through to October, the hottest month, when game concentrations are at their height. Warm sunny days and chilly nights typify the dry winter months of May to August. The wet season begins in November as the leaves turn green, and the dry bleak terrain becomes a lush jungle. The rainy season lasts up until the end of March and the migrant birds arrive in droves. Each lodge stays open for as long as access is possible, depending on its location in the area. There are several lodges that remain open all year in the central area of the park.

The Mashatu Game Reserve camps are an expression of the warm hospitality of Africa’s people. Relaxation is key, that why we chose the intimate bush experience of Mashatu Tent Camp.

Early morning and evening game drives every day bring visitors into close contact with the fascinating wildlife which inhabits Mashatu, promising a different nature experience with each drive.

Mashatu Game Reserve is a place to connect you to the soul of what life on earth is meant to be.

  • Classic scenes of the Luangwa river meandering through the wide river banks
  • Hundreds of Hippopotamus in the pools and main river
  • Access to a number of very good hides built specifically for photographers
  • Large elephant herds in the woodlands, drinking at the rivers edge and in front camp
  • One of the only places to see Thornycrofts Giraffe, Giraffa camelopardalis thornicrofti
  • Excellent lion population
  • Very high density of leopard, with very relaxed individuals
  • Flocks of storks, herons and egrets feeding in the drying pools for fish
  • Excellent sightings of large water birds in the Luangwa River
  • Buffalo herds drinking at the rivers edge numbering into the hundreds
Booking Form

Complete this enquiry form to book

ITINERARY

Arrival at Lusaka International Airport. This photo safari starts and ends at this airport, so it is your responsibility to arrange your own international flights. If you need flights to be arranged for you please email me at isak@theafricanphotographer.com for a quote and options.

Your professional photographer and host will meet you at the Lusaka International Airport. We will depart Lusaka at 11:00 via a scheduled domestic flight, landing at Mfuwe Airport at roughly 12:00. From Mfuwe Airport, there will be a 40 minute road transport to Mfuwe Lodge. Once you’ve arrived at the lodge there will be a short orientation and a chance for you to settle into your chalet to unpack and get your photographic equipment ready. We will meet for lunch and have a chance to discuss the workshop before embarking on our first afternoon game drive.

The first drive is about enjoying, relaxing and to get familiar with the photography from the vehicle and to get familiar with the South Luangwa landscape and photographic opportunities. On this drive the aim is to take photos ‘as you are used to’, so that it sets the benchmark to measure the images taken at the end of the photo workshop against.

Before Dinner, the guide will give a short presentation showing a variety of images and how, by using specific aspects, you can alter and change an image dramatically.

During the next six full days the daily schedule will remain more or less the same. The times are flexible and might vary slightly depending on the sunrise times, the sightings and our activities (e.g. we might decide to have an extended morning drive). Generally we follow this schedule:

05:00     Wake-up and meet for coffee and a small meal

05:30     Morning game drive

11:00     Brunch

12:00     Rest and own time

14:30     Photo presentation, workshop and photo review (not compulsory)

15:30     Meet for high tea

16:00     Afternoon game drive

19:30     Dinner and then retire to bed for another day of more great photography

Our last day begins with a short early morning game drive after which we have breakfast. We will depart for Mfuwe Airport at roughly 10:30 from where we will catch a domestic flight back to Lusaka International Airport. This is unfortunately the end of your photo safari.

ACCOMMODATION

Mfuwe Lodge

Ease yourself into Luangwa life with a stay at the award-winning Mfuwe Lodge. Set inside the park, just five minutes drive from the main gate, the lodge’s allure is instantly obvious. Beneath a canopy of ebony and mahogany, its thatched buildings are arranged around the banks of two lagoons where an endless stream of wildlife will keep you enthralled as you lounge on the open deck or take a dip in the swimming pool. The airy interior of the lodge is an exquisite complement to its natural surroundings.

This region of the park is renowned for its prolific game – giraffe, hippos, buffalo, antelope, and crocodile are constant visitors to Mfuwe Lodge’s lagoon, whilst in November the local elephants regularly wander right through the lobby, lured by a nearby wild mango tree. Whether you stay overnight, or just have lunch en route to a Bushcamp, Mfuwe Lodge’s relaxed charm and enviable surroundings make it the perfect stopover. Voted Best Lodge in Zambia in 2009 Mfuwe Lodge also offers you the chance to relax at its Bush-Spa or buy a few mementos of your time in Zambia at our curio shop.

WHAT OUR GUESTS SAY

About this wonderful safari

5/5
GALLERY

Click on the thumbnails to get a glimpse of the photos you could be taking.

costs
  • USD $ 4,650 price per sharing person

  • USD $ 5,300 price per single person

30% deposit confirms your booking. Balance payable 8 weeks prior to your departure.

Maximum of 8 clients. There will be 2 vehicles with max 4 clients per vehicle. There will be one C4 Guide that will rotate between the two vehicles.

The above costs include:

Costs do not include:

Travel insurance

Is vital for any tour anywhere in the world. The foresight to protect not only the experimental investment of the safari i.e. trip cancellation, travel interruption/ban, flight cancellation, but also the traveller themselves when in need of primary medical care, evacuation to the hospital of choice most of the time in nearby countries is one of the most important decision you can make to assist in a stress free trip. Please speak to your travel agent/insurer for available options that will best suit your needs. Please note that when travelling with C4 Photo Safaris, that Travel Insurance is mandatory for all of our tours.

Terms and conditions are clearly described in the PDF brochure under “Booking Information”