Some great news from Africa’s walking heartland, the Luangwa Valley, with the launch of two new multi-day trails in Luambe National Park. Luambe lies on the east bank of the river between South Luangwa National Park and North Luangwa National Park and was once a premier Zambian safari destination until human encroachment took its toll on habitat and wildlife. Today, it is on the way back to health thanks to a privately-funded conservation project that is focused on community engagement, ecotourism and anti-poaching measures. Luambe visitors can witness the success of these efforts, and the park has good wildlife populations, which include the endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe, Cookson’s Wildebeest and endangered African Wild Dog.

The Luxury Luangwa Walking Trail fly-camp

Luambe Camp is the exclusive tourism operator in the park and its camp has four comfortable and spacious en-suite tents overlooking the Luangwa river. The Luambe name is not well known, so they have smartly incorporated the valley name into the two new trails: the Luxury Luangwa Walking Trail and the Luangwa Wilderness Walking Trail. The luxury trail option has a couple of nights in a spared-back but comfortable fly-camp, bookended with nights at the fixed Luambe Camp.

Primitive Trails are sleep-out style

The Wilderness Walking Trail is of special interest as it is to date the only Primitive-style backpacking trail offered in any big game area north of the Zambezi. It’s an experiment, but a calculated one. The idea came from Luambe Camp manager Tascha Child who has extensive experience in the trails world from South Africa, where sleep-out trails are popular. Guests backpack everything needed to camp out and sleep under the stars, in what is the purest and most authentic way to experience the wilds of Africa.

The trails operate as a 5-night itineraries, with the Wilderness Walking Trail starting in June and the Luxury Walking Trail from July, and both run until the end of October. They cope with the logistics of reaching Luambe by starting with nights at a choice of partner lodges close to Mfuwe airport: Track and Trail Camp, Zikomo Safari and Msandile River Lodge are all located on the Luangwa river looking into the park. This means the second day can start with a slow game drive through the Nsefu sector of South Luangwa National Park before proceeding through to Luambe Camp.

The luxury option is priced at $2865 and the backpacking trail at $1995 – very attractive pricing for the Luangwa Valley – and that is inclusive of all transfers, 5 nights accommodation and meals, park fees and levies. There’s a single supplement that only applies to the first night. 

Images courtesy Luambe Camp.

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