The South Luangwa National Park is open year-round, though the vast majority of its visitors pass through the gates between June and October. Many safari-goers miss the beauty and intrigue of the late rainy / early dry season from May through June when the park starts to dry out after the annual deluges of November to February.

This safari is timed to take advantage of the stunning scenery, drying roads, very low visitor numbers and excellent rates available in the months of May & June. Traditional rhetoric suggests that predators are not visible in these months, since they move away from the river, but this forgets that many are territorial creatures that remain in their ranges year round. Game sightings are not as dense as they are in the lead up to the first rains, but there is still plenty to see and the rich colours and stunning scenery offer a beautiful canvas against which to run a photo safari.

With the lower rates, it’s possible to stay slightly longer, and I suggest that 9 nights allows time to explore the park and sit out the occasional thunderstorm! This is a safari season that very few see, and yet there are some stunning photographic experiences to be enjoyed. If you are looking to refresh your safari experiences, consider South Luangwa in the green season; you will be pleasantly surprised.

We will arrange your flights from Lusaka International Airport to Mfuwe International Airport, where Edward will meet you and transfer you to your first camp. Safaris begin with the afternoon game drive. After our final morning on safari, we will co-ordinate your departure to meet with the remainder of your itinerary and any onward connections.

This safari uses the central area of the park around Nkwali which has fantastic game but is the busiest zone of the South Luangwa. We will enter the park early via private crossings to get the best sightings but we will encounter other vehicles on our safaris. Usually this will not affect our experience in any way, but occasionally sightings become over-subscribed and we will have to make space for others.

Lion Camp has one of the finest locations in the Valley. While they do share the zone with 2 other camps, their enviable position gives us direct access to the best areas early in the morning. We will share sightings with the camp’s other vehicles but this will not impact the experience or our photographic opportunities.

Internal flights Lusaka – Mfuwe (South Luangwa) – Lusaka. Full board accommodation, standard drinks, all transport in the National Park and guided game viewing activities, pro-photographer guiding fees and informal photo processing sessions, South Luangwa National Park entrance fees, laundry, all airport transfers and onward transfers to your next camp.

International flights, premium drinks, visas, travel and medical insurance, (optional) tips, excess baggage charges, personal calls, gratuities, personal purchases, or any activities not specified in the itinerary.

  • Where: Nkwali & Lion Camp

  • Nights: 9
    Nkwali (4) & Lion Camp (5)

  • Group Size: 4
    Minimum 2, Maximum 4 – a surcharge will be applied if fewer than 4 is reached. (Groups of 6 can be accommodated – apply for details and rates.)

  • 26 May – 4 Jun 2025 — 2 Spaces
    US $9,000 pp
    No Single Supplement



Crisp Light & Clear Colours

At this time of year, the rains are starting to cease and the bush is drying up. The light is clear and sharp, offering superb detail in images, and the colours of the habitat are superb. A welcome change from dusty, dry season.

Excellent time for Wild Dogs

Wild dog sightings are traditionally excellent in the late part of the rains with the previous years’ pups running with the pack and sharing in the action. With lots of young antelope around, the dogs are busy hunting and feeding!

Unbelievable Sunsets

Cloudy skies give us soft light in the mornings but they also ensure stunning sunsets; strong, dusty light is perfect for backlighting.

Predator Sightings

Contrary to popular belief, predators are visible and active in the rains! Leopards are often found in trees, avoiding the flies, and lions make use of the roads to avoid getting muddy!



Emerald Season | 13 – 21 May 2023

My last Emerald Season safari for 2023 with a great group from UK, Germany and Australia. Thanks to them for a great week of fun with amazing light, great sightings of birds, leopards, elephants, lion cubs and African Skimmers!

Emerald Season | 22 Apr – 3 May 2023

Read the write up of a very successful Emerald Season Safari in South Luangwa from April & May 2023.





Nkwali Camp

Nkwali is located on the banks of the Luangwa on a magnificent meander in the river overlooking the National Park where leopards roam along the bank and can often be spotted from camp. Situated on Robin Pope Safaris’ private land outside the park there is a private game viewing area behind camp as well as exclusive access into the park either by boat or across the pontoon.

The six chalets with bamboo woven walls and thatch roofs offer a rustic luxury opening up to magnificent views of the river as well as open air en-suite bathrooms. Nkwali offers understated elegance, seclusion and superb service.

We were extremely impressed with both the service and the animals we managed to see on safari. We were also pleasantly surprised by the food and dining experience at Nkwali; considering the camp is in the middle of the bush the food was incredible and the sundowners in the evening were always special too.

Stevie, UK

Lion Camp

As the most remote lodge inside South Luangwa National Park, Lion Camp opens only during the peak game viewing months (June-October). It is a stylish, unique and independent lodge accommodating a maximum of 18 guests in one of the best game viewing areas in the park. The lodge looks out onto open grassland which is frequented by grazing mammals by day, and becomes a hunting ground for lions by night.

Accommodation at Lion Camp will be in their chalet rooms which have just been refurbished ready for the 2018 season. Built on raised wooden platforms, they are linked to each other and the main area by a raised wooden boardwalk. Your chalet will have either a four poster king-size double bed or twin beds, and a walk-in mosquito net. En-suite with a shower and toilet, it also has a private deck which overlooks the open plain in front.

Lion Camp is a fabulous camp which manages to be stylish without being pretentious. Wonderful accommodation and cuisine with mouth dropping views from the restaurant, viewing area and infinity pool to the floodplain in front, wildlife can be guaranteed to come and drink during the dry season

Vicky Fry, UK



If you are considering joining this safari, send me an enquiry to start planning your trip and discuss anything you would like to know.