zambia walking safari; luangwa national park

Walking safari, Luangwa National Park, Zambia

With an armed bush tracker, we walk in the riverine woodlands of South Luangwa National Park, looking for elephant, zebra, and the full complement of predators. Our walking safari offers an exciting and intimate experience of wild Africa.

Photo by Robin Pope

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Zambia Walking Safari route-map

Trip Details at-a-Glance

Cost From: $6495  
Length: 10 days
Arrive: Mfuwe, Zambia
Depart: Mfuwe, Zambia
Lodging: 5 nights game lodges, 4 nights comfortable walk-in tents with beds
Meals: All meals included
Activity: Safaris, Wildlife & Natural History, Walking
Trip Level: 4-day walking safari in Luangwa Valley, 4-5 miles a day
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Highlights

  • Experience an incredible walking safari in an unspoiled African wilderness
  • Good leopard sightings and the possibility of other predator-prey interactions
  • Night drives allow us to get closer to many nocturnal creatures
  • Welcoming lodges, full-service private camps in the wild


Having experienced many 4WD game drives, I have to admit that I’ve become a walking safari fan. It’s a whole different type of experience, much more intimate.Dennis H.—Venice CA

Choosing the Right Trip

We work hard to help you choose the right trip for you, paying attention to your individual interests, abilities, and needs. If you have questions about the level of comfort or any of the activities described in this itinerary, please contact us.

References

We are proud to have an exceptionally high rate of repeat travelers. For more information, we would be happy to put you in touch with a client who has traveled with us.

Departure Notes

Once you have signed up on the trip, we send a complete packing list, relevant health information, and required travel documents.

Zambia, birthplace of the legendary walking safari, is remote and untamed, and we’ve created an adventure that’s the perfect match for its wonders. With our small group (maximum six) and consummate safari guide Jason Alfonsi, you’ll set out on foot with game trackers to explore the incredible sights, sounds, and scents of the African bush firsthand. Seeing big game this way is a whole different experience—authentic, intimate, and exhilarating (you won’t be a bystander here!). And even though 3,500-square-mile South Luangwa National Park is as wild as it gets, welcoming lodges and Hemingway-style mobile camps in completely remote locations ensure total comfort. Bush walks, night gameviewing, 4WD safaris by open vehicle, and magenta sunsets over an unspoiled African wilderness—if you’re looking for excitement, it’s all here!

Itinerary at a Glance

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Days 1-2
Nkwali Camp / South Luangwa National Park

Nkwali Camp is our base for 4WD gameviewing in prime riverine woodlands. With the setting of the sun, you’ll discover a different world on night drives to enter the secret realm of leopard, lion, genet, and hyena.

Days 3-6
Walking Safari / Luangwa Valley

You’re up at sunrise each day for an exciting bush walk with your tracker guides, with the possibility of seeing elephant, waterbuck, hippo, zebra, and with luck, the full complement of predators. From examining a bird’s nest to tracking a lion, you’ll learn the many facets of the bush. Our fully serviced mobile camps provide everything you need—from cozy walk-in tents with camp beds to delicious meals served al fresco.

Days 7-10
Nsefu Camp

From Nsefu Camp, set on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River, head out on bush walks and game drives along stunning oxbow lakes and in ebony forests. From the thatched dining room at sunset, you can sip a cocktail as elephants and hippos bathe in the river nearby. Depart on Day 10.

For a more complete description, Download Full Detailed Itinerary

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

What the Trip is Like

This trip is rated Level 2+, easy to moderate. It is an active safari featuring extensive bush walking, supplemented by game drives. Participants must be agile, in good health, and in good shape. At Nkwali and Nsefu, we stay in comfortable, airy bungalows (chalets at Nkwali, rondavels at Nsefu) that have en suite bathrooms with flush toilets and showers. Our day starts with an early wake-up call and tea, coffee, cereals, and toast. After breakfast, we depart on a game drive, with a midmorning stop for tea/coffee and cakes. We return anytime between 9:30 a.m. and midday. After lunch, there is a chance to rest, read, or spend a few quiet hours viewing animals near our accommodation. Around 4 p.m., following tea and cakes, we depart on a game drive that continues through sundown—and sometimes into the evening for exciting nighttime gameviewing. We return for hot showers, drinks at the bar, a three-course dinner, and perhaps a nightcap sitting around the fire under the stars. We retire around 10:30 p.m., as the hyenas begin to call.
 
During the walking safari, we are in mobile camps and our schedule is a bit more flexible. We walk 5-6 miles per day, typically in the early morning and in the late afternoon. Although the walks are not tests of your endurance, we walk cross-country and the terrain can be challenging (lightweight hiking boots or walking shoes with lug soles and ankle support may help). Our fully serviced mobile camps are set up with well-equipped walk-in tents with full bedding. At each camp, there is a shower and a shared latrine-style toilet. Delicious meals of a high standard are served on the walking safari.

Game Drive and Wild Animals: Our game drives are in open 4WD vehicles, a boon for great photographic opportunities. During drives and walks, we can at times get quite close to wild animals. Being very quiet improves everybody’s chances of observation. In the interest of safety, your Trip Leader explains limitations on movement while on game drives, in the safari vehicles, and around camp. Incidents with wild animals are extremely rare on safaris, but no trip can guarantee immunity from such incidents. Wilderness Travel is not to be held responsible for incidents involving the behavior of wildlife.

Explanation of Trip Levels

 

Departures & Leaders

2015
Jun 30-Jul 9, 2015  Jason Alfonsi
Jul 15-24, 2015  Jason Alfonsi
Aug 13-22, 2015  Jason Alfonsi
Sep 11-20, 2015  Jason Alfonsi

Trip Cost

Prices are for 2015
$6495 (2-6 members)
Park fees: $650
No extra charge for singles!
more on pricing

Extension Costs
Lower Zambezi Canoe and Walking Safari Extension
   from: $2395
Johannesburg: Cradle of Humankind, Soweto and the Apartheid Museum Extension
   from: $1295
Victoria Falls Extension
   from: $995
Lake Malawi: Pumulani Beach Lodge Extension
   from: $2395

Trip Cost Includes:

  • Expert leadership of a Wilderness Travel Trip Leader and local guides
  • Accommodations, based on double occupancy
  • All meals included
  • Park fees
  • Safari camp staff
  • Land transportation, airport transfers for passengers as noted in the Full Trip Brochure, and baggage handling

Trip Cost Does Not Include:

International airfare to and from Africa, internal flights, any meals not specified after each itinerary day in the Full Trip Brochure, airport departure taxes, optional tipping or gratuities to leaders or staff, additional hotel nights that may be necessary due to airline schedule changes or other factors, cost of medical immunizations (if any), travel insurance, and other expenses of a personal nature.

Trip Payment Schedule

At time of reservation: $500
120 days prior to departure: 20%
60 days prior to departure: Balance

Cancellation and Transfer Fee Schedule

More than 90 days prior to departure: No charge!
46-90 days prior to departure: 25% of trip cost
45 days or less: 100% of trip cost

Nkwali Camp

Nkwali Camp

Days 1 to 2 (2 nights), Luangwa Valley, Zambia

Beautifully set in an ebony grove overlooking South Luangwa National Park, Nkwali features six bamboo chalets, each with an attached private ...
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Zambia Walking Safari—Mobile Camps

Zambia Walking Safari—Mobile Camps

Days 3 to 6 (4 nights), South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

For our walking safari, we use lightweight yet fully serviced mobile camps that allow us access to remote sections of the park. Our mobile camps ...
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Camps in Luangwa River Valley

Days 7 to 9 (3 nights), Luangwa River Valley, Zambia

In the Luangwa River Valley, we stay at one of the following camps:

Extension Accommodations

If you would like to view the accommodations offered with our extensions options:

Note: Listed above are our signature accommodations for this trip. Although it is highly unlikely, we may make substitutions when necessary.

Jason Alfonsi

Jason Alfonsi was born in a small town in the north of Zambia, the son of an English mother and Italian father who came out to Zambia in the 1950s. He first came to the Luangwa Valley in 1984 to begin training as a guide, and he moved to the valley permanently in 1990. Jason is an accomplished professional with an unparalleled knowledge of the wildlife and natural history of South Luangwa. “I love the magic of Luangwa and I try to share as many of its spectacular habitats as possible. I also try to bring the people who live and work in Luangwa into the experience, because they are just as important as the wildlife and the landscape. Learning about other cultures teaches you as much about your own as it does the new.” Jason is a member of the Zambia Ornithological Society and has a strong interest in Luangwa’s fantastic birdlife. He also belongs to the local astronomy club, and his knowledge of the night skies of the Southern Hemisphere make him a great companion for star-gazing around the campfire in the evening. Jason speaks English, the local Luangwa language called Chinyanga, and “reasonable Italian.”

Upcoming Trips:

Zambia Walking Safari, June 30-July 9, 2015
Zambia Walking Safari, July 15-24, 2015
Zambia Walking Safari, August 13-22, 2015
Zambia Walking Safari, September 11-20, 2015

Client Testimonials:


It was a privilege to spend a week with such a dedicated leader. It was like a college seminar at times, with real depth and deep discussions. Jason took us on grand adventure, including tracking a lion and finding the entire pride, finding a leopard hunting impala, and watching wild dogs. Mary Kay D., Berkeley CA,
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason was extremely knowledgeable. He knows the African bush and its denizens and enjoys sharing his deep interest. Dianne L., Fairfax Station, VA I have taken many nature trips, but Jason was by far the best guide I’ve ever had. Dieter S., Green Valley AZ,
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason is an excellent guide, extremely knowledgeable and very pleasant to be with. Vicki G, Oakland, CA Jason is an absolute gem. His guiding was exceptional. The man can call in lions or shrews or birds with equal ease.
Donna N., Eugene OR,
Zambia Walking Safari
We couldn’t have asked for a better Trip Leader than Jason Alfonsi. He was entertaining and very knowledgeable and put everyone at ease. Julia V., St. Louis MO,
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason Alfonsi would go out of his way to help us try to experience or see something we mentioned having an interest in. He was approachable and fun! Christine G., San Diego CA,
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason was an excellent guide who was incredibly knowledgeable and sensitive to the environment. Joan M., New York, NY It was a delight to have a trip leader as excited about seeing the wildlife as we were. He really wanted to share Zambia with us. Donna B., Fitchburg, WI
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason shared his excitement for African wildlife with us in a way no other guide has (this was our 4th African safari). Cynthia S., Fitchburg, WI
Zambia Walking Safari
I'm certain that Jason is the best guide in Zambia, probably in all of Africa. He obviously thoroughly enjoys his work and his enthusiasm is infectious. Steve F., Philomath, OR
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason is a superb leader. He has spent virtually his entire life in Zambia, and knows the Zambia bush incredibly well. He was a pleasure to be with and a fount of knowledge. Peter and Henry H., New York, NY
Zambia Walking Safari
Can't say enough good things about Jason. He gave us the opportunity to experience Zambia with all five senses. I'm bringing home so much knowledge about the area and the life there, plant and animal. Jason is also very knowledgeable about politics, the environment, and history. Plus he's simply a great person to be around! Nancy B., Albany, CA
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason is off the charts in all areas. We have had some wonderful leaders on our other WT trip but I would say that he was the best ever. Georgie C., Woodside, CA
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason is an amazing guide. His respect for the country, its people, and its animals, is fully evident in the way he conducts his tours. His personal integrity, and his fun personality, made traveling with him a real pleasure. Ali I., New York, NY
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason is one of the top trip leaders we have had on our many Wilderness trips. He was bright and informed about the animals, birds, stars, and country. He is enthusiatic about his job and it shows. Sarah L., Sioux Falls, SD
Zambia Walking Safari
Jason is passionate and extremely knowledgeable about this area of Zambia. He even gave us an astronomy lesson on a moonless night! I really appreciated his respect for the animals. Cathryn Z., Watertown, SD
Zambia Walking Safari

Optional Extensions

If you would like to continue your adventure, we offer the following extensions:

Malawi

Lake Malawi: Pumulani Beach Lodge Extension

Snorkeling, Sea Kayaking, and More at Lake Malawi National Park

Snorkeling
4 days  -  Level 1

South Africa

johannesburg city skyline south africa

Johannesburg: Cradle of Humankind, Soweto and the Apartheid Museum Extension

Cradle of Humankind, Soweto & the Apartheid Museum

Archaeology, Cultural Adventures
3 days  -  Level 1

Zambia

zambezi river zambia canoe safari

Lower Zambezi Canoe and Walking Safari Extension

Up-Close Gameviewing, Game Walks, and Night Drives in Zambia’s Newest National Park

Walking, Safaris, Wildlife & Natural History
4 days  -  Level 2

victoria falls zambezi river zimbabwe zambia

Victoria Falls Extension

One of the World’s Natural Wonders

Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Zimbabwe

victoria falls zambezi river zimbabwe zambia

Victoria Falls Extension

One of the World’s Natural Wonders

Walking, Wildlife & Natural History
3 days  -  Level 2

Client Comments

Having experienced many 4WD game drives, I have to admit that I’ve become a walking safari fan. It’s a whole different type of experience, much more intimate. Dennis H., Venice CA It was a perfect trip that met and exceeded all my expectations. Jason couldn't have been more fun and all the food was fantastic! Sally B., Diamond Bar CA Absolutely without a doubt the trip of a lifetime for our family! Lisa D., Dublin,CA It was the adventure of a lifetime and I felt very well cared for. Susan D., Eastham, MA An amazing trip. Everyone should get the opportunity to go on a trip like this! Julia V., St. Louis, MO On the walking safari, we saw no other people! The animals were splendid, and Zambia is so wild and special. Dianne L., Fairfax Station, VA Fabulous trip. Our cook on the mobile portion of the safari was amazing. Excellent food everywhere and a great itinerary. Vicki G., Oakland, CA The combination of a walking safari and vehicle safari is excellent. Dieter S., Green Valley, AZ My first trip to Africa and I loved it. The camps were comfortable without being “over the top” and the guides were great. All the staff was amazing. Ann Z., Pensacola FL
Of the many adventure travel experiences we have had, this was tops. Steve F., Philomath, OR I had a superb trip—not only the itinerary, locations, and experiences, but the staff at all venues were truly outstanding. Also, Jason Alfonsi is a real gem, a polished diamond! Brian T., Scottsdale, AZ This was an inspiring trip. I particularly enjoyed the walking part of the safari, which really gives you a taste of life in the African bush. The national park we visited is beautiful and remote and the accommodations are charming and well run. Peter and Henry H., New York, NY I absolutely loved this trip. The walking safari takes Africa to a new experience. Pam P., Portland, OR What an amazing experience. The memories made on this trip will last forever. Thank you! Bill Z., Watertown, SD This was a trip of a lifetime, made special by our incredible good fortune at seeing such a range of wildlife in unique settings. Susan T., Columbia, SC