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Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

Dublin
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Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

We are looking at the possibiltiy of driving down from Tanzania into Zambia in mid-july and were thinking of visiting either North or South Luangwa NP. Is it possible to access them from the west side at this time of year from the T2 down the Muchinga Escarpment, and if so how long would it take and what would the roads be like? Also, is there an easier/quicker route down through Malawi to either of these parks?

Thanks in advance.

London
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1. Re: Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

Hi Matttz – I drove down the escarpment into NLNP, and then south through Luambe and into SLNP past Tafika a few years ago during May.

The escarpment and into NLNP was very good; no worries at all. Lots of stones, but hence the road was very well-drained.

I crossed the Luangwa River beside NLNP in a Land Rover (with a snorkel). The water was very deep – above waist. So I switched off the engine, put it in neutral and got onto the end of a very strong tow rope attached to a chunky Unimog! (I’d pre-arranged this help from one of the camps, run by close friends. It’s not a service they normally offer – and they don’t always have the ‘mog’ there either!)

I wouldn’t have liked to try crossing that river without sturdy, well-equipped help at that time; better wait a few months until levels have dropped a bit.

Once the Luangwa has been crossed, the track isn’t too bad (as bush tracks go!) – although there were a few river crossings just around the north side of SLNP which were a bit sticky. Definitely leave that route for July or after would be my advice.

I would be pretty certain that the fastest way from TZ (especially in May) would be on the tar, via Chipata.

Chris McIntyre -

author: Bradt guidebooks to Botswana, Namibia, Zambia & Zanzibar

owner: Expert Africa (offices in London & New Zealand)

Mfuwe
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2. Re: Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

There is a ferry now across the luangwa river at North Luangwa NP. However, in July, it is not too deep for a land rover to ford the river. I've done this many times in July, Aug, Sept, Oct and Nov. June can be a bit challenging, but doable most seasons. I don't recommend many people should do it in June, unless you are experienced. There are crocs in the river.

Edited: 07 August 2010, 21:01
London
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3. Re: Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

Makes sense that in July it should be fine. In May it was very challenging!

Is the ferry definately back in full-time operation? Would you rely on it?

My last news of it was that it was out of commission ... albeit that was a while ago ...

Chris McIntyre -

author: Bradt guidebooks to Zambia, Botswana, Namibia & Zanzibar

owner: Expert Africa (offices in London & New Zealand)

Mfuwe
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4. Re: Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

It's Africa. I try not to rely on things like the ferry operating. Normally it starts operating in the dry season.

However, if I needed to know at any point in time, I would contact the ItsWild manager. He has been quite helpful in the past. Their camp, across from NLNP, is usually within spitting distance of the ferry. The ferry crossing can vary with the each season.

Btw, I did a solo crossing of the Luangwa many years ago in June. Provided me with a memorable classic Africa experience.

London
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5. Re: Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

Bravo! I should bow to experience here ... I was very happy to make it across on the end of a tow-rope!

I'll leave the ‘solo crossings’ early in the year to those who are braver than myself.

Chris McIntyre -

author: Bradt guidebooks to Zambia, Botswana, Namibia & Zanzibar

MD: Expert Africa (offices in London & New Zealand)

6. Re: Accessing North/South Luangwa NP from T2

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