This place is not commonly visited but is popular for the trekking tours. North Luangwa is somewhat smaller than its corresponding South Luangwa National Park. It is very isolated and can only be access through a few safari operators who have got the permission to conduct trekking safaris in the area. The park still stands as an immaculate wilderness and the territory feels so isolated without the likelihood of seeing any other tourists, dissimilar to some parts in South Luangwa.
The terrain is covered with diverse vegetation and an escarpment varied with mopane woodlands, candelabra and terminalia trees, open grasslands, acacia thickets and a sandy white-river beds. The park is much drier as compared to the South, with broad open spaces dotted with lagoons and oxbows that are resulted from the rains. Not to forget is the spectacular river Mwaleshi which flows through the park with bubbling-clear water on a sandy floor; it gives you the feeling of discovering an oasis in the wild desert!
As the season advances this richly gifted park with game become more interesting. The region is popular for its numerous lions, large elephants and a diversity of other game inclusive of small herbivores such as the widely spread Cooksons wildebeest. Chances are high that you will be on foot so you may not be able to catch sight of a lot, but it will all be a wonderful experience.
North Luangwa National Park is an isolated expanse occupying 4,636 sq km among the few untouched but spectacular regions in Zambia and Africa at large. It is not open for public viewing so permanent camps are not in this area. The area can only be accessed through one of the few safari operators that were given permission to carry out trekking safaris.
There are two major rivers flowing through and besides the park and these are river Mulandashi and Luangwa. River Mulandashi flows down with a chain of waterfalls and rapids before reaching the valley floor with a gushing pour at the Chomba Waterfalls. The crystal clear water waterfall is the key tourist attraction in North Luangwa national Park is a haven for biggest-herds of elephants along the rivers course.
The numerous habitats in the park leave you overwhelmed and perplexed. Existing are some are with verdant riverine forests, mopane forests and sausage trees bearing long hanging sausage like fruits. This verdant vegetation has attracted a diversity of birds such as the Purple crested turaco and Pel’s Fishing Owl.
Although this area is declared as a wasteland area, the Park was never opened to the public with the exception of rangers from the Game Department for more than thirty two (32) years. The Major John Harvey and Lorna-his wife 1984 to carry out trekking safaris and for several year, they remained the sole operators in this North Park.
An American couple - Mark and Delia Owens both zoologists popular for their book entitled Cry of the Kalahari; that talks about the experience they had in central Botswana were given permission to establish a research center in the park in the year 1986. Delia and Mark were deeply overwhelmed by the beauty of the North park and in the years that followed by, they launch numerous anti poaching projects within the neighboring communities. Their hard work nearly ended game poaching in this area, bettering the conditions of wild animals, as well as improved the lives of the natives living in and surrounding the North Luangwa Park.
Through this couples persuasion and as away to reduce poaching in this region, the authorities granted permission to a few other safari operators, but putting a limit on the number of travelers they bring for guided trekking safaris or game drives. In their book called ‘Survivors Song, The Eye of an Elephant’, the Owens did document their effort which they did while in North Luangwa Park.
In the whole of Zambia it is in this park that you will find the most keen and passionate rangers. So if you are looking for true adventure other than the ordinary safari, then North Luangwa is the ideal destination to because it’s the only corner on earth that will smile at you beyond all others.
The most important thing you benefit in visiting this National Park is that it gives you the opportunity to appreciate Africa beauty in its natural state as it was many years ago. Its terrain is natural and undamaged and you stand to be just a witness to it’s over whelming natural and beautiful environment. There almost no reads and the chance of seeing a single person during your safari are very minimal if none at all. Similar to the Southern Park, it’s located on the western bank of river Luangwa and the spectacular Muchinga escarpment which projects to more than 1000 m from the floor of the valley, on the opposite side. Its foggy sketch can evidently be seen form river Laungwa.
There are numerous river tributaries that flow through the park and join the river Luangwa, and these play a major role in the ecological system of the area. The see-through waters of river Mwaleshi drip downward on the escarpment in a chain of small spectacular waterfalls. The river draws back during the dry season leaving behind numerous pools along its course. These attract a number of wild animals to its banks as they search for water holes to have a drink. No game drives are allowed in the Mwaleshi region, only trekking safaris are accepted.
The park is popular for the large herds of resident buffaloes; it is quite eye-catching if you are chanced to see them running, raising large volumes of dust behind their tracks. There are many lions in this area and it is very common for you to witness them hunting and making their kill. Among the other usually seen mammals are Crawshay's zebra, hyena, vervet monkey, bushbuck, baboon, impala, warthog, puku and Cookson’s wildebeest -Connochaetes taurines cooksoni; which is a subspecies of the great Blue Wildebeest).
Elephants are occasionally seen but not as often as it is in the South Park, though you will be able to see reedbucks, elands and hartebeest. The bird species seen in the South Park have been documented and recognized as residents in this region. The frequently seen species include Pel’s fishing owl, Lilian’s lovebird, carmine bee-eater broad billed roller, crowned cranes, giant eagle owl and the purple crested louries. Once in a while you can catch sight of the bathawk, osprey and the black coucal.