In 1866, David Livingstone crossed the Luangwa Valley and noted that “I will make this land better known to men that it may become one of their haunts. It is impossible to describe its luxuriance.” Today, the Luangwa Valley is one of the premier game-viewing destinations in Africa, and in many ways it has managed to avoid being commercialised.
South Luangwa National Park has its roots in a discovery in 1904 when scientists declared the Thornicroft’s Giraffe a subspecies only to be found in the Luangwa Valley. The Luangwa Game Park was declared on the eastern bank of the river and in 1938 three game-reserves were defined as North Luangwa Game Reserve, Lukusuzi Game Reserve and South Luangwa Game Reserve.
In 1939, a soon to become well-known gentleman called Norman Carr became a ranger in Luangwa. Over the years to come, he was to have a huge impact on conservation in Zambia. He established the first public camp in Zambia and developed walking safaris which put visitors into a real bush experience away from the noise of vehicles. These walking safaris put Luangwa firmly on the map in terms of tourism and they remain popular to this day.
On February 15th, 1972 government legislation turned all game-reserves in Zambia into national parks and South Luangwa National Park as we know it today was born.