Mana Pools and South Luangwe


Are planning a trip July or August 2021 to Mana Pools and South Luangwe. We have been to several countries in Africa so really just want to spend time in these parks. We fly from the US to JNB and plan to end our trip in Capetown before the long flight home. I am overwhelmed attempting to figure logistics. We want to see wildlife, walk and canoe.

Any assistance is greatly appreciated!

Answer ( 1 )

  1. The logistics is not easy (or cheap) and you probably need to leave it to a tour operator to sort it out. I have done the transfer from Lusaka to the Ruckomechi concession which is to the West of Mana Pools NP. It was a 3-4 hour drive to Chirundu, then a border crossing, then a 1.5 hour boat trip.

    It would be further to the national park itself. Coming from South Luangwa, you’d additionally need to transfer from your camp to Mfuwe (could be up to 3 hours drive depending on the camp) and about an hour and 15 flight. It can be done in one long day, but you would miss both morning and afternoon activities. I’d be inclined to do it in 2 legs with an overnight in Lusaka.

    You could go back the same way to Lusaka or look at one of the airlines that has a flight stopping at both Harare and Lusaka (both Ethiopian and Emirates do this). It would then be an easy open jaw flight to come back from Harare- you can fly from Mana to Harare, I think it’s about an hour. There’s also the option of using Johannesburg as a hub, but given the state SAA is in at the moment, I wouldn’t take the chance of counting on them, although it would probably be your easiest route- I think they have a direct flight from Atlanta (or had, who knows if it will ever restart).

    Have you been to Lower Zambezi national park on the Zambian side of the river? This would be logistically much easier to combine with South Luangwa as you can fly directly with Proflight. I have been to Mana twice and Lower Zambezi once, and I prefer the Zambian side. There’s some discussion of the pros and cons in this thread!

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