Getting to North Luangwa
Prior to 2002, the only way for visitors to see North Luangwa was to come to one of the few camps for walking safaris within the park. That's still the way that most people visit, and certainly the way to get the most out of the park. Typically a three- to five-night stay at one of the walking camps is perfect. Most visitors (and there are only a total of a few hundred in the average year) combine a walking trip here with some time in the South Park, and fly between the two. For the cognoscenti, it's one of Africa's top safari destinations
Transfers to and from North Luangwa are normally organised as part of your safari package, on small 4–6-seater light aircraft. A short hop here by light aircraft from Lukuzi or Mfuwe (both in South Luangwa) takes about 10–20 minutes.
However, the very adventurous and experienced may now plan to drive themselves here, and through the newly opened north side of the park, in their own vehicles. For this you need two fully equipped 4WD vehicles, the expertise to use them, and a high degree of self-sufficiency in this very remote and wild area. Read Lessons in bush travel under South Luangwa National Park, Getting Organised, Lessons in Bush Travel
, before you even consider this! Then directions are as follows:From Mpika via Mano Scout Post
The turning to North Luangwa from the Great North Road (GPS: TUNLNP) is well signposted just over 60km northeast of Mpika, and 28km south of the turning to Shiwa Ng'andu. There are a few buildings at the junction, a place called Luanya, and the altitude here is 1,556m. This isn't a difficult track; follow it for about 32km until another sign points left (GPS: TUNLN2). It's then a further 11km to the Mano Scout Camp, by which time you've descended about 390m from the Great North Road. Although Mano is outside of the park, it acts as entrance gate to the park (GPS: NLNPMA), where you sign in, pay your park fees, and find out about the latest park news.
Here there are maps available from the scout post to chart the route that you are allowed to take across the park. They can also tell you where you're allowed to camp. The obvious first stop, not more than 1km further down the road, is the Natangwe Community Campsite.From Luambe National Park
Approaching North Luangwa from Luambe, you'll be travelling on the east side of the Luangwa River – very much a continuation of the road from South Luangwa to Luambe. (See under Luambe National Park, Getting There, By Driving, From South Luangwa
Starting at Chipuka Scout Camp (GPS: CHIPUK), which marks the northern edge of Luambe National Park, you'll be driving north through some very rural country with a scattering of remote villages. About 9km after the scout camp you need to take a very sharp left turn. (GPS: TULUA1).
Some 17km or so after that turn, you'll reach the very basic Zokwe Scout Camp (GPS: ZOKWE), which is followed by a lovely stretch of fairly undisturbed cathedral mopane woodland. Around 30km after Zokwe, there's a junction in the track (GPS: TULUAM) at Chiweza village school. Turn left here, and continue for another 2.9km until there's a right turn on to another track.
Straight on would lead you into the South Gate of the North Luangwa, ultimately to a crossing of the Luangwa near the Kanunshya Scout Post (GPS: KANUNS). This entry to the park is only for the wilderness zone, and for use by the operators that work there.
Hence take a right turn at GPS: CHAD-T and continue north and slightly east for about 31.2km until you reach the chief's palace at GPS: CHIEFP. There you ignore the road which carries on straight towards Chama, and instead take a sharp left turn, almost doubling back, to head slightly south of west. After about 4.5km you pass a place called Old Luelo Camp (GPS: OLDLUO), and then about 12km later, as you're approaching the Luangwa River, take a right turn (GPS: TUPONT) along the track that shadows the river. After almost 8km you'll reach the pontoon across the Luangwa (GPS: LUPONT) into the North Park.
This is usually monitored by the park's very sharp scouts. In case of vehicle problems they can arrange for help, but a substantial vehicle recovery fee will be payable.