Where to stay in North Luangwa
If you're self-sufficient and driving yourself through the northern zone of the park, then there is a community campsite planned for just outside the east side of the park, near the pontoon. Until that's open, there's only one simple campsite here. Most people camp at Luambe Wilderness Lodge on the east side, and here on the west side:Natangwe Community Campsite
Opened in 2002, with the help of the North Luangwa Conservation Project, the Natangwe Community Campsite is run by the local Mukungule Community. All the proceeds from it are put into a fund that will, eventually, go to benefit that community. The campsite is set in beautiful thick mushitu forest, just a kilometre or so beyond the Mano Scout Post (GPS: NLNPMA) which acts as the park entrance gate. It has three private camping sites with clean toilets, hot-water showers and fireplaces for barbeques.
If you stay for a while you can walk next to the Mwaleshi River from here, arrange a visit to one of the local villages, and perhaps do a little birding. Look out for Lady Ross's lourie and the uncommon green twinspot. Natangwe is the best place to camp on the western boundary of the park for those who plan to drive east the following morning. You need to have all your own supplies; nothing is available here apart from water and firewood.
Southern wilderness area
Being very remote, and only accessible for part of the year, the park's southern zone – the walking wilderness area – is a difficult place for a safari company to operate. Hence for many years there have been only two or three camps here, all of which concentrate on walking rather than driving. North Luangwa offers an experience that is even more remote and isolated than the rest of the Valley, and you can guarantee that you won't be disturbed by anyone else whilst walking here.
All three of the park's bushcamps stand on the banks of the Mwaleshi, and it's one of the few sources of water for the game, which consequently gravitates to it. It is shallow enough to be easily crossed on foot, allowing you to follow game back and forth across the river. This isn't usually an option beside the main Luangwa, but is easy here. Certainly in the heat of October I relished the cool of paddling across it and even the chance to just sit down in the middle with a drink at sundown. Having such a convenient, cool stream next to camp does make a big difference to both your comfort in the heat and your game viewing.