Wildlife and bird viewing
Activity #1: Record sightings on the game drives & walks
This is the traditional game drive and safari walk with a difference! We encourage our guests to record sightings of large mammals during their drives and walks. These records form the backbone of our data to confirm the populations are continuing to recover. Sightings are added to our seasonal sighting record map that enjoys a proud place in the camp lounge and is the source of many interesting discussions.
GET MORE INVOLVED: For those guests who are interested, we encourage them to take facial close-ups of lions and leopards for our mammal census. Each individual is identifiable from the unique whisker spots found on each side of the face. Other characteristics such as ear tears, facial shapes and scars are also useful. The African wild dogs’ coat patterns are similarly unique to each individual and can be used to identify individuals. Side view pictures of wild dogs are most welcome for our data on Luambe’s wild dog pack.
Activity #2: Sleep-outs and outdoor dining.
Luambe Camp is the only camp in Luambe National Park and as a result, we are able to offer unique sleep outs and bush dining that are harder to do in the busier parts of the Luangwa. Experience what a night out in the Luangwa is like after a great meal and in complete safety with our guides and armed scouts.
These activities need to be arranged with management in camp but are a real highlight of a visit to Luambe!
Activity #3: Recording the leopards of Luambe
Leopard research has a long tradition in Luambe and the smallest home-range of any leopard has been reported from Luambe NP (Ray 2011, Ray-Brambach et al. 2018). Leopards do regularly come to drink at the camp’s waterhole. The Luambe Leopard program uses game drive sightings and camera trap images to build up the ‘Luambe leopard family tree’ by identifying various individuals. Help our team by photographing leopard faces or installing and setting up camera traps throughout the park to build our leopard family tree
Activity #4: Gentle giants on the increase – Luambe’s giraffes
Giraffes are increasingly becoming recognized as a species of conservation concern. After many years of absence, the Luangwa-endemic Thornicroft’s giraffe re-appeared in Luambe in 2014 when two odd bulls were found close to camp. In the years to follow, more giraffe turned up and a small population established and began to breed. In 2020 , a pair of twins arrived! Apart from South Luangwa National Park, Luambe is the only protected area with a reproducing population of Thornicroft’s giraffe. Similar to leopards, the giraffe coat pattern shows a high degree of individual variation and can be used as a cost‐effective, non‐invasive way to study populations. Help our team with your pictures of giraffes to increase our giraffe data.
Activity #5: Bird tagging and identification
Luambe is home to four vulture species which are all decreasing dramatically! Join the Luambe Conservation Project researchers with their vital work in understanding and protecting the Luangwa Valley’s vulture and crested crane populations. When possible, guests can join the LCP team and attend tagging exercises and other scientific research activities.
For the avid birdwatcher, abundant species of bird are regularly seen in Luambe: these include raptors such as the martial eagle, tawny eagle and African fish eagles. Our guided birding walks of the area around Luambe Camp can be spectacular with specials such as African skimmer, racket-tailed roller, Pel’s fishing owl, white-backed night-heron and Lilian’s lovebirds. Seasonal movements of the before mentioned species may mean these birds are not around when you visit.
Activity #6: Understand the community dynamics
Luambe has various communities that border the park. We work closely with Chitungulu and we welcome guests to join us in understanding the challenges these communities face when living next to wildlife areas. Guests are welcomed to see elephant proof maize storage, assist with bee hive fencing and chilli planting which reduce human – wildlife conflict. Additionally, we support a lot of work in the education sector focusing on stressing the importance of protecting wildlife to the next generation. We encourage locals to produce basketry and wood carvings through the Chitungulu Foundation.
Activity #7: Carmine conservation and coffee OR cocktails
For only a few weeks a year, between September and the end of October, Luambe is splashed with colour by Luangwa’s favourite visitors – the carmine bee eaters. Large flocks of these migratory birds dig their burrows and lay their eggs in the vertical Luangwa riverbanks, offering guests the rare opportunity to savour a cup of ‘Carmine Coffee’ or enjoy cocktail sundowner’s during their breeding season.
But believe it or not, these birds are often the target of feather poachers. Regular monitoring of Luambe’s breeding colonies, keeping accurate nest and population counts is vital to know that they are being protected. Luambe Conservation Project records nest sites and numbers annually to ensure the populations are thriving
Activity #8: See law-enforcement at work
Proper and regular law enforcement is the decisive factor to ensure long-term survival of Luambe National Park. We are very grateful that in 2019, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife of Zambia increased the number of scouts in Luambe National Park. In addition, the scout training programme of the International Fund for Animal Welfare has taken place in and around Luambe National Park in 2019 and 2020. Ever since then, a number of poachers and illegal miners have been apprehended. Join our scouts on an educational anti-snaring patrol where they teach you to look for the tell-tale signs of incursions, tracks and poachers.