From January to March, the Secret Season spreads across the South Luangwa, bringing the landscape to life and creating a paradise for wildlife and visitors alike. The park is thriving this time of year, with wildlife that are fat and happy thanks to the plentiful food. Elephant, giraffe, zebra, buffalo and other plains game abound, with many tending to their new young. Lion and leopard stalk the forests, and wild dog sightings pick up. The treetop canopies are bursting with avian life. Seasonal and year-round residents show off their brilliant breeding plumage and sing their hearts out to attract a mate, the melody of the Secret Season.

Despite the magic of this time of year, few know about it, making it perfect for the modern-day explorers looking to escape the crowds and find wild experiences on the road less travelled. Imagine stepping back in time to a world that was still largely unexplored, where every corner holds a new delight and wonder steeps your mind. This is the feeling of discovering the South Luangwa in our Secret Season…raw, authentic and thrillingly wild.

Contrary to popular belief, the wildlife doesn’t vanish during the emerald season…just the other tourists. With only a few camps open, travellers are few and far between, creating an exclusive and intimate experience. As you watch a leopard drag an impala up a tree to feed in peace, yours will be the only vehicle at the sighting. As you drift quietly along the banks of the river, it will be just you and a thousand birds swirling through the air. As you walk through the verdant forests, you feel like the last people on Earth. Revel in the rarity of these moments, in the privilege of being in this wild and untouched place where animals roam free and nature still rules the rhythms of life.


Alongside South Luangwa classics like walking safaris and game drives, this is also the only time of year to experience something very special: boating safaris on the Luangwa River. With water levels at their highest, boating safaris take you straight in the deepest heart of the park to territories untouched and inaccessible to vehicles and walking safaris. Venture beyond the banks of the river through the flooded ebony groves. Drift right past Africa’s largest yellow-billed stork colony as they nest high the treetops, drawn to the region thanks to the safe breeding sites and abundance of easy fishing. As animals wander along the banks grazing and drinking, you will get an up-close and personal encounter, seeing them right at eye level. When the sun starts setting and the billowy clouds above illuminate with coral and pink, let the taste of a crisp gin and tonic sundowner celebrate the end of another memorable day on safari. The marimba tones of a thousand frogs and resonant bellows of the many hippos serenade you as you cruise back to camp.


With the lush backdrops making animals pop and dramatic storms bringing the landscape to life, this time of year offers endless unique photographic opportunities. As the afternoon storms brew magnificently, you will get interesting light, dazzling skies and chances to photograph wildlife in an unusual setting. After the brief storms pass, the air and skies are left refreshed and clear. Brilliant blue overhead and vibrant green in every other direction, what more could you ask for?


Time + Tide offers a special itinerary called Rivers + Rainbows created to celebrate the wonders of the South Luangwa Secret Season. With 6 nights total, you will have plenty of time to explore and soak in the incredible natural beauty on display this time of year. As our gift to you, we have included two nights at Time + Tide Kakuli FREE of charge.

You start your journey with 4 nights at Time + Tide Kakuli, located deep in the park and accessible only by boat during this time of year. Perched a tall bank of the Luangwa River, every suite offers sweeping panoramic views and comfort in all types of weather. A waterhole right in front of camp attracts a daily parade of creatures, making for great game viewing right in camp. Sip your morning cup of coffee as you warm your toes by the campfire and watching a zebra and her baby drink below.

Finish out your time with 2 nights at the award-winning Time + Tide Chinzombo, located in one of the most wildlife packed corners of the park. Dotted along an oxbow curve of the Luangwa River, each spacious villa offers style, luxury and utter seclusion. Between activities, unwind with a soak in your private tub overlooking the bush or indulge in a spa treatment featuring African botanicals.

Game viewing activities may occasionally be delayed or interrupted (just a good excuse for another gin and tonic or slice of cake), but they are rarely cancelled.

The best part of it all is that it’s the best value time of year to experience a world class safari. The rates are lower, the crowds are fewer and the temperatures are pleasingly mild. Don’t let this incredibly special time of year pass you by. The road less travelled offers so much more, come and let us show you…


  • 6 nights total: 2 nights Time + Tide Chinzombo, 4 nights Time + Tide Kakuli
  • 2 nights FREE at Time + Tide Kakuli (valued at $730 per person)
  • $4,360 per person sharing total with savings
  • South Luangwa National Park


  • Vibrant green landscape and rivers flowing full
  • Perfect for modern day explorers seeking the road less travelled
  • Abundant wildlife and incredible bird diversity make for world-class game viewing
  • Few camps open and zero crowds
  • Best time of year to see endangered wild dogs
  • Africa’s largest yellow-billed stork colony
  • Dramatic storms and lightning strikes followed by blue skies, sunshine and crystal-clear air
  • Incredible photographic opportunities
  • Only time of year for boating safaris
  • Game drives and walking safaris

Book your own dream safari and experience the beauty of Zambia with us

or contact your current Time + Tide travel designer

Discover the road less travelled

Enquire Now


Zambia is Africa's best kept secret, with its vast landscapes, diverse wildlife and welcoming culture. Trace the steps of early conservationists while experiencing walking safaris in the South Luangwa. Come face to face with giants as you glide quietly in a canoe along the reeds in the Lower Zambezi. Feel the rumble of a distant thunderstorm on Liuwa Plain’s horizon as you marvel at the sight of gathering wildebeest amongst a flush of colourful wildflowers.



Fringed by white sand beaches and colourful coral reefs, Miavana is a haven of luxury at the ends of the Earth. Raw and refined, this private island sanctuary brings together world-class luxury in a world of rare wildlife and extraordinary landscapes. Madagascar is like nowhere else on the planet. A land of lemurs and chameleons, turtles and terns, where unknown species are still being discovered to this day. Miavana is the ultimate destination for modern-day explorers, an adventure playground offering an unrivalled range of activities that span the horizons of land, sea and air, celebrating the very best of this remarkable region.


South Luangwa

Just a one hour flight from Lusaka, the South Luangwa is known for its big cat sightings and often referred to as the Valley of the Leopard. It is in the South Luangwa that the legendary Norman Carr pioneered the walking safari and conservation-based tourism in Africa. Zambia's outstanding reputation of guiding is ever prevalent in our team with some of our guides having trained with Norman himself.  Our guides offer guests a raw, authentic safari experience and don't let the finer details in these vast spaces pass you by. 


Liuwa Plain

Liuwa Plain’s vast savannah is one of the oldest conservation areas in Africa, yet it’s one of Africa’s best-kept secrets. With its golden grasslands and shimmering lagoons, Liuwa Plain transforms with the arrival of the rains from a vast grass plains to a watery wonderland.


Lower Zambezi

Nestled between the imposing mountain escarpment to the north and the mighty Zambezi River to the south, the Lower Zambezi Valley has a variety of activities that few, if any, other destinations can offer. It has been described by guests as their "happy place" because of its beautiful scenery, peaceful riverside woodlands and abundant wildlife. The Lower Zambezi is just a short 30 minute flight from Lusaka and offers guests the thrill of tiger-fishing to peaceful wildlife sightings on the banks of the river while canoeing or boating. Our guides strive to make each guest feel like they are part of the landscape and not a mere spectator.

"The uniqueness of being in a camp with only four safari tents is the ultimate feeling of luxury.  Luwi overlooks a wide open grassland that on my first morning we watched a high speed chase - a pack of Wilddogs on a hunt.  It was exhilarating to watch and sent our heart rates through the sky adding a lot of chatter and laughter once the pack had passed by."
Jessica, Guest Time + Tide Luwi
"The authenticity and remoteness of the seasonal camps will be a special experience that I will long to return to.  There really is no place on earth that you can really escape like you can at the seasonal camps.  Falling asleep at Kakuli to the distant lion roars and waking to the call of the fish eagle - really what a magical walking safari!"
Lara, Guest Time + Tide Kakuli
This is the most magical place you're ever likely to experience. Nestled under a grove of imposing Albida trees, it is clearly favoured by the many elephant who graze on the Albida pods. Their presence adds an incredibly special energy to the camp. 
Charles, Guest at Time + Tide Chongwe Camp
The lodge is stunning and all the staff are utterly wonderful. The views from the lodge are outstanding, lovely Liuwa wilderness. My bedroom was incredibly comfortable, very stylish, hitting a difficult combination of minimalist yet luxury. Incredibly comfortable bed and many relaxing areas to rest. 
Mandy, Guest at Time + Tide King Lewanika
Our family had the most joyful time at Chongwe, really everything was perfect and every detail taken care of. The team ensured we had the best time at every activity (even tiger fishing!). We felt privileged to spend a few days here and look forward to returning.
Richard, Guest at Time + Tide Chongwe
"Thank you for embracing the unique culture of Barotseland through storytelling, song, dance, drums and the marimba - this is a jewel in the necklace of the African Parks managed conservation areas we are visiting across Africa - much appreciated."
Kingsley Holgate, Guest at Time + Tide King Lewanika
Chinzombo is a stunning lodge in a beautiful location of the South Luangwa. The rooms are luxurious and spacious, with a deck and plunge pool overlooking the Luangwa River. There is always an abundance of wildlife around the rooms, we had a banded mongoose, bushbuck, elephants and hippo's - just to name a few.
Michael, Guest at Time + Tide Chinzombo