This remote tract of land, covering 4636 square kilometres, offers one of the finest wilderness experiences in Zambia, if not Africa itself. It is not open to the public and there are no permanent lodges there. Access is with one of the few safari operators granted permission to conduct walking safaris. The beauty of visiting this Park is the truly remarkable opportunities to experience Africa as it was. It is wild and untouched and you are simply an unobtrusive witness to its natural beauty and drama. Although declared a wilderness area, the North Park, was not open to anyone other than Game Department rangers for more than thirty years. In 1984, Major John Harvey and his wife Lorna sought permission to conduct walking safaris in the area and for many years were the only operators in this remote wilderness.
Then in 1989, two scientists, Mark and Delia Owens, famous for their book ‘Cry of the Kalahari’, were granted permission to set up a research station in the Park. Through their influence and as a means of helping to curb poaching in the area, the authorities allowed entry to a few more safari operators who bring limited numbers into the Park for guided walking safaris and game drives. Their efforts in the North Luangwa are documented in their book ‘Survivors Song / The Eye of the Elephant’.
There are very few roads and you are unlikely to see anyone else for the duration of your trip. Like the South Park, it lies on the western bank of the Luangwa River bordered on the other side by the dramatic Muchinga Escarpment which rises over 1000 meters from the valley floor. Its hazy outline can clearly be seen from the Luangwa River.
There are a number of tributary rivers running through the Park and into the Luangwa which play an important ecological role in the area. The crystal-clear Mwaleshi River trickles down the escarpment in a series of small waterfalls. It recedes in the dry season, leaving many pools along the way, drawing the animals from the bush to its banks in search of water. No game drives are permitted in the Mwaleshi area, and access is by organized walking safaris only. The vegetation ranges from mopane woodland to riverine forest, open grasslands and acacia thicket. Trees include the beautiful sausage tree, vegetable ivory palms, red mahogany and leadwood.