Luangwa Valley. 100 km wide, it stretches along the East African Rift Valley for 700 km. It is considered a paradise for a unique species of giraffes — the Thornycroft giraffe.
In the South Luangwa National Park, the Luangwa River turns south to the Zambezi and passes through the mosaic of Mopane and Miombo forests, as well as through meadows flooded during the rainy season (from November to May). When the park is flooded, the sandy areas around the town of Mfuwe remain above the water level and form islands where about 700 giraffe individuals gather in anticipation of the end of the rainy season. For giraffes it is a shelter, and for visitors it is a bonus, as giraffes are easier to see.
Thornycroft’s giraffe is easily recognized by the dark spots on the neck and the absence of spots under the knees.
They are united with other giraffes by a long neck and 45-centimeter tongues, allowing them to reach vegetation inaccessible to other herbivores. Try to find a mother with cubs. Quite a rare sight, because up to 75% of cubs in the first year of their life are killed by predators. You can also witness a “battle of necks”, when males push their heads, sometimes breaking each other’s necks and jaws.
By the way, the rarely visited North Luangwa Park is also available in May.
YOUR ADVENTURE: Giraffes gather here at the end of the rainy season
WHERE: South Luangwa National Park