Africas Luangwa Valley

Africas Luangwa Valley

In one of his several books, "The White Impala", Norman Carr devotes many pages to Africas Luangwa Valley. He also sets the time of his initial involvement: "About a year before Hitler marched on Poland I managed to get a job as Elephant Control Officer with the Government of Northern Rhodesia (now Zambia) and was fortunate enough to be posted to Fort Jameson, with responsibility for the whole Luangwa".

There had been a tragic incident involving Charlie Ross, described by Norman as an "old campaigner". Charlie was killed by an elephant. Norman was to fill the vacancy created by this tragedy.

That is how Norman’s association with Africas Luangwa Valley began and after decades living there – it is well established that no one knew the area better than Norman Carr.

The valley had an incredible number of elephants in addition to a variety of other wildlife making it probably one of the most prolific game areas of Africa.

Elephant Control Officers had as their main duty to track down elephants invading native cultivation and protect the settled areas from their marauding.

The team had consisted of Charlie Ross, Freddy Hall, Harry Rangely and Captain Langham, they were the founding members of the organization.

They were all hunters of the old school described by Norman as "first class men". Alas, they are all gone now and with them went the last of the old pioneer hunters in Africa.

For more in depth discussion of these pioneers and the Luangwa Valley we suggest you read the book(s) by Norman Carr, now out of print but available from used book sellers.

The Luangwa Valley is part of a geological formation known as the Great Rift Valley, which splits Africa in two from the Red Sea to South Africa. The continental fault consists of a chain of depressions including the Nile Valley and the Great Lakes of Central Africa.

The Luangwa River flows through one of these valleys for almost four hundred miles until it joins up with the Zambezi where the international borders of Zambia, Zimbabwe and Mozambique all meet.

The Luangwa Valley is almost two thousand feet lower than the surrounding plateau, consequently much hotter. In the east there is a well defined escarpment, but in the west there is an unbroken range extending for about two hundred miles.

Wilderness Trails in Africas Luangwa Valley

Considering how popular walking tours or walking safaris have become in recent years, it might be interesting to hear Norman Carr describe in his own words the invention and inauguration of "Wilderness Trails".

Norman Carr can rightly be considered the first to launch such trails.

Here is how he tells it: "Not so many years ago I inaugurated a non-shooting type of safari with a difference, which I called a 'wilderness trail'.

It is virtually a walking tour in the game reserve, miles away from habitation or man-made tracks, with a trail of porters carrying one’s requirements in the traditional African manner; in fact little changed from the methods of Livingstone and Stanley.

Such a safari always brings back to me nostalgic memories of earlier times when the only means of transport was on foot.

It helps to recall, too, a sense of completeness, of peaceful unity with nature, and to conjure up idyllic scenes of animals grazing undisturbed in peaceful riverine glades, where there is always time to pause and study their uninhibited actions without any feelings of guilt because you are wasting somebody else’s time.

(Left: A rhino in the Luangwa Valley, before poaching made them extinct in the area)

It is to these trails that I look back with greatest pleasure. They are difficult to recapture exactly, but I would like to give others an opportunity to savor something of the excitement, glamour and the atmosphere of Africa as it used to be.

Africas Luangwa Valley

Thus began the now so popular walking safaris in the Luangwa Valley. More recently he finally built the comfortable lodge at Kapani. You can find it on the web under

Norman Carr Safaris

In a recent issue of Forbes Magazine was found this snippet about walking safaris in the Luangwa Valley:

“Someone who appreciates hot climates, wildlife and flat terrain could opt for a walking safari in Zambia's South Luangwa National Park. Walkers can watch hippopotamuses and crocodiles swim in the Luangwa River and yellow-billed storks try to catch fish in the shallow waters of oxbow lagoons.”

And yet another traveler posted this video on Youtube:

Africas Luangwa Valley

Norman Carr Safaris

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