Mfuwe Lodge lies in the Southern Luangwa National Park.
Mfuwe Lodge: Our full report
Occupying a lovely spot overlooking Mfuwe Lagoon – a huge oxbow lake – Mfuwe Lodge is the flagship safari property of the Bushcamp Company. Historically this area has always been rich with wildlife, but being close the main gate also makes it a busier part of the park. With 18 chalets it is one of the larger properties in South Luangwa, and after extensive refurbishments in 2010 it is also one of the smartest and most modern.
Mfuwe Lodge combines really well with its sister bushcamps – which are in the remote southern end of South Luangwa National Park. These include Kuyenda, Chindeni, Chamilandu and Bilimungwe, Kapamba and Zungulila.
Much of the new furniture and fittings at Mfuwe Lodge have come from South Africa and they lend a funky and contemporary edge. The main areas, including the large bar and dining area under thatch, are adorned with artistic woven lampshades, brightly coloured cushions and classy black-and-white photographs. An extended deck has plenty of low sofas that look out over Mfuwe Lagoon, alongside a simple rectangular infinity pool. When we were here for lunch in October 2010, the pool was proving a popular spot to relax, with plenty of sunloungers shaded by cream umbrellas.
Indoors, an impressive library offers a cooler and quieter place to chill out. This isn't a huge room, but with a beautiful leather sofa, modern campaign furniture and some interesting coffee-table books – it's both comfortable and restful.
Entirely separate is Mfuwe Lodge's newly decorated spa, offering manicures, massages, hot stone treatments and facials amongst other treatments – all using 'Africology' products. You will find a double and a single treatment room, as well as a Jacuzzi area, overlook a particularly pretty part of the lagoon and its resident population of hippos.
There is also a small shop which is stocked and run by Tribal Textiles, a wonderful craft company based in Mfuwe with its roots very much in rural development and philanthropy. Stop in here to pick up curios such as wooden carvings, hand-painted table cloths, t-shirts or jewellery.
The 18 chalets at Mfuwe Lodge were also extensively refurbished in 2010. Each has well-designed modern furniture standing on polished stone floors. Three double doors open onto a veranda where sunloungers offer views of the lagoon and game viewing from the privacy of your room. The chalets are equipped with tea and coffee stations, hairdryers and standing fans. Walk-in mosquito nets shroud the beds, cooled by an additional fan.
Each bathroom is largely tiled and includes twin basins and a walk-in rain shower with a view.
The chalets themselves are built in two different styles:
13 of the chalets are Mfuwe Lodge's standard rooms: single-storey rooms with a small lounge area and beechwood writing desk in the corner. The remaining rooms – three family suites and two honeymoon suites are on two storeys. These have a lot more space and differ only slightly. The honeymoon suites are entered on the top floor, where the bedroom is situated. They have a snug lounge downstairs and a large bath. The family suites are entered on the lower floor, where there is a lounge and children's bedroom, with the master bedroom upstairs.
Activities from Mfuwe lodge include day and night drives in brand new Land Rovers with canopied roofs, and visits to a local school or village. Although you can do walks from here, you have to drive to a quieter part of the park, so it may be best to save the walking for one of the remoter bushcamps.
Our ViewMfuwe Lodge is quite grand and impressive; it's a plush lodge which is wonderful for some relaxing and pampering. However most people will only spend a few days at the start or end of their safari here – using it as a base to access the remoter and wilder bushcamps, which many will feel are more 'authentic' venues for a engrossing safari.
Ideal length of stay: Spend two nights here at the start or end of your safari, as a jumping off point for one of the remoter bushcamps. A usual safari may combine Mfuwe Lodge with one of its own sister bushcamps such as Kuyenda, Chindeni, Chamilandu and Bilimungwe, Kapamba Bushcamp and Zungulila. However, for more variety we'd suggest that you consider combining Mfuwe Lodge, and perhaps one of its sister camps, with some of the camps on the northern side of South Luangwa – perhaps Tafika, Kaingo or even the walking-only camp, Zebra Plains.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited the South Luangwa in October 2010, we stopped at Mfuwe Lodge both for breakfast and lunch. Though we didn't try the evening meal, we were very impressed with the food.
Breakfast is usually a continental spread, on offer before an early game drive. This includes cereals, hot porridge, yoghurt, fruit and toast; along with fruit juice, coffee and a variety of teas.
A more substantial brunch is served buffet style at around 11.00am. While this often includes breakfast items such as eggs, bacon and toast, there are also a variety of fresh green salads, and other cold dishes such as pasta salad, couscous and cured meats. Mfuwe Lodge also has a pizza oven and on certain days you can create your own pizza which they will bake for you on the spot!
At 4.00pm, afternoon tea is served before your afternoon activity. Light bites such as sandwiches are on offer, as well as cake, along with a variety of teas and coffee.
Dinner, served after you return from the night drive at around 8:30pm, is usually three courses served to the table. Occasionally, however, Mfuwe Lodge offers a carvery or holds a barbecue boma evening.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Filtered water, tea and coffee are included. All other drinks are an additional cost.
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Mfuwe Lodge.
Property’s age restrictions: The minimum age for walking is 12 years, though there are no other age restrictions at the lodge.
Special activities & services: Mfuwe Lodge offer child minding by members of their house-keeping team, though parents should note that none of the team have had any formal training in child care.
Equipment: Cots are available.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Mfuwe Lodge has three spacious family chalets which are perfect for families of four.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: Although there is cellphone reception at Mfuwe Lodge, guests are asked to use cellphones only in their own rooms. There is also WiFi at the lodge which can be accessed if guests have their own laptops.
TV & radio: No
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is based at the nearby Flatdogs Camp. For more serious cases Mfuwe Lodge has links to the flying-doctor service, who can evacuate patients to Lusaka.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are not permitted to walk around the lodge at night, due to dangerous game in the area. Watchmen are always on hand to escort people to and from their chalets. There are safes in all the chalets to lock away valuables.
Fire safety: Mfuwe Lodge has fire extinguishers in all the chalets and around the main areas.
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Mfuwe Lodge. It is machine washed and tumble dried.
Money: Mfuwe Lodge can exchange small amounts of cash, though they don't have huge amounts of ready cash on site and so would prefer guests to make use of the cash machine at the airport.
Accepted payment on location: Guests can settle any extras in US dollars, British pounds, Zambian kwacha and South Africa rand cash. Mfuwe Lodge will also accept Visa and MasterCard with a 5% surcharge. It is not possible to use Amex or travellers cheques here.