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. It is one of the larger properties in the South Luangwa National Park, and after extensive refurbishment in 2010 is now one of the smartest and most modern. It lies quite close to the park’s main gate in an area that is rich in wildlife.
Much of the furniture and fittings at Mfuwe Lodge come from South Africa and they lend the lodge a funky and contemporary edge. However, generous use of wood, neutral tones and the clever incorporation of natural materials means that this style nicely complements the surrounding environment rather than clashing with it. 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 several low sofas that look out over Mfuwe Lagoon, alongside a simple but large rectangular infinity pool. On our various visits, the pool has proved to be 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 spa, offering a range of treatments from manicures to full body massages and facials, all using the wonderful smelling Africology products. Such treatments are an extra cost and can be paid for locally in US Dollars or Zambian Kwacha. The treatment rooms both look over a large lagoon ringed by green vegetation. Hippos, crocodiles, and prolific birdlife all call this lagoon home, meaning you can enjoy some very relaxing wildlife viewing while receiving treatments.
There is also a small shop which is stocked and run by Tribal Textiles, a local craft company based in Mfuwe with its roots very much in rural development and philanthropy. Stop here to pick up curios and souvenirs such as wooden carvings, hand-painted tablecloths, T-shirts and jewellery.
The 18 chalets at Mfuwe Lodge come in two different styles, but all are all kitted out with modern furniture standing on polished stone floors. In each chalet, 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, while the beds, enveloped by walk-in mosquito nets, are 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 are built in three different styles:
- 13 'standard' rooms are of single-storey construction, each with a small sitting area and a beechwood writing desk in the corner.
- Three family suites are built over two levels, and have a lot more space. They are entered on the lower floor, where there is a lounge and children's bedroom, with the master bedroom upstairs.
- Two honeymoon suites are almost the same as the family suites, but their entrance is on the top floor, where the bedroom is situated. They have a snug lounge downstairs and a large bath in addition to a shower.
Activities from Mfuwe Lodge include day and night drives in Land Rovers with canopied roofs, and visits to a local school or village. If visiting the lodge around October or November you may not need to go too far for game viewing as a family of elephants regularly wander straight through reception – the matriarch following and old route to some wild mango trees that she remembers from the days before the lodge was built. You can also do walks from the lodge, accompanied by a guide and an armed scout, although you will likely drive a small distance from camp to an area more suitable for walking.
The game viewing around Mfuwe Lodge is excellent, but unfortunately the area is close to the main gate and several other lodges, so it can also get quite busy with other vehicles, particularly around good sightings. Fortunately Mfuwe Lodge combines really well with its sister bushcamps in the remote southern end of the park: Kuyenda, Chindeni, Chamilandu, Bilimungwe, Kapamba and Zungulila.
Our viewMfuwe Lodge is quite grand and impressive, an attractive place to relax with good facilities. The game viewing in the Mfuwe area is impressive, and it’s a great place to first see some of Africa’s most iconic species, but being so close to the main gate also means it can be a bit crowded. Mfuwe Lodge is a good place to spend one or two nights at the start of your safari, using it as a springboard for accessing the more remote and rustic bushcamps. Alternatively, you could spend a night here at the end of your trip, taking advantage of the spa after a long 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, 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 or Kaingo.
Directions: Most guests at Mfuwe Lodge fly in to Mfuwe Airport, from where it’s about a 45-minute transfer to the lodge.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Bushcamp Company
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Unfortunately we were unable to sample the food at Mfuwe Lodge on our last visit in June 2015, but we’ve always really enjoyed the meals we’ve had here on previous visits.
Breakfast is usually a continental spread, offered 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 couple of pizza ovens and on certain days you can create your own pizza, which they will bake for you on the spot!
At about 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 at additional cost.
Further dining info: No
Wellbeing: Unusually for South Luangwa, Mfuwe Lodge has a spa offering a range of treatments such as massages, manicures, facials and hydrotherapy treatments, allowing you to pamper yourself while on safari.See more ideas for Wellbeing in Zambia
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Mfuwe Lodge.
Property’s age restrictions: The lodge has no minimum age limit. However, the minimum age for walking in the South Luangwa National Park is 12 years.
Special activities & services: Mfuwe Lodge offers childminding by members of their housekeeping team, though parents should note that none of the team have had any formal training in childcare.
Equipment: Mfuwe Lodge has three spacious family chalets which are ideal for families of four. Cots are available by prior arrangement.
Generally recommended for children: We think that families with children will feel welcome at Mfuwe Lodge. However, as it’s an unfenced camp in a game-rich area, and wildlife is known to move regularly through camp, we’d recommend it for older children over the age of ten years.
Notes: The lodge and pool are unfenced. Wildlife, including elephants, regularly wander through the camp – and have occasionally been known to wander straight through the reception building! Children must be under the supervision of their parents at all times.
Communications: There is cellphone reception at Mfuwe Lodge but guests are asked to use their phones only in their own rooms. There is also WiFi in the main area of the lodge, which can be accessed if guests have their own laptops.
TV & radio: No
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: The chalets all have flushing toilets and plumbed-in showers with hot and cold running water on tap. The suites also have bathtubs.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The nearest doctor is based at a lodge in the Mfuwe area. In the event of a medical emergency, guests would be evacuated by air 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 on hand to escort people to and from their chalets at night.
Fire safety: Mfuwe Lodge has fire extinguishers in all the chalets and around the main areas.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Mfuwe Lodge. It is machine washed and tumble dried, so it is usually returned the same day.
Money: Mfuwe Lodge can exchange small amounts of cash, though they don't have huge amounts on site so would prefer guests to make use of the cash machine at the airport. There is a safe in each chalet.
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 5,5% surcharge, but not Amex. It is not possible to use travellers’ cheques here.