Mfuwe, Zambia, is the gateway town to South Luangwa National Park. It is a small town, somewhat spread out, with an airstrip for regional air services to the park. There aren't too many amenities here; some small shops for those wanting to self-cater at the park lodges, but no ATM facilities. Direct buses make the long, ten-hour journey from Lusaka to Mfuwe and drop you in town, from where it is a short, two-kilometer taxi ride to the lodges just outside the national park gates. It is advisable to take a taxi, as wild animals do roam around the outskirts of the town. Coming from the east and Malawi, buses make the two-hour journey from Chipata, the first city on the Zambian side of the border, a few times a day, but hostel accommodation is available in Chipata, if it is too late in the day.
Mfuwe, Zambia hostel accommodation is available at some of the riverside lodges by the park gates. These places have dorm beds at cheap prices and self-catering facilities. The lodges also have regular game drives both in the morning and at night to see the rare nocturnal species in the park such as serval, civet, and honey badger and can be booked the day before or several days ahead. Leopard and painted hunting dogs can also be commonly seen at South Luangwa.
Mfuwe, Zambia hostels offer very comfortable, budget accommodation with access to the facilities used by the more upscale accommodation guests. Sitting right above the river, the views from the lodge gardens are fantastic, with everyday sightings of elephant, hippo, and crocodile in the river. Indeed, just relaxing in the gardens, you can expect to encounter the occasional elephant that wanders onto the lodges' grounds. The Mfuwe, Zambia hostel accommodation is of a high standard here, though beds are few, so it pays to book ahead.
Bird watching is very rewarding here also and most of the park guides are experiences bird spotters. It is advisable however, to take a guide when walking in the bush outside the park gates as animals are free to wander and elephants, in particular, can be aggressive.
South Luangwa National Park is an essential stop on any traveler's itinerary in Zambia and offers the best chance for budget travelers to see Africa's big game in the wild.
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