Lodges

Kafunta River Lodge

Home from home in the Luangwa

Kafunta River Lodge

There’s always a warm welcome at Kafunta, a classic Luangwa lodge just a few minutes away from the boundary of the national park. Established by Ron and Anke Cowan in the 1990s, many of the original team still work here and the atmosphere is effortlessly fun, friendly and relaxed. Its position overlooking a watery floodplain reveals beautiful views and the chance to watch a host of animals straight from the deck. But don’t miss the opportunity to search for the Luangwa’s notorious leopard on a game drive with one of the brilliantly knowledgeable guides either.

At the lodge

The hotel

With Chichele Hill winking in the distance and the shimmering Luangwa River and watery floodplain below, the view from Kafunta’s central deck is quite something. Dining tables and chairs are set in the dappled shade of a majestic old fig tree and there’s a traditional stone fire pit and lots of comfy sofas to relax in too. At night, the floodplain is illuminated making for interesting and often rather exciting game viewing straight from the dinner table.

The rooms

The ten thatched chalets rest on raised wooden platforms and are decorated in natural and calming hues of grey and stone. All the comforts of a traditional lodge are provided, with added extras of a mini-bar and coffee station. French windows lead out to a private veranda at the front and the two luxury suites have rustic stone staircases leading up to an additional viewing deck for a bird’s eye vantage point over the plains.

On safari

Experiences

Wildlife watching from Kafunta is normally from a vehicle on one of the twice daily game drives, but walking safaris and night drives are also on offer to continue your exploration. The park can be accessed over the pontoon, only 1.5km away from camp – a fun and certainly different mode of transport! Dip into the swimming pool or enjoy a G&T in the natural geothermal hot-tub to leave you feeling refreshed and ready for a new day.

When to go

South Luangwa by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity varies throughout the month and there is a 1 in 2 chance of rain, although it usually falls at night.
  • Animal densities drop at this time of year with species spreading out and giving birth, providing a buzz of activity amongst the predators.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity is unpredictable and rain falls regularly but usually at night.
  • Animal densities drop at this time of year with species spreading out and giving birth, providing a buzz of activity amongst the predators.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity has dropped and rain is falling only a couple of afternoons a week.
  • The recent birthing season leads to a rise of predator activity and excitement as they take advantage of the innocent newborns.
  • Vegetation is lush and in bloom, alive with the presence of the migratory birds strengthening their wings for the impending journey.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high but comfortable, with little to no humidity and only a handful of rainy days across the month.
  • Animals are in peak physical condition but more difficult to spot with the lush vegetation at its thickest.
  • Birds migrate North signalling the end of the wet season and this time of plenty.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

May

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures begin to cool with the onset of the dry season, rain is unlikely.
  • Game viewing begins to improve as vegetation thins and water holes begin to dry up, forcing the various species into closer proximity.
  • A great time to visit, with good weather and low price before peak safari season.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

June

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing is at its best with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the remaining water source.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • pack a warm jacket for chilly morning game drives.

July

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing is at its best with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the remaining water source.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • pack a warm jacket for chilly morning game drives.

August

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing approaches its peak with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the Luangwa River and other remaining water sources.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • Dont forget to pack a warm jacket, morning game drives can get chilly.

September

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are high with relative humidity, there is little chance of rain.
  • Game viewing approaches its peak with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the Luangwa River and other remaining water sources.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are at their hottest, with humidity reaching an all year high before the fall of the first rains, usually towards the end of the month.
  • Game viewing is prime for most of October, deteriorating somewhat towards the end, should the first rains of the season fall.
  • The arrival of the first rains, trigger a burst of green as the vegetation is rejuvenated.
  • If you don't mind the heat, a great time to visit with tourist numbers dropping and often interesting sightings.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and humid for the first half of November, becoming less intense with the increase of rain throughout the month.
  • Game viewing is still excellent with few animals leaving the area until sufficient rains have fallen.
  • The arrival of the first rains, trigger a burst of green as the vegetation is rejuvenated.
  • The arrival of the rains sees a spike in the insect numbers, so have your repellent handy.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot with unpredictable humidity levels and high evening rainfall is to be expected.
  • Game viewing is good with relatively high densities of wildlife in a rejuvenated environment.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • The arrival of the rains sees a spike in the insect numbers, so have your repellent handy.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.

Wildlife


South Luangwa National Park has the deserved reputation as one of Africa's best game viewing destinations. A diverse mix of habitats and oxbow lagoons attract a variety of wildlife species. Encounter vast herds of elephant, buffalo, hippo, zebra and an assortment of antelope. However, it is the predators of South Luangwa that produce the most excitement with lion and leopard in abundance and wild dog present in the area.

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