Mfuwe

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Downtown Mfuwe by the petrol station

Mfuwe is a small village in the Eastern Zambia, known as a gateway to South Luangwa National Park.

Understand[edit]

Mfuwe isn't so much a village as a long strip of road connecting the airport to the Mfuwe Bridge over the Luangwa River. The center of Mfuwe, in the loosest sense of the word, is around the BP petrol station.

Mfuwe has grown considerably over the last 10 years and informally there are at least 5000 people living there - go and explore the side streets, visit the health clinic, or Mfuwe basic school (ask someone), have a wander! There will be no hassle and people will be glad to chat, especially the kids who will no doubt say "How are you" "I'm fine".

Get in[edit]

By plane[edit]

Mfuwe International Airport (MFU) has been upgraded with an all-weather bitumen runway. Scheduled services run to Lusaka and Chipata. Flights are twice daily (to Lusaka) in the high season but sporadic (or stopped entirely) in the low season. Charter flights allow access to Lilongwe (Malawi), Mwaleshi (North Luangwa), Shiwa Ngandu, Kasanka and other domestic airfields. The airport is about 25 km from Mfuwe Bridge, transfers should be arranged in advance with your accommodation.

By road[edit]

Mfuwe is about one and a half hours by car from Chipata (123 km) all year round, as the road is now tarred and travel is smooth. From Chipata, it's 2-3 hours to Lilongwe and 8-10 hours to Lusaka.

The days of challenges with travel from Chipata to Mfuwe, taking up to 5 hours in pickup trucks are now over. The new tarred road has not only reduced travel time, but has also reduced costs while improving on comfort.

Get around[edit]

There is no public transport as such. Safari lodges typically throw in free airport transfers, but charge around $20-30 for other trips.

If you want your own wheels and know how to bash about the bush, 4x4s can be rented from Personal Touch (tel. +260 6 246 123,or 0978-459965 [1] ben@tptouch.com) at prices starting from US$125/day, airport transfers included. The Personal Touch can also be contacted for general transfers to community projects or Kawaza village

The road from Chipata to Mfuwe has been tarred now. Total 1,5 hrs drive from Chipata to Mfuwe.

See[edit][add listing]

Do[edit][add listing]

Most visitors come for game drives into the Game Management Area and South Luangwa National Park. Some guided village walks are available by asking at your lodge or campsite. Volunteer and other support opportunities are possible. A general overview is [2].

Buy[edit][add listing]

Colorful fabrics for kids, at Tribal Textiles

Mfuwe has one shop of significant interest:

  • Mango Tree Crafts, on airport road near turnoff to Chipata. The home base of Tribal Textiles, this workshop has local artisans producing both traditional and less traditional designs. There are free 20-minute tours of the disarmingly simple production process: draw designs with flour and water, apply paint, wash off flour and bake in an oven. Most of their output is exported worldwide, so while the prices in the outlet shop may seem a little steep by Zambian standards (US$20 for a pack of napkins?), they're still far cheaper than in, say, New York.


Drink[edit][add listing]

Mfuwe is the Zambian version of a cowboy town. There is a main strip road but on either side of the road there are bars. If you want to meet local guys then stop by for a drink - people are very friendly. You won't find a menu either but just ask for some barbecued chicken and it will turn up ! You can play pool and you'll find music, drink Mosi beer (delicious) and dancing on Fri/Sat nights. If you're staying at a lodge ask a driver to collect you from the bar - easy to arrange.

Sleep[edit][add listing]

Safari lodges in and around South Luangwa National Park are listed separately in that article.

  • Cobra Guesthouse, opposite BP. Very basic rooms from US$2.50.

Contact[edit]

Mobile network coverage in Mfuwe has improved considerably, and data service is now available for some devices and carriers. One suggestion for foreign travelers is to check with your accommodation by email before you go for advice on carrier, coverage, etc.

Another primary means of communication is radio. Every lodge, tourist-oriented shop and not a few vehicles have radios for fast, reliable communication.

Stay safe[edit]

Mfuwe is regularly raided by wild animals, particularly elephants, after dark. Stay indoors.

Get out[edit]

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