There are two major access points for the park: '''Mfuwe Gate''', near the village of [[Mfuwe]] and connected by bridge, and the less used '''Nyamaluma''' 50 km to the southwest, where a pontoon ferries vehicles across the river.
Mfuwe is 123 km by car from [[Chipata]], nearly 100 km untarred.
The untarred road can vary enormously in its state of repair and travel times vary greatly accordingly. In March 2008 the first 60 km from Chipata were in fairly good form as they road had been graded recently by the Chinese. However the last 40 km were bad although the Chinese were reportedly shortly to regrade that section: it's possible to complete the journey in as little as 2 hours in the dry season in a high clearance vehicle (longer if a public vehicle is being used), but travel is more difficult, occasionally even impossible, in the wet season. Trucks ply the road, but can take more than seven very bumpy hours. In March 2008 they journey took 2.5 hours in a high clearance 4x4 private vehicle.
From Chipata, it's 1.5 hours (2-3 hours public transport) to [[Lilongwe]] depending on the time it takes to cross the border and 8-10 hours to [[Lusaka]].
There is a rarely used very scenic track from Petauke down the escapement and along the Luangwa northward to Mfuwe, but it's best not attempted unless you're traveling in convoy and can repair any problems that crop up. Expect 8 hours for this unforgettable trip of 180 km.
===With a tour group===
* <listing name="Jackalberry Safaris" alt="" url="http://www.jackalberrysafaris.net" email="[email protected]
">The company runs affordable 3,4 and 5 day all-inclusive tours from [[Chipata]] with an interesting range of itineraries that include both game viewing and cultural activities. From $135 pppn.</listing>
As of September 2006, the basic park fee is US$25 per day for non-Zambians. Extra fees are levied for bringing in your own vehicles ($15 foreign reg or 12,500 ZKch for local).
Note: Entry permit is valid for
24 hours from entry time
Most visitors tour South Luangwa by car, either on safari drives organized by their lodge, or by their own 4WD vehicle. If going on your own, there are plenty of trails but the signposting can be a little haphazard, so pick up a map from the gate.
It is possible to rent 4WD open top Land Cruiser from a local company in Mfuwe (Hardies Engineering, near airport).
Some lodges organize '''walking safaris''', where you actually walk through the bush on foot and track animals with the help of a guide — an altogether different experience. Walking safaris can be as short as 4 hours, but multi-day treks where you stay overnight in "bushcamps" (usually far more luxurious than you'd think from the name) are more rewarding. You will not, however, save any money this way: costs are generally US$300-400 per person per day.
At the end of the day, if all that bouncing around in jeeps and/or tramping about the bush has you tired, call '''Personal Touch''' (tel. +260 6 246 123, [http://www.tptouch.com/]) to book an on-site massage at
==Buy, Eat & Drink==
In the July-September peak season demand often outstrips supply, so book in as far advance as possible. During the green season, however, many lodges close down and those that are still open can offer steep discounts.
*<sleep name="Kaingo Camp" alt="" address="P.O.Box 57, Mfuwe Zambia" directions="" phone="+260 216 246064" url="http://www.kaingo.com/zambia-safari-camps/kaingo/" checkin="" checkout="" price="" lat="" long="">Overlooking the Luangwa River deep within the prime area of the South Luangwa National Park, Kaingo’s relaxed, personal and friendly atmosphere offers its guests fantastic game-viewing opportunities within an area of incredible beauty and varied [email protected]</sleep>
Unless otherwise noted, all rates below are ''per person'' per night and include all meals, two game drives per day, park fees and airport transfers.
* '''Kafunta River Lodge''', tel. +260-6-246046, [http://www.luangwa.com/]. Wonderful safari lodge with friendly service, knowledgeable guides, stunning views of the Luangwa River and the Luangwa Valley. Not only does it have a pool but a natural hot spring tub as well. Kafunta River Lodge has its own pontoon 5 minutes from the lodge taking you to the more remote areas of the park and providing a shortcut to the the main gate 10 km North of the lodge. Rates US$430/300 peak/off-peak.
* '''Mfuwe Lodge''', tel. +260-6-245041, [http://www.mfuwelodge.com]. The oldest and largest operation in South Luangwa, running since the 1960s but privatized and completely rebuilt in 1998. The
chalets are built in an old-school colonial style looking out onto the lagoons and watering holes, meaning great viewing from your own balcony. Even the bathtubs have views! Excellent location in the heart of the park, but a little impersonal due to the size.
* '''Thornicroft Lodge''', [http://www.thornicroft-lodge.com]. Classically African on the banks of the Luangwa River overlooking the South Luangwa National Park.
With just 10 chalets and a Zambia shaped swimming pool. Rates $ 295 per person per night including two four hour safaris per full day stayed, breakfast, lunch and dinner and transfers, based on two people sharing.
* '''Mushroom Lodge'''. Can be found as you enter the main entrance to South Luangwa National Park, travelling 2 kilometres until you see a sign to the right. It is a unique site on the Mfuwe Lagoon inside the South Luangwa Park, and was originally built in the early seventies to accommodate the Head of State and his VIP guests. The main Lodge area boasts an expansive verandah that overlooks the lagoon, meals are taken here. The Mushroom Pub is a great social meeting area. The Lodge features twelve double chalets, each with bathroom en-suite and wireless broadband internet. Each luxury chalet is equipped with twin or double bed options and a spacious lounge complete with mini bar. Tel: +260–216–246-116 or 246-117. Fax: +260–216–245063. Mobile: +260-977-397-900 or +260-977-758-056
* '''Croc Valley Camp''', email [mailto:[email protected]
][http://www.crocvalley.com/]. Nestled on the banks of the Luangwa river ,5 minutes from the main entrance to the park where "the grass is greener on the other side" lies Croc Valley Camp
The campsite is situated under large shady
with power and water points on the river. Our rustic chalets on stilts are unique in their look.
Game drives @ $40 and camping at $ 8.50.
Swimming pool bar and restaurant facilities available
* '''Flatdogs Camp''', email [mailto:[email protected] [email protected]
], [http://www.flatdogscamp.com/]. Well located right outside Mfuwe Gate. Camping US$5 ($7.50 Nov 2008), basic chalets US$30. Airport transfers an extra US$20, game viewing US$40.
*'''Track and Trail River Camp''', [mailto:[email protected]
], [http://www.trackandtrailrivercamp.com/]. Located right on the Luangwa River, with the park boundary on the other side of the river. Expect the daily elephant heards outside your window, lion prints outside your tent and hippos keeping you up all night. The 'terrifying at the time' memory of looking UP at the elephants as they tred carefully around your tent throughout the night is definately a once in a lifetime opportunity and not to be missed. The camp features a tidy ablution block, luxury tents, swimming pool, massage room, two storey chalets, shady trees. Each camping spot has electricity, running water and a barbeque. Great meals, friendly service, free airport transfers. Game drives are organised on request; ask for Godfrey! Camping US$10/7.50 in high/low season.
Bushcamps are scattered throughout the camp, but are generally accessible only on exclusive safari tours costing US$
300- 400 per night. The largest operators are [http://www.robinpopesafaris.net Robin Pope Safaris], [http://www.normancarrsafaris.com Norman Carr Safaris] and [http://www.luangwa.com Kafunta Safaris].
There is also a barebones '''camp site''' at the Nyamaluma pontoon, but using it is only practical if you have your own 4WD.
[[WikiPedia:South Luangwa National Park]]