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Mfuwe

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Three Cities Mushroom Lodge
Three Cities Mushroom Lodge - dream vacation

South Luangwa National Park, PO Box 25Mfuwe

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

Understand

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

By plane

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

Mfuwe is about 3 hours by car from Chipata (123 km) in the dry season, but the road is not tarred and travel is more difficult, occasionally even impossible, in the wet season. From Chipata, it's 2-3 hours to Lilongwe and 8-10 hours to Lusaka.

Pickup trucks lurch down the same road in 5 hours on a good day.

Get around

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

See

  • Kawaza Cultural Village.
  • Chipembele Education Centre. Aims to teach children to conserve and protect the local wildlife and natural environment.

Do

Buy

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

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

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.

Connect

Mobile network coverage in Mfuwe is spotty at best, so the primary means of communication is radio. Every lodge, tourist-oriented shop and not a few vehicles have radios for fast, reliable communication.

Stay safe

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

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