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Kafunta River Lodge

Our rating

8/10

Price guide

Price rating 3

Highlights

- Game viewing from lodge
- Pool and natural hot tub
- Private access to South Luangwa
- Kafunta Safaris Portfolio

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Overview

Kafunta River Lodge is a comfortable, good-value property situated near the Luangwa River, just beyond the busy main Mfuwe gate of the South Luangwa National Park, eastern Zambia. The lodge is well positioned for access to some of the more remote areas of this popular National Park, and boasts a wealth of recently refurbished facilities, while retaining a friendly and down-to-earth atmosphere, albeit with a more commercial feel than it’s more remote sister property, Island Bush Camp. There’s a pool, spa, geothermal hot tub, and two hides to enjoy, along with exceptional game viewing and bird watching. Sightings of elephants, lions, and leopards are common on game drives, and endless buffalo, antelope, and hippo can be admired from the lodge's elevated position above the floodplains. Open for a relatively long stretch from mid-May to mid-January, the lodge offers great value for money when compared to other camps in the area, and is only a 45-minute drive from Mfuwe airport.

The simple and stylish open-air main area is built around a wild mango tree and houses a lounge and dining space. However, in good weather, evening meals are served communally under the stars on the substantial decking area which overlooks the vast plains and a floodlit waterhole. The camp’s two separate hides allow guests the privilege of ‘up-close’ wildlife viewing, and there’s a fire pit in the centre of a circular, cushioned seating area. Next to the bar is a unique, natural hot tub fed by underground geothermal sources and an infinity pool, spa, and small gym hut are also available. WiFi is accessible throughout.

The accommodation comprises eight standard chalets raised on wooden platforms beneath thatched roofs. Refurbished in 2014, each chalet includes African-inspired décor, twin beds, an en-suite bathroom with hot and cold running water, and a private veranda with views across the floodplains. Beds are covered with walk-in mosquito nets, and ceiling fans go some way to alleviate the intense heat of October and November. A mini-bar, safe, and in-room tea and coffee facilities are also available. In addition, there are two more spacious luxury suites, each featuring double or twin beds and an en-suite bathroom with both shower and stand-alone bath. Both suites boast exclusive viewing decks overlooking the surrounding landscape and its resident wildlife, with the option to sleep out beneath the stars.

Morning activities include game drives into South Luangwa via a river crossing from the lodge's own pontoon, providing access to more remote areas of the park during peak season, and the main gate to the game-rich Mfuwe sector is only a short drive away. Game drives are also offered in the evenings, and while walking safaris are available, these feature more heavily at Kafunta’s more remote sister property, Island Bush Camp. Note that safari activities are shared, and a visit during the rainy season of November to January will limit some wildlife viewing.

Children of 6 years and over are welcome at Kafunta, with the babysitting service and pool making it a considerably more inviting option for families than Island Bush Camp. Note that wildlife is free to roam, and although it is rare for animals to approach humans, parental supervision is essential at all times.

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What customers are saying after travelling with Tourdust

Average Rating

based on 504 reviews

(5.00/5)

  • Hi Lisa,

    The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.

    Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)

    Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!

    Best regards,
    Woan Chyi

    MissingWoan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019

  • We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
    We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
    Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
    Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
    Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
    Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
    Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
    Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
    Level of service, quality of food throughout

    MissingCatherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019

  • We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!

    The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).

    A few points:
    Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.

    Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
    They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.

    Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!

    The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!

    MissingKatrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019

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