Kafunta River Lodge, one of our most loved South Luangwa safari accommodations, recently received a fresh lick of paint and opened up its living spaces to invite even more of the view right in. The new image is all we look for in a comfortable, soothing safari environment, and given its prime position overlooking the open floodplains, you won’t miss a thing in terms of lodge-based wildlife viewing opportunities! Pick a place to relax, whether it be on your private deck or with friends around the pool, and absorb the wilderness around you.
South Luangwa is Zambia’s flagship national park, famous for hippos basking on the banks of the Luangwa River, leopards stalking through the dappled shade of riverine trees, begrudgingly sharing their territory with lions – the true kings of the jungle – while every member of the wild kingdom gives way to the elephants, which naturally dominate the landscape.
The park draws visitors from far and wide, and offers up-close encounters with wildlife in the form of game drives and walking safaris, and during the peak season, it can get very busy. Kafunta River Lodge enjoys its own piece of heavenly shade on the floodplain of the Luangwa River away from the bustling Mfuwe area of the park, and has a private pontoon which offers unrivalled access across the river and into national park territory where game drives are conducted.
It is intimate with only 10 rooms – 8 standard safari chalets and 2 luxury suites – all with sublime positioning along the floodplain and enjoying private viewing decks, comfort, and quiet solitude. The chalets have king or twin beds, an ensuite bathroom, private verandah, minibar fridge, and a ceiling fan. They have new floors and new furnishings, and the bathrooms were upgraded as part of the soft make-over. The two suites can be made up to accommodate four people by converting the upstairs alcove (which would ordinarily serve as an exclusive lounge with a view for suite occupants) into a loft bedroom for two additional beds. The thatched suites enjoy added privacy as they are set further away from the main lodge area; plus, they each have a stand-alone bath tub and both an upstairs and ground-level viewing deck.
The spacious main guest area is sprawled out under the dappled shade and a large deck area accommodates space for various lounges, both out in the open and under thatch. There is an extended deck that perches out over the floodplain, which makes for the perfect starlit dining experiences; there is a circular sunken lounge that surrounds a convivial fire place; and there is both a swimming pool and a hot tub on the deck, so take your pick! The hot tub is Kafunta’s claim to fame: the only natural hot spring tub in the Luangwa Valley. It is fed from a source on Kafunta’s grounds, and has a constant temperature of 38 degrees. It’s ideal for chilly nights under the stars!
What we think
Kafunta’s new look is thoroughly impressive. It truly embodies the au natural appeal of its surroundings and keeps things clean and fresh, yet warm and inviting. In a popular place like South Luangwa, having exclusive across-the-river access to the park and a quiet place to retreat to at the end of the day make all the difference. It is simple living, yet safari-chic, and we’re convinced it will blow you away. Your laundry will be taken care of and you can connect to the internet if you so wish, but we suggest you spend your down time at the special viewing deck or the photographic hide beneath it and watch the wildlife from a unique, eye-level perspective.