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“Not for us” 1 of 5 stars
Review of Kafunta River Lodge

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Kafunta River Lodge
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Box 83, Mfuwe, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia   |  
Hotel website
Hotel amenities
South Africa
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
“Not for us”
1 of 5 stars Reviewed July 24, 2008

We booked to stay at this lodge as the "splurge" part of our trip to Zambia in July 2008. We booked 3 nights in a luxury suite for ourselves and a standard chalet for our children next door. Before Kafunta, we spent 3 nights at a neighbouring (less expensive) lodge where we had a ball. (Friendly staff, great food, wonderful personal attention, etc) We arrived at Kafunta with high hopes but I'm sorry to report that we were bitterly disappointed. The staff attitude was the main problem and we left after 1 night, forfeiting 2 expensive nights of fully inclusive accommodation. During our "welcome" chat we were given a stern lecture about the do's and don'ts of the place and warned repeatedly to lock up all our valuables and to make use of the large safe at reception. The brunch on offer when we arrived consisted of spaghetti bolognaise stuck together into a kind of unappetising meatloaf, salad and bread. In order to avoid being forced to sit at the communal table where there was not enough place for four of us, I took my plate over to the area where the welcome talk had taken place. A member of staff instructed me to sit at the table like a disobedient schoolgirl, while places where hastily set up for us. I clearly did not want to move but was given no option. And from there things went from bad to worse with a list too long to bore you with here. To name some issues, we had no hot water in our suite and when I mentioned this the staff member's response was "It was working before you arrived." It was never sorted out. We were told we'd have a vehicle to ourselves and would be able to come back from evening drives early so that the children could have supper earlier. The owner had her family from Germany over and decided they could share our vehicle. This was presented to us as a fait accompli. Supper was almost inedible with a thin vegetable soup followed by overcooked cabbage, undercooked butternut and unidentifiable meat. At breakfast my daughter was excited to see elephant from the deck where breakfast was taking place. When she went to sit at an empty table closest to the elephants the owner told her to move because that table wasn't laid up properly. This was a bowl of cereal before a game drive, not a sit down cooked affair. Oh, and by the way, there is no cooked breakfast at Kafunta if you want to go on a morning game drive. Even though we were clearly disappointed with Kafunta and it cost us a great deal of money to leave early, we were presented with an $8.50 bill for drinks on departure.

Stayed July 2008
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133 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (30)
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  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Polish first
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English first
San Francisco
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed June 11, 2008

We stayed at Kafunta River Lodge for 5 nights in May 2007. Our stay was pretty pleasant, except one afternoon, we found that our chalet had a pretty big hole in the wall near the roof, which let in a snake!! The staff was very prompt in removing the snake from our room and sealing the hole in the wall. They had a good choice of food for brunch, but it felt like we were eating the same vegetables every day, however, this may be a consequence of being so remote. Dinner was great and the dessert's were very creative. The rooms are clean and neat. We had some trouble with the shower, the water would either be freezing cold, or scorching hot, and it was a little difficult to adjust the settings. They had a note in the bathroom stating that bath towels will be changed ever 2/3 days, but ours were never changed during the 5 nights we spent there. The staff were very friendly. The price justifies the level of service and quality of amenities provided. Overall not a bad choice.

  • Stayed May 2007, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Top Contributor
199 reviews 199 reviews
166 hotel reviews
Reviews in 118 cities Reviews in 118 cities
315 helpful votes 315 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 24, 2007

We have frequently stayed at this place since it opened in 1998 and it just seems to get better each time. Situated in the Management Area just a short drive over the river from the National Park. There are eight normal twin bedded thatched chalets and two more deluxe ones on stilts.The staff are mostly well above average in attention to detail and good at their jobs. The cooks have been consistently good and the Housekeeping exceptional.
One of the few Lodges in the area to remain open all year round making visits in the less busy but beautiful Green season a pleasant alternative.
Well managed by the owners who normally live on the site. The Lodge is child friendly as the owners have a small boy too. There is both a 'Natural' Hot tub and small Swimming Pool.
Guests normally eat on a raised platform over the floodplain with Hippos grunting below and when drier, Elephants and Lion are regular visitors too.
Birdlife is phenomenal in the Lodge grounds and on the river bank alongside. The dedicated team of guides are expert in finding their quarry be it Elephant, Lion, Wild Dog or Leopard.
They also operate a seasonal Island Bushcamp in a quiet area some 3 hours drive (or full days walk) south.
The Lodge can also arrange visits to local villages, the nearby Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre and longer trips to North Luangwa National Park.

  • Liked — The friendly welcome and clean rooms
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed October 2006, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 7
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kafunta River Lodge

Address: Box 83, Mfuwe, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Phone Number:
Location: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites Swimming Pool Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 41 Specialty Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 10
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Kafunta River Lodge is set in the riverside forest on the banks of the Luangwa River overlooking the South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. This classic safari lodge offers our guests all the comforts, while being situated in unspoilt wilderness. There are 8 private chalets and 2 luxury suites, all overlooking a game rich flood plain. We offer game drives, night drives and walking safaris. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Kafunta River Lodge Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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