Things you may want to know before visiting South Luangwa
Health, Malaria and Covid-19
Speak to your local health official about malaria and take preventative medicine as advised. Bring personal mosquito repellent and use the mosquito coils and nets in the room. Malaria is preventable and curable but we take it seriously and so should you.
There is a resident expat doctor and a local clinic in Mfuwe for any emergencies, and it's highly recommended to make sure you have good medical insurance that would cover you in the unlikely event of needing medical treatment while you are with us. Remember that part of being in the bush is that we are not "just down the road" from any major hospitals, so it's always better to be covered and not need it, than not to be covered, and need it.
In light of the Covid-19 Pandemic, we have adopted the universal principals of social distancing between groups, limitation of seats used on game viewers to 6, with space between each occupant. We also have hand washing and sanitizing facilities, and we do sell face masks, but recommend you bring your own as well. You may also take comfort in the knowledge that all of Marula Lodge's team are fully vaccinated as well.
ALL GUESTS AT MARULA LODGE ARE REQUIRED TO PROVIDE PROOF OF VACCINATION AGAINST COVID-19 BEFORE BEING ALLOWED TO STAY.
The testing and travel requirements differ significantly for all countries at the moment and we recommend consulting your local travel advisory for exit and entry requirements. To enter Zambia you need a full PCR negative test not older than 72 hours. To exit Zambia you require a Ministry of Health certified PCR negative test which we can assist in obtaining. Test swabs can be done here in Mfuwe and sent to Lusaka before you travel there if that is your point of exit.
Weather and Seasons
Summer (Mid September to Mid December)
Summers here are hot. Light clothing, swimwear, hats and sunscreen are essential. Our rooms are not air-conditioned, but without glass windows, and with the fans on you'll be just fine. Plus, you'll probably spend most of your time outside in the beautiful surroundings and the pool, rather than inside your room.
Winter (From May to Mid September)
Temperatures in winter only drop to about 12°C but mornings on the drives can be cool so bring a jacket and some long pants. These are also helpful all year to keep the mosquitoes at bay on the drives.
Rainy Season (Generally from December to April)
During the rainy season, or the "Emerald Season" as we like to call it, there are intermittent showers that can last a while, or can be over as quickly as they start.
We would recommend packing a light rain jacket and anything else that might help in keeping you dry. Although we do have umbrellas and rain ponchos they are one-size fits all and not too glamorous.
Some people may tell you that the sightings aren't as good at this time of the year, with the bush being a lot more dense and green, but the flip side of this is that many animals seek higher ground to stay dry, and often end up quite close to the roads in the park.
For all you ornithologists out there, you couldn't come at a better time. The bird-life is spectacular!
Things to Bring
To get the most out of your safaris, binoculars and cameras are important. If you're having trouble choosing binoculars for your trip, you can have a look at this guide.
For game drives casual and comfortable is the way to go. "Bush Coloured" clothes are also recommended.
For walking safaris, good closed shoes and ‘bush colours’ are required. Blending in is a good idea when you're on foot!
While we do keep mosquito repellent and mosquito coils handy, its always a good idea to bring some of your own preferred brand along with you.
Visas and Travel
For Zambian Visa information, check out
There are only a few countries that are required to apply in advance, most visas are $50 which can be paid on arrival at the border or in the airport.
Be sure to check the requirements for your nationality before you set off, to avoid any unwanted surprises once you get to the border.
There are many ways to reach us and many routes to take. Depending where you are coming from and your preferred mode of transport, you could drive from one of the neighboring countries, or simply fly in to Mfuwe's own little international airport. Most flights in to Zambia, however, will land in Lusaka. You can then choose from one of the local carriers, such as Proflight (http://proflight-zambia.com).
If you plan on driving, please contact us directly for advice on which routes to take at the different times of year, and for other tips on driving through Zambia and the surrounding borders.
If you're coming from Malawi, we can highly recommend using Small Steps Adventure Tours. You can find all their info at
Food and Dining
Our full board packages include tea, coffee and juice and a varied and delicious set menu from the light breakfast at 5:30am (cereal, toast, and an egg) a buffet brunch at 11.30ish, a 3 course dinner after your drive, plus morning, afternoon and evening snack.
Let us know if you have any special dietary requirements and our chefs will cater to your needs, be it vegetarian, vegan, Halaal, Indian or Zambian with lots of nshima! We also have Gluten free and lactose intolerance covered.
Our "a la carte" menu is also available if you are not going the package route, and don’t forget to look at the wine list! We are currently redoing our menu, which will be posted here as soon as it's ready.
Payment and Currency
Once you have decided on dates, we will need a 25% deposit to confirm the booking for full board packages, or a 50% deposit on accommodation only bookings. Our deposits, cancellations and refunds information is below.
Advance payments can be made into our Zambian bank account by wire transfer, cash deposit or by card through Direct Pay Online.
We do not accept payment through TransferWise, PayPal, Western Union or any other third party payment company other than 3G Direct Pay Online who we trust, and who's charges are transparent and known.
Please keep in mind that many banks route international payments through correspondent banks in the USA, and we have seen many times where these banks take charges over and above what the sending bank will charge you, normally in the region of $15 to $45 per transfer. We recommend speaking to your bank about this before making the transfer, as we have a contract with our bank that no fees are charged to us on incoming funds, and therefore we cannot be responsible for payments that arrive in our account less than expected.
Once in the lodge we accept payment in Kwacha (ZMK) & USD, as well as by VISA and Mastercard. However, due to forgery issues, we cannot accept US Dollars printed before 2010.
Please note that if you pay your park entry fees to us on your invoice, we have to pay VAT on them so it would work out more expensive for everyone. We recommend bringing cash in USD or Kwacha for this to save the extra VAT charge. We then pay DNPW at the end of the moth directly with the money paid to us. To be frank, over the years we have tried to make this as smooth as possible, and this has been the best system so far.
Deposits, Cancellations and Refunds
To secure a booking for a full board package of any type, we require a 25% deposit of the total amount by the date shown on the pro-forma invoice.
To secure a booking on our accommodation only rates, we require a deposit of 50% of the total amount by the date shown on the pro-forma invoice.
As we are a small family run lodge, late cancellations and no-shows can really affect our business. To help minimize the effects of this, we have put the following cancellation policy in place as of 01 January 2020;
Cancellations made more than 90 days before the booking is due to start will have no cancellation charge.
Cancellations between 90 and 31 days before the booking is due to start will have a 25% cancellation charge.
Cancellations with less than 30 days to go before the booking is due to start will have a 100% cancellation charge.
We highly recommend having adequate travel insurance in place in case of any unexpected need to cancel your trip.
In some cases, we may be able to postpone the booking without a cancellation fee, if it is within the same season and year, and there is space available.
Please keep in mind that any refund made electronically will have a $45 administration fee, to cover bank charges.
The Hotel cannot accept responsibility or pay any compensation where the performance or prompt performance of the reservation contract is prevented or affected by reason of circumstances which amount to “force majeure”.
Circumstances amounting to “force majeure” include any event which we could not, even with all due care, foresee or avoid. Such circumstances include the destruction or damage of your accommodation (which cannot reasonably be remedied to a satisfactory standard before the start of your stay) through fire, flood, explosion, storm or other weather damage, break-in, criminal damage, riots or civil strife, industrial action, natural or nuclear disaster, fire, adverse weather conditions, war or threat of war, actual or threatened terrorist activity, epidemic and all similar situations beyond our control.
It is explicitly agreed that an event of force majeure suspends execution of the reciprocal obligations for the parties, and that each party shall pay the expenses resulting therefrom. In particular, the guests alone shall pay the additional expenses that might be incurred for any change in hotel, following the event of force majeure.
The following are some of the policies we have at our lodge to maintain a safe, clean , eco friendly and sustainable environment for all of our guests and staff.
We suggest that you remove all food from your car, or elephants might try to break the windows to eat it.
Do not walk on the road outside of the property, or in the bush areas surrounding the lodge, we are in a GMA, and it is not safe.
You will be asked to leave if you try to feed the monkeys or baboons.
Only fools litter, please don’t be one!
If you are planning on doing your game drives with someone else, please stay at their house/camp. If you don’t, you will be asked to leave.
Please consider others, and keep the noise level down.
Please do not enter the workshop area.
All activities are undertaken at your own risk.
For a small fee of $5, we will gladly collect, clean and return any laundry you may need taken care of while you are with us. Just inform one of the housekeeping or bar staff in the morning.
Located in the main lounge/restaurant area is a fully stocked bar, with alcoholic and non-alcoholic options.
We recommend a Zambian "Mosi Lager", a glass of red wine from our selection, or the ultimate bush holiday refresher, the Gin and Tonic.
Naughty Elephants and Monkeys
While you're with us, please keep in mind that all animals are wild, and should not be approached, taunted or fed. Conservation of beautiful areas like this depends on nature doing it's own thing. Feeding animals encourages them to seek out human food, and disturbs the natural food chain and ecosystem.
Speaking of food, we do have a naughty family of elephants who have broken a few windows to get to food, so we will ask you to keep all food either in our lockers at the bar or in the self-catering kitchen.