Frequently asked questions
How many game drives are included per day?
At Msandile, two game drives per day are included in the daily rate. The morning drive is from 6-9ish and the evening drive from 4-7ish. The length of drive can depend on what you see however we need to be out the park by 8! Please note that whilst on arrival you will have an afternoon drive and upon departure a morning drive, park fees are paid on a daily basis from 6am-8pm.
Are all drinks included?
Filtered water, tea and coffee are included however all other drinks can be purchased at the bar. We have a great selection of soft drinks, wines, beers and spirits and are more than happy to bring these to you as you relax at the lodge. This will all go on your tab which you pay upon departure. You can pay with cash (USD or Zambian Kwacha) or by card.
Are park fees included?
Park fees are not included in the bed night. They cost USD 25 per person per day for internationals, USD 20 per SADAC and for Zambian residents ZMK 41.7
Is the crossing by boat included in the price?
Yes, your boat crossings are included in the price. For those lucky enough to come in green season it is almost an activity in itself on the way to the game viewers!
What kind of car do we need to have if we self drive to the Lodge?
You can come in any vehicle we can either pick you up at the main gate where you can park your car there will be an extra fee of USD 10 per person with a minimum of two in the dry season. Or if you do want to drive to the entrance of the lodge, we would recommend a high clearance 4x4.
Can you arrange transport from/to?
Mfuwe airport: Yes we offer a transfer which takes approx. 30 minutes and costs USD 20 one way with a minimum of two people.
Lusaka: Yes, the trip is approx. 8 hours and the cost depends on how many people you are sharing with. There is also a scheduled bus from Lusaka to Mfuwe, however it is not air conditioned and takes a bit longer, only for those in a tight budget!
Lilongwe: Yes the trip is approx. 4.5 hours excluding the border crossing. Again, this is dependent on the number of people. The costs are depending on the size of your group.
What kind of food can I expect?
Here at Msandile River Lodge we aim to give you healthy hearty meals, enjoyable, filling and fun! We aim to source locally grown fruit and vegetables including growing some of our own with a variety of proteins and carbohydrates to keep you satisfied. Our chefs love experimenting with seasonal fruits and vegetables to create delicious dishes but if you have any requests or dietary requirements or allergies please do let us know in advance so we can best cater for you. We of course have local delicacies so if you are up for the adventure let us know we would be more than happy to make you our local dishes for you to try!
Do you serve vegetarian/vegan/gluten free etc. food?
We have a set menu but do in fact cater for a whole host of diets, dietary requirements. Douglas our chef takes pride in all our meals but is happy accommodate everyone! We do require advance notice if you have an allergy, intolerance, or preference to ensure we have the ingredients for you and can ensure we cater accordingly. We are situated 30 minutes from the nearest shop with limited access to produce so please do let us know upon booking so we can ensure the kitchen is fully stocked for you!
Are children free in your lodge?
Children under 12 pay 50% of the daily fee when sharing with 2 fully paying adults. Babies under 2 go free. Please do always let us know if your child or baby needs specialist food and remember to bring a travel cot if required!
How can I pay?
Lowani Safari’s Ltd
Account number: 5880830500156
BIC code: ZNCOZMLUXXX
Bank: Zanaco Bank
All other costs can be paid cash in USD or Euro's or by Visa Card at the lodge. American Express, Mastercard etc are not accepted
Do you have electricity at the Lodge?
Msandile River Lodge is an eco lodge and is completely of the grid. However:
The generator switches on: from 05.00 - 06.00 hours and from 18.00 - 22.00 hours. This generates electricity in the main building, chalets and tents.
Whenever the generator is off, we have solar power available all day and night at the reception to charge your phone, batteries etc.
Do you have WIFI?
We have WiFi at the lodge however it is temperamental, and signal can be unreliable. For those that want to log on they can and we do our best to accommodate!
Is there an extra charge for single occupancy?
Yes, there is a surcharge of USD 45 per day for single occupancy.
Are you situated in the park and is it fenced?
The camp is not fenced. South Luangwa National Park’s boundary line is the Luangwa River, which we are situated on. Whilst the lodge is technically “outside” the park the animals are free to roam around and we see several animal crossings a day, usually of elephant and giraffe! So, there are animals that wander through camp, the elephants like to come out the park and night to raid the crops of the neighboring town, the hippos come out to eat the grass and we have had everything from buffalo to our resident leopard pass through! Baboons, monkeys, antelopes, birds and warthogs are all regulars seen in camp as well as 3 bull male elephants who kindly help us trim the trees. This all makes for exciting game viewing from the comfort of the pool, restaurant or your room! As we do have wild animals on site, we take care to chat through what to do if you do encounter a wild animal on arrival and utilise our night guards to accompany you to and from your room when the sun goes down. Should you ever feel nervous or wish accompanied in the day please don’t hesitate to ask a member of staff. We will of course always try and make you aware of when a crossing will take place so you have time to grab your camera, maybe a drink and come and enjoy the show!
What other activities can I book?
Please look at our activities page on the website for more information.
Money and tipping?
As they say cash is king, in Zambia you can use either Zambian Kwacha or USD. We suggest you get local currency on arrival at your first destination at the bank / exchange bureau or ATM in the airport should you wish however USD is widely accepted and you are welcome to exchange any USD for local currency at the lodge.
Tipping is the norm however there is no pressure to do so. We suggest that you tip by the end of your stay. We have a communal tipping box for the lodge staff which is split between all staff, front and back of house who contribute to your stay. The suggested amounts would be USD 5 per guest per night for lodge staff and betweenUSD 5-10 for your guide, especially if he went the extra mile on your sightings! He will always try but we of course cannot guarantee wildlife! Please remember these are just guidelines and not compulsory.
What is the shopping like?
There are a variety of really good causes and shops in Mfuwe Town such as Tribal Textiles, who sell an assortment of locally made homeware goods from pillow cases and table cloths to small statues and ornaments. Mulberry Mongoose, a beautiful shop full of jewelry made from snare wire and local organic materials, a portion of all sales goes towards anti-poaching in the park! Project Luangwa, a charitable organization which contributes to local schools, educational programs and women’s initiatives has a variety of locally made curios. Should you need any essentials that you may have forgotten such as a toothbrush please let the staff know so they can arrange for you.
There is also a bush spa at Mfuwe lodge which we can arrange transfers and treatments at. Just let one of the team know you are interested, it has been well tried and tested by management and we can thoroughly recommend!
Is Safari safe?
The guides and staff at the lodge are all highly trained to live in harmony with the surrounding wildlife and know how to interpret their behavior. They have all undergone training to keep you safe, please always listen to their instructions and if at any point you feel unsafe walking alone through camp alert the staff who will accompany you. Always, at all times keep a minimum distance of 40 meters between you and the animal. (If you find yourself closer, retreat slowly and keep the animal within eyesight, so that you can see the animal’s movements).
Use a torch between 6 pm and 6 am Watchmen will escort you to and from your tent in the dark. Ask your guide for more information or advise if required. It will be a pleasure for him to share his knowledge with you
What should I know about Zambia?
Zambia is an incredibly friendly and safe country and people are happy to help however the country is poor so it is recommended not to flaunt valuables or cash to cause temptation. The lodge has a lock box in every room and a safe in the office, please do lock away your valuables or arrange with management to utilize the safe.
For your health it is recommended to consult a travel doctor in your home country to see what they recommend (we are not certified doctors and can only make suggestions). We would recommend taking anti-malarials and taking all recommended vaccines. We of course have first aid kits on site and in the vehicles and there is a park doctor within Mfuwe, please do arrange for health and travel insurance before you arrive in case of any emergencies.