Wondering how to reach Chipata, the gateway to South Luangwa?
The great news is that you can easily travel to Chipata from Lusaka or Lilongwe by bus. Otherwise you can fly the short hop to Mfuwe from Lusaka and we’ll collect you at Mfuwe Airport.
Here’s how to do it:
Travelling to Chipata from Lusaka
Several fast, air-conditioned coaches depart daily from Lusaka to Chipata. The Lusaka terminus is located on Dedan Kimathi road. Smaller minibuses also run from here, although their levels of comfort and safety may leave a bit to be desired!
We recommend that you catch an early bus to Chipata; the journey takes at least 8 hours on a coach and longer on a minibus. Both coaches and minibuses often leave when they’re full, rather than at the specified time, so you may need to plan a couple of extra hours at the bus station.
If you catch the early bus it is wise to buy your ticket the day before; otherwise it’s fine to pay your fare on the bus. Ticket prices vary on a yearly basis, but in 2013 the cost of a one-way Lusaka-Chipata ticket was approximately 120 Kwacha, with a 10 Kwacha charge for large luggage.
Once you’re in Chipata, you’ll find two supermarkets, a couple of fast food joints, banks and lots of colourful African markets to explore. Then grab a public bus, or arrange a private transfer to Mfuwe for the next leg of your safari adventure!
Travelling to Chipata from Lilongwe
Travelling from Lilongwe to Chipata takes around four hours. Most travellers take a minibus from Lilongwe to the Zambian border at Mchinji, and then a taxi to Chipata once across.
The Mchinji border post is very straightforward, especially for travellers crossing on foot. We would recommend that you have a valid yellow fever certificate with you when crossing the border. Immigration officials often ask for these and you could be denied entry without one. Yellow fever certificates can be organised easily before you leave home, or in one of the many clinics in Lilongwe.
Flying from Lusaka to Mfuwe
During the peak season there are three flights from Lusaka to Mfuwe per day with Proflight Zambia. Flights to Mfuwe from Lusaka can cost anywhere between $80 and $300 one way. As with most airfares, the best deals are available to those who book in advance, so try not to leave your decision until the night before! Contact us if you would like help booking your flights, or bookings are easily made through travel agents in Lusaka, or through the hotel where you’re staying.