The Luangwa Valley

The Luangwa Valley

View from your cottage down on the rocks

The journey from Petauke or Mfuwe to Malama is a great driving experience.

Photo taken end of October when it is hot and dry in the Luangwa Valley.


Malama Umoyo is situated in one of the finest wildlife areas in Africa, the Luangwa Valley in Zambia. The area covers two main National Parks, the North Luangwa National Park and the South Luangwa National Park.

The South Luangwa National Park (SLNP) covers over 9,000 square km’s and is surrounded by Game Management Areas (GMA’s) where the local rural people live and where the wildlife is protected under the laws of the Republic of Zambia.

South Luangwa National Park has several gates. The main gate is in Mfuwe crossing the Luangwa River by bridge. The more remote Lusangazi Gate is situated close to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp and provides access to parts of the park unspoilt by mass tourism.

Malama Umoyo Bush Camp is situated within the Lower Lupande Area in the Malama Chiefdom, set on a beautiful bend in the Luangwa River facing the National Park, and overlooking a breathtaking lowland flood plain with the Chindeni Hills in the background. The Malama kingdom also has its own hot springs.

GPS Coordinates of our bush camp: S 13˚ 22’ 37.7” E 31˚ 37’ 05.6”

Malama Umoyo is about 45km (2 hour drive) from Mfuwe and 135km ( 5 hour drive) from Petauke. The area is still unspoiled, wild, remote, rural and with few tourists. Malama Umoyo provides you a home stay cottage in the bush for a true wildlife experience. The SLNP is nearby but also in Malama you will see lots of wild animals, wandering between the River and the Chindeni Hills.

The journey from Petauke or Mfuwe to Malama is a great driving experience.

The Village


The Village (Mwelwa)

The village (Mwelwa) has a school (Malanga School), a basic Clinic and a Church (St Thomas). The staff working at Malama Umoyo lives here with their families. Many people still live in simple traditional huts, but there are also houses with local made bricks. We can organise a visit to the village if required.

Malama Umoyo Bush Camp is close to a scouts training camp, called: Nyamaluma. Out here in the remote bush motivated young local Zambian men and women are trained to become wildlife scouts and safari guides. If you like to know more about wildlife conservation in Zambia, please have a look at DNPW (Department of National Parks & Wildlife) and CSL (Conservation South Luangwa).

How To Get To Us

Flying In

Various carriers fly into Lusaka including Qatar Airways, Emirates and Ethiopian Airways with internal flights from Lusaka to Mfuwe being operated by Proflight.

By car from Mfuwe to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp

  • Mfuwe International Airport – Malama Umoyo, tarmac and dirt road, 70 km, 2 ½ hours

By car from Lusaka to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp

  • Lusaka – Petauke, all tarmac, 400 km, 5 hours

Two options from Petauke

  • Petauke – Malama Umoyo Bush Camp, dirt road, 140 km, 5 hours. You need a 4×4, this road is challenging but fairly well to drive from May until November (even if you have no 4×4 experience). Other months might be difficult due to the rains
  • Petauke – Chipata – Mfuwe – Malama Umoyo, tarmac until Mfuwe, dirt road to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp, 340 km, 6 hours

You can reach Malama coming from Lusaka both ways in one day but you really have to rush and you will miss the beauty of rural Africa, nature and a lot of wildlife, or you will reach Malama in the dark. Remember that you need also time for fuelling, eating, drinking and resting. Therefore we advice you to stay over halfway at Chimwemwe Lodge in Petauke.

By car from Lilongwe (Malawi) to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp

  • Lilongwe – Mjinchi border – Chipata – Mfuwe – Malama Umoyo, tarmac until Mfuwe, dirt road to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp, 320 km, 7 hours

Follow the great East Road. At the Petauke junction you can turn left and follow the road through Petauke to Malama. From Petauke you can also proceed to Chipata – Mfuwe – Malama. The Petauke road is a scenic gravel and sand road through the hills. The road to Mfuwe via Chipata is all tarmac.

Additional information when driving from Petauke to Malama Umoyo through the hills:

The distance from the Petauke junction (at the great East road) to Malama Umoyo is about 140km and it will take you about 5 hours. Petauke city is about 5 km’s left from the great East road. The road from Petauke to Malama is a reasonably fair road but a 4×4 is advisable to cross the rocky hills. After about 60km’s you turn left to Malama (GPS: S 13°56’49” E31°36’52”). See photo below.

Attention (do not miss): Turnoff to Sandwe and Malama (Coming from Petauke)
Attention (do not miss): Turnoff to Sandwe and Malama (Coming from Petauke)

Petauke is your last opportunity to do your shopping and taking in enough fuel for your trip. If needed, you can stop-over in Petauke. We personally like to spend the night in Chimwemwe lodge which is very close to Petauke junction. This place also has camping facilities. If you come form Lusaka, we advice to do your shopping as much as you can in Lusaka. On your way from Petauke to Malama you will see true African rural life. When entering Malama, you will see the (probably dry) Lusangazi river which is the border with the national park. From the power lines it is 5 km to Malama village. Proceed for another 10 km’s (from Malama village) and then turn right (this is where the Lusangazi river meets the Luangwa river). After about 8 km you will drive through Mwelwa village. From there it is only 2 km to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp. Before you reach Malama Village (where you will see the Chief’s Palace), you may not see much wildlife but from there to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp you should do.

From one of our guests (MS, CA, USA): “I would highly recommend driving in from the south, via Petauke to see the beauty of rural African life. The road-track is rough and you’ll need a good 4 wheel drive but it is very much worth it and something the typical Africa tourist doesn’t experience”


Tips when coming from Chipata

From Chipata, it will take you about 4 hours to reach us. Please note, that Chipata has reasonably good supermarkets (Shoprite, Spar) and other shops. If you use camping gas: This can be found at Afrox in Chipata which is located near the turnoff to Mfuwe. In case you might not find Afrox, then ask for Marhaba.

Tips when coming from Mfuwe

In Mfuwe you will find reasonable supermarkets, such as Mayana and one at the filling station. Normally there is fuel in Mfuwe (Oasis) but to be sure fill your tank in Chipata and top-up again in Mfuwe. After passing the filling station, drive about 300m to the South Luangwa main gate and turn left (also tarmac). Follow this road about 2,5 km’s and then turn left. You will see a lot of sign posts (such as Kafunta, Wild life, Nkwali and Mopani). From here, Malama Umoyo Bush Camp is a 40 km drive km via a gravel/sand road. After 13km’s turn left (right you see signpost to Chipembele). After another 10km you will reach Manchesa (National Parks check point) camp and from there it is 17km to Malama Umoyo Bush Camp.

Using a 4×4 is advisable. The road to Malama is rough, but not as bad as many seem to think. During the months April and November, the road can be wet and muddy, so when driving to Malama during these months, we advice you to use a good reliable 4×4 and good driving skills. Driving from Mfuwe to Malama is a game drive experience by itself. You will pass many beautiful places and for sure you will see a lot of wildlife. Please do not drive fast and make way for the animals. Drive carefully and act responsible when meeting big animals (like elephants, hippo’s and buffalo’s).

If you are looking for a good place to stay in Mfuwe, please let us know, and we will assist you to find a reliable and affordable place.

Typical road sections from Mfuwe to Malama

Typical road sections from Mfuwe to Malama
Two photos above: Typical road sections from Mfuwe to Malama

Road section from Petauke to Malama
Road section from Petauke to Malama

Car rental services

In Mfuwe: Njobvu safaris (open game drive vehicles)

In Lusaka: Limo Hire Zambia, LHZ or City Drive Rent a Car. They provide 4×4 cars with fridge and fully equipped camping/rooftent cars. When you arrive at Lusaka airport, they can deliver your rental car there if you like, or bring you to their office, where your car will be ready for you.

Please have a look at www.citydriverentacar.com or contact directly: mulenga@citydriverentacar.com. You can call: +260 211 295290 or +260 966332422.

Map: South section of the National Park
Map: South section of the National Park

Malama Umoyo Bush Camp GPS S13°22’46” E31°37’06”. You can also find Malama Umoyo at Tracks4africa (Downloadable at a fee) If you need a GPX file when driving from Petauke or Mfuwe: Just ask and we send you.