Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Fabulous camp located in extensive shaded grounds on the banks of the Luanga river. The chalets were huge (although we believe we were allocated the honeymoon suite, all the chalets looked of similar size from the outside), and open at head height at both ends which allowed for a through breeze - very helpful in the October heat. The shower / bathroom complex was excellent, and the multi-shelved wicker dresser allowed us to spread out our bag contents - it's funny how these small things make such a difference.
There is a small hide behind the camp (away from the river) overlooking a small waterhole, although we didn't see very much there while we visited. John and Carol were most welcoming, and Heather as camp manager seemed omniprescent. Irrepressible guide Alex, and superb spotter MCooper (?spelling), although we did manage to stump Alex on one question - how many kg of insects does an aardvark eat in a day (thank you John for that one), and Alex, if you read this, an aardvark grows to 50-80kg (rather than the 10-15kg we estimated), so on reflection we feel the 50g diet guessed would leave him a little on the hungry side!
The leopard sightings were awesome - multiple sightings on every drive (thanks to both Alex and Bryan for these and for locating the Land Cruisers for some superb photographs), but the real highlight must be the microlight flight - one of those 101 things to do before you die. One of us even managed to get to see two wild dog chasing a puku - not something you'd be able to do from the ground - a real David Attenborough moment.
And John, I'll be grateful to you forever for the second microlight flight to find the lions. I just wished we'd been able to stay aloft all day. We trust you've been able to sort out what was going on with the lions. The company at the camp was excellent - two other couples and a lady travelling on her own, made for an a magic mix which just heightened the pleasure of our stay. The food was outstanding, varied and beautifully presented. Excellent just seems too inadequate to describe this awesome camp.
Tafika was recommended to us as a place to see leopard, and we saw some good sightings of leopard. Out of 7 game drives, we saw leopard 5 times, so overall, this met our expectations and was a good recommendation.
The camp is excellent given its location. As it's more remote than others, it is not as luxurious. For example, there is electricity available in the central area, but not in your hut.
Overall, the food is excellent, but we did feel rather overwhelmed in the evening with yet another meal. The favourite meal of the day for us was lunch and we really didn't feel that we needed much more food that day after that.
The location overlooking the river is just perfect!
A very nice camp, the room was spacious, very confortable and I loved the bathroom area with just the sky as a roof. Excellent game drives with great guides,.some of the best sighting ever seen.
A very relaxed and friendly atmosphere also during meals with John, Carol and the rest of the staff. The food was simply delicious.
Tafica - saved the best till last!
Just Superb. All the same comments as given for Kapampa. Brilliant wilderness location, Outstanding food, Excellent guiding, Superb room, Great hosting.
Difficult to separate them on most criteria, but perhaps Tafica just has the edge given:-
- The personnal touch of the owners - John and Carol et al!
- Outstanding guiding - particularly Brian.
- The option to take the microlight flight.
We had a superb time at Tafica - the Leopards "falling" out of the trees.
Leopards at Tafika
Owned by John and Carol who were involved and available throughout our stay. Brian managed the game drives and people traffic and again was available when needed.
The game drives we went on were guided by either Brian or Alex and were superb, Brians twenty plus years of experience of guiding plus his knowledge of photography were certainly enhanced our game drives, that is not to take it away from Alex who also gave great drives.
In the last two days we saw 22 different lions and five different leopards on numerous occasions. The food was fantastic, service was excellent as was the administration, the camp that we look forward going back to in the future. The micro-light flight was one highlight in many during our stay at this camp.
The only thing missing was the leopard in the tree in day light, we did however have three in the tree at night, need to go back to get the day light shot.
recharge battery visit
the bushcamps have no 240v supply so we came for 1 night to recharge before off again.
Visitors could be reminded as some appeared to be ignorant and so had no spare.
[Ed: This was just a one-night stop; see below for the comments that these travellers made about their first 3 nights at Tafika during this long trip to the Luangwa.]
very well run and efficient. friendly helpful and knowledgeable staff. comfortable with good food. excellent animal viewing. loved the microlite flight, it was a real highlight.
we asked to visit the local village and the school which tafika supports and this wa arranged. tafika really is part of the local community and plays a crucial role in education and employment.
Disappointing stay at Tafika
Our stay at this camp followed Nkwali where we were made to feel so special so we came down to earth with a bump. Tired, stressed, overworked guides and staff did not add to the ambience in anyway. Cost cutting was very much in evidence. The cheapest wine possible (the red came out of a box) almost undrinkable. Good food at lunchtime but very disappointing in the evening. The camp is predominantly for those who only stay one night and then do a walking safari. Unfortunatly, we were booked in for three. The guides work the way they want and make no allowances. One example, the walking safari each morning starts at 6 am and finishes at 11 am with a break for coffee. One couple asked if it could be shortened as they were not up to it's lengh. It was their last camp and were returning home afterwards. Their request was given a blunt no.
Coincidently, we met a guide who had worked at Tafika and he agreed that time off was a big issue for the staff. This is no excuse when they are charging such high prices. Expert Africa is their biggest customer and I can only think they behave differently when their staff stay at the camp.
We were not introduced to any staff other than the guides, Heather the hostess and Rona the caterer. Everyone seemed on edge and when Carol and John were present you could cut the atmosphere with a knife. I would not recommend this camp when there are so many others to choose from.
Expert Africa comments
Expert Africa has been in touch with John and Carol Coppinger about these comments and they are most upset that these clients did not enjoy their stay at Tafika. They commented that they are seriously committed to giving their guests the best possible safari experience – and can only apologise most sincerely that Tafika did not live up to the guests expectations.
Tafika have the most stable and longstanding team of guides in the Luangwa. This indicates a content team and we are sorry if it appeared any different to these guests. John and Carol comment that these guests were met on arrival by John, the hostess, the safari manager and the bedroom attendants. These are all front of house staff who are used to interacting with visitors. Tafika are sorry if these guests felt the interaction was lacking or that there was an atmosphere and they will use these comments to ensure no similar impressions are given to future guests.
It is unfortunate that these guests did not enjoy the table wine offered at Tafika during their stay. As John and Carol are aware that their choice of wine may not be to everyone’s taste they have a selection of alternative wines, displayed on the bar, which are for sale.
Again a first rate and very professionally run camp. However our least favourite as the atmosphere was more formal.
The relationship between owners and senior staff and general staff quite formal. Staff did not appear to be encouraged to interact with guests and as a result were more distant and seemed content.
great return visit
lovely to see the team again.
We repeated last year's trip and loved every minute.