Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
3rd visit and still wonderful
The range of activities and the experience of the guides makes this our top choice in S Luangwa.
Facilities are effective and unpretentious, but the food and help is excellent. John & Carol always make us feel very welcome to their home, and we are pleased that the local school is benefitting from their support.
It is a fine centre for walking safaris as each bushcamp has its merits but also has the same high standard of service & food and more than adequate comfort. The number of guides available means that we can always do what we want, without having the tedious business of gaining agreement for one activity which is what happens at some other camps.
After 3 visits we love this place and hope to return.
Could not fault anything abou our stay here.Read more about the whole safari
Will be back!
A new camp for me and one that I would love to visit again. John and Carol are fantastic hands-on hosts and the whole team was terrific. It's obviously a very happy workforce! We were guided by Bryan, Stephen and Alex and they were excellent.
Tafika is very well laid out and we loved the space and distance between the chalets. I also liked the little hide. The security provided at night by the night watchment was much appreciated as the layout and nocturnal visitors can be a little tricky.
I can't believe I did a microflight trip given the vertigo I usually suffer from. but John inspires total confidence - and I liked it so much I did it again the next day!
Relaxed atmosphere at Tafika
The staff and the management really made us feel like part of a family right from the start when we where warmly welcomed by Heather. We felt very sad to have to leave after our three nights here.
Our guide, Mukupa, was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic. We had a lot of fun together and saw many special things (the highlight must have been the wild dogs - third sighting at Tafika this season).
Also, seeing the Luangwa from the air in a microlight was very special. Doing so with someone who knows the area as well as John is a great privilege.
Tafika is a great place where to start. The night drives are amazing and the guides are very experienced. All activities were very well handled, guides and staff always present but not overwhelming. The wildlife is ubiquitous,....., including in the camp. We saw a leopard every night (not in the camp) , I understand we were lucky.
Only one disappointment. The food was really average and we were expecting less chicken, minced meat, vegetables in jelly, lasagnas and stews and more "real meat".
We loved everything about Tafika.
The expertise of the guides was everything we'd hoped for; we enjoyed every single drive and walk and they contrived to make each one a different experience by rotating the guides and spotters and taking us to different areas. Because of the length of the drives, and perhaps because our stay was a bit longer than average, we really felt we got to know several of the guides well and to understand a bit about the lives of the local people from what they told us.
The accommodation was very comfortable and most attractive, the food was excellent, but most importantly the staff were uniformly friendly and helpful. Everyone was genuinely concerned when Alice was unwell for a couple of days (she had picked up a flu-type bug, probably on the plane) and found us appropriate medication, re-organised transfers to the bush-camp etc.
Tafika - Wow!
What a wonderful place - no other place has filled us with such happiness and such a desire to return! John and Carol are wonderful hosts and ALL the guides are "top notch" (Stephen, Alex and Brian) - good english (even Brian!), knowledgeable and, importantly, very helpful. Being met by Mkupa and Lloyd to canoe us across the Luangwa was a super experience.
Tafika rewarded us with the best game sightings of the holiday and also the longest drives.
The "house" staff also are great and we enjoyed our tour of the kitchen garden with Isaac!
A number of nice touches: purpose built steps to aid access to the jeeps - taken on trips when those less agile were aboard; light on in the bedroom on return from evening drives; Good electricity; super showers that really made one wet and warm.
The open grassy area gives such a wonderful feeling of space - one is instantly relaxed.
We loved the visit to the village and school - very moving.
Return to Tafika
Lovely welcome from Carol and John on our return after four years. They still run the camp in a relaxed and very efficient way with their great team. Rhona was exceptional in coping with my dietary requirements and produced a great variety of perfectly cooked meals.
The rooms are well-designed, comfortable and well-equipped with excellent showers and large mosquito nets which enclosed the whole sleeping area so there was no feeling of claustrophobia. The laundry service was superb, with clothes collected in the morning returned the same day.
The guides and spotters were all excellent. We particularly enjoyed the enthusiasm of Alex and Stephen. It was good to see Brighton again and enjoy his fire-lighting skills! It was great to be able to do guided walks, especially after crossing the river by canoe which added to the experience.
We appreciated being able to send emails and having Brian on hand to help with technical problems!
It was particularly good to have a closed vehicle to go to the airport - we saw others who didn't and they were very wet having come through a thunderstorm!
Unfortunately we were unable to take advantage of the microlight flights due to the cost of insurance investigated before we left home.
Thankyou to everyone for a memorable visit to Tafika and for the great care you took of us.
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.