Nkasa Lupala is located on Lupala island in Namibia's Caprivi Strip...
Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge: Our full report
Nkasa Lupala Tented Lodge is located by the river on the beautiful and peaceful Lupala Island, on the boundaries of Mamili National Park in Namibia's Caprivi Strip. The nearest lodge to the park, it opened in 2011.
Nkasa Lupala is takes a bit of effort to reach – down the long, curving C49 road which heads south from Kongola, through Mudumu National Park, skirts north of Mamili National Park, and then joins the main B8 again just south of Katima Mulilo. Until recently (June 2014) this road was partially gravel, and partially a bit of a building site; now it's all a good tar road. (Thus note that its name may well change from the 'C49' to something completely different, perhaps starting with a 'B', sometime soon.)
Self-drivers should park their car in Sangwali village, before another bumpy 4WD transfer to the lodge. However, don’t let this put you off – the lack of accessibility and remoteness adds to the appeal of the lodge, which has a real wilderness feel to it. The long journey to reach it is definitely worth it.
Nkasa Lupala consists of 10 tented rooms, all raised up on stilts, which gives a better view over the surrounding area, and also gives the feeling of being in a treehouse of sorts, especially as there are plenty of trees spread over the property. The rooms are simple yet comfortable, with a doubled bed, a wardrobe, a lamp and a luggage area. The style is quite modern, with smooth curves and artistic touches, such as the wire hearts that hang above each bed. Red pillows and towels add colour to an otherwise neutral room. Through sliding doors in front of the bed is a wooden veranda, with a couple of chairs and a lovely view.
Behind the bed is the en-suite bathroom, which consists of a sink, flush toilet and a teardrop shaped shower. One room has an outside bath and shower as well, and this is mostly used for honeymooners.
Linked to the rooms by a network of pathways is a central three storey communal area with a bar, a partially undercover dining room, a comfortable lounge, and a viewpoint on the top floor. The campfire is also raised up over the river on the deck here. The whole main area looks out over the river and game is frequently spotted from up here.
The lodge tries to be eco-friendly and uses solar power to heat the water and for electricity. To compliment this, the lodge has been designed to blend into the surroundings as much as possible.
Activities on offer at the lodge include game drives into Mamili National Park, as well as Mudumu and the Wuparo Conservancy. On these drives possible sightings include elephants, buffalo, hippo, wildebeest and lion, as well as a number of antelopes such as impala, kudu, roan and sable. A wide variety of birds can also be spotted in this area. Those with 4WD vehciles can self-drive in Mamili National park, although the road conditions are not great and it’s not always obvious where to go, so Expert Africa would recommend going with a guide.
Boat cruises are also possible here, and these take place in the Kwando-Linyanti Delta. Here it is possible to see waterbuck, reedbuck, sitatunga and lechwe.
There are plans to open a concession in Mamili national park, which, if it goes ahead, will allow the lodge to offer night drives and game walks. Watch this space!
For a break from game viewing, a visit to a local village can also be arranged.
The camp is very remote, and unfenced, allowing game to wander freely through. On out last visit, a herd of over 20 elephants came to visit, preventing anyone from returning to their rooms after breakfast until they had moved on. While this was a wonderful experience, to be so close to the game, it is not for the feint-hearted and not suitable for young children.
Our viewRemote Nkasa Lupala is a lovely choice for exploring Mamili National Park, and it’s open location should attract those with a sense of adventure. Food service and comfort are all of a high standard here, and the remote location gives a real sense of being in the wilderness.
Ideal length of stay: 2-3 nights
Directions: Nkasa Lupala is about 75km from Kongola and 130km from Katima Mulilo. Self-drivers should park their car in Sangwali village, where a 4WD will be sent the 11km from the lodge to pick you up. The C49 from Kongola is currently in a bad state so extra time and care is needed to drive it. However, the road is slowly being tarred, so once this is complete the drive will be easy one.
Accessible by: Self-drive
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food here is Namibian with an Italian twist, thanks to its Italian owners.
A continental breakfast is served, with a hot option also available to order.
Lunches are light – perhaps a salad or sandwich.
For dinner on our last visit here in August 2013 we enjoyed baked aubergine with parmesan cheese, roast chicken with vegetables and roast potatoes and tomato sauce, followed by a poached pear. It was all very tasty and fresh.
The Italian influence was also apparent on the sundowner boat cruise, where we tucked into mini pizzas with our gin and tonic.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included here.
Attitude towards children: Nkasa Lupala accepts children, but do not recommend that children under 16 stay here because the camp is unfenced and game frequently wanders through.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.
Special activities & services: None
Generally recommended for children: Due to the remote and unfenced nature of the camp, Expert Africa would not recommend Nkasa Lupala for young children.
Notes: Children must be under parental supervision at all times.
Power supply: Solar Power
Communications: There is phone signal here, and WiFi in the main area.
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a first aid kit at the lodge and a clinic at nearby Sangwali village. In emergencies patients would be airlifted to Maun in Botswana.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Guests are escorted to and from their room at all times. For those leaving their car in the village, it is parked in a fenced and guarded area.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located in every room.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A laundry service is available for an extra charge.
Accepted payment on location: Payment is accepted in most currencies and Visa and MasterCard are also accepted.