Reviews of Nkwali
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Nkwali - 3 nights
It's hard to recall we only stayed 3 nights - here was a huge amount packed in there!
The guiding here was excellent - Chris is great for photographers and gets the vehicle in good positions for you (which is a definite skill not all drivers have). The camp is in a more frequented area of the park (but there was only one lion sighting at which there were a lot of vehicles) so there is some 'radio chatter'. The up-side is that you get to see wild dogs - the down-side is the other visitors *wry smile*.
The rooms very good, although do heed warnings about the baboons and keep your articles tidied away. (Slightly annoying to have to keep re-bagging toiletries when you have a fast start in the morning, but far from the worst place I've had with monkey / baboon issues).
Food, service, escort in the dark etc was all very good and efficiently arranged. Note that the mosquito nets aren't dropped for the siesta period - I collected a few tsetse bites on my exposed feet here so I suggest you apply preferred protection if needed.
The drive from the airport is fairly short (~ 40 min) through the local towns / villages. We were there at the end of the dry season and the river was low enough that we walked over on sandbags to vehicles waiting on the other side.
We were the only guests in camp for our final night and were offered a private dinner, which was a nice touch and much enjoyed.
Back to Nkwali
After 3 nights at Nsefu, followed by 3 nights at Tena Tena, we moved along to the wonderful Nkwali. It was our fourth visit here, and the contrast in river level between this time and our last visit in March 2012 was dramatic.
This time, one could simply drive across the river. We enjoyed excellent game viewing with Kiki who guided us superbly.
to be honest we arrived late in the dark and left early so did not experience much, however, the brief time we were there seemed very good.Read more about the whole safari
Everything was perfect . 5 star all the wayRead more about the whole safari
We found this an excellent camp both in layout and facilities.
We particularly enjoyed the drum wake up call!,
Lovely setting by the river..Read more about the whole safari
Brief Visit, but was warmly welcomed
I only stayed one night at Nkwali, wasn't even there 24 hours, but the staff were lovely and welcoming, the food was greatRead more about the whole safari
Our first visit to a Robin Pope camp
Lovely site, close to the river with wonderful sunrises and sunsets.
The accommodation was comfortable and exceptionally well-equipped, with hair-dryer, bath-robes, toiletries and insect repellent.
The camp was run in an efficient but relaxed and unobtrusive manner; Harriet and Fred were a great team along with the rest of the staff; our laundry was always returned neatly ironed and folded the same day; the room was always immaculately clean and well-prepared. Food was excellent, varied, fresh and delicious [ the lemon tart was the best we've ever tasted] and dietary requirements were always met. It was a nice touch to be surprised on an afternoon drive to find a table already set up with champagne and nibbles for sun-downers!
Jackson was a delightful and ever-present watchman who has served Nkwali for many years and escorted us to dinner each night.
Harriet was always on hand to meet us at the end of a drive with either a warm or cold flannel! She was an excellent host with a great sense of humour whose company we enjoyed very much.
Game drives and a short walk, guided by Fred, were informative and relaxed. Fred is obviously an experienced and enthusiastic guide with extensive knowledge and was an entertaining companion. His knowledge of the area enabled him to avoid some of the main routes and therefore other vehicles; there were rather more vehicles than we had expected but not enough to detract from our enjoyment. Fred proved to be a keen star-gazer and used his laser pointer to great effect. It was a definite advantage to be with the same guide for each activity.
The facilities generally were excellent; It was good to have twin showers - this saved time when trying to get ready for dinner - hot water was available at all hours. The swimming pool was a bit disappointing and uninviting - an apple core was spotted in the bottom! The lagoon behind the dining area was an attractive and interesting backdrop to mealtimes, with monitor lizards, sacred ibis, yellow-billed storks and turtles, as well as the legendary lizard buzzard which we thought was a mythical creature invented by Fred but proved to be in his bird book! Elephants and other animals often come to drink there.
It was a real bonus for us to be offered a third night by Claire which we appreciated hugely. We loved Nkwali and would certainly choose to go there again if returning to South Luangwa. Thank-you to all involved.
My expectations were that Nkwali would simply be a nice beginning for the real bush safari that was to come with camps later in my itinerary. Having read that this area was more crowded and less authentic feeling than areas farther north, I was happily surprised to discover that my expectations were far from the truth.
The game drives were great and rarely did I see another vehicle with the exception of painted dogs interacting with hyenas who had stolen their kill. We were the first car there but another three later joined us. All were very quiet and unobtrusive, so it was not a problem. I also saw other spotlights on occasion during the night drives, but this was not a big negative as far as I was concerned.
The guiding was excellent and I was fortunate to have a very experienced guide, Kiki, who was also the camp manager. I was quite lucky because for three game drives, I was the only passenger. Those drives with Kiki were a highlight of the entire trip.
The accommodations were nicer than I had expected. There were no negative aspects at all with regards to the rooms. If there was a negative, it would have to be that the food was not always to my liking and there were no other options if you didn't like a particular dish. There was a meat, a starch, and a vegetable, so if you didn't like the meat for instance, there wasn't something else to fill up on because servings were of a particular portion not of your own choosing. That said, it certainly wouldn't prohibit me from choosing to stay again at Nkwali, or any of the Robin Pope Camps.
Leopards seen every day, including one killing a baboon which then also did a mini charge at our vehicle!
A pack of 14 Wild dogs as well as hyenas and much else. Great food and hospitality. Excellent guiding from Kiki.