Reviews of Nkwali
Wildlife sightings and reviews
224 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Nkwali and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
The wild dog sightings were excellent, as ever. I had booked a private guide and vehicle for this trip, and really enjoyed my time with Perry, who is young and enthusiastic and has great potential. He got into the spirit of my "bird list", and we managed to spot 176 species, smashing my previous PB of 162, and with several new ones for me.
I had a few more lion sightings than on previous green season trips, including one male who came to drink from the lagoon by the dining area in camp, just as we were about to sit down for lunch! I am used to seeing elephants there, but a lion was a first for me.
I have always liked Nkwali as a camp, particularly the open fronted rooms, but it's the people that really make the place. The atmosphere is relaxed and you get a sense that everyone loves what they do. I look forward to my next visit." See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia
"First visit to South Luangwa"
The accommodation was good. I had been a little concerned that not being fully enclosed by canvas or a solid wall, might have resulted in too many unwanted creatures in the room, but this was not the case.
Perry was our guide. He read the bush well, was an excellent communicator, and drove safely and confidently. Access to some areas was limited because of the wet conditions, so some of the drives were a little repetitive. We were very fortunate however, to have some wonderful sightings. In our first three drives we saw lions, a leopard with a fresh kill and wild dogs. Later in our stay we had a very close encounter on the road, with a breeding herd of elephants. Perry’s handling of this situation inspired confidence.
During our stay there was a short burst of extremely windy and wet weather. The staff, all of whom were excellent, dealt with this admirably. During our stay, a slight delay to one game drive was the only disruption we experienced.
Monkeys and baboons visited the camp, particularly in the after lunch period when no staff were around. We were warned not to leave out anything they might consider food." See all these reviews: 5n in Zambia
The wild mango trees were fruiting and it was a great opportunity to see the elephants, monkeys and baboons feeding on the fallen fruit.
Staying at Nkwali in the wet season was a bit of a challenge as we never knew what we might encounter in the room at night. The rain brought out a host of insects, arachnids and assorted creepy crawlies. If you don’t like close encounters with such creatures this might not be the best time of year to visit but if you don’t mind then you’re in for an interesting time!" See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
We appreciated the swimming pool for cooling off and the chance to watch wildlife come to the lagoon whilst you are on the loungers.
There was plenty of game to view and we saw everything we were hoping for.
The food was also excellent." See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia
The camp and chalets are lovely, high quality, small pool welcome in the heat, staff all very good indeed. Guiding was excellent, lots of game of all sorts on drives, a morning walk very informative on ecology etc. Will happily return if we can.
We were taken aback at the number of vehicles homing in on animals in this southern end of the park (we have been to centre and north only in the past), and actually backed off at night on one occasion when several cars from other camps were pressing in on lions." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia
The staff were lovely and couldn't have been more helpful, special mention must be made of our expert guide Perry who went out of his way to make sure we saw so many wonderful things including our first sighting of wild dogs which have always eluded us in the past.
The accommodation was first class, waking up in the morning to the view of the river was very special especially on the morning when a leopard appeared on the opposite bank.
The food was excellent throughout, one lunch was made even more memorable when a family of elephant came down to the lagoon whilst we were eating.
Hopefully we'll make it back some day." See all these reviews: 11n in Zambia
The service was good, food tasty and plentiful, and guiding and game viewing very satisfactory. I have no complaints whatsoever.
One of many highlights was watching a herd of elephants drink from a pool of water while we were having lunch." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia
"Wonderful Nkwali review"
The new bar area and the camp fire area are splendid. I enjoy taking an aperitif in front of the fire, and had wide-ranging discussions with other guests with a digestif after dinner. Our lunches and dinners were taken mostly in the special covered dining area, but sometimes al fresco or in front of the bar. The food and wine was consistently excellent.
My guide was Perry, who was absolutely superb with an encyclopaedic knowledge of animals, birds and trees. On one occasion, he persevered in tracking down a big pack of wild dogs who had ventured a long distance from the camp.
Another highlight was the sighting of a female leopard who had just killed an impala, and taken it up a tree for one of her cubs to feed on. Almost immediately, she then killed a puku for herself and her second cub to feed on. Two kills a few minutes apart was astonishing to witness.
There were many other memorable wildlife experiences in may five days there. As well as the wildlife experiences, I will remember the splendid bush brunch on one morning, and sundowners on Chichele Hill on my penultimate evening." See all these reviews: 15n in Zambia
"Nkwali by the River"
Our Guide was excellent and thoughtful to my arthritic wife who had difficulty with steps." See all these reviews: 18n in Zambia
Again we went walking, this time with kiki who made the walk fascinating
We also had Kiki as our guide for the rest of the time- which was really good" See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
Holiday styles & special interests in Zambia
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Zambia.
Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
One of the best camps in Zambia, Tafika is naturally built, combining excellent service and food with top guiding skills for a superb wildlife experience.
Small and owner-run, the riverside Kaingo occupies a a quiet but excellent game area, with a series of wildlife hides and a focus on photography.
One of the Luangwa's oldest camps, Nsefu is a great safari camp in a remote, beautiful and game-rich location with top-rate guiding.
Small, remote and owner-run, Mwamba offers first-class walking, 4WD safari drives and superb hides, with excellent guides and a real bush feel.
One of the Luangwa's best camps, in a beautiful, remote bush location, Tena Tena is very small, exceedingly well-run and has top-rate guiding.
Chikoko Tree Camp
Chikoko Tree Camp is an excellent small, rustic bushcamp that concentrates on walking safaris, and is run by a top-quality operation.
Big Lagoon Camp
Big Lagoon Camp is a great little rustic bushcamp built to high standards that focuses on excellent walking safaris, with the emphasis on top wildlife guides.
Kapani Lodge is now the main office base for Norman Carr Safaris, one of the Luangwa's oldest safari operations.
A relatively big safari camp, Flatdogs offers value for money with great guiding and good food in a comfortable, relaxed setting.
Luangwa River Camp
Luangwa River Lodge is a small and consciously stylish lodge in the Mfuwe area, overlooking the Luangwa River and the South Luangwa National Park beyond – an area renowned for great game.
Beside the Luangwa River, Kakuli is a comfortable tented bushcamp offering 4WD safaris and walking safaris – the best of which are camp-to-camp walks linking Kakuli with its nearby sister camps.
Set in a shady ebony grove on the banks of the Luangwa, Mchenja is a smart tented bushcamp. It combines well with Kakuli and Nsolo – its sister camps with a focus on walking safaris.
Nsolo is a small, comfortable bushcamp overlooking one or two pools in the usually dry Luwi riverbed. It concentrates on walking safaris in an interesting and diverse area, led by a knowledgeable guide.
Kafunta River Lodge
Kafunta is a laid-back, friendly and good-value lodge on the outskirts of South Luangwa National Park.
In a remote part of the South Luangwa National Park, Luwi is a rustic bushcamp whose emphasis is on walking safaris with great guiding and a chance of seeing some rarely seen and elusive antelope.
Robin Pope bush-camp
RPS bushcamping in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Lion Camp is an established and comfortable camp with a swimming pool, located near to the game-rich Lion Plain in the northern part of South Luangwa National Park.
Robin Pope mobile
RPS mobile safari camps are at the heart of their set-itinerary walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park, which start and finish at a permanent camp.
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Kapamba is a small and very comfortable bushcamp offering good walks and game drives.
Puku Ridge is a luxurious designer camp set in a stunning location, high on a hill overlooking a floodplain within South Luangwa. Explore from here on 4WD safaris and walks.
In a game-rich area close to the South Luangwa’s main Mfuwe Gate, Mfuwe Lodge is relatively large by park standards, but it’s stylish, modern and family friendly.
Kuyenda Bushcamp is a classic bushcamp with particularly delightful hosts and offers top-class walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park.
Luangwa Safari House
Luangwa Safari House is a vast and very smart four-bedroom house specifically designed for families and small groups, and offering an exclusive and flexible safari experience.
Opened in early June 2013, Chinzombo offers luxurious and stylish accommodation with very high levels of service and excellent guiding.
A smart bushcamp with four very spacious chalets, Bilimungwe offers interesting walking safaris in pretty riverine woodland, as well as day and night safari drives.
Chindeni Bushcamp is a very modern and minimalist camp, which is a far cry from your traditional bushcamp and unlike most of the other camps in South Luangwa.
Three Rivers Camp
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Three Rivers Lodge sits at the confluence of three of the valleys rivers.
Kawaza Village – beside the South Luangwa National Park, offers guests the rare opportunity to appreciate local village life. Visit for a few hours or stay overnight.
With your own expert guide, private vehicle, chef and valet, the two-bedroom Robin's House offers an exclusive, flexible safari experience – and is open year round.
Island Bush Camp
Island Bushcamp is a good-value, rustic, walking-only camp, in arguably one of the most remote parts of the South Luangwa, well away from all other camps.
The Mwamba-Camp Out allows you to have an incredibly adventurous night in the bush, sleeping under mosquito nets with activities led by some of the best guides in Zambia.
A comfortable little bushcamp, Chamilandu has a picturesque setting by the Luangwa River, in an area with a range of habitats to explore on foot and by 4WD.
Zungulila is a small, comfortable tented bushcamp with an emphasis on walking safaris, in the remote southern section of the South Luangwa.
Currently undergoing renovations, Chichele Presidential Lodge stands high within the park, with superb views, and is due to reopen in late 2022.
Luwi Riverbed Sleepout
For an adventurous night in South Luangwa National Park, come and sleep out in the bush, around a campfire, with an experienced guide and game scout.
Opened in June 2021, Shawa Luangwa Camp is a small, intimate and rustic camp, with a good location in a remote section of the South Luangwa National Park.
Mapazi Camp is a basic safari camp in the far north of the South Luangwa, with walking safaris led by renowned guide Deb Tittle.
Chikunto Safari Lodge is a more traditional property in the South Luangwa National Park, sitting on a peninsula of land created by the meandering Luangwa River.