Reviews of Nkwali
Wildlife sightings and reviews
202 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
Perri , our guide was extremely knowledgeable and approachable. He made us feel at ease and relaxed about asking questions.
Our tented accommodation was luxurious and food “ top class”." See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia
"Returning for a 6th time to Nkwali"
Staying at Nkwali was a pleasure." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia
"Nkwali fantastic as always"
We enjoyed this time the Emerald season when the park is green and you have the feeling to have the park for yourself. The bird life is amazing and we found other wildlife sightings like leopards, wild dogs, lions with cubs, lots of elephants etc. The game is maybe a bit more difficult to spot in comparison to the dry season but in a park like the South Luangwa there is always still more that you could wish for. The high levels of the river and the morning boot drives into the park at sunrise have been out of this world. Just stunning!
We have to say a special thank to everybody from Nkwali. The whole team made this stay again unforgettable and it was so hard to leave. The atmosphere in the camp is very warmly, relaxed, cheerful. Thank you for all the new wrinkles because of laughing so hard :-)
The passion for wild life with all the incredible knowledge that all the staff has got is amazing. Guiding is hard to top. We have been very privileged to go with Kanga on our Safaris. We learned a lot from him observing carefully the nature. Now we understand again more how this precious and fragile ecosystem with all the plants and animals is working.
We are looking very much forward to our next time even when we have to wait till 2021. " See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
We loved the rooms at Nkwali, which are very open to the outdoors and beautifully appointed. Several other guests had visitors to their rooms including monkeys, bats, and lizards, but this is all part of the fun! The bathrooms are stunning, and ours had a tree growing through it. The pool area is very nice, overlooking Humphrey the hippo's territory.
Our guide at Nkwali was every bit as knowledgable as the other Robin Pope guides, and we enjoyed his expertise. Our host, Sorrel, was extremely personable and we thoroughly enjoyed our conversations. Like the other Robin Pope lodges, the food was delicious. The only thing that took away from our experience slightly was that the camp was so crowded that they did not have enough boats to bring us to our game drive vehicles at the same time, and on both excursions we were left behind to wait while the other groups got to go out earlier. " See all these reviews: 7n in Zambia
The resident hippo, Humphrey, was out of the lagoon in the day and we saw a mother and baby hippo running along the riverbank in broad daylight too. A troope of baboons had a party in my room and left a bit of a mess but no harm done. I had been warned they might come in if I had food, which I didn't have but they came in anyway. There were footprints of hippo right outside my room too. Having the fourth wall of the chalet missing was a bit disconcerting!
Everyone was very attentive and helpful particularly because I was alone for half my stay. The meals were very good, always over generous and frequent! Again spacious room and everything provided. The public areas were interestingly designed and it is lovely being so close to the river." See all these reviews: 8n in Zimbabwe; 6n in Zambia
"Fantastic Experience at Nkwali"
The camp itself is located on the banks of the Luangwa River and is open to the local wildlife - including a resident Hippo that wanders the grounds at night. Because the camp is small enough to offer more intimate African experiences than the larger lodges it was the perfect place for us, who go to Africa to enjoy the wildlife, birds, and local people.
We started each day with a breakfast cooked over a campfire, then a game drive with a stop for tea in the park, lunch and a siesta back in camp, and an afternoon game drive with time for a "Sundowner" before a night drive back to camp. The game viewing in South Luangwa is among the best in Africa and the Nkwali guides are expert at their jobs. Since we are birders, we appreciated the fact that our guide was an expert in local birds as well.
Highlights included leopard sightings almost every day, lion, giraffe, elephant, zebra, lots of antelope, and over 100 species of birds. " See all these reviews: 11n in Zambia
"Adventurous trip by boat to the camp"
- fantastic animal sightings
- we loved the openness of the chalet
- Fred was an excellent driver and planner (avoided the heavy storm)
- Pretty location and deck with a great view
- basic cleanliness could be better
- No apparent management: no personal welcoming card, no envelopes for the tipps, breakfast was always at the same place, no survey at the end, it did not seem to be a Robin Pope Camp
- The hosts uniform was not in a good state and often he wore his personal shirt
" See all these reviews: 15n in Zambia
"Meet Wildlife Galore at Nkwali"
Breakfast was abundant, and lunch overlooking the lagoon (where Humphrey the Hippo resides) was always delicious and great fun. Dinners were diverse and excellent as well.
All members of the Nkwali staff whom I encountered were cheerful and ever responsive to the needs of the guests. No favor seemed too large to grant, and I was very grateful for the opportunity I was given to get a message from the camp to my family, with whom I'd been out of touch for far too many days.
Best of all was the wildlife I saw, thanks to the knowledge and determination of my guide, John. He made certain another guest and I found the Wild Dogs we were after and did everything but climb the tree himself to make sure I got good pictures of a Leopard ensconced on an upper limb. The list of animals -- including an incredible number of different birds -- I met up with at Nkwali is indeed long and largely due to John's experience, patience and skill.
A note of caution: The Baboons on the property are rambunctious and overly curious. It's best to keep all personal property well concealed and protected inside zipped-up bags." See all these reviews: 11n in Zimbabwe; 10n in Zambia; 7n in Malawi
"Great 3 night stay"
The biggest and more or less only real complaint was the lack of a canopy on the game vehicle. It's not uncommon to experience temperatures in the upper 30's, in that area. It was unbearably hot and to go on a game drive, twice a day with no shade was unspeakable. We stopped to watch an Impala give birth, which was just incredible, but it meant we were sitting in the searing heat (by 8am it was really hot) for half an hour with no escape from the harsh sun. It definitely put a dampener on the game drives, because by the end, we just wanted to get out of the sun and not stop and take everything in. Equally so in the afternoon. We just wanted to stop under a shady tree.
The rooms were great, very spacious and had everything you needed. All I can say is privacy is a bit of an issue. Fisherman in front of your hut and staff walking behind while you take a shower is a bit disconcerting. And when it rained (much celebrated to cool us down) the water pools under the toilet and is unavoidable when you have to use the loo. It just needs a little drain or something, so the water can flow out.
Everyone was great in setting up our private dining. The phenomenon that a lot of lodges insist on, making you co-dine with other guests and the rangers is really something that needs to be re looked. There is plenty of opportunity to mingle with other guests and staff if you want to, but I certainly don't want to be made to sit with a bunch of strangers and make small talk at meal times. I am there to share qualify time with friends and family and I just hate when the mingling is forced.
We had great game sightings, hyena on a kill with a leopard in the tree above. Impala giving birth, lions, buffalo and loads of ellies. Humphrey the resident hippo was a highlight and entertained us no end. The daily visits of ellies splashing in the water hole by the pool was so special. I would love to return to Nkwali after the rains to experience Luangwa when the river and pans are full and everything is green.
I would definitely recommend this lodge, but at the same time would warn about the no shade game drives!
The food was good. Our breakfast in the bush was a particular highlight. The secret is to keep it simple, but do simple well and the chef managed exactly this.
The pool was such a welcome relief. Pool towels were a bit lacking. Suggestion a lilo or pool pillow would have been great!
I really loved our weekend away! Thank you!
" See all these reviews: 4n in Zambia
"Fantastic wildlife around Nkwali"
The dining area overlooks a pool where Humphrey the hippo spends his days. Our guide was lovely and took us to see the most fantastic wildlife.
Lots of leopards to see in the surrounding area and the transfer to Nsefu lodge which was partly on the Nkwali side of the river and partly on the other side was absolutely stunning. " See all these reviews: 12n 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.