Reviews of Nkwali
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Can't wait to return!
Nkwali far exceeded our expectations. We had been told independently that it would it would be good but it was fantastic!
Every aspect was outstanding - location, accommodation, food, game drives and walks. All the staff without exception were friendly, helpful and efficient. We very impressed by the attention to detail and quality of management.
A lovely lodge in a beautiful position.
I really enjoyed my stay at Nkwali. Daudi, the camp manager and my guide was first class.
The guides are one of the most important things when on a safari. Daudi had an unshakeable knowledge of everything. - plants, insects, birds and animals. He was highly ethical in his approach to the viewing and also great company.
The game drives were brilliant and we also did an all day bush picnic which was magical.
See previous review [Ed: see below]Read more about the whole safari
South Luangwa in the emerald season! What could be finer?!
Nkwali is a very well run and comfortable camp. We have nothing but praise for everyone there who helped make our stay extremely pleasant and comfortable, especially the excellent and charming hostess, Christabelle. We were also very impressed with the quality of the guiding of Jacob in particular - and he was also a whole barrel of fun to be with.
February is, of course, 'off season' (and very few camps are open, as a result). But it is a truly fabulous time to visit South Luangwa, lush, green and with bags of bird and mammal activity. For fans of the latter, we had two good leopard sightings and both lions and painted dogs were seen by others while we were there; elephants and buffalo were around in abundance.
Together with its sister camp, Nkwali, strongly recommended.
Great walking from Nkwali
Kiki and Chilumbe were very welcoming and the game drives and walking exhilarating - it was quite something to be within about 50 yards or 11 (yes eleven) giraffes.
To see leopards and lions almost daily was quite a privilege for us' especially the lion up in the tree! The bird watching for us 2 enthusiastic amateurs was stupendous. The accommodation (Room6) was sumptuous and the food incredible, they even provided a candle lit private dinner for us on our last night - magical.
A superb location with masses of wildlife and excellent guide. Our guide (Obi) was with us on all our game drives - a wonderful person as well as being an excellent guide.
The pool was a nice bonus.
Nkwali is a well established camp in a great location and lovely views - which would be even better when the Luangwa river is nearer capacity. It is a friendly and welcoming camp especially for the elephants that visited the small lagoon on most days.
The guiding here is very good and our special thanks to Emmanuel and Jacob for giving us great sightings and photo opportunities. We were lucky enough to see several leopards as well as lions on each day of our stay. They were both very knowledgeable on birdlife which was a bonus to us.. However the highlight of our stay was a visit to a small lagoon where we saw lions, giraffe drinking, saddle-billed and marabou storks catching fish as well as three pelicans patrolling the decreasing water.
The only downside of the camp unfortunately was the frequent lack of water in our chalet. This culminated in one night when my wife was poorly and there was no water in the toilet cistern or anywhere else. The staff tried to rectify the situation but at midday the following day we had to use someone else's chalet to have a shower - unfortunately no one was on duty to help us.
A plus point was that there were never more than four guests to a vehicle which meant we were never over crowded. This is a good camp where we would have allocated higher marks if the water problem had not existed.
Top marks for management at Nkwali
This was our first taste of Robin Pope Safaris, which we discovered to be a very well managed operation. Although we arrived too late for lunch, due to pilot problems between Lusaka and Mfuwe, sandwiches and fruit had been saved for us. Daudi, the camp manager, gave us an informative welcome briefing, and quickly established our interests and aspirations. His attention to detail throughout our stay was impressive, as was the response of his team.
The accommodation was comfortable and traditional safari camp style, as cool as could be hoped for at the hottest time of year, and mosquito free (nets, insect repellent and knockdown sprays were provided). The location, close to the river bank, did ensure game viewing from the room, as well as a fairly noisy first night with a herd of elephant feeding off the trees by our room, and hippos having a disagreement outside!
The food was delicious and well presented, the bar well-stocked too, and we liked the system of drinks being included in the upfront price.
The camp is just outside the park, which meant taking a flat bottomed river boat from camp to leave/rejoin the vehicles in the middle of the day between game drives. Probably due to low water levels, being late in the dry season, our boat regularly stuck on the sand/mud, much to the amusement of the hippos and hungry looks of the crocodiles! Some dredging of the channel, or sticking to vehicle crossings, may be appropriate.
The vehicles were well-maintained open-top Toyota Land Cruisers - comfortable for passengers, and sturdy enough for all situations.
The game viewing was excellent - an abundance of elephant , buffalo and hippos, good leopard and lion observation, plenty of the smaller mammals and birds. Our guide, Emanuel, knew where to aim for, and spoke knowledgably about what we saw, plus retained a lively sense of humour.
A small irritant - the green branded Robin Pope Safaris water bottles which we were presented with were absolute rubbish - the neck valves leaked, causing soaking cameras and clothing, much to the amusement of those sporting water bottles from rivals, such as Lion Camp. Pull up your socks, RPS!