Reviews of Nkwali
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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!
Robin Pope Safaris : Nkwali Camp
Very enjoyable and comfortable first experience of Robin Pope Safaris. Standard of the guides (in our case Emmanuel) excellent. South Luangwa National Park cannot be bettered.
Very good for walking safaris.
Too short a stay to tell very much
I was only there for a night, so can't really say a whole lot.
What I did experience was very good - excellent dinner, well run, friendly, efficient staff, and a very comfortable room.
Very enjoyable time at Thai camp and all the staff made us very welcome
Nothing was too much trouble
It was the busiest of they camps we went to for seeing other cars
Short safari stay on transit to distant camp
Made very welcome at the camp and throughout our short stay .
Very comfortable accommodation well appointed, however came back after game drive to find many baboons 'using' our room for many activities . Was not a problem as all our belongings fastened away as advised, but needs to be monitored.
Excellent game drives with Fred.
Loved the drums for wake up and meals.
Ideal when arriving early evening as not too far from airport.
great location at Nkwali
John met us from the airport, a friendly face at the start of our adventure .Welcomed on arrival at camp with a cool cloth which was much appreciated. Rooms large with open views of river. All staff no matter what level were welcoming and always spoke to you.
Daudi was brilliant being very knowledgeable and patient with our many attempts to photograph birds. His skills helped us get great views of wild dogs...a great guy and fun to be wiith.. Johnson the night guard always had a story to tell about the night time visits through camp Transfer to our next camp was through the park which was a bonus as we lost no time viewing.
Warm, communal feel with abundant wildlife
Nkwali was a great introduction to safari. The staff is very friendly, welcoming and informative.
The architecture fits beautifully into its setting, with thatched roofs and walls made of adobe with wood accents. All rooms open to a panoramic view of the river where birds, hippos and elephants consistently spend their days. Monkeys and baboons play on the grounds, along with frequent warthog and elephants visits within the campgrounds.
Meals are served alongside a little waterway and breakfast alongside the river so one can watch the beautiful sunrise.
Our guide Fred, a jovial, well informed chap, was fantastic and eager to ensure we spent our time on the animal/bird life that held the most interest for us. He happily pursued detours when indications suggested that we could see a more elusive animal such as leopard, lions or wild dogs and allowed us plenty of time to take photos and observe animals. Many animals were quite close to the jeep and we could watch them do their thing for as long as we desired. One night, we watched a leopard for a full hour as he jumped up and down a tree, walked by the jeep, and stalked some puku. Another morning, we watched lion cubs with their mommas.
We saw loads of elephants on every drive--both In and out of water. Giraffes and zebras were more sporadic but generally appeared at some point on a drive, and certainly once every two drives. We also saw plenty of hippos, crocs, impala, puku, monkeys, baboons, water bucks, warthogs and a variety of bird species. The night drives provided us an opportunity to see things like serval and genet.
The atmosphere at nkwali is intimate, relaxed and communal. There are only 6 tents so there are fewer than 12 guests and, for my time, there were 8 of us. Guests are encouraged to interact with each other and the staff. A drum called us to tea time and meals. We then ate together as a group alongside the camp managers and often our guide,
They limit the drives to 6 guests per vehicle so everyone has a "window" seat. My first drive was just me!
As with all my safari camps, food was good and plentiful.
Reasons to stay at nkwali: comfortable yet rustic feel, abundance of animal life within campgrounds, communal, warm, and relaxed atmosphere, Kiki (manager), will (guest services) and Fred (guide).
I stayed in room 5 I think.
Room didn't have mammal or bird checklists which would have been handy in tracking what we saw.
Room is quite open to the environment. My room had a gecko that didn't seem to have any interest on leaving, a few spiders and flying insects. I am quite skiddish and managed to deal with their presence but it created some anxiety when returning to my room in the evening. Importantly, though, I am way more skiddish about bugs than most.
Comfortable and beautifully situated lodge
Great situation with comfortable and spacious rooms. Excellent guiding from Obi, with sightings of leopards, lions, many hippos, Nile crocodile, giraffes, zebras - everything we would have expected.
Food was excellent and could not be faulted.
This was the first of three Robin Pope Safari camps visited on our trip. It's a beautiful riverside location with masses of hippos, sacred ibis and noisy hadeda ibis.
Comfortable accomodation very enjoyable food.The staff were friendly and our extremely knowledgeable guide, Fred, responded to our interest in birds by helping to spot no less than 50 different types on the first morning. Further delights followed that day -- a large troop of baboons with very small babies passing close to the dining area, two sightings of leopard, a large herd of elephant and in the evening the rare sight of two white-tailed mongoose mating.
We were well pleased with our short stay at Nkwali.