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
"Excellent is an under statement!"
The chalets, solid walls with thatched roof, are spacious and well appointed with 'his and hers sinks and showers' and views overlooking the Luangwa river. Hot water available at all times and mains electrics. The staff ensure you will have an enjoyable time, good hospitality and a wide choice of food (no game served).
An open camp area so animals can roam freely and do so mainly at night with the occasional hippo wandering through and on one night, much to the night watchman's surprise and fright(!), 3 lions walked through.
Game drives mainly involve crossing the river in a 10 seated boat to reach the National Park area which contains a lot of game - even in the rainy season which produces some spectacular thunder storms as was the case on our visit. Nkwali has much to offer and we will be back again some day." See all these reviews: 7n in Kenya; 5n in Zambia; 5n in Malawi
"great start to an unforgettable experience"
Staff at the camp were without exception friendly and helpful.
Because animals can stray into the camp we were escorted from our accommodation to the dining and bar areas during the hours of darkness. Expect some unfamiliar noises at night! Hippos snort outside your window, lions roar and geese gabble.
Breakfast was served on the river bank (very early!) so that we could get out on game drives before 6.30. The other meals were served in the open where we sat at a long table. Pre lunch and dinner drinks were served at the bar.These arrangement made for a very sociable atmosphere which was well managed by the bar staff and manager." See all these reviews: 8n in Zambia
"Great introduction to the South Luangwa"
The camp is beautifully located on the banks of the river, with excellent viewing of wildlife from the main buildings and the rooms. The open fronted rooms gave us an intimate connection with the bush and the wildlife, but security at night was provided by the gates installed across the front each night. The rooms were very comfortable and stylish, as were the main guest areas.
The staff were very welcoming and the guiding exemplary." See all these reviews: 6n in Zambia; 5n in Malawi
In hind sight we should have had three nights here and not two" See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia
"Return to Nkwali"
The view across the river from the open-fronted chalets is splendid. Quick and easy access to the more remote parts of the National Park is assured by boat, pontoon, or simply driving across the river when the level is low enough, as it is at this time of year.
We enjoyed excellent game viewing, with five leopard sitings on one of the days." See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
"Love Robin Pope"
The camp is lovely. The open fronted rooms are stunning, and I loved the amount of wildlife that could be seen around the camp. On our first afternoon there were lions and at one point a hyena on the riverbank opposite, then at various times during the day I had banded mongooses, bushbuck and baboons almost stepping inside my room.
Overall, Robin Pope continue to impress me massively and together with their "no single supplement" policy this makes them a firm favourite for repeat visits." See all these reviews: 14n in Zambia
"Great safari at Nkwali"
The dining area and pool overlooked a small lagoon which was visited by many birds and animals. Bush buck and a large group of mongooses were frequently seen together with herons and ibis. Our guide, Kiki, went to great lengths to find wild dogs and leopards.
The use of a boat to cross the river into the park gave us a head start in the mornings." See all these reviews: 11n in Zambia
Good game reviews.
Nice lodge and satisfactory dinner." See all these reviews: 14n in Zambia
"Nkwali Camp - My Welcome to the South Luangwa"
Location: Good, but not great. Being outside of the park is not a big deal, as Nkwali uses boats to ferry its guests to the park on the other bank of the river, where the safari vehicles are waiting. The camp has a beautiful location right on the Luangwa River, as well as a delightful lagoon behind that sees a huge amount of activity throughout the day. One does not need to leave the camp to have decent wildlife sightings due to the presence of the lagoon, and throughout my stay cheeky elephants roamed through camp. The main reason that the location isn't ideal is that the southern sector of the park is not as game rich as other areas of the park, and it is also more crowded with vehicles from other lodges. I prefer the northern sector (near Lion Plain) and the Nsefu sector of the park to this area.
Rooms were excellent, with a beautiful, open design -- some of the best in the park, in my opinion. My only issue is that they are a bit close together, and, since they are open-fronted, one effectively cannot walk in front of them without invading the privacy of the neighbors.
Service was, as typical for upscale Zambian lodges, quite good. I did get the sense that all of the staff didn't click with each other, which was the first time I've come across this situation in the park.
Food was a bit of a letdown. Despite having "a sous chef from a Michelin-starred restaurant in London" overseeing things, meals were by far and away the least impressive I came across in the four camps I stayed at on the trip. Generally, the brunches -- consisting of an assortment of cold salads, typically more interesting, fresh and healthy than is the norm in South Luangwa camps -- were excellent, but dinners were almost uniformly a let down. I am not sure why the camp doesn't stick with the brunch-time formula of a fresh buffet at dinner, instead of resorting to plated dinners which were not exceptional.
I took all game drives for my activities. Game in the southern sector of the park was varied, and we saw plenty of everything. I wasn't super impressed with my guide compared with some of the other camps I have stayed at in the park.
Lodge facilities were excellent. I particularly liked the small lagoon as, even during the afternoon "down time," one could walk over and still see interesting game. The pool certainly looked nice, but in the middle of Winter was not very inviting! I also enjoyed the beautiful deck built almost directly over the river -- made for some great opportunities to photograph elephants crossing the river!
Overall, I would say that Nkwali is best suited as an intro camp for guests who are venturing on to other Robin Pope lodges in the Nsefu sector, or the walking safaris. As a stand-alone safari camp it is certainly good, but there are many better camps elsewhere in the park. I probably would not return, unless it was in conjunction with an RPS walking safari.
I am more than happy to discuss specifics of any issues I had directly with Expert Africa staff or Robin Pope Safaris directly." See all these reviews: 16n in Zambia
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