Reviews of Nkwali
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Brief stop at Nkwali
We only stayed one night at Nkwali before moving on to Nsefu.
The trip to South Luangwa was exhausting. Nkwali provided a comfortable bed, then we moved on the next morning.
Nkwali Camp, Mfuwe
This camp is located just across the river and outside the town of Mfuwe. Having been on 10 or 12 safari trips before and wishing for the safari experience I am sorry to say that this camp is just a bit too near civilisation and not as nicely located or in as good an a idealised safari location as any of the other 5 lodges we stayed at on this trip. That said it is a very nice lodge and very efficiently run by and has good staff. The camp manager while we were there was the camp manager who fills in for the normal managers who are on holiday and looked after us well and I am sure does a good job wherever she is located.
The camp is located outside the National Park but just across the river from it, which could have been a problem meaning driving along to the town of Mfuwe and crossing via the road bridge but they have a very efficient system. Having obtained permission to run a motor boat, they cross the river in the boat to get you efficiently to the safari vehicles which are normally left on the sand bank across the river from the lodge and you begin your safari within 10 minutes of leaving camp. Also there's a ferry down river where you can be pulled across by wire so occasionally, and if they require one of the safari vehicles on the camp side of the river this can be utilised.
They do really look after you here and the food is very good. The game viewing is good in the park, but some of the areas and roads are a little bit more used and well maintained than on the average bush experience in S Luangwa National park. They organised a very nice sun downer reception, with champagne and canapes, for us as it was close to our wedding anniversary date.
We did have good game viewing of the usual antelope, lions, leopards, elephants, giraffe, etc.
The guides at Nkwali were top notch. The staff accomodated an all day safari which was terrific! The food was fantastic too.Read more about the whole safari
See previous review [Ed: see below] for the first 2 days.Read more about the whole safari
As good as ever!
This was our second trip. Last year we visited in the Emerald Season. The camp, the guides, the food were all as good as before and more than matched our expectations. Our guide, Kanga, went out of his way to find us the birds and animals that we wanted to view and photograph. On two of our four nights, we were the only guests in camp and we were able to be very flexible about the activities we undertook and the times of meals etc. Kiki and his team couldn't have been kinder and we now look upon them as friends rather than staff at the camp.
One very small irritant is the use of "hostesses". Whilst I understand that some female guests may feel the need to have another European woman to help if a problem arises, to some extent it detracts from the epxerience. When we were at the camps in the rainy season, it was just the local staff and we very much enjoyed talking with them. The hostess creates a kind of barrier between the Zambian staff and the guests.
We could not fault the organisation and the facilities at Nkwali. However, compared to the days when Jo and Robin were hands on, and there were only Nkwali, Tena Tena and the mobiles, the lodge seems somehow souless.
The relatively long drive either to the main gate or to the pontoon seemed more of a drawback than in the past - in part becasue there seemed to be less activity on the drive than in the past (though this could of course be chance)
Kiki and his team were just great. Breakfast on open fire, surprise breakfast in the park etc were phenomenal
Many thanks for organising the B'Day.
Will return to both the camps soon.
Return to Nkwali
We returned to Nkwali for another 3 nights after our time at Nsefu.
Please see our comments for our stay from 15-17 March. [Ed: see below!]
Nkwali in the Emerald Season
This was our third visit to Nkwali: the first time in the Emerald season. It was a very special experience to see the bush in green, and particularly good for photography with clear, dust-free, air.
Braston was a superb guide with an encyclopaedic knowledge of the birds and wildlife. Highlights included seeing a juvenile bataleur in full display, a daytime sighting of the usually nocturnal Sharpe's grysbok, a young male lion calling for the pride and a spectacular sighting of a leopard up a tree eating her freshly-killed impala.
Kiki is an excellent host: he and all his team at Nkwali looked after us so well and gave us a welcome "like coming back home".
Couldn't believe it - three camps, and we're the only guests in each. Our own private safari. We actually ended up at Robin's House, immediately next to Nkwali, so this is really a brief review of the former. Kiki, Kanga and their team really couldn't have done more for us.
Great drives from across the river with Kanga trying especially hard to find the ever elusive cats (and dogs). The lions were finally seen early morning on our last day - via a quick dash during breakfast to Luangwa Safari House on the Nkwali side of the river. Robin's House was great - large, well furnished, and with a small plunge pool in the grounds.
Kanga also took us over to Luangwa River House one midday - beautiful location overlooking a lagoon teeming with a constant stream of elephants - thanks guys for opening up the house and allowing us to visit. All-in-all, we couldn't have asked for more on this trip, and for seasoned Africa hands, we'd certainly recommend a trip during the "Emerald Season". And Kiki - we trust you'll enjoy your extended stay in the UK later this year.