Reviews of Nkwali
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Our seventh visit. Guide Team were very good especially with the birds. All very willing. Keyala does a fantastic job getting it all organised. Food as good as ever. All very caring. Down side - two Australians were travelling with a tour manager (Dan) ( ??Visions of Africa) and his girlfriend (very forthright). On occasions Dan thought his guests should have priority over the other guests. He also disagreed with the guides at times which led to bit of an atmosphere.
Nkwali should introduce a dress code for sitting at the table. The Australian came in vest for dinner twice! This has never happened before. A shirt should be requested. Also this group came from the swimming pool which is now near the dining area wrapped in towels one day for lunch. It is an upmarket camp and one does not expect such behaviour. This slightly spoilt the meal times for us.
We were upgraded to Robins House for the whole time as on a couple of nights all the chalets were in use. Lovely!
Bit of a snotty lot bit too old boy network for our liking but Harriot (camp host) was great.
Wildlife best on trip.
Other major downside Mosquito city got bitten to death! zzzzzz
The only criticism I have of Nkwali was the night-time drives. As there are quite a few camps lying just outside the South Luangwa Game park and some just within , there were occasions after dark when you could see 7 or more night lights within your given area area - it seemed a bit like Picadilly Circus ! During the morning drives the concentration of vehicles was nothing like as obvious.
Although visitors like to see leopard , civet , genet etc. , all the species are disturbed to some extent and even blinded by lights , some apparently for some time. Many areas use a red cover over the spotlight and this should be made compulsory in all game areas.
I am of an old fashioned mind that , when it gets dark , we should retire and leave the game to get on with it.