Reviews of Nkwali
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
A great place to start my first safari...Read more about the whole safari
Wonderful introduction to Africa at Nkwali
We found the entire camp to be clean, well run and very friendly. All the staff were very attentive with an informal attitude that we found very welcoming.
Lots of diverse and wonderful views of a multitude of different wildlife.
Our first visit to Nkwali, and we're sure it won't be our last. Harriet and the team were very welcoming. Kanga was a fabulous guide - very knowledgeable, and friendly, and passionate about all forms of wildlife. The camp is beautifully laid out overlooking the Luangwa river - lots of action both in camp and on the river, including elephants, crocodile and a water monitor at the small waterhole, and baboons and monkeys wandering around.
Varied drives on both sides of the river - lots of lions, hippos, elephant, giraffe, zebra, wilderbeast, warthogs, impala, puku, a couple of good sightings of leopard, one very relaxed walking along a dirt track at night, and the highlight of our whole trip - after watching a few hundred buffalo - a pack of nine wild dog relaxing in a dried out river bed in the mid morning sun spotted on our last morning in the Luangwa Valley. Thank you Kanga!
The rooms are spacious, overlook the river, with plenty of storage space, and double showers and sinks. Mains electricity in all rooms made it easy to charge batteries etc. Highly reommended.
Absolutely nothing we can suggest to improve Nkwali.
Highlights were 2 leopard sightings. The welcome in the camp from Harriet and Kiki made us feel instantly at home and relaxed afetr the journey.
Lowlights were not seeing lions and the relatively low numbers of game.