Reviews of Nsefu
Wildlife sightings and reviews
168 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Nsefu and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
Covid: Some staff vaccinated; widespread use of sanitizer
Willie the camp manager and our guide at first impression does not present himself as a typical guide but after spending time with him you realize you are not only in the presence of an experienced and knowledgeable guide but also a person who has been active working with environmental matters in Zambia. Whether stuck in a low crossing; knowing where the next lion will cross, apologizing for not yet eliminating the diesel generator at camp or talking about his work to combat global warming you soon realize that the Willie is a talented guide and renaissance man who had trained our guide at Puku Ridge and is known to others on the Lower Zambezi.
While riding with Willie you have the feeling he showing you his neighborhood; checking to see which animals are home and worrying about their welfare if they aren’t.
Elton our spotter was amazing – a man with the eyes of an eagle. Spotting a chameleon in a bush 30 feet away while driving by on a night drive will not be forgotten. We visited a variety of habitats and saw a great variety of species.
Our game drives were shared on a couple days with a German couple - and the rest of the time just us as we were the only ones in Camp.
The road network needs some maintenance. The “main” road from Mfuwe is missing culverts, in other places collapsed crossings cause detours into the bush and in places travel on the right of way is impossible. I don’t believe it’s the Camp’s fault – as I understand it NP is supposed to do the maintenance. The Camp has tried to improve some of the roughest spots. The Camp grounds are well maintained and the staff work hard to keep everything clean and in order despite the elephants and vervet monkeys – you tend not to notice these things as you are often distracted taking in the panoramic river scene or focused on one or more of the several species of wildlife that draw no distinction between camp boundaries and their territories.
The camps are open air and small creatures like tree frogs and monkeys could join you inside the camp. You definitely are living among the “natives” at Nsefu.
Some nights we had electricity – others not. It is unclear as to whether this is a generation problem or cost saving measure. Power outlets are limited - getting power for accessories requires unplugging a lamp(s) to charge batteries. The camp is equipped with a “breeze” cooling unit that we did not need nor try to operate.
The camps are “compact” – the bed occupies most of the floor space in the rondaval. Leisure time sitting is best suited to the front porch or lawn chairs. The open-air bathroom is spacious but contains little storage space.
It was an outdoor experience at Nsefu - all breakfasts were cooked over a camp fire and served on the River bank – great sunrises. Lunches – except for one bush lunch- was prepared in the kitchen but served on a formal table setting under a shade tarp. Dinner – except for one evening meal - was also prepared in the kitchen and served open air. Willie eats with the guests giving even greater opportunity for discussion of subjects of mutual interest.
People who enjoy a more rustic accommodation and treasure the historic value of this Camp, a seasoned staff; a diverse ecosystem (from salt pannes with natural hot springs to woodland and river plain) and the diversity and abundance of wildlife will love Nsefu." See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
"Good food and good camp."
Almost immediately upon arriving we saw a pack of wild dogs near the canoe crossing point. The alpha female is very pregnant and the pack is preparing to den. The camp staff discovered them while working on the road a few days before we arrived. Willy thinks COVID has changed their behavior with no tourists, otherwise, they would not choose a den so close to the road. It was sobering to think that we were the first people to drive on these roads since 2019. However, this is great news for guests! If you are interested in seeing wild dogs, you would be virtually guaranteed sightings near Nsefu or Tena Tena this season!
Nsefu is the oldest safari camp in Zambia and located on a beautiful stretch of the South Luangwa river. Our “rondavel” room was very comfy with a really nice outdoor bathroom (and they even supplied hair conditioner!). Meals were all taken outside by the river. We thought the food was the best we had on this trip – fresh, healthy and delicious. I wish they would bottle their mango chutney and sell it!
Like our other RPS guide Kiki at Nkwali, Willy is also a really fun person. We went for a walking safari one morning around a beautiful lagoon, and we had a younger guide, John, who just passed his walking exam come with us to fulfill his practicum hours. Willy would quiz him on all sorts of things and their exchange was really funny. All 3 of our South Luangwa guides are examiners, but I think Willy was the most intimidating. I would not want to be quizzed by him .
We have never been the only guests in camp on our previous safaris. I was a bit worried as we’ve generally enjoyed the company of other guests and have even made some lasting friendships. But the concerns were unfounded because Willy and John were great company and told us funny and astounding stories.
We had some amazing sightings at Nsefu. We saw the dogs hunt one morning. One member of the pack had a slight injury that caused him to limp, which was good for us as we saw the other dogs communicate and wait for the injured member. South Luangwa was teeming with leopards. I think we saw at least one every day, and on one day, we saw 5 unique ones, including a small cub. There was also an adrenaline filled encounter when we were parked on the road waiting for an elephant to pass, and he inexplicably decided to charge the truck. This was caught on video and you can see the entire frame filled by the elephant’s face. Even Willy said he was a little scared. That evening the stories were especially inspired!
On our last morning, Willy took us to a huge colony of yellow billed storks nesting nearby. It is very close to Nsefu but with the water still high, we had to go around by the main road. It was an amazing sight to see the storks fishing, feeding their young, and fighting over the fish with eagles and pelicans. We really appreciated the extra effort it took to show us the colony
Again, our only regret was not being able to stay longer. We were supposed to do the walking and bush camp experience between Nsefu and Tena Tena, but that was cancelled this June. But that just means that we will definitely come back to Nsefu!" See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
"Interesting safari at Nsefu"
We had an excellent visit to the Yellow Billed Stork breeding colony. Daudi and our scout Justin really put themselves out to get the boat in. But there was no anchor so the boat was constantly in motion making photography tricky. We were disappointed with the walks. There was not a lot of game on the walks and Daudi seemed to struggle (leaning heavily on Justin for sightings). There was little emphasis on plants, insects and tracks, unlike other guides we have had.
Daudi was required to captain the boat as well as guide and this made it hard as he was often preoccupied the motor (which seemed on its last legs)." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
"Wet yet nice stay at Nsefu"
Fascinating boat trips into the lagoons
Yellow build stork breeding colony the highlight
Food experience average - well presented yet somewhat flat in taste
Walking safaris not easy due to areas being flooded, moody
Upfront information on how bar, coffee, water would be managed when staff was not around lacking" See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia
"My night at Nsefu"
Unfortunately because of the problems with my flights from London I missed my first two nights there and only arrived late on the third night. A small consolation was spotting a very fine leopard and a honey badger on the drive in. We left early next morning to transfer to Luangwa Safari House so it was a sadly fleeting visit. The transfer drive was good and I include the game sightings below." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
"Back to Civilization at Nsefu"
Game drives felt strange after the mobile safari - to get so close to the animals again. But so much more interesting after seeing them out in the bush in more remote surroundings. Night drives were again terrific - lions drinking prior to going out on a hunt, hippos getting up on land for their night time foraging, genets, bushbabies, cameleons. And then back to camp for another delicious dinner.
As with the other camps, mosquito netting was perfectly arranged by staff and insect repellent/bug spray was always available and on return to camp, we were always greeted by the camp host with cool washclothes!" See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia
We found Willie, the manager, to be an excellent and very experienced guide - ably supported by his staff. Special mention should go to Fanton our super-spotter and Katherine our very efficient hostess.
The game drives were great in this sector of the park because we encountered so few other vehicles. Thank you everyone at Nsefu!" See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
"Nsefu Camp Review"
We realise that this is a historic camp that does want to upgrade too much but the rooms are quite small and need some imaginative improvement in storage space. Nsefu is not immune from the worldwide shortage of coat hangers.
This camp's location was actually our favourite.
Re. Wildlife survey:
Buffalo - Includes herds of 200+ and 400 +
Lion - Total of 24. Sightings consisted of a pride of 10, a different pride of 11 seen after dark, and one of the highlights of the trip: circumnavigating safely around three males on foot at a distance of 80 to 100m.
Elephants - Everywhere.
Wild dog - 3 individual animals very close to a leopard." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
"An idyllic camp to end our holiday"
Again the house keeping was superb, the staff were friendly and courteous and the food continued to be delicious and served with so much attention to detail. The bar area was beautiful and a perfect place to relax watching the wildlife on the river or lagoon. We did find the dining area rather too dark as we had difficulties seeing our fellow guests and guides during evening meal times but that is the only negative comment and it certainly did not affect the enjoyment of our meals or our holiday experience.
The activities at Nsefu were fantastic and this was thanks to our wonderful guide Willie who not only helped to increase our bird list to >140 but who had so much knowledge to share about the environment...the trees, birds, animals, and history, he made our game drives so interesting. The team at Nsefu, our host Katherine and all the staff made our stay so perfect and again our guide Willie made this holiday so memorable.
Thank you all so much, we will never forget our first trip to Zambia." See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
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