Reviews of Nsefu
Wildlife sightings and reviews
183 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
The accommodation was comfortable and I loved that the wildlife was in the cabin itself - a wee lizard and the odd bat, with the Hippos bellowing away outside.
All the staff were incredibly friendly and helpful. They made it all feel relaxed but it was clear that they were working v hard to ensure that I had the best holiday experience. The food is excellent, the guides were incredibly knowledgable and wildlife was utterly amazing.
We were lucky to have quite a few leopards sightings. And to see one haul an antelope up a tree whilst the hyenas were excitedly laughed below was something very special." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
Excellent staff." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
"Very good location"
The river was still so high that no elephants could cross. I missed that as it was always such a joy to see. But with persistance we did find all the other animals.
Wild dogs, lions, leopards, zebra, giraffe and lots of little creatures at night. I went on the canyon walk with Willie and that was very nice too.
The Emerald season is very green but it was also quite cold. Blankets were necessary in the jeeps." See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia
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
The camp was in perfect shape, all the staff- both the ones we saw, and the ones behind the scenes, have made sure that our stay was perfect.
The food, accommodation and attention to all small matters was impeccable. insuring we had a great experience.
We were lucky to have Willie as our guide (and camp manager). His deep appreciation of the wildlife and great knowledge of nature has awarded us with amazing sightings.
Nsefu sector was full of wild dogs, leopards and big cats as well of great sightings of elephants (crossing the river in front of camp every day), monkeys (in camp and during drives), mongroose, giraffes and hooved friends" See all these reviews: 8n 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
Holiday styles & special interests in Zambia
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Zambia.
Other lodges in South Luangwa National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
One of the best camps in Zambia, Tafika is naturally built, combining excellent service and food with top guiding skills for a superb wildlife experience.
On the banks of the Luangwa River, with its own access to the national park, the intimate Nkwali is open year round.
Small and owner-run, the riverside Kaingo occupies a a quiet but excellent game area, with a series of wildlife hides and a focus on photography.
One of the Luangwa's best camps, in a beautiful, remote bush location, Tena Tena is very small, exceedingly well-run and has top-rate guiding.
Small, remote and owner-run, Mwamba offers first-class walking, 4WD safari drives and superb hides, with excellent guides and a real bush feel.
Chikoko Tree Camp
Chikoko Tree Camp is an excellent small, rustic bushcamp that concentrates on walking safaris, and is run by a top-quality operation.
Big Lagoon Camp
Big Lagoon Camp is a great little rustic bushcamp built to high standards that focuses on excellent walking safaris, with the emphasis on top wildlife guides.
Kapani Lodge is now the main office base for Norman Carr Safaris, one of the Luangwa's oldest safari operations.
A relatively big safari camp, Flatdogs offers value for money with great guiding and good food in a comfortable, relaxed setting.
Luangwa River Camp
Luangwa River Lodge is a small and consciously stylish lodge in the Mfuwe area, overlooking the Luangwa River and the South Luangwa National Park beyond – an area renowned for great game.
Beside the Luangwa River, Kakuli is a comfortable tented bushcamp offering 4WD safaris and walking safaris – the best of which are camp-to-camp walks linking Kakuli with its nearby sister camps.
Set in a shady ebony grove on the banks of the Luangwa, Mchenja is a smart tented bushcamp. It combines well with Kakuli and Nsolo – its sister camps with a focus on walking safaris.
Nsolo is a small, comfortable bushcamp overlooking one or two pools in the usually dry Luwi riverbed. It concentrates on walking safaris in an interesting and diverse area, led by a knowledgeable guide.
Kafunta River Lodge
Kafunta is a laid-back, friendly and good-value lodge on the outskirts of South Luangwa National Park.
In a remote part of the South Luangwa National Park, Luwi is a rustic bushcamp whose emphasis is on walking safaris with great guiding and a chance of seeing some rarely seen and elusive antelope.
Robin Pope bush-camp
RPS bushcamping in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Lion Camp is an established and comfortable camp with a swimming pool, located near to the game-rich Lion Plain in the northern part of South Luangwa National Park.
Robin Pope mobile
RPS mobile safari camps are at the heart of their set-itinerary walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park, which start and finish at a permanent camp.
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Kapamba is a small and very comfortable bushcamp offering good walks and game drives.
Puku Ridge is a luxurious designer camp set in a stunning location, high on a hill overlooking a floodplain within South Luangwa. Explore from here on 4WD safaris and walks.
In a game-rich area close to the South Luangwa’s main Mfuwe Gate, Mfuwe Lodge is relatively large by park standards, but it’s stylish, modern and family friendly.
Kuyenda Bushcamp is a classic bushcamp with particularly delightful hosts and offers top-class walking safaris in South Luangwa National Park.
Luangwa Safari House
Luangwa Safari House is a vast and very smart four-bedroom house specifically designed for families and small groups, and offering an exclusive and flexible safari experience.
Opened in early June 2013, Chinzombo offers luxurious and stylish accommodation with very high levels of service and excellent guiding.
A smart bushcamp with four very spacious chalets, Bilimungwe offers interesting walking safaris in pretty riverine woodland, as well as day and night safari drives.
Three Rivers Camp
In the remote far south of South Luangwa National Park, Three Rivers Lodge sits at the confluence of three of the valleys rivers.
Chindeni Bushcamp is a very modern and minimalist camp, which is a far cry from your traditional bushcamp and unlike most of the other camps in South Luangwa.
With your own expert guide, private vehicle, chef and valet, the two-bedroom Robin's House offers an exclusive, flexible safari experience – and is open year round.
Kawaza Village – beside the South Luangwa National Park, offers guests the rare opportunity to appreciate local village life. Visit for a few hours or stay overnight.
Island Bush Camp
Island Bushcamp is a good-value, rustic, walking-only camp, in arguably one of the most remote parts of the South Luangwa, well away from all other camps.
The Mwamba-Camp Out allows you to have an incredibly adventurous night in the bush, sleeping under mosquito nets with activities led by some of the best guides in Zambia.
A comfortable little bushcamp, Chamilandu has a picturesque setting by the Luangwa River, in an area with a range of habitats to explore on foot and by 4WD.
Zungulila is a small, comfortable tented bushcamp with an emphasis on walking safaris, in the remote southern section of the South Luangwa.
Luwi Riverbed Sleepout
For an adventurous night in South Luangwa National Park, come and sleep out in the bush, around a campfire, with an experienced guide and game scout.
Opened in June 2021, Shawa Luangwa Camp is a small, intimate and rustic camp, with a good location in a remote section of the South Luangwa National Park.
Currently undergoing renovations, Chichele Presidential Lodge stands high within the park, with superb views, and is due to reopen in late 2022.
Mapazi Camp is a basic safari camp in the far north of the South Luangwa, with walking safaris led by renowned guide Deb Tittle.
Chikunto Safari Lodge is a more traditional property in the South Luangwa National Park, sitting on a peninsula of land created by the meandering Luangwa River.