Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Luxurious Magical Tafika
What a camp to finish with. Megan was right - we certainly finished our holiday in style. She said leave Tafika until last, and we are so glad we did.
What we especially loved about Tafika is that Carol and John Coppinger were on site and were around all the time. They were excellent hosts, knew everyone's names after meeting them only once, and always acknowledged us by our first names when we saw them, Nice touch.
The guiding was great, and again we lucked out as we had Bryan for the whole 3 days. What he doesn't know about the bush and its inhabitants probably isn't worth knowing! Tafika is truly a magical place, so special. Everything was excellent.
Brilliant start to our safari in Zambia
Very warm welcome. Family owned and run - the family involvement and feel a great feature. High staff ratio.
Great drives and walks with masses of wildlife and grerat guides. Good to visit local village - which they strongly support - by bike with John Coppinger. All the hosting - accommodation, food, introductions, logistics etc. - first class. Brian and Heather a strength as well as the Coppinger family. Amon, Stephen and Moffat first class guides.
My bag never made it through from London via Jo'burg to Lusaka. My wife's arrived fine! Mike of Tours Africa managed to get hold of mine and Tafika kindly picked it up a couple of days later at Mfuwe and handed it to me.
A wonderful experience
I really can not say enough great things about Tafika. I had read so much about this camp and my expectations were high. My expectations were met and even exceeded.
The Coppingers really understand how to run a camp. Terrific experiences with the entire staff - Bryan, Issac, Alex, Lloyd, Rona and others that I have surely forgotten. While the cats were scarce the 3 nights that Lynette and I were there, the guides worked hard to make up for the absence of the cats. The highlight was a pack of wild dogs and pups.
We had a superb experience at Tafika and hope to return some day. I can highly, highly recommend Tafika to anyone considering a Zambian safari. A must do experience.
Tafika with family
We visited Tafika with our 14 and 12 year old sons. It is a beautiful camp, really well designed and thought through. We were staying in the family chalet, which was perfect for us - two separate rooms, within one self contained chalet, with two showers. The right balance of privacy but still close enough to feel safe and together. Younger children might feel a bit far away and prefer to be in the same room as parents. The family chalet also has the best setting, with a veranda looking straight out onto the river.
I found this camp extremely luxurious, with very high standards of service - I am a little bemused by some of the reviews describing it as 'rustic'! Everything was taken care of - clothes whisked away and returned clean and pressed; drinks and food served; beds and rooms prepared every night etc etc. I felt extremely pampered! And the overall environment is simply stunning.
Food was excellent, perhaps a little 'complicated' for the children at times. Breakfasts were taken around a fire overlooking the river, with staff. Lunch was a buffet and dinner a fairly formal affair with everything served to us. Dinner and lunch were shared with one or two staff on a rota - sometimes this felt a little bit uncomfortable as we were aware that the rest of the staff were eating back in staff quarters and wondered whether eating with the guests might be the short straw!
The camp was quiet when we were there, only two other guests. As a family of four, we did all our activities together with no other guests, and we had one guide, Alex, throughout our stay of four nights. Alex was an excellent choice of guide, as well as being highly experienced and knowledgeable, he had a great rapport with the children and made the experience fun as well as interesting. We did mainly drives, with one morning walk. We might have liked a greater variety of activities, but it took us a little while to get the bearings of the routine and by the time we had worked out what we wanted to do, time was running out.
I think a fuller orientation to the possible activities at an early stage in our trip would have been useful. Whilst I felt staff were responsive to our requests, I think a bit more proactive information would be useful. We enjoyed the walks as the safari experience can feel rather sedentary with most of the day spent sitting, eating or resting! it is a balance though as the walks do see a little less game. I was also a bit nervous about crossing the river in a small boat very close to the hippos - all passed without incident but I did wonder what the plan was if we had capsized...
Game viewings were good, though leopard sightings were scarce and I nearly thought we were not going to see one through our whole stay! The last drive came good though, with a superb close up and prolonged sighting - thanks to Alex and Lloyd's expert spotting. Overall we had three leopard sightings on the last day, including one on a walk.
Very minor suggestions for improvement: we would have found more books, maps and other information about the animals, birds and ecosystems in the park interesting to look at during our down time, to enhance what we learnt from the guides. Also, although everyone introduced themselves to us, we weren't very clear what everyone's role was at the camp (not that this mattered as everyone was helpful and friendly).
Overall, a lovely stay in an amazing location.
see earlier comments [Ed: See below]Read more about the whole safari
Great family run camp with long standing senior team members.
It is remote - a positive.
It is rustic - as described. A touch of 'old school' about it to keep the remote feel.
There will be frogs in your hut - completely harmless.
The hut is built around a tree and is open air in parts. All positives for the remote feel but not if you want something more pampered. But there is 24 hour electricity and hot water.
No mobile or wifi - a positive
Three nights in June at Tafika
Our guides were Isaac and Steve. Both were very good. The night before we arrived, the Tafika staff looked at our ages (provided to them by Expert Africa) and, because most of us are in our 70's, we were dubbed the "Madala Group" with "Madala" meaning elderly. That was fine with us.
Highlights of game viewing include a female leopard with a cub and a dead impala in a tree, a rookery of about five large trees filled with yellow-billed storks and their chicks with hungry marabou storks at the base of the tree waiting for scraps dropped by the chicks and a martial eagle attempting to have a chick for lunch, and a huge herd of cape buffalo. We biked with John Coppinger to the nearby Mkasanga School which is partially supported by the Tafika Fund. The children danced and sang for us and a youth choir from the Covenant Church sang and danced for us. Saw many puku antelope.
Seldom encountered vehicles from other camps on game drives.
There were often small frogs, some spiders, a small lizard or two, and some armored crickets (all harmless) in the guest units. They were not a problem for us but some might flinch a bit at such creatures.
We liked the fact that Tafika is a relatively small camp and we very much enjoyed going to Tafika's bush camps across the river - a short boat ride and a walk of about five hours but that could have been shortened if necessary.
Wonderful in every way. Issac was an exceptional guide. We saw lots of game every day.
Excellent food and lodging.
Same as ever [Ed: See review below from their visit here a few days earlier in this same trip.]Read more about the whole safari
Tafika - 4 nights
This is a very good camp, but for some reason it didn't make great camp status for us.
There is a very good choice of activity, which works well in terms of flexibility, the downside is that you have many different guides (we had 4 different guides in our stay). This means you don't get quite the same discussion and interaction that other camps provide with one dedicated person. Overall, this camp gave a less personal atmosphere than others on our trip.
We had excellent walks here - it's clearly a strong point for this camp and I highly recommend the experience. We chose to walk in the evening - shorter walks, but giving us more time and light for photography in the morning on drives, and this was very well arranged and delivered.
The charging facilities (in the main area) were a little erratic since not all sockets worked correctly. As a minor downside, the provided drinking water did not agree with either of us (not a serious problem, but anyone with a delicate constitution should be wary).
We really enjoyed our stay here and did appreciate the flexibility of activity, so do not take the feedback to mean there were any especial problems!