Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Our favourite Zambian camp
We loved this camp, its staff and the welcome. It is beautifully situated on the banks of the Luangwa river.
The rooms are essentially straw huts but much more comfortable than that sounds (or the photos look). Inside is a large bed, enclosed at night, with bedside tables, in a large mosquito net. There are outside showers with constant piping hot water and covered loo. The rooms are well spaced out for privacy in a grassy encampment. There is in-room power for charging batteries, etc.
Dinners are served under the stars with staff members, including the charming owners, John and Carol. Game drives were very good although Tafika doesn't believe in using radios between vehicles for game spotting; we feel this is a disadvantage as it can mean not seeing as much as one might.
A must is the micro-light flights first thing in the morning, an optional extra not to be passed up.
All in all this was our favourite Zambian camp.
From the moment we all arrived at Tafika, we were made to feel at home and part of the family. We were lucky to see leopard the first night, and the excellent game and bird viewing continued from there. All the staff were very friendly and helpful, and John and Heather looked after us extremely well. Rhoda's food was delicious every day and we were impressed with the amount of vegetables and salad grown in their own garden.
We all gained knowledge from Brian's excellent guiding and expertise and never felt hurried when we wanted to stop and look at birds or watch animals. The evening drives with the sundowners beside the river listening and watching the hippos, and then the spotting in the dark meant that we saw a huge number of nocturnal animals.
That part of the South Luanga Park is slightly restricted, so after four days, we became familiar with the drives. However, it was not a problem as we continued to see new animals and birds. Our walk with Brian was interesting and informative and it was impressive to watch Brighton make a fire with a stick. The three of us who went up in the micro-light with John found the experience exhilarating and very worthwhile. Crossing the South Luangwa by canoe to go to our next camp was part of the fun.
In all, a superior camp where we all felt very relaxed and saw a lot of game and birds.
Tafika - A Truly Amazing Place to be
What struck me was how tuned in everyone on the Remote Africa team seemed to be to individual's needs. They were genuinely concerned that their visitors were looked after and having an enjoyable stay and all the staff without exception were very helpful and friendly. It was all extremely well organised. For a location in such a remote and beautiful part of the bush, the accommodation felt incredibly luxurious, with so much ingenuity and attention to detail. The food was wonderful.
The safari guides were really excellent. They were very informative, and we totally trusted them. They went out of their way to ensure everyone saw as much as possible, while keeping everything very relaxed and friendly; again being very attentive to individual needs.
The one thing I always struggle with at lodges and camps like this is the expectation that everyone will want to sit and eat and chat with others they don't know over dinner. Perhaps I'm being anti-social, but since my job involves a lot of chatting to people, on holiday I'd rather be just with the friends I go with, and not have to make polite conversation.
But I understand this is how they are run, and it's my problem not theirs. I really can't fault Remote Africa in any way and would certainly recommend them, and return there if possible. There was an almost tangible sense ot their professionalism and expertise.
Only a short visit to Tafika
We were only able to stay for three nights after a gap of eight years (our third visit).
Nothing had changed which was nice to see and we were able to catch up with all our friends from previous times.
A happy return to Tafika
This was our second stay at Tafika (one of only two camps to which we have returned during our ten visits to Africa in the past six years or so). And it was a very happy return for us. The team as a whole is absolutely first rate; the accommodation is excellent; the food is consistently delicious; and the wildlife is superb.
Throughout our four day stay we walked each morning then took a late afternoon/evening drive. This afforded us a fine balance in our activities allowing us to enjoy the abundant birdlife on the one hand (118 species seen and indentified) and the large mammals (notably leopards including three sightings of a young cub) on the other.
In short: highly recommended.
6th visit but this time in June
Once again the team provided a star stay for drives, walks, food and company.
For this our 6th visit we came in June to see the early season. Less animals as the grass is so high but more birds. We did see a leopard and her 6 month cub at night, but the lions were away chasing buffalo elsewhere.
The night is quite cold and needs a fleece for drives, but the day is glorious - clear, sunny and bright. It was well worth it as it is so different from the dry, hot September trips and the walking across the Luambwa was great.
Tafika is set in a beautiful location and is extremely well run by John and Carol Coppinger and the team. We had the most amazing time here and couldn't have been better looked after.
We thoroughly enjoyed the walking opportunities. The standard of guiding was excellent as were the safety procedures. Taking a microlight flight with John at dawn over the Luangwa river was pure magic! Everyone went out of their way to make our stay as special as possible and Brian took us on some amazing evening and night drives.
Our stay at Tafika was definitely the highlight of our trip and we will certainly return. Four nights was just not long enough, there is so much to do there. This is one of the most authentic camps we have stayed at in Africa.
Simply a lovely lodge. John and Carol (together with Heather and Rhona, and the other staff) create just the right combination of professionalism and relaxation. (Compare our comments on Nkwali)Read more about the whole safari
Wild dogs at Tafika
Long drive from the airport. The rooms are very open to the outside - a bit daunting to anyone of a nervous disposition, especially when hippos visit during the night and are only inches away from the pillows. Good walk-in mosquito nets.
Lack of electricity (so no fans) means it's difficult to keep cool - damp kikois are the answer. The microlight flight with John is well worth doing.
Bryan guided us on a wonderful morning when we "hunted" (and killed a puku) with a pack of 16 wild dogs - thrilling.
There were still lots of carmine bee-eaters at the hide - lovely.
Tafika is every bit as good as we remembered it and we were so warmly welcomed back. The Coppingers are the most charming hosts and we also loved Heather, who gets everything on the hospitality side absolutely spot on. The atmosphere is so welcoming and relaxing, the location is stunning, lodges so comfortable and well maintained and the balance between comfort and fitting in with the environment is perfectly struck. Tafika is magical.
And so is the food. Rhona and her team create the most delicious and interesting meals, I will remember them for a long time.
We enjoyed some day and night drives - one with Isaac Zulu, whom we first met 30 years ago - and the walk with Bryan for two of us was much enjoyed. Our other guides were also delightful and knowledgable. The only bad thing is having to leave.