Reviews of Tafika
Wildlife sightings and reviews
303 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Tafika and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
Guiding on game drives with Lloyd, finding a pride of lions on our first outing. Lloyd is a considerate and conscientious guide and has considerable experience of the area.
The meals - probably the best of over 30 different lodges we have visited in Africa over the years. Lots of fresh, homegrown produce.
Good to stay with someone like the Coppingers whose heart is in Africa and the help they give to the local area." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia; 1n in South Africa
The chalets with their delightful open roofed bathrooms are a creation in local materials built by local craftsmen. They are very spacious and located in a parklike area on the banks of the beautiful Luangwa River among large shade trees. The hippo keep the grass short. The food is especially planned by a nutritionist in camp, cooked by trained chefs and benefits from fresh produce grown in the extensive camp gardens. The end result cannot be faulted.
The days are long (from 5.15am to 8pm with a siesta after lunch) but so interesting that they fly by. There are game highlights such as the stork colony and a hippo and crocodile invested river. There is also the local village to visit and I can heartily recommend this experience as great fun.
My first introduction to Tafika was the river crossing to the camp in a mokoro (canoe) past hippo and crocs. A very African experience and from there it only got better. One of the best safari experiences I have had and I have travelled around quite a bit of Southern Africa staying at lodges and camps. I would definitely go back to Tafika again and I understand many guests do just that." See all these reviews: 14n in Zambia
The camp itself is managed at a very high standard, but kept deliberately simple to allow an authentic bush experience. The camp still offers all amenities needed (at least for those that get along without air-conditioning or a pool). The camp is entirely unfenced. During our stay elephants stopped by for a visit, and we heard lions roaring at night. The cuisine is top-notch both in respect of food quality and diversity paying great attention to dietary requests.
Despite slightly fewer sightings this time in June (compared to our last stay in October), we still had excellent game drives with our guide Bryan during our 4 nights stay. A great plus of the camp is its remote location in the northern sector of the park that guarantees an exclusive and far more rewarding safari experience than the typical walkie talkie style safari in the busy central sector of the park.
We also strongly recommend the village visit that is offered by the camp. The nearby airstrip and the camps own airplane is a further advantage making logistics easy." See all these reviews: 13n in Zambia
The family running it are the owners and founders, passionate about wildlife, Zambia, and the environment. Wonderful discussions. Food was excellent. Guiding was superb, except Makupa, who needs to be told to tone it down a bit. He's remarkably capable but way too "in your face".
Lloyd, however, was one of the best guides we've ever had--over the span of many safaris. Lots of encounters with a pack of 14 wild dogs, including a kill right in front of us--which was a bit sobering. a number of excellent leopard sightings, including a mother with her semi-grown cub.
Staff was entirely solicitous to our every need, and those cold towels at the end of the drive were divine!" See all these reviews: 10n in Zambia; 10n in Zimbabwe
I noticed some changes in the camp which improved comfort without adversely affecting the "bush" feel. The lighting in the rooms is improved, the doors now swing on hinges, and there is some useful hanging shelving. I also noticed a big improvement in their wine offerings. The food, as ever, is superb and they do the best lunches I've had on safari.
Game viewing was a little less productive than previous visits, perhaps due to some early rain, and I was sad to miss the wild dogs who were around in Sept and I think returned to the area after my visit (of course!). However, I did have one very exciting night drive of lions vs puku vs hyenas vs crocs vs hippos. Guiding from Lloyd was great.
The wifi is unusable, which is not something that would normally concern me as I prefer to disconnect on safari. Unfortunately travel in the time of Covid now necessitates a lot of tedious online form filling for international travel, and I was glad of the few hours I had with internet access in Lusaka (there is no wifi at Lusaka airport) in order to complete the required forms. If the current circumstances persist, I wouldn't want to be in the position of departing direct to an international flight from Tafika, with passenger locator forms and such to be filled out online. I think this is an issue a lot of camps will need to address.
But overall, another wonderful stay and I look forward to returning next year." See all these reviews: 12n in Zambia; 10n in Kenya
"Sad to be reaching the end"
As I had not spotted yet any lion, nor leopard nor hyena, I decided to do my first game drive, at night though. It was a nice experience, but was nonetheless a confirmation for me that walking is so much richer and emotional as an experience compared to driving.
Anyway, I saw my first (and only) leopard and hyena on that drive." See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia
"A lovely welcome"
Two guides welcomed me at the airport and we drove from Mfuwe to the camp. We immediately had a very good contact, were joking together. When arriving at the camp, Jen and Nick welcomed me and brought me to my bungalow. I settled in for 15 minutes and went to the bar for a beer.
Jen called me to show me a 2m50 python right behind my bungalow, saying how lucky I was and they could only rarely be seen (I'm not sure lucky is how I would describe my feeling on the spot). Good beers and a lovely dinner.
Also in the morning all was perfect : hot shower, good breakfast, great view over the river with the hippos and then the transfer on the small Cessna plane to Takwela." See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia
"Just Loved Tafika"
We enjoyed the warm hospitality of Carol and John and Nick and Jen. The entire staff was extremely welcoming. Being avid gardener's ourselves we appreciated the food coming from the extensive organic garden on the property. Who knew that you could grow such an abundance with elephants around? And being admittedly "foodies" we savored every dish prepared by the talented chef. Vegetarian and nonvegetarian choice at every meal was especially nice. Never imagined fresh salad being served in the remote bush of Zambia. Dinners were taken at at a beautifully set table under the moon with a charcoal under table heater! Talk about cozy...
Our guide Macupa was eagle eyed with lots of detailed information and stories about whatever we came across. Even on the night safaris I don't think he missed a single set of eyes. We got to see a leopard make an impala kill only to lose it immediately to the voracious hyena. The heronry was so interesting that we visited it on 2 morning drives. There is a great variety of terrain in the area including the salt pans complete with Hot Springs. Beautiful trees too
We would highly recommend Remote Safaris. It would be fabulous to come back and stay at their walking camps and in North Luanga as well. Just as the previous camp Kaingo, it was a privilege to stay at an owner run lodge." See all these reviews: 16n 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.
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 oldest camps, Nsefu is a great safari camp in a remote, beautiful and game-rich location with 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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Currently undergoing renovations, Chichele Presidential Lodge stands high within the park, with superb views, and is due to reopen in late 2022.
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.
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.