Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
The location and layout of the camp and the rooms was fantastic at Tafika. The fact that the rooms were spacious and somewhat "open to the elements" made the experience of being in an open camp really exciting - it was great lying in bed listening to the wild animals just outside!
The guides were again highly knowledgeable and very friendly. The game drives were fantastic in terms of the game seen - everything we could have wished for.
The only problem were the vehicles, which are old and a lot less comfortable that those at Kaingo. I found them very uncomfortable: the seating caused me back pain because of the placing of the seatback. I managed to improve the situation by using several folded blankets to raise me up. This is why I gave Facilitiies an "average" score - not sure whether vehicles are counted as facilities.
Welcome Return to Tafika
This was our third visit to Tafika since 2005 and this time was just as rewarding as the previous occasions. Our room was beautifully prepared and hot water was available 24 hours a day. Laundry, cleaning and all general maintenance was carried out very efficiently and without fuss.
Food was amazing, with fresh fruit and vegetables coming direct from their wonderful garden - protected from elephants by an electric fence. Meals were planned and overseen by Rhona who coped unbelievably well with the many and various dietary requirements of the guests and was always on hand to make sure that no-one was given anything unsuitable. We were well looked-after by Heather and the team, especially when one of us became unwell and required re-hydration drinks.
Game drives and walks were rewarding with many elephants, large herds of buffalo, two honey badgers and good leopard sightings - plus extraordinary numbers of elephant shrews! Guiding was generally of a very high standard although with a number of different guides over the five days we found we were often being given the same information and were taken on the same routes. If it had been possible to have the same guide each time, this may have been avoided; we appreciate this is not easy to organise when the camp is busy. One or two of the more newly-qualified guides were a bit intense and may benefit from going out with an experienced and more relaxed guide like Isaac, but it is excellent to see that Tafika is sponsoring new talent in guiding. Crossing the river was always a worthwhile experience!
The roofless Land-Cruisers are the best way to see wildlife and are well set-up with places to put binoculars and bird books.
Tafika remains one of the best camps in Africa, superbly run by John and Carol, and we hope to return one day.
Many thanks to all concerned and our very best wishes to the team - including Brighton, whom we failed to meet on this occasion.
Our favourite camp in South Luangwa
This was our third visit to Tafika. Each visit seems to be better than the last so we can't wait to return!
The whole Remote Africa Safari's team work well together to make your visit as enjoyable as possible. The rooms are clean and very comfortable and there is always plenty of hot water. The catering team (overseen by Rhona) produce the most wonderful food making the best use of the fresh ingredients grown in the garden.
The guiding team are very knowledgeable and all guides strive to ensure that they share the treasures of this beautiful area of South Luangwa in as interesting a way as they can. John, Carol, Heather and Bryan and all the guides make you feel very welcome and 'at home'.
Tafika is a lovely camp on a beautiful stretch of the Luangwa River. The view from our chalet was beautiful.
The camp was larger than Mwamba in terms of size and number of people but we quickly got used to that. The staff were great and the food was really excellent.
The standard of guiding was high and we saw plenty. The guides are on rotation so it meant that we had different guides every day for different activities. For us this was a slight disadvantage because your "new" guide did not know where you had been or what you had seen previously, particularly when it came to smaller animals and bird life. On occasions it did feel as though you were starting from scratch as a result. This is a very minor point though. The guides were all personable and knowledgeable.
We had some excellent drives and some very quiet ones. On the whole, game was not as plentiful as at Mwamba. We did a great walk and could see how seriously Tafika take walking. We walked for about 3 hours, stopped to make a bush fire and have tea and cake and then walked back. The highlight was having a leopard growl at us from a bush before he disappeared.
Thanks to everyone at Tafika!
Wanted Another Night
We arrived late into Tafika after a long day of travel, and were warmly greeted by the camp owners, John and Carol, and welcomed to the dinner table. I can’t say enough about the hospitality we received during our stay.
We stayed in the family chalet, a comfortable, practical two room reed and thatch unit situated under a shady sausage tree. Just as comfortable was the lounge and reception area. Our evening meals started with cocktails around the campfire before being seated at a lovely table set up under the stars. It was the dead of winter, so to speak, during our visit, so evenings were chilly. I was thoroughly impressed with the way the staff used hot coals to keep the underside of the dining tables warm.
We enjoyed two great driving safaris, a morning drive along the river and an evening drive out to the Nsefu salt pan that transitioned to a night drive returning to Tafika. The wildlife was abundant and we especially enjoyed two intimate leopard experiences.
Crocodile Bushcamp and Chikoko Tree Camp are satellite walking safari camps associated with Tafika. The 6 km / 3.5 mile walks between camps were relaxed and unhurried, though walking across areas with dried hippo footprints required some concentration. Our experienced walking safari guides, Isaac and Bryan, were excellent teachers educating us on details of the animals, birds and traditional uses of the local trees and plants. Unfortunately, wildlife was scarce on our walks. However, we did enjoy watching elephants, puku, impala, kudu, and baboons from the elevated vantage point of our tent at Chikoko Tree Camp. We sought off after a small pride of lions that were frequenting the area near Crocodile Camp during our afternoon walk. They were close by, as we could hear them across the dry riverbed, but twilight was fast approaching and we had to return to the safety of camp. I don’t know if I was disappointed or relieved at missing the opportunity to see the lions on foot.
Crocodile Bushcamp is simple, but the tents are clean and comfortable. The staff was attentive and the food was delicious.
Chikoko Tree Camp is more elegant than Crocodile, but still has a remote bush feel. The tent platforms built up into the trees made this camp special. Again, the staff was attentive and the food was delicious.
If I could have a do over in planning my itinerary after the fact, I would have added another night at Tafika and settled for one day walking safari at Chikoko Tree Camp, simply for the game viewing opportunities. Had we seen the lions while walking at Crocodile, perhaps my enthusiasm for the walking safaris would be different.
I loved Tafika.
The camp itself suited me well because it was a simple, unpretentious place. The staff were warm and welcoming and were friendly without seeming phony. Through the luck of my timing, the game viewing was good, but not excellent while I was there. Luckily, I enquired about the availability of a village visit as soon as I arrived and learned that a visit that afternoon would be my only opportunity. I was so glad I asked, because the village visit was a trip highlight for me. Understandably, they don't want the visits to become a common occurrence, so if it if of particular interest, make sure to ask when you first arrive.
I wasn't to keen on having two tables set for meals and being assigned to a certain table. This happened for two meals and I had been looking forward to dining with a family I had met at a previous camp. I still had an enjoyable meal with nice people, so it wasn't a problem, just not what I would have preferred.
The food was the best of my trip. There were plenty of options and most dishes were self serve so I could choose my own portion sizes. I loved the camp location and the breakfasts by the river.
My chalet was number 1 which would not be my first choice unless the weather is quite hot. It is completely in the shade, so is a bit on the dark side but would be a plus during the hot summer months. The lack of electric plug ins was no issue as there were plenty of outlets for charging in the dining area. The bathroom facilities were very nice and hot water was plentiful. I do hope that the micro light is repaired as I had so looked forward to that activity.
Tafika is a lovely and well run camp and all the staff were really great.
We saw why so many people return to TafiKa
We were in the minority at Tafica as the majority of guests were on return visits. We soon saw why people returned as we had a great time and enjoyed the facilities. The game drives and walks were guided to a high standard and we had some great sightings. These included leopard, the yellow bill stork colony and lions at a kill being joined by a crocodile.
All of the Tafika team were friendly and the facilities great with our tent overlooking the river. The food was good but dinner was a little late from our point of view. John and Carol have a great team
Tafika is a wonderful camp with exceptional service and attention to detail. The guides in particular really seemed to do their best to ensure a fun and enjoyable experience for their guests.
Heather really looked after us and made sure that we got everything we needed.
The rooms are excellent and provide lots of privacy.
7 days at Tafika
Good to return and it lived up to our expectations. We were keen to fly to Banguela to see the Shoebill. We were lucky enough to see 15 wild dogs close to camp one morning. Leopard sightings still high with 12 in 5 days.
The trip to the swamps was fantastic including seeing a Shoebill in the wild as well as the tame one. Other birding was amazing bringing our Tafika bird count to 160+. Thousands of black Lechwe around the airstrip also an experience.
Sharing the Coppinger home experience.
They are special moments in life when one meets special people that show such kindness, love and loyalty to people of the local area and the Coppinger family, John, Carol, Jenny and Bryan Jackson do just that. I felt privileged to have met a true family team of friends, excellent guides based in a beautiful location. Special thanks to Heather who essentially planted the seed to visit NOrth Luangwa and Tafika.
The game viewing was excellent, the chalets very comfortable and it was great to be able to view the elephants every day at such close quarter in such a relaxed manner in and around camp. Meeting Norman Carr himself on my first visit to the valley back in 1991 was indeed a wonderful privilege, meeting and sharing this beautiful area with the Coppingers was on a level par to that.
I cannot speak highly enough of my experiences here. Thank you indeed to everyone, what a credit you are to South Luangwa and long may you continue to do something that you all love.