Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
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.
Traditionally built accommodation of wooden pillars and reed roof and walls. Some cross ventilation but no an or AC. Well separated and spacious with excellent showers. Very hot in the afternoons, relieved by many showers. Too hot to sit out on loungers under a tree to view the river.
Camp visited by its of birds and animals. Drive areas overlap significantly with Nsefu. We were unaware of just how close they are, so it was rather like having eight days in the same area. Despite this, all the drives were different. Tafika is outside the National Park, and so you must be out by 8pm. Not usually a problem but on one occasion we had to leave stalking lions to ensure that we were out in time.
We did one walk which was limited by elephants but still enjoyable. Guides or a couple of trips were not as good as we had come to expect, but for the rest of the time there were very good - especially Amon and Alex. Virtually all our drives were shared with other guests, not always sharing our interests. As in Nsefu, the vehicles are uncovered, so hat and suncream vital.
Family run camp with shared host/hostess duties. We sometimes felt a little excluded, maybe because all the other guests were returnees. Heather, Jenny and Brian all very good. Food excellent, especially the fresh bread and muffins. Only camp to offer vegetarian option as standard.
Well-run family safari camp
Well-run family safari camp. The owners, John and Carol, and their daughter Jennie, are very involved with the day-to-day running of the camp, together with Brian, Heather & Rona.
The accommodations are very nice, with large beds and large outdoor bathrooms. Some are on the river bank, others are set back a little. The camp area is well-guarded for guest safety, as elephants, monkeys, baboons and various antelopes regularly visit the grounds.
A big plus is that each vehicle used for game drives only takes 4 people which is nice. Each guest is supplied with a s/s water bottle which is refilled before each game drive. The morning game drive was sometimes a bit long (5 hours) from 0600 - 1100 which took it into the hotter part of the day. The game area is not as extensive as on the other side of the river, but we still managed to see a lot of wildlife, including some huge herds of buffalo, and lots of family groups of elephants.
The food is good and plentiful.
Best lodge/camp in Africa!
Everyone exceptionally friendly so after the first day you felt you were staying with old friends. Comfortable rooms.
Excellent food which couldn't be faulted.
Best vehicles (including bikes!) in Africa.
Very helpful at tailoring activities to our needs.
Perfect in every way and we can't wait to go back.
Cycling with John was fantastic.
We liked the concept of rebuilding the camp each year with local people.
You felt throughout that the motivation was "how can I improve guests' experiences" not "how much profit can we make".
The is an excellent safari camp, the Coppinger family run this safari lodge with great expertise, I cannot think of one thing they need to change for the better.
We had good home made food, met some very nice people, had some great experiences and by the end of our stay (5 nights) we felt like part of the family. I could highly recommend Tafika.
The guiding was pretty good also (hello Lloyd).