Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Tafika - Extraordinary
Located on the high bank of the Luangwa, with our open sided grass hut built around a living tree.
Elephants and hippos who wandered in and out of the camp. Walking safaris which begin with a canoe crossing of the river. Evening game drives had sunsets along the banks of the river amongst large flocks of Red-billed Quelea.
On our first night drive here we witnessed a face-off between two Leopards and a Hyena over the remains of an old kill. On one morning walking trip our guide (the long suffering [we did ask lots of questions!] but always courteous Brent Harris), along with scout Levy and tea-bearer Justin found the recent tracks of a Lion. We (they!) tracked her for two hours to a successful sighting along with two males. An amazing Birthday present for Mary, which the camp staff continued when she was treated to an african chorus of Happy Birthday and a specially decorated cake. I hadn't even mentioned this to anyone, which illustrates the care they take of their guests at Tafika.
Good camp but it was not what we expected
We thought because it was on a river that there would be water activities eg canoeing. But in reality the river is largely dried up at this time of the year, Also because there are now no bridges/pontoons across the river the vehicle activities were restricted to the teensy bit of NP that is on the south side of the river and that became a bit repetitive as we constantly revisited the same ground.
The 'walking' activities were on the north side o fthe river (canoes to get across) and we enjoyed those trips.
In hindsight we should have chosen a camp on a 'full' river eg: Lower Zambezi NP.
There was a microlite flight available and you had to pay extra which we thought was a bit rich given the nightly tariff.
Rooms were nice but had no power and therefore no fan, & therefore in the middle of the day between drives/walks you just had to lie on your bed with a wet towel over you and suffer! (since there was rarely any breeze and at that time of the year it was very hot ay midday.
They own/lease there own light aircraft which proved handy as at the end of our stay they flew us over the NP to Mpika (organised via Expert Afrika .. thanks great suggestion)
Staff were excellent.
We only had one night here and would have loved to stay longer. It's a little bit of luxury in the wild.
The setting is beautiful on the banks of the river and the chalets are spaced out, very large and comfortable. The guests were treated like part of the extended family and it was easy to see why many guests return. The food was excellent, plentiful and varied; the service, personal, and the game drives a very high standard.
It's imposssible to say anything other than brilliant all round. Thank you for a wonderful experience.
see earlier comments [Ed: see below!]Read more about the whole safari
Tafika was definitely one of the best camps I have ever been in Africa. Its name means: We have arrived, which fits perfectly. The is expertly managed by the owners Carol and John together with their team. I particularly liked the reed and straw-structure of the huts, which are built and decorated with a lot of attention to details. Unsurprisingly, most of the guests were repeating guests, some of them had even been returning for years.
My mom particularly liked the joint dinners under the stars, the game walks and, of course, the morning microlight flight with John, which was fantastic.
Wildlife was amazing, especially the birding (including hundreds of crowned cranes and a purple crested turaco), leopards, lions and huge herds of buffalo coming to the river to drink.
The guides at Tafika deserve a special appreciation. Especially Alex. It was fascinating to see how - thanks to his great passion, experience and intuition - he managed to position us perfectly each time to watch the most amazing wildlife spectacles unfold right before our eyes. This included a huge buffalo herd appearing on the horizon in a cloud of dust and directly approaching is in our car, watching a lions' hunt and kill at night, a cloud of thousands of red billed queleas dancing in the sunset while we were having sundowners on the river bank and witnessing a very interesting baboon interaction involving a baby baboon left behind on a tree and finally being "saved" by his heroic father.
One thing that could be improved is that we would have preferred being assigned one guide for our entire stay at Tafika. It would make the experience even more personal and informative, as the guide would know exactly, which places we had already been to, what we had seen and which stories and information we already knew.
I hope that we will have the opportunity to come back to Tafika or its sister camp im North Luangwa NP, Mwaleshi Camp!
Tafika is Tafika (We have arrived!)
Second visit to Tafika and how marvellous to see so many familiar faces, old hands as well as those who, three years ago, were studying hard for their Guide exams and have now passed.
There are many great camps in South Luangwa but none has the "family warmth" of Tafika - John, Carol and Jenny with old hands Bryan, Heather and Rhona together with all their most excellent staff generate a fantastic feeling of welcome, warmth and well being. We should love to be able to mention all the staff by name but are happy to claim old age and to say - Thank you to all.
Please see previous review [Ed: See below for these travellers' comments from their first stay at Tafika, a few days earlier in their trip.]Read more about the whole safari
We loved the family chalet, the family atmosphere, the amazing bushcamps. We switched and stay an extra day (3 nights instead of 2) in the bushcamps. Our family of our was the only guests during our time in the bushcamps: magical and intimate.
We enjoyed speaking to John, Carol, Jenny and to all the guides who shared meals with us. Alex was great on the walking trails!
The food was great and the fresh salads and vegetables appreciated. I ate a bit too much cake and dessert during the meals and tea breaks.
We all did the microlight, some bicycling and visited the village. So many smiling children.
Not only is the guiding superb at Tafika but also the warm hospitality and stunning environment.Read more about the whole safari
Lovely camp and great guides
On our 90-minute drive from Mfuwe Airport with guide Lloyd to Tafika, we saw enough wildlife to make our visit worthwhile. And that was just the beginning.
Owners, John and Carol Coppinger, are clearly pros who know how to run a camp. They have high standards, and this is reflected in the quality of their staff and guides. We had good game drives with Makubu and Amon, and especially enjoyed our time with Bryan, whose amazing leopard sighting and pursuit was the wildlife highlight of our trip.
Vegetarians will delight in this camp. Because Carol is a vegetarian, most dishes served were without meat. The food was perfectly adequate--not often delicious but good enough and always nutritious.
The camp was very congenial, with good opportunities to meet and chat with others around the campfire, the bar, and the dining table.