Reviews of Tafika
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
(Another) great stay at Tafika
Just a great place to stay: the location, guiding, food and above all the welcoming atmosphere makes this a great place to spend a few days. Many thanks to John, Carol, Brian, Heather, Rhona and all the staff for an excellent time (and for teh surprise birthday cake!)
It's fantastic to be in the Nsefu sector, and see great game and hardly ever another vehicle. Microlighting another highlight (five lions on one side and two leopards on the other - doesn't get much better than that (not guaranteed of course!)
It is a long journey to arrive at the remote Tafika Camp, but it is well worth the travel. The lodging, the hosts, the guiding, the activities -- all were superb!
We thoroughly enjoyed the family atmosphere at Tafika. Owner/hosts John and Carol and their staff make you feel welcome in every way. When there were enough guests to fill two tables at lunch or dinner, they directed you to a table to be sure that the guests got to meet and mingle with all the others. And having the hosts and the guides join us at meals always led to lively and interesting discussions. We especially enjoyed talking with Lloyd about his experiences in taking the guide licensing exams -- what a process!
The food was delicious and reflected the products of their bountiful garden. And the cakes and puddings were divine! The rooms are large and comfortable, and once you get used to the presence of the little tree frogs, you will find them a delightful surprise at times. Check your bags thoroughly before leaving so that you don't transport one home.
We had never experienced good night drives until we arrived at Tafika. What a great experience they were there! We watched leopards and lions hunting, and twice saw hyenas enjoying the fruits of the labor of the leopards' hunt. We felt like we were in a Nat Geo documentary as we watched and listened to the hyenas fight over the antelope carcass while the poor leopard and her cub dined on nothing but scraps.
We enjoyed having a variety of guides, and gained from their own perspectives and stories. We did our first walking trek with Bryan, and while we saw many things up close that you would miss in a vehicle, we weren't successful in finding many animals. We realized that it is variable -- sometimes you will see animals at close range, and other times you will only find tracks.
A highlight for each of us was the microlight flight with John. What a thrill to glide over the animals just after daybreak. The motion of the aircraft makes it hard to get good photos, but the scenes are etched into our memories.
The rooms were very good, airy, lots of space and attractively decorated. Food and service were very good in camp but not quite up to the levels of RPS camps.
Activities were unusual and excellent and we tried microlighting and biking, both of which we enjoyed enormously. We had some excellent guiding from Bryan and Amon and saw some wonderful game including lots of leopards.
If I could give Tafika 6 stars, I would.
Lovely family atmosphere. Very knowledgeable guides. Good accommodation.
Fantastic learnt so much at all camps all
Hospitality wonderful everyone very pleasant and friendly.food and accommodation above expectations.
Very well organised
Tafika: magic on the Luangwa
Our second camp on the Luangwa River. Beautiful setting under magnificent Sausage trees. The thatched "long houses" with their reed walls and furniture, the bathroom under the trees and stars, made us really feel we were in Africa.
Everyone made us very welcome. Some great meals round the camp fire, the table and under the stars with the other guests together with our hosts and guides who gave us a great insight into life in Zambia (nearly all the vegetables and fruit came from the camps vegetable garden).
Definitely the best night drives we had during all our stay in Africa, guided by Bryan, - porcupine, genet, civet, spotted cat - even a leopard with its prey. The landscape was very varied and we had some amazing drives, wild dogs in the salt pans, lions with a dead buffalo, the surrounding trees full of vultures and even a white griffon. Also a wonderful walking safari guided by Bryan: our sherpa, Brighton, lighting the fire with a stick and elephant dung for our tea! A hide on the river provided great viewing of Carmine bee-eaters. Back in the camp a hide provided close-up contact with animals coming to drink at the water-hole: an amazing experience - we could hear the water running down the elephant's throat.
Another highlight was our visit to the nearby village which is supported by Tafika. Some guests walked to the sister bush camps and really enjoyed them.
We would go back tomorrow.
Leopard every day at Tafika
Tafika lived up to expectations once again - a lovely camp with excellent hospitality and great guides. Some of the little gems of information given to us by the guides were really interesting. Once again, we saw leopards many times and it made the trip.
Although not as luxurious as other camps due to its remote position, it nonetheless provides all you need and you are made to feel very comfortable. Once again, too much food! However, at least they serve you so you can have as little or as much as you like.
Flying over the park and river
We greatly enjoyed our stay at Tafika, the highlight was the flight in the microlight which gave a wonderful view of the camp and Park.
The staff were knowledgeable and fun with excellent food and sundowners.
This camp had more people staying so we were on 2 seperate tables for meals which meant you could get stuck and not so easily meet everyone. Breakfasts by the river went some way to remedy this though
Of the animals we saw, the Crowned Cranes flying in large numbers were stunning, we spent a good half hour watching and taking pictures, lovely to just be
Then the next day we saw wild dogs just as the sun was setting. They had very recently killed and eaten so were larking around and playing with each other, again we just sat and watched, lovely.
My only mild critisism would be that because you had a variety of guides you tended to get simillar stories and occasionally repeated information which was a bit of a shame. Also the walking from the camp tended to be in roughly the same area and we didn't see much game. I believe if we had been walking between camps we would have seen more.
Tafika is a very nice camp with very good guides. John, Carol and Hesther were excellent hosts. The micro-light flight with John was a highlight as well as the walking safari with Brian and the view of a leopard with a young and a group of lions who had killed a hippo. The kitchen staff, managed by Rona, did an excellent job preparing delicious dishes and making special dishes for diabetics. The salads came from the fenced vegetable garden at the camp.Read more about the whole safari
Outstanding: Exactly what we had hoped for.
Outstanding: Exactly what we had hoped for and more.
Quiet, scenic, rustic, remote location. Just six very comfortable and spacious reed and thatch bungalows with outdoor facilities, along with a comfortable shaded central lodge with bar, sitting and dining areas, BBQ and food service area as well as indoor and outdoor seating.
The food was excellent. High quality home-style cooking, all very fresh and tasty with vegetables coming from their own gardens, and all in good supply. Unusually in our experience we were served the full breakfast, lunch and dinner which was far preferred to the usual and more limited brunch and dinner.
The game drives were excellent, if a little too long, on comfortable un-crowded open vehicles with a maximum of four guests. Although having suffered two drives with the self-centred selfish guest from hell we will seek exclusive use of the vehicle in future! Some of the game viewing was outstanding, the best leopard sightings ever (and that includes visits to the Sabi Sand renowned for its leopards!).
From the owners, through the managers, the drivers to the barman and porters all the staff were tremendous; personable, friendly, willing, efficient, all so obviously wanting you to enjoy your stay at Tafika. A model of organisation and quiet professional management.
My only little niggle: yesterdays left over cake and more particularly peanuts or popcorn just doesn't hack it for me as refreshments at the morning coffee break and evening sundowners. But hardly crime of the century.
We hope to return to Tafika in the future and next time plan to see what else Zambia has to offer the holidaying wildlife enthusiast in addition to the South Luangwa.