Tafika Camp, South Luangwa National Park
Tafika Camp is in the northern part of South Luangwa national park, just beyond the Nsefu Sector. It’s on the east bank of the Luangwa River, just outside the park boundary. It caters for a max of 12 guests in 6 open-sided reed and canvas chalets: simple, high-quality. One of the things that makes this camp so special is that the owners John and Carol Coppinger live here and manage the camp. Tafika is also further away from the main safari camps which means the safaris (by foot, mountain-bike, microlight or 4×4) take place in areas that are seldom visited by other camps.
Another thing that makes this camp so special is that John is an accomplished microlight pilot and to share a flight with him is fantastic! This is a dry season camp (Open May to Nov each year)
The standard of guiding here is top quality. The hospitality is outstanding and all-in-all, this is one of the best camps in Zambia, if not southern Africa.
See also the sister camps Chikoko Tree Camp and Mwaleshi Camp which are under the same ownership.
Getting there: We can arrange regional flights to get you to the safari centre of Mfuwe. Tafika will collect you from Mfuwe and drive the 1 ½ to 2 hrs to camp.
A typical day at Tafika begins in the early morning. Gathering around the fire, guests have a continental breakfast including Zambian maize meal porridge as well as other cereals. You may wish to experience the thrill of a microlight flight with John Coppinger; in which case this will be done during breakfast, so you won’t miss any of the morning game viewing activity. Shortly after breakfast the drives or walks leave.
Returning from your morning game viewing around mid-morning there is time to relax and freshen up before lunch.
The afternoon or evening activity leaves shortly after tea and cake. Mountain biking is another unique activity offered at Tafika – bike rides are led by John Coppinger, and accompanied by an armed National Park scout.
In the evening, drinks and snacks precede a 3-course dinner.
You will be asked what type of game viewing activity you would like to do each day: this could be a morning or afternoon/evening drive or a walk. You may also like to cycle to the nearby village and school (or visit by vehicle) and then continue with a game viewing drive, returning to camp after dark with a spot light. It is our policy not to have more than four guests per vehicle, so you will have plenty of room to be comfortable and to hear the guide. Blankets are also provided on our vehicles as early mornings and evenings in June can be chilly.
Safari walks return to camp before nightfall, whilst drives return around 19h30. You will have time to freshen up before gathering around the bar for drinks and snacks and sitting down to dinner.
Drives: Tafika is fortunate to be sited in an area with varied habitat – you will not have the feeling of travelling on the same roads / routes constantly.
Tafika game drives utilise the northern half of the Nsefu Sector where we are very fortunate to have more variety of habitat than most areas of the Valley. Not only has the Luangwa River been particularly dynamic here creating lots of oxbows, but we also have a large plain (Mutanda Plain), a salt pan and an ‘inland delta’ (where the water emanating from the salt pan fans out into a delta across the Mutanda Plain). The plain is great habitat for large herds of buffalo which in turn attract lion. The ‘delta’ forms a separate ecosystem, one of the most spectacular attractions being many hundreds of Crowned Cranes. Tafika is the closest camp to the salt pan, which attracts more and more game as the dry season progresses and is also home to Serval which we see regularly (a real African special). As with most other camps, there is also the riverine habitat which we frequent on game drives.
Walks: are led by one of our highly experienced guides together with an armed National Parks scout, and don’t forget the camp tea bearer! A safety briefing is given before every walk and groups are always small.
Microlighting: taking flight in the early morning sun gives you another perspective of the Luangwa Valley, following the meandering river as it flows into oxbow lagoons. Viewing game from the air provides unique and wonderfully memorable experience. Tafika is the only camp where you can experience this.
Village and School Visit: you may wish to visit the nearby village and school where the majority of the staff at our camps come from. The Tafika Fund supports the school and clinic at Mkasanga village and you may be interested in seeing our work. A visit to the village is easily combined with a game viewing drive; or some guests like to cycle to the village and then continue on from there by vehicle. You may also be interested in the Book Bus project at Mfuwe Book Bus South Luangwa Valley Zambia.