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“Great guiding at lovely bush camp” 5 of 5 bubbles
Review of Tafika Camp

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Tafika Camp
Miami
Level Contributor
14 reviews
12 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
“Great guiding at lovely bush camp”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 27 July 2013

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.

We were delighted to find that Tafika is so beautiful. The entire camp, from public space to reed chalets, is thoughtfully designed to be pleasing to the eye and comfortable. An added delight is the setting on the Luangwa River, which insures that you see wildlife throughout the day and hear it throughout night--from cacophonous bird calls to hippo hip hop.

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.

Room Tip: If you are phobic about ledges, ask for a chalet a bit further from the river bank.
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  • Stayed July 2013, travelled with family
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank LKMiami
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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76 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
Traveller tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (23)
Date | Rating
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English first
Athens, Greece
Level Contributor
15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 July 2013

We stayed at Tafika in July 2013 and we really enjoyed it. The camp is located in a very beautiful surrounding with great views over the river. The huts are very spacious and clean. The atmosphere is very friendly and you soon start feeling at home. The game drives and walking safaris are great and so is wildlife in and around the camp. Definitely a place to go back to!

  • Stayed July 2013, travelled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Christina G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
96 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 101 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 28 November 2012

We really enjoyed our time at Tafika. The game drives were great. Our guide (John) realised pretty quickly that we were interested in birds and smaller animals as well as the big stuff and he found some lovely turacoes and green pigeons for us in a fruiting fig. We only has 2 nights here - in hindsight I wish it had been more. Before we went out on each game drive we discussed options of where to go and what we might see at each place and it was nice to be given a choice. On both afternoon game drives we went in search of wild dogs and we found them both times. There was a group of 17 (including 8 pups) and on both occasions they were very active with all the pups playing with each other. On one of our mornings we went to a spot where large numbers of grey crowned cranes congregate and we saw them as they flew in, which was lovely. We also saw lions, a leopard, hyenas, civet, genet, elephants, giraffe, a huge heard of buffalo, and lots of other animals while we were here. On one of our afternoon game drives we visited their carmine bee eater hide, which was brilliant. It is in a great position (much better than the one at Kaingo camp). It is worth getting up early in the morning and watching the river as huge flocks of queleas drink at the river and they swarm like locusts - it is spectacular.

The lodge also has a hide by a small waterhole. It isn't as spectacular as the one at Mwamba, as it is very close to the river, but we still saw hammerkop, impala, elephants, hippos, ground hornbill, bushbuck, baboons, banded mongooses and a juvenile eagle. It is nice just to be able to wander in whenever you feel like it.

The food is plentiful and nice and the owners who run the camp are very friendly. The rooms are very well designed and are nice and let in a breeze (if there is one blowing) which is nice. They also supply a sarong like cloth to wet and put over you while you are sleeping when the weather gets really hot. This made such a difference and we really appreciated it.. There is a central point for charging batteries and laptops in the dining area.

Overall we really enjoyed our time at Tafika. The wildlife and terrain is slightly different to the other two camps in the park that we stayed it and I would definitely recommend a stay here and at Mwamba bushcamp - they complement each other very well.

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank WildlifeFan01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Manchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
58 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 38 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 26 October 2012

Our first trip to Africa was made even more special by choosing Tafika for our first camp. We were met at the airport, guided round any red tape, and taken to the camp without any stress or worry.

Individual, well spaced reed huts facing the river, with constant hot water, very private. With two big beds covered by a massive mossie net at night. The wash and shower area are uncovered, electric lanterns are in the bedroom and wash area. The floors are varnished brick with mats.

John and Carol Coppinger and all the team, too many to mention are perfect hosts, nothing is too much trouble. They always seem genuinely interested in our opinions, what we had seen or would like to see on our safaris etc. they take enormous pride in their country and camps making sure everyone has the best time possible.

We were particularly impressed by how knowledgable and keen all the guides are. They all work extremely hard and have to pass exams to get different levels of guidiing. They take a real pride in their work and so make spending time with them such a pleasure. We went in the dry season so were lucky enough to see giraffes, hippos, elephants, Wilderbeast, crocs, zebras, all wandering round at the river at the same time. We had several sightings of wild dogs, lions, hyenas, vultures and many many smaller animals and birds.

We also have to agree with all the other reviewers about the food, it's just so good, fresh, varied and good quality. Freshly baked bread, cakes, quiches, lots of fresh veg and salads, even one evening roast beef and Yorkshire pudding! You certainly don't go hungry.

You can do walking or jeep safaris, the spotlit night safaris to see nocturnal animals after the Sundowner of your choice every evening are brilliant. The guides have such sharp eyesight! Spotting a leopard in the dark just from the glow of its eye in the spot, we couldnt see it was a leopard even with binoculars. We drove over and followed it for ages. He wasn't at all bothered by us. The baboons were bothered by him judging from the noise they made!
The micro light trip in the morning is brilliant, not to be missed!

We went on to a couple of other camps owned by the Coppingers, Chikoko and Mwaleshi. They were smaller walking camps. More rustic, but equally well run, exciting and enjoyable.

We had an amazing time here only trouble is getting the money together to go again, it's addictive, be warned!

  • Stayed October 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank 2003millie
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Dorchester, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
6 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 24 October 2012

Tafika is remote, beautifully situated by the Luangwa river and surrounded by wildlife. We had previously stayed at another lodge and the transfer to Tafika was seamless. We were welcomed by John Coppinger and his wife Carol and we soon felt very much at home. The atmosphere was informal, the rooms were beautifully in keeping with the surroundings and very comfortable indeed. One can sit with a cocktail and watch the buffalo, hippos and other wildlife from the comfort of the camp.
The grounds are full of mature trees and full of birdlife, there is also a hide which overlooks a manmade watering hole which invariably attracts game for you to view at very close quarters.
The staff were helpful, friendly and extremely capable. The food is excellent, freshly baked bread and cakes seemingly appear from nowhere. The game drives and walks were always remarkable.
We also were able to buy some fabulous, hand-painted fabrics from the Luangwa which Heather displayed on request in the bar area.

We can't wait to stay there again!

Sam & Phil

Room Tip: There have been some reviews here which have complained about the insect life. We had no problem wit...
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  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank SamS4UK
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Bakewell, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
49 reviews
45 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 23 October 2012

This was our second stay in Tafika, the first time we have revisited a camp in 11 years of travelling in Africa. We were not disappointed, within a few hours we were out on a night drive with Brian watching Leopard feeding on a recent kill, a scene that became more dramatic as a Hyena moved in and stole the carcass. This quality of sighting is typical of what you can expect at Tafika, supported and informed by expert guides with a depth of local knowledge. The hide in camp and at the Carmine Bee Eater colony are both well worth a visit and the microlight flights with John give a fresh and rewarding view of the area together with a very different view of animals and birds.
The camp and chalets are simple, but spacious and comfortable providing everything you need. Meals are of a high standard well balanced and varied, using a lot of fresh produce from their own garden.
John, Carol and their team work hard to create a friendly relaxed atmosphere that allows guests to get the best experience out of their stay in this special place.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank PeakTravellers12
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Birmingham, Michigan, United States
Level Contributor
27 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 21 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2012

Getting to Tafika Camp entailed a long drive from the Mfuwe Airport, but it was definitely worth it! We had a wonderful 4-night stay at Tafika in September 2012 on our first trip to Zambia. The reed and thatch chalet was large and comfortable with an open-air shower and vanity area. We could hear the hippos and elephants wandering through the camp each night munching on the trees and shrubs just outside the chalet.

The food was excellent with fresh produce from their garden and delicious baked sweets each day. We enjoyed the communal dining with staff members, owners Carol and John, and guests from all over the world. This helped create a family atmosphere in the camp, and you felt that you had old friends from the very start. We both found the microlight flight to be well worth the extra expense -- it is amazing to go aloft at dawn and fly over the river viewing elephants, buffalo, hippos and even a pride of lions. We strongly urge future guests to not miss that opportunity.

The camp staff and guides are well-trained and interesting. We enjoyed having several different guides and getting their varied perspectives and stories. We had the best night drives here -- lots of lions on the hunt, leopards having their kill stolen by howling hyenas -- it felt like being in the middle of a Nat Geo documentary! We couldn't have picked a better place to begin our travels in Zambia.

  • Stayed September 2012, travelled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Fred G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Tafika Camp

Property: Tafika Camp
Address: Mfuwe, South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Region: Zambia > South Luangwa National Park
Hotel Style:
Ranked #27 of 42 Speciality Lodging in South Luangwa National Park
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Home to John and Carol Coppinger, the founders of Remote Africa Safaris, Tafika is a small, first-class camp standing on the banks of the Luangwa, on the remote north side of the beautiful Nsefu Sector of South Luangwa National Park, Zambia. Tafika's guides are amongst the most experienced in the Luangwa valley. 4X4 safaris (day and night drives), walking safaris, unique cycling safaris and cultural visits to a nearby village are on offer. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Tafika Camp Hotel South Luangwa National Park
Tafika Camp Zambia/South Luangwa National Park

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