Nsefu - South Luangwa
“RPS have clearly mastered the paradox of producing a relaxed, informal approach with a feeling of competence and safety” Linda, UK
- Camp for 12 guests
- Six brick rondavels (round rooms), thatched
- 5 twins, 1 double but flexible
- Ensuite bathroom with view into the bush at back of camp
- Bar/sitting area next to very productive lagoon
- Activities - walking safaris, drives, night drives, Kawaza Village visit, boating in the Emerald Season
Our reunion safari at Nsefu Camp…
We are now of course older and hopefully wiser but as we gathered at the airport it seemed as if the years melted away. I was nervous about bringing a group of college friends together after so many years and then persuading them that they really did want to spend a considerable sum on going on safari in Zambia (where? they asked). Of course I had chosen Robin Pope Safaris (we have been with them four times now).
Anyway…Nsefu in South Luangwa was the first stop. This is the oldest camp in Zambia - opened in 1951, the same site, the same bricks - and the Popes have redeveloped the camp in an old fashioned style (I am carefully avoiding the word colonial - as it is not colonial in feel). As with all their camps, Nsefu is small with only 6 rooms so there is always a relaxed and friendly atmosphere. Run by the gentle and humourus Daudi it is rather like a group of friends being on a weekend away.
Let me describe the camp first. The rondavels - meaning a circular room - overlook an exceptional bend in the Luangwa River. I am told the bend is geologically significant as it erodes in an unusual way - and the scientist who told me this on my last visit said he only knew of one other, in Canada of all places. The bathrooms at the back have a view of the bush behind and although simple have all you need. One of my favorite places in the world is the main sitting area with a great view all round. You can see the river where elephants regularly cross from late morning to tea time as if by a clock, the terraces which are always full of resident puku and the impala wondering through. And then best of all the water/mud hole. Much loved by warthogs, elephants, buffalo, waterbuck and more. Great bird watching here of course including shoals of quelea (I use that word as they move like shoals of fish over coral). All seen from sitting in one chair!
Nsefu is in the heart of the national park and the game viewing is spectacular. We saw a leopard nearly every day, the local lion pride and a few wandering males passing through, the endemic Thornicroft giraffe with the fighting males bashing each other for hours. Being early in the dry season the buffalo herds had not yet joined forces but seeing 500 coming down to drink at the Luangwa is more than enough. The birding in the Luangwa is always rewarding. The RPS guides are so knowledgeable about everything but they do particularly enjoy their birding and so soon we divided into the birders and non birders for the drives. The walks of course had everyone enthralled - learning so much about the detail of the bush.
We got up for a 4 o'clock dawn-breakfast-at-the-salt-pan drive, did an all day picnic drive, had our bush breakfast interrupted by a family of elephants, and visited Kawaza Village (a highlight for everyone). I had hoped that everyone would fall in love with the Luangwa as we had and they did. Everyone at Nsefu produced the most amazing 5 day safari.
Nsefu Camp is open during the height of the Emerald Season, when the river is brimming and the lagoons are full. We will boat to Nsefu from Nkwali - a two hour boat ride up the amazing Luangwa River. The journey is always exciting, with flocks of birds, hippos and crocodiles. Often elephant, lion and even leopard are seen on the river bank. At Nsefu, the camp will be operating as normal, but there will be boating and walking safaris only. With the river high, you can boat into the ebony groves, up the channels and into many of the lagoons. These lagoons are a haven for birdlife. The famous yellow billed stork colony, one of the largest in southern Africa, is reachable (by boat and then foot) and it is during this time, with the area flooded that the storks will be breeding.
River Journeys is a week's safari, combining the boating experience of Nsefu Camp and Nkwali Camp where you can drive, boat and walk.
For further information Ask Robin Pope Safaris