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Gary R
Bristol, United Kingdom

Great accomodation, game drives, food and staff

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 25 May 2024
We stayed in Luangwa Camp and Nkwali in South Luangwa National Park, Zambia for a total of four nights and it was excellent. We had been planning to stay in Malawi but adverse weather conditions meant we had to change location. Robin Pope handled all of this so well. The staff, the food, the accomodation and the game drives were some of the best we have experienced in Africa. We will definitely be going back
Date of stay: April 2024
Room Tip: Just enjoy every single minute!
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesRooms
5.0 of 5 bubblesLocation
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
5.0 of 5 bubblesSleep Quality
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    1 - 6 of 97 reviews
    Reviewed 20 October 2023

    Having heard so much about walking with Robin Pope Safaris, my expectation were high - and I was not disappointed. The only regret is not having more time.

    We spent two nights at Tena Tena camp, then one at the Luangwa bush camp, and last night at Nsefu. All were quite different.

    From Tena Tena, enjoyed the drives with Bertram - he knows when to just park and not talk, and enjoy the sights and sounds around us, the baboons and elephants and birds going about their business. The most memorable aspect of the camp was the way the outdoor bathrooms are naturally woven into the trees.

    Guided by John, we left Tena Tena to walk to the bush camp, and immediately found aardvark tracks. Later he showed his skills in detecting there was a predator around, listening to alarm calls and following the gaze of the animals until we spotted a prowling leopard. The walk was full of interesting things - bones and nests, big cat tracks, and fabulous sausage trees. It was mostly done in shade, but there were some open stretches that were hot, even at 7AM.

    Thankfully the bush camp has solar powered fans in the tents. It has a view across the river, so we could spot hippos and saddle-beaked storks and elephants from the comfort of camp, which is set in a grove of Natal mahogany. We took a short afternoon walk, just to admire the trees in the area.

    Next day it was about a 3.5hr walk to Nsefu camp which feels a little more formal than the other places we stayed. Nice rooms with a low-energy a/c system for the bed area, much appreciated. We said farewell to camp after a breakfast cooked over the fire on the river sands.

    We met guests who had done the 7-night Robin Pope mobile walk in the north of the park, and that is now on my must-do list.

    Date of stay: September 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled with friends
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    Thank Donncha
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Steph Naidoo Fernandes, Marketing at Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2023

    Dear Donncha

    Thank you so much for sharing your wonderful experience with Robin Pope Safaris! We're delighted to hear that your high expectations were met and that you thoroughly enjoyed your safari adventure with us.

    We're thrilled that your journey through Tena Tena, the Luangwa bush camp, and Nsefu were filled with memorable moments and i will be sure to share your kind words with Bertram, John and the rest of the team who will be so happy to know you had a wonderful time and appreciated their hospitality and guiding.

    Your walk from Tena Tena to the bush camp with John sounds truly remarkable. Discovering aardvark tracks and spotting a prowling leopard are extraordinary experiences that only the South Luangwa National Park can offer!

    It's fantastic to hear that you're considering the 7-night Robin Pope mobile walk in the north of the park for your future safari adventures.

    Thank you again for choosing Robin Pope Safaris, and we look forward to welcoming you back to explore more of the stunning South Luangwa National Park in the future. Your feedback and the wonderful review are greatly appreciated!

    Regards
    Steph & the RPS Team




    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 30 September 2023

    I booked a 12-night Luangwa valley safari nearly a year in advance for August 2023. My itinerary included Mwaleshi, Remote Africa - NL, Robin Pope Mobile Walking Safari - SL, and Chamilandu Bushcamp BCC - SL. The main attraction was the mobile walking safari, reminiscent of the adventures the legendary Robin Pope had years ago in the Zambian wilderness.

    Sadly, 25 days before my trip, and 29 days before the mobile walking safari departure, I had a severe mountain climbing accident in the alps. The result? More than 10 fractures, predominantly in my foot and ankle. Doctors expressed doubt that my foot would ever fully recover.

    Immediately, I informed my long-time travel agent, Oliver, who has expertly handled many last-minute changes for me over the years. He often collaborates with family-owned camps, citing the authentic experiences and emphasis on customer relationships over sheer profit. Although he hadn't worked with Robin Pope previously, he organized this particular trip on my request.

    Upon informing the safari camps about my accident and the need to postpone, Remote Africa and Bushcamp Company promptly proposed postponing my trip to 2024 without any additional fee. For my rescheduled 2024 trip, I've added extra nights at both Mwaleshi and Chamilandu. I'll also be spending 3 nights at Mwamba Camp, part of Shenton Safaris, which remains family-owned and operated.

    Surprisingly, Robin Pope's response was starkly different. They rigidly adhered to their policy: no postponements and no refunds. Only after further communications did they agree to refund the park fees only (<10% of total amount).

    While Robin Pope acted within their policy, I was disappointed by their inflexibility. Many camps prioritize creating memorable experiences for their guests, often because they are family-run and emphasize customer relationships. Robin Pope claims to be a family-run business on their website, yet they were acquired by a large Dutch group in 2006 and somehow forgot to mention that. This fact shed light on their approach, and more importantly, their values. In contrast, Remote Africa and Bushcamp Company, both smaller than Robin Pope, displayed empathy and understanding. I can't help but think that if Robin Pope was still the owner, my experience might have been very different.

    Date of stay: August 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled solo
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    Thank Riccardo M
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Steph Naidoo Fernandes, Marketing at Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 25 October 2023

    Dear Mr. Milesi,

    Thank you for your review on TripAdvisor. We were very sorry to hear about your accident and sad that you could not come to enjoy our mobiles. We hope you are recovering well.

    Being a family business, we always regret when we have not been able to address all concerns you have and consequently feel you need to respond on a public forum. Moreso when reading your comment and the obvious misalignment with facts and your perceptions of our business. We do not 'blame' you, but ourselves for not making our points of view clearer to you.

    In 2006 Robin Pope Safaris changed ownership. The owners are all part of the same family (brothers, sister and in-laws) and two of the family members are daily involved in the running of Robin Pope Safaris. In 2006 they moved to Africa where they lived for more than 12 years. Recently they moved back to the Netherlands, but as said they are still involved in the operations every day. The information about the Dutch company (owned and operated by the same family) is mentioned on the website of Robin Pope Safaris (in the section 'about us'). Robin Pope Safaris has and continues to be a family owned and operated company of which we are all very proud.

    When someone makes a booking with us, we always inform them that it is important that they take out a cancellation insurance since we have cancellation policies in place. The costs of these insurances are relatively low (especially when compared to the amount one potentially loses). We are quite sure your travel agent informed you of the same. From the below we gather that you choose not to take out such an insurance and were willing to take the risk. This, we feel, cannot be attributed to us.

    When possible, we discuss whether we can allow the booking to take place later in the year or the next year. For our mobiles this is often not possible due to complicating factors:

    1. The operation is very small with three tents only;
    2. Due to the logistical challenges (moving the complete camp each day and being in a remote area of South Luangwa National Park), the costs involved in running this are high;
    3. Mobiles are set departures (meaning that the trip leaves and returns on pre-set dates). We cannot be flexible with these dates and hence are able to offer very limited flexibility.
    4. We only run a limited amounts of trips each year (from mid June to September). Meaning that our income for this product is very limited as well. Moving a booking, further restricts possible income for these trips.
    5. These trips just cover the running expenses. We continue to offer these trips because we really love doing this and we feel passionate that this is the only way to really explore and adventure into the African bush.

    Although our agreement with you does not require us to do so, we offered to you that in case we 'sold your space', you would unconditionally be compensated fully. Unfortunately, your space was not sold. We furthermore offered you a discount for a next trip with us.

    We respect that everyone is entitled to their view. Our decision to comply with our agreement has nothing to do with your misinformed assumption that Robin Pope Safaris is not a family owned and operated family business, but that we feel that your choice not to get cancellation insurance should not severely impact on our mobiles operation.

    So to sum it up. In the end the question is who is to bear the costs for your cancelation. We are of the opinion that you should bear these costs, since you were informed to take out cancellation insurance and chose not to. In cases were we can be flexible we will be, our walking mobiles product unfortunately restricts our ability to show a lot of flexibility.

    We sincerely hope that you recover well and wish you a fantastic time in Zambia with our colleagues in South Luangwa.

    Sincerely Yours,
    Ton de Rooy, (part-)owner and managing director

    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 29 August 2023

    We stayed at Robin’s House for 4 nights during our trip to South Luangwa in August. This had been our first ever trip to Zambia, and thanks to a great recommendation from TrueAfrica, our tour operator, we decided to stay in this property.

    The house overlooked the Luangwa River, and that pretty much guaranteed a breathtaking view almost anytime during the day. Pods of hippos gave us company, along with crocodiles basking on the riverbank, and variety of birds throughout the day including a big colony of yellow-billed storks present on a dry section of the riverbed. You don’t need to be lucky to spot animals sitting at the comforts of your own deck – variety of antelopes and elephants roam/graze on the other side of riverbank, particularly during the hot afternoon hours. Access to the national park is across the river, and a short boat ride takes you right into the wilderness of South Luangwa. Or, there is another exciting way, using the pontoon where you sit in your safari vehicle while the same is loaded onto a raft and towed across the river. We did this a couple of times, and it is an altogether different experience.

    The house is beautiful, extremely spacious and comprises of all the amenities that you would like to have in a bush set-up like this. You don’t need mobile connectivity and/or internet, so long you are a nature lover. Having said that, although a bit patchy, the connectivity was good enough to stay connected back home for any exigent reasons, should it arise. Given that the house is privately served, you can decide upon the meal timings and safari time; everything is flexible.

    Game around the area was pretty good, at times spectacular specially when it comes to big cat sightings. At times animals are not easy to sight through the dense bush, but tracking them down is equally fun. We were very lucky to have several leopard and lion sightings, including sighting a few during night drives. Elephants, giraffes, puku, kudu and several other plains animals were plentiful. Birdlife was amazing, and we had some really good sightings of raptors and hornbills.

    Food at the house was delicious (kids have a separate menu, they are pampered) and service was top-notch. Thanks to Michael, our host, and Obi, manager at the house and our guide, and to the rest of the staff at Robin Pope Safaris, that we had a fantastic time at the house and also the game drives out in the bush. Ever smiling, they always cater to any need, nothing seemed to be a problem for Michael, he is always sorting it out, even pampering my son with his requests and accompanying him twice to go out for fishing next to the house. Obi was so knowledgeable; and has loads of patience and perseverance in explaining the nature and its attributes. It is not about the animals, but also the flora and fauna. It has been fascinating to hear him and his years of experience in this field.

    Overall, we had a fantastic time at Robin’s house, and we hope to return some day back to South Luangwa and RPS properties. Thank you for everything – Anindya, Mukula and Abhishek.

    Date of stay: August 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled with family
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    Thank Anindya M
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Steph Naidoo Fernandes, Marketing at Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 12 October 2023

    Dear Anindya, Mukula and Abhishek

    Wow, thank you so much for taking the time to write this heartfelt and in depth review.We're truly honored that you chose to stay at Robin's House during your first-ever trip to Zambia, and we couldn't be happier that your experience exceeded your expectations.

    We're glad to hear that the house met your expectations with its beauty, spaciousness, and amenities. We understand the importance of staying connected to nature and loved ones back home, and we're pleased that the connectivity was sufficient for your needs.

    It's wonderful to hear that the flexibility of meal and safari times added to your comfort.

    We're absolutely thrilled that you had a fantastic time at Robin's House and on the game drives, and we look forward to the day when we can welcome you back to South Luangwa and our RPS properties. Thank you for your kind words and for choosing us!

    Best wishes
    Steph & the RPS Team

    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 18 July 2023

    Everything about Robin Pope Safaris was first class. They meet you when you arrive at Lusaka and get you to the right location for the following flight. We stayed at Luangwa River Camp and Tena Tena. Robin Pope also arranged for us to stay a couple of days at Waterbury Lodge in Livingstone. The accommodations and staff at both camps were wonderful. The game drives were interesting and fun. We never felt in danger. I would recommend Robin Pope Safaris to anyone seeking an African adventure. We plan to go back to Zambia with Robin Pope.

    Date of stay: May 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    Thank Richard W
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Steph Naidoo Fernandes, Marketing at Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 23 July 2023

    Dear Richard

    I am so happy to hear you had such a great time in Zambia and thrilled that you enjoyed you time with us at Luangwa River Camp & Tena Tena!

    The team will be delighted to hear that you had a great time and appreciated their hospitality. I will be sure to pass on this glowing review to them!

    We're grateful for the time you have taken to post a review and we hope to see you back in the South Luangwa Valley soon!

    Till then, take care!
    Steph & the RPS Team

    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 11 July 2023

    visiting a robin pope camp or as we did, going on a walking safari is a unique experience. all members of the team have been working for the company for years - they are family. this special "bond" makes all guests most welcome and feeling of being at home. the guides are extremely knowledgable, the service quality is outstanding, the camps are beautiful and well kept - special attention to the smallest details were well noted. absolutely to be recommended.

    Date of stay: May 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    Thank Michele M
    This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
    Steph Naidoo Fernandes, Marketing at Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 23 July 2023

    Dear Michele

    Thank you for your glowing review of your time with us on your walking safari!

    I am delighted to hear that you enjoyed your time in the wilderness with us and the team will be just as thrilled to know you appreciated their hospitality.

    Thank you very much for your kind recommendation... we do hope you will be back in the not so distant future.

    Until then take care
    Steph & the RPS Team

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