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Adam P
London, United Kingdom

Great Lodge, Special Guides

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 28 Dec 2023via mobile
Loved Nkwali, the camp is great, breakfast right on the river before and as the sun rises. I stayed in October and we had Carmine Bee-Eaters hawking over the deck each morning. The cottages are beautiful, spacious and open out onto the river, so peaceful! With the wildlife tamely wandering right outside your rooms. We had quite an emotional return from my first morning game drive, with a herd of elephants cooling off and eating the plants in the pool (not swimming pool), immediately outside dining room. These enormous creatures, so close, gently going about their business. Even the large adult that left the pool and walked directly through the camp and checked out the reception/bar area.

Even with the scorching temperatures, the game viewing was great, lots and lots of elephants, good predators (Lion, Leopard, Hyena) and for some of my fellow travellers, Wild Dogs on my last evening!

The camp has a little bit of a transit feel to it, as it is regularly the first or last lodge for people going to or coming back from other RPS lodges but this doesn’t detract in any way. With the communal dining, you get to meet and enjoy sharing in everyone’s experiences.

But the highlight, what sets Nkwali/RPS apart from other safari’s I’ve taken in Africa were the people. The standard and knowledge of the guides! Without question, our guide Kanga at RPS was the most knowledgeable guide and the best teacher I’ve had the pleasure of being guided by. Along with Kiki, the lodge manager (and guide), everyone took such care and attention in ensuring you have the best experience. As I mentioned, some of my fellow travellers had located a pack of wild dogs late on my last evening drive. Kiki offered me the opportunity to go out earlier the next morning, ahead of my onward flight to my next lodge and for a driver to meet us in the park and take me onto Mfuwe. It didn’t matter to me that we weren’t able to reconnect with the dogs, we caught up with a lion pride and had jousting antelope, the flexibility offered by Kiki and the team meant the world to me.

I will, return to Zambia and have no hesitation in enjoying RPS lodges again and recommending.
Date of stay: October 2023
Room Tip: Bring whatever works for you for insect bites, you will get bitten (but not crazy itchy).
Trip type: Travelled solo
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Steph Naidoo Fernandes, Other at Nkwali Camp - Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this review
Responded 11 Jan 2024
Dear Adam

Thank you so much for taking the time to share your incredible experience at Nkwali. We are delighted to hear that you enjoyed the camp, the picturesque breakfasts by the river, and the unique wildlife encounters that made your stay memorable.

I'm glad that despite the scorching temperatures, you enjoyed the game viewing activities and are also pleased that you liked the communal dining.

Your heartfelt acknowledgment of our team, particularly your guide Kanga and lodge manager Kiki, is greatly appreciated. We take pride in the knowledge and care our staff provides, ensuring each guest has the best possible experience. I will be sure to pass on your kind words to them.

We look forward to welcoming you back to Zambia and our RPS lodges in the future. Your willingness to return and recommend our lodges means a lot to us. Until then, take care and stay well!

Steph & the RPS Team
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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    1 - 6 of 151 reviews
    Reviewed 22 September 2023

    African safari’s are extraordinary experiences but staying at Nkwali camp made it more so. I loved that we were able to hear the hippos at night and even enjoyed the baboons running in front of my hut.
    The setting is unbelievable with a lagoon where elephants and birds eat and drink on one side of the camp, and the Luangwa River with bathing hippos on the other.
    The staff, accommodations and food were all excellent. Their safari guides were knowledgeable and were excited to show you the animals in the bush. While we didn’t stay at any traditional lodges while in Africa, We believe we would greatly preferred this experience over staying in a lodge with solid walls all around us.

    Date of stay: August 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    1  Thank karen123502
    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, Other at Nkwali Camp - Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2023

    Dear Karen

    I am delighted to hear you loved everything about Nkwali Camp, from the accommodation to the location. I'll be sure to pass on your lovely feedback to the rest of the team who will be delighted to know you enjoyed your time with them.

    Many thanks for taking the time to post a review about your stay. We appreciate it and look forward to having you back at Nkwali one day soon.

    All the best
    Steph & the RPS Team

    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 3 September 2023

    Nkwali Camp was the first camp we visited on our recent trip to South Luangwa National Park, and it set the bar very high. From it's magnificent location right on the Luangwa River to the wonderful welcome provided by the amazing staff, we were instantly smitten.

    The style of the camp is authentic and relaxed. Individual chalets are spacious, well appointed and very comfortable; and the open air bathroom is amazing. Communial dining is lots of fun and allows you to get to know the staff and fellow guests and share daily experiences; the food is delicious too! Breakfasts were incredible, watching the sun rise over the river, with food cooked over an open fire - the best way to start the day!

    Access to South Luangwa National Park is via a short river crossing each morning, dodging hippos and crocs - which is a treat in itself. Once on the other side, an incredible world of wildlife awaits. Five minutes into our first game drive, we were tracking leopard, and then the animals kept coming. Our guide Kiki was fantastic - extremely knowledgable and very professional, with a brilliant sense of humour and the best laugh. In the 3 days we were at Nkwali, we saw an abundance of wildlife from the vehicle, on foot, from the boat, and at night under spotlight. Even at the end of the day when you returned to your chalet, it's open-air nature allowed your wildlife experience to continue - you could hear and smell the animals as you drifted off to sleep.

    We loved everything about our stay at Nkwali. The staff were amazing, and being a small camp, you had an opportunity to get to know most of them. They were so knowledgeable and passionate about their country, their people and the wildlife. The amenities were wonderful and the safari experience was incredible - so many animals in such a short period of time. For anyone seeking an authentic South Luangwa experience, Nkwali Camp definitely delivers.

    Date of stay: May 2023
    • Trip type: Travelled with friends
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    1  Thank Z3230AWkarenh
    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, Other at Nkwali Camp - Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 26 September 2023

    Dear Woz & Kaz

    First off, thank you so much for taking the time to write this wonderful feedback about your time at Nkwali Camp. i really enjoyed reading it as well as seeing some of the lovely images you took. Love the pic of the baby hippo!

    I am so glad you enjoyed your introduction to South Luangwa - it's a really special place isn't it! I will be sure to pass on your kind words to the team at Nkwali who will be thrilled to hear you had such a great time.

    We hope to welcome you back in the not so distant future!

    Till then take care and stay well.

    Steph & The RPS Team

    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 6 July 2023 via mobile

    Nkwali Game Park is a beautiful site on the Luangwa River in Zambia. The site is unique in that the luxurious tents are on one side of the river and the jeeps are across the river to be accessed by a motorboat. Another oddity is for meals a worker beats on a drum for at least 45 seconds. A neat way to say “time to eat”.

    The rooms are well appointed, facing the river, with the site of dozens of hippos and the occasional elephant or leopard. The staff are super friendly and attentive. The food was excellent.

    I was told that during the rainy season the river will rise approximately 20-25 feet within a short period of time. I would love to sit on the veranda, Chardonnay in hand, to watch.

    Room tip: A limited number of tents makes access to the commons area very easy.
    Date of stay: June 2023
    Trip type: Travelled solo
    1  Thank WILLIAM J
    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, Other at Nkwali Camp - Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 9 July 2023

    Dear William

    Many thanks for taking the time to write about your time at Nkwali Camp.

    We are so glad you enjoyed your stay and i will be sure to pass on this lovely feedback to the team who will be thrilled to know you were happy with their hospitality.

    The rainy season is indeed an incredible time of year and watching the Luangwa River fill to the brim is certainly an amazing experience...one we hope you will see for yourself one day.

    I hope we will see you again at Nkwali Camp.
    Until then, take care and stay well!
    Steph

    Report response as inappropriate
    This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
    Reviewed 5 May 2023

    As we entered the Nkwali camp we were greeted by a giant elephant at the poolside drinking water! Sitting there and watching it was a memory for life for me, my 8 year old son and mother! And that and beyond more is what Nkwali camp gives! We had 2-night stay and loved every bit of it! Located by the river it provides a tranquil experience as well a good spot to see wildlife without even moving out from the bed or the pool! The staff is so friendly and professional, the food was superb (we are vegan/vegetarian) and the game drives so much fun! This is a perfect place for a luxury safari and tons of adventure with family and friends! We would love to visit again!

    Date of stay: March 2023
      • Value
      • Location
      • Service
    Thank Izla B
    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, Other at Nkwali Camp - Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 20 May 2023

    Dear Izla

    Many thanks for taking the time to post a review about your stay at Nkwali Camp!
    I'm delighted to hear that you and your family had a wonderful time and i will be sure to pass on your lovely feedback to the rest of the team.

    We look forward to having you back soon! Until then take care and stay well!

    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 28 February 2023

    Arriving in the dark meant we weren't quite sure what the camp was like but what a location! In the morning (very early!) we got to see the Luangwa was in full flood and racing past the deck and then a very short boat trip across into the park and into paradise.
    The room was splendid with a lovely verandah overlooking the river and every amenity thought of, including a hair dryer which was a first for me, whilst in the bush. Spacious double shower, and double basins always welcome in the bathroom. Huge bed with a lovely mosquito net, good bedside lighting and everything thought of.
    Our safari guide was Kiki and he is Nkwali's ultimate secret weapon. So knowledgeable, thoughtful and humorous; he made this a safari with a difference, in spite of it being rainy season and having some quite heavy rains. I've lived in Zambia for 25 years and been on many safaris but this was seamless and even when there was the odd unforseen glitch, it was all handled very professionally and without drama.
    The camp staff are all delightful and friendly but not intrusive.
    Food was fabulous and my pescatarian request was perfectly catered for. My only criticism is it is too delicious and tempting and I left at least a couple of kg heavier...

    Room tip: All the rooms overlook the river so it's up to you to chose to be closer to the bar/sundeck area or not.
    Date of stay: February 2023
      • Location
      • Cleanliness
      • Service
    Thank CarolineHoddell
    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, Other at Nkwali Camp - Robin Pope Safaris, responded to this reviewResponded 28 February 2023

    Dear Caroline

    Many thanks for your wonderful review about your recent stay at Nkwali Camp! I am so glad you had such a great time.

    Kiki will be thrilled to hear you enjoyed your time at the camp and also extremely flattered by your kind words. I will be sure to passon this lovely feedback to him and the rest of the team.

    Thank you for taking the time to post this detailed review of your stay. Your feedback is invaluable to us.

    I do hope we will have the pleasure of welcoming you back to Nkwali Camp soon!

    Take care
    Steph & the RPS Team

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