Trip Report: Nkwali Camp, South Luangwa, Zambia

Nkwali CampPost from Peter Bates, Cedarberg UK:

I arrived here straight from Lake Malawi – five hours door to door. What a great camp Nkwali is! Everything felt right here – you just sense that this camp has been operating for ages, not because anything seems jaded or tired, but because it all works in a brilliant, no fuss kind of way. I really liked the fact that the camp manager Kiki was there at 6 am doing the toast over the coals – no ivory towers here!

All the staff were great and somehow they seemed to make the best tea anywhere in the bush. In short it’s a “happy camp”. Nothing felt out of place or incongruous: the food fitted the style of  accommodation which in turn fitted the staff philosophy and camp atmosphere.

Nkwali Camp is built on private land overlooking the South Luangwa National Park on the other side of the Luangwa River. This is superb game-viewing country, famous for leopard and giraffe sightings, with a beautiful ebony woodlands and open grassy plains. The fact that Nkwali is not IN the park is not a problem as for most of the year, you access the park by boat or by their quirky pontoon across the river. As the dry season progresses, the 4×4 game vehicles are even able to ford the Luangwa River using a series of sandbags which is always an adrenalin rush!

Food was good but not the kind of cordon bleu affair you get at some places. The first night we had a braai round the fire and the second we had quite a smart dinner.

The six rooms are very airy with a high thatched roof and a substantial gap between the top of the wall and the bottom of the roof allowing excellent air circulation. In the day they are open to the front (river view) with a small patio with a couple of easy chairs. At night the front of the room is closed by sliding metal grates with the bottom foot being bamboo. That’s all there is between you and the hippo that graze on your lawn at night. So this camp is not right for everyone – certainly not those of a nervous disposition! Bathrooms are semi-open, ie two of the swathes of thatch have simply been left out, leaving you with a view of the stars as you shower.

The camp’s location is great and I could sit and watch the river for hours.

Game drives started with a boat trip across the river where the vehicles are kept. Did a morning walk. All camps have to have a scout with a gun accompany walks as well as a ranger.

Click here for more on Nkwali Camp

Or have a look at some of our Zambia safaris to see Nkwali in action – Valley & Lake and South Luangwa Safari (- we like imaginative names at Cedarberg ha! Ha!)

Click here for my full article on Malawi and Zambia

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Kate Bergh is co-founder of Cedarberg African Travel, a specialist tour operator for Southern and East Africa.

She heads up the South African office, having lived in South Africa since 1993. Her home looks up to the Cedarberg Mountains, where she enjoys hiking and cycling, when she’s not out discovering new places to visit, with her three children in tow. Kate has travelled extensively throughout the region to Kenya, Tanzania, Malawi, Zambia, Namibia, Botswana, Mozambique and Zimbabwe as well as most areas of South Africa. She also loves history, meeting people and a good thriller...

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