Lodges

Nkwali Camp

A natural Zambian flair

Nkwali Camp

If superb game viewing in one of the top wildlife sanctuaries in the world and a camp with a bucket-load of charm is what you’re looking for, then book a stay at Nkwali—pronto. One of three Robin Pope camps in the South Luangwa, Nkwali is just outside the park on a patch of Robin’s private land. As a result, activities are conducted in a rather beautiful (and very exclusive) area behind camp, as well as the main park. And with the fabulous guides and a team who are as charming as the camp itself, Nkwali is quite simply a must-visit.

At the lodge

The hotel

Sprawled around a colossal ebony tree on the edge of the riverbank is the large, shady main area. Stone floors, traditional Zambian chairs and splashes of bright fabrics are fun & welcoming and the view across the river is phenomenal. Slightly further back, under the trees, are the swimming pool and dining area, although meals are often served al-fresco under the moonlit sky or on a sandbar in the middle of the river, truly taking bush dinners to the next level.

The rooms

The 6 mini cottages are vast stone and thatch creations and are open-fronted to make the most of the splendid views and maximise wildlife viewing straight from the sumptuous beds. There is, however, a steel frame to pull across in the evening to prevent any wayward visitors! You can also opt for a little more privacy in Robin’s House, a 2 bedroomed, stylish house with its own exclusive chef.

On safari

Experiences

Although the camp is outside the park, access is quick and easy via boat, the traditional pontoon (an adventure in itself!) or the main park gate. Each mode of transport leads to a different area and terrain so game viewing is varied and very, very good. The famous Zambian walking safaris are offered and guests can also visit the cultural village sponsored by RPS, Kawaza. In the green season, boat safaris up the Luangwa to sister camp Nsefu are brilliant fun!

When to go

South Luangwa by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity varies throughout the month and there is a 1 in 2 chance of rain, although it usually falls at night.
  • Animal densities drop at this time of year with species spreading out and giving birth, providing a buzz of activity amongst the predators.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity is unpredictable and rain falls regularly but usually at night.
  • Animal densities drop at this time of year with species spreading out and giving birth, providing a buzz of activity amongst the predators.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot but comfortable, humidity has dropped and rain is falling only a couple of afternoons a week.
  • The recent birthing season leads to a rise of predator activity and excitement as they take advantage of the innocent newborns.
  • Vegetation is lush and in bloom, alive with the presence of the migratory birds strengthening their wings for the impending journey.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are high but comfortable, with little to no humidity and only a handful of rainy days across the month.
  • Animals are in peak physical condition but more difficult to spot with the lush vegetation at its thickest.
  • Birds migrate North signalling the end of the wet season and this time of plenty.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

May

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures begin to cool with the onset of the dry season, rain is unlikely.
  • Game viewing begins to improve as vegetation thins and water holes begin to dry up, forcing the various species into closer proximity.
  • A great time to visit, with good weather and low price before peak safari season.
  • Considered to be the best time of year to view the rarely seen wild dog.

June

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing is at its best with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the remaining water source.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • pack a warm jacket for chilly morning game drives.

July

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing is at its best with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the remaining water source.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • pack a warm jacket for chilly morning game drives.

August

Season: Dry
  • Day temperatures are hot but comfortable with little to no chance of rain.
  • Game viewing approaches its peak with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the Luangwa River and other remaining water sources.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • Dont forget to pack a warm jacket, morning game drives can get chilly.

September

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are high with relative humidity, there is little chance of rain.
  • Game viewing approaches its peak with vegetation thinning and animals congregating around the Luangwa River and other remaining water sources.
  • Even during peak season this premier park never feels crowded, unique for a destination of this quality.
  • Dry cooler conditions, lead to a drop in insect numbers, particularly the mosquito.
  • Take advantage of the ideal walking conditions and experience the bush on foot.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are at their hottest, with humidity reaching an all year high before the fall of the first rains, usually towards the end of the month.
  • Game viewing is prime for most of October, deteriorating somewhat towards the end, should the first rains of the season fall.
  • The arrival of the first rains, trigger a burst of green as the vegetation is rejuvenated.
  • If you don't mind the heat, a great time to visit with tourist numbers dropping and often interesting sightings.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

November

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot and humid for the first half of November, becoming less intense with the increase of rain throughout the month.
  • Game viewing is still excellent with few animals leaving the area until sufficient rains have fallen.
  • The arrival of the first rains, trigger a burst of green as the vegetation is rejuvenated.
  • The arrival of the rains sees a spike in the insect numbers, so have your repellent handy.
  • For all those birders, the Carmine bee eaters are nesting and best viewed at this time.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are hot with unpredictable humidity levels and high evening rainfall is to be expected.
  • Game viewing is good with relatively high densities of wildlife in a rejuvenated environment.
  • Vegetation is lush, green and in bloom, alive with the sounds of migratory birds in their breeding plumage.
  • The arrival of the rains sees a spike in the insect numbers, so have your repellent handy.
  • It is important to note that some camps are closed during this month, leading to a more intimate safari.

Wildlife


South Luangwa National Park has the deserved reputation as one of Africa's best game viewing destinations. A diverse mix of habitats and oxbow lagoons attract a variety of wildlife species. Encounter vast herds of elephant, buffalo, hippo, zebra and an assortment of antelope. However, it is the predators of South Luangwa that produce the most excitement with lion and leopard in abundance and wild dog present in the area.

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