Lodges

Nsefu Camp

Rustic historical charm

Nsefu Camp

Originally opened in the 1950s, this little gem of a bushcamp in the Nsefu Sector of the South Luangwa is the oldest in the park. In fact, it was actually the first photographic safari camp in Zambia and feels wonderfully rustic and historically charming. Back in the 50s, the Nsefu region had already revealed its extraordinary qualities and phenomenal concentrations of game and today, it’s even better. Expect wild dog springing across the salt-encrusted plains, hyena sniffing around every corner and no other vehicles in sight. Who could resist?

At the lodge

The hotel

From its elevated position on a meander of the Luangwa, the chitenge has brilliant views of the rippling river and if you’re lucky, the elephants that sometimes wade across. Antique books, beautiful photographs of old and simple furnishings are understatedly elegant and perfectly in keeping with the rustic charm. Also on offer is a small hide that looks out over a pretty water-hole—a lovely place to while away an afternoon, eye to eye with the wildlife.

The rooms

Due to their status as protected monuments, the 6 brick and thatch rondavels have changed little since the 50s unlike the interiors, which have benefited from lots of TLC. Expect pale linens, whitewashed floors and state of the art air cons in the bedroom and open-air bathrooms at the back with plenty of hot water. Outside each hut is a raised seating area with safari chairs overlooking the river, just calling out for a G&T and a good book…

On safari

Experiences

Walking safaris are a staple at Nsefu and can be done in the mornings and evenings under the expert and watchful eyes of a guide and armed ranger. It’s also possible to walk to sister camp, Tena Tena, for a taste of the real old-school safaris. The game drives are excellent and always very rewarding and in the green season, a boat trip down the swollen Luangwa shows off the park in its lusciously green glory.

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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