Eyes on Africa is becoming Eyes on Adventure and adding exciting new destinations - new and expanded website coming soon!
India, Madagascar, Ecuador, Peru, Brazil, Costa Rica, Galápagos, Pantanal and Amazon.

African Safaris with Eyes on Africa African Safaris with Eyes on Africa African Safaris with Eyes on Africa

Eyes on Africa on Facebook

Bookmark and Share


Zambia Safari

Tafika Camp

South Luangwa National Park, Zambia

Huge pod of hippos in the Luangwa River at Tafika Camp, Zambia
Return to South Luangwa Camps & Lodges                     Image © Remote Africa Safaris

View images of Tafika Camp: Tafika Images

TAFIKA CAMP RATES: Tafika Camp Rates

Tafika Camp nestles in the shade of giant leadwood trees in the South Luangwa Nationa Park. The camp is home to John and Carol Coppinger, Tafika's owners and resident managers. Tafika, with its relaxed family atmosphere, is open to guests during both the dry season (May to November) and the spectacular green season (Feb to April).

Situated just outside the Nsefu Sector of the Park, Tafika is able to offer microlighting as an optional extra to the excellent drives and walks of the routine day. Tafika's staff is mostly from Mkasanga Village nearby and the villagers welcome visits from guests fascinated by their unmaterialistic way of life in this warm heart of Africa.

Tafika Camp remains open for the excitement of the first rains in early November. The immense power of the early thunder storms and the sudden return to life of everything around is spectacular. Baby impalas begin to drop around the 5th of November, almost doubling the impala population over night; a time of rebirth. Tafika Camp is seasonally operated from: 1st May to 30 November (Dry season).

Accommodation            For images of Tafika Camp, click Tafika Images
Tafika accommodates up to 10 guests in 5 spacious chalets constructed with local materials, each with 2 double beds, en-suite toilet and power shower. There is one family chalet. The nights in the Luangwa are pure magic - secure beneath cool cotton sheets and a mosquito net, you are lulled into deep sleep by distant lion grunts and hyena whoops fading into the night.

Staff and Dining
Tafika is owner run with reputable guides of long standing Luangwa experience, an armed escort, and a cordon bleu chef with a well-trained camp staff.

Meals include an early morning light buffet of fruit, cereal, yoghurt etc. before departing on your morning game viewing activity. After the morning activity, a buffet lunch is provided with plenty of choice and fresh salads picked from Tafika's abundant garden. A three-course dinner under the night skies in the company of fellow guests and guides and after-dinner drinks around the fire conclude the day.

Game Drives
Morning game drives leave early after a light buffet while afternoon/night drives depart camp following afternoon tea and cake. All the safari vehicles are open, comfortable and accommodate 4 to 6 passengers, allowing good photographic opportunities. Sundowners are usually taken overlooking the Luangwa River, after which a spotlight is brought into play, revealing the fascinating world of Africa's nocturnal wildlife.

Walking Trails and Bush Camps
Remote Africa Safaris now operate 2 bushcamps in the South Luangwa National Park: Chikoko and Crocodile Camps. Both camps are situated in the riverine area of the Luangwa River, on the opposite bank and slightly upstream of Tafika. The area is exceptionally scenic, contains an abundance of wildlife and is unique in being designated a Wilderness Area. This means there are no roads: all game viewing is done on foot. It is highly unlikely that other tourists will be sighted! The scene remains virtually unchanged since 17th December 1866 when David Livingstone crossed the Luangwa at 'Perekani', just a few hundred metres from Chikoko.

Guests may choose either 3 or 4 day walking trails with 1 to 2 nights at each camp. Trails are limited to a maximum of 6 guests at a time, thereby ensuring a personalised and quality wilderness experience.

The design for Chikoko Camp is unique and exciting! There are 3 chalets, all raised approx. 3 metres on stilts. As is their trademark, local materials are used as far as possible: even the floor, rather than using precious hardwood planks, is constructed from seasoned, dead mopane poles on top of which a traditional earthen floor is compacted. From the comfort of their beds guests can enjoy magnificent views across Acacia Park, which is always teeming with game. Overhead canvas awnings ensure good shade and protection from the occasional shower of rain. Each chalet has en suite flush loos, wash hand basins and showers.

Access to Chikoko is gained by fording the Luangwa in a banana boat, followed by a 10 minute walk. The fording point is 10 minutes from Lukuzi airstrip and 30 minutes drive from Tafika. Alternatively, guests can walk from Tafika - approximately 3 hours.

Crocodile Camp, a six bedded, fully en-suite, walking bushcamp overlooks a dambo "out in the middle of nowhere." It is situated across the river from Tafika between Chikoko and Tafika (about 4 kms from Chikoko). Crowned by huge ebony trees and surrounded by grassy plains, each chalet enjoys its own outlook. To get to Crocodile camp guests may walk there from Tafika (approximately 1 hour direct walk), from Chikoko (approx 1 and a half hours direct walk) or from a Luangwa river crossing 30 minutes walk from Crocodile Camp. All luggage and supplies are portered into camp. A genuine walking experience!

Microlighting is an optional extra offered at Tafika camp. John Coppinger is the pilot; flights of 15 minutes duration provide memories of a lifetime! These cannot be pre-booked. It is a breathtaking experience and very popular with guests.

Cultural Visits
For guests who are interested in visiting the local village and school, an hour or two may be spent being shown around by the headmaster and the women of the village. You will be guided by a member of Tafika's staff who will introduce you to his wife and family and invite you to try your hand at grounding the corn in the traditional manner. This can be an emotional experience, giving an insight to a totally different way of life to that of the average western guest. Village trips are possible from Tafika Camp and can occasionally be fitted into the Chikoko Trails arrival or departure transfers.

River Safaris
During the green season months (10th February to 10th of April) guests may participate in River Safaris from Tafika Camp which allow them the chance of seeing the Luangwa River in full flood. This is an amazing experience which will allow you to canoe past yawning hippos, sneak up to wallowing elephants enjoying the unusual experience of weightlessness in the water, revel in the endless species of birds and explore channels of the river by boat, and even surprise the elusive Pel's Fishing Owls from their slumber in the overhanging trees. The safari is limited to 4 guests.

The Luangwa Valley
The beautiful Luangwa River is the source of water for most of the wildlife in the Luangwa ValleyThe Luangwa Valley is a beautiful, mostly untouched wildlife sanctuary in the heart of Southern Africa. It is an extension to the Great East African rift valley, the main arm of which runs to the east of Zambia, containing Lake Malawi. The Luangwa River rises from the dramatic Mafinga Mountains in the northeastern corner of Zambia, which reach up to 7,500 ft above sea level. The flat-bottomed valley runs from northeast to southwest and is clearly defined to the west by the beautiful Muchinga escarpment.

All in all, the ecology of the Luangwa Valley is extraordinary.

Dramatic seasonal variations, a dynamic river system, fertile soils, lush vegetation, prolific wildlife, a perpetual contest between the elements, hunter and prey. These are the inter-related ingredients that comprise the Luangwa Valley and engender its unique atmosphere. This is classic Africa.

The valley experiences two distinct seasons, the Dry Season from May to November, and the Green Season from December to April.

The Green Season: The build up of huge banks of cumulus clouds brings an atmosphere of excitement and promise to the valley. When these life-giving clouds break the tension by spilling their bounty over the parched landscape the relief is vibrantly tangible. Almost overnight the valley is transformed into fresh green parkland and there is an overwhelming sense of regeneration. Temperatures fall away from their October peaks.

By March, the entire valley has been completely transformed. The meagre stream has become a brown, surging torrent 200 metres wide, the deciduous woodland is luxuriantly green, the grassland is almost impenetrably dense and the impressive concentrations of elephant, buffalo and hippo disperse over a large area. Most of the valley becomes waterlogged and inaccessible. The spectrum of bird life has also changed. In October and November a number of migrants arrive, contributing new colour and sound to their summer haven. Heronries abound and the yellow billed storks form a spectacular breeding colony containing several hundred nests.

The Dry Season: By May the last rains have fallen and the blue sky is clear but for a smattering of puffy white clouds. Ground water is still plentiful and the vegetation is thick, but areas that have been unreachable throughout the rains now start to become accessible. During June and July temperatures fall to their lowest, although they would rarely go below 10/11 degrees Centigrade. The days are glorious - warm and sunny. Thereafter the thermometer rises until the heat is alleviated by the onset of the next rains, which usually arrive in November.

October is normally the hottest month with maximum temperatures of about 37 degrees Centigrade. There is virtually no precipitation during this season and by October virtually all outlying water has dried up. The valley's herbivores are irresistibly attracted to the riverine belt and endure great hardship during their agonizing wait for the fresh rains. It is a time of plenty for the carnivores and the concentration of game around the river makes for particularly good game viewing.

Cookson's Wildebeest, a species endemic to the Luangwa Valley in Zambia
The Luangwa is home to most of the big game - lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo and hippo are abundant. It is notable for two endemic species: Thornicroft's Giraffe and Cookson's Wildebeest. Cheetahs have been recorded but are rare. Black rhino, although once common, are sadly no longer seen. There are few, if any, rivers in Africa that contain such a high concentration of hippos and crocodiles. Night drives reveal many fascinating mammals including civet, genet, mongooses, bushbaby, serval, porcupine and aardvark.

Over 400 hundred species of birds have been recorded in the Luangwa. Close to Tafika the large flocks of Crowned Cranes and the Yellow billed stork breeding colony are incredible sights. Pel's fishing owls and Bat hawks are regularly seen. At Mwaleshi Camp (sister camp to Tafika located in North Luangwa National Park) specials include White winged babbling starlings and Fulleborn's Longclaw.

The Owners
John Coppinger
John Coppinger was born and raised in Zambia, educated in Zimbabwe and then worked his way round the globe from the diamond mines of South West Africa (now Namibia) to the oilfields of the North Sea and Iran. He returned to Zambia in 1984 to pursue his lifelong dream to work with wildlife. After 12 years of working in the Luangwa Valley he and his wife Carol created Remote Africa Safaris in 1995. Their two children, Christine and Jenny, were both born and raised in the Luangwa Valley and Tafika remains their home.

Carol Coppinger
Carol Coppinger was born and raised in South Africa. She qualified firstly as a Radiographer and subsequently attained a Computer Science degree. She was first introduced to the bush in 1981 when she joined John on an extended safari through the region. She sacrificed a promising business career and moved to the Luangwa with John in 1984. Both her children were born and raised in the Valley and Carol home schooled them at Tafika until 2001 when they entered boarding school. In addition to this impressive feat she keeps the company accounts, supervises the camps' catering and re-supply, manages the Mkasanga School Fund and runs a clinic. In her spare time she entertains the guests!

The Source of the Luangwa Safari with John CoppingerJohn Coppinger has for many years been obsessed with reaching the source of the Luangwa River - a river he has worked alongside for twenty years. This river (that many know as a shallow, meandering, wildlife paradise) rises in the Mafinga Mountains on the border of Zambia and Malawi. In November 2002 John finally made it to the source (a tiny clear water pool high in the Mafingas) and, in conjunction with David Foot of the Nyika Safari Company, would now like to offer the opportunity to others to reach the source of this famous river on a "Source of the Luangwa Safari."

John and David are offering two departures in 2004 (one in June and one in October), each lasting approximately 2 weeks in duration. The safari will take in the Vwaza Marsh Game Reserve and the Nyika National Park in northern Malawi before a two night hike to the source of the Luangwa. David will lead this section of the safari before the safari continues into the Luangwa Valley first stopping at Mwaleshi Camp in the North Luangwa National Park and ending at Tafika in the South Luangwa National Park.

The intinerary is as follows:
Kazuni Safari Camp, Vwaza Marsh (2 nights)
Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National Park (3 nights)
Source of the Luangwa Hike (2 nights)
Chelinda Lodge, Nyika National Park
Mwaleshi, North Luangwa National Park (3 nights)
Tafika, South Luangwa National Park (3 nights)

The safari rates are fully inclusive of all accommodation, meals, safari activities (except horseriding on the Nyika), drinks, laundry, park entry fees and all domestic air and road transfers starting and finishing in Lilongwe.

This safari would suit anybody who would like to visit these great game parks and in particular perhaps those who already know and love the Luangwa Valley. However participants will have to be fit and used to hiking as it is an 800 metre ascent to the source and camping will be rough and simple on top of the mountain. In June there will be a wonderful clarity of light in the mountains of Nyika and the Mafingas so ideal for photography whilst in October game viewing will be top class being late in the dry season and there will be the added attraction of the wildflowers of the Nyika as well as the migratory and forest birds in the highlands of the Nyika and the Mafingas. On the exploratory trip to the source, four Sharpe's starlings were seen - a new record for Zambia!

Top           Return to South Luangwa Camps & Lodges           Return to Map of Zambia

For History and General information about Zambia, click More Zambia
For further information about the National Parks of Zambia, click Zam Parks

Travel Insurance

Wilderness Wildlife Trust            Eyes on Africa sponsors Children in the Wilderness            Eyes on Africa is a corporate sponsor of The African Wildlife Foundation

Eyes on Africa is proud to be a certified Fundi - a South Africa Tourism Specialist                           Eyes on Africa is endorsed by IATAN - International Airlines Travel Agent Network           Eyes on Africa is a member of the Better Business Bureau             Eyes on Africa is a member of ASTA - The American Society of Travel Agents (member #900143776)

African Safari - Home          Site Map          Currency Converter          Search          Links          Blog          Africa Weather          Budget Safaris          Photo Safaris

Botswana Safari          Kenya Safari          Malawi Safari          Mozambique Safari          Namibia Safari          Rwanda Safari          Seychelles Islands

South Africa Safari          Tanzania Safari          Zambia Safari          Zimbabwe Safari

Safari Map          About Us          Our African Safaris          Scheduled Safaris          Rates and Pricing          Planning          News          FAQ's          Photography          Contact Us

Eyes on Africa, Ltd.
1743 West Fletcher Street
Chicago, Illinois 60657
Tel: 800.457.9575 / 773.549.0169    Fax: 773.327.2977    Email: Eyes on Africa

All content © 2002-2016, Eyes on Africa, Ltd. All rights reserved.
All images © 1995-2016, James Weis/Eyes on Africa (unless otherwise noted). All rights reserved.
Legal Restrictions & Terms of Use  •  Privacy Statement  •  Travel Terms & Conditions  •  Travel Info Form  •  Travel Agreement  •  Travel Insurance Form  •  Credit Card Form

email webmaster: EOA Webmaster