South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
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View images of Tafika Camp: Tafika
TAFIKA CAMP RATES: Tafika Camp
SOUTH LUANGWA NATIONAL PARK, ZAMBIA
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
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).
images of Tafika Camp, click Tafika
Tafika accommodates up to 10 guests in 5 spacious chalets constructed
with local materials, each with 2 double beds, en-suite toilet and
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.
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
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.
Morning game drives leave early after a light
buffet while afternoon/night
drives depart camp following afternoon tea and cake. All
the safari vehicles
to 6 passengers, allowing good photographic opportunities.
are usually taken overlooking the Luangwa River, after which
a spotlight is brought into play, revealing the
fascinating world of Africa's nocturnal wildlife.
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.
to a maximum of 6 guests
at a time, thereby ensuring a personalised and quality wilderness
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
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
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.
who are interested in visiting the local village and school,
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
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.
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
flood. This is an amazing experience which will allow you
to canoe past yawning hippos, sneak up to wallowing elephants
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
safari is limited to 4 guests.
The 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.
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.
valley experiences two distinct seasons, the Dry
Season from May to November, and the Green
December to April.
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.
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
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.
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
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
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.
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 to Tafika located in North Luangwa National
Park) specials include White
winged babbling starlings and Fulleborn's
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.
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!
- SOURCE OF THE LUANGWA SAFARI
Coppinger has for
many years been obsessed
with reaching the source of the Luangwa River
- a river he has worked alongside for twenty
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."
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.
is as follows:
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)
rates are fully inclusive of all accommodation, meals, safari activities
on the Nyika), drinks, laundry, park entry
fees and all domestic air and road transfers starting
and finishing in Lilongwe.
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!
Luangwa Camps & Lodges Return
History and General information about Zambia, click More
further information about the National Parks of Zambia, click Zam