- Intimate, upmarket camp
- Tranquil riverside location
- Exclusive access into National Park
Nkwali is an exclusive camp in a stunning riverside location opposite South Luangwa National Park, eastern Zambia. Situated in a private game management reserve, this intimate, upmarket camp offers exceptional hosting and guiding, a swimming pool, and six well-appointed riverside chalets, towards the higher end of the budget spectrum. South Luangwa boasts a diverse terrain of woodlands, lagoons, and vast grassy plains, home to abundant wildlife including lion, leopard, elephant, buffalo, hyena, and the elusive wild dog, plus over 450 species of birds.
Open all year, and a 40 minute drive from Mfuwe airport, Nkwali sits on the banks of the Luangwa River, shaded by ebony and mahogany trees, beside a lagoon popular with elephants and hippos. The camp’s main area or ‘chitenge’ is an open-sided wood and canvas construction with a high thatched ceiling. Guest spaces comprise a comfortable lounge, bar, and communal dining area. Outside is a spacious deck boasting wonderful river views, and a refreshing swimming pool with loungers. The tranquil campfire area is ideal for post dinner drinks. There is also a private game viewing area situated behind camp. Nkwali operates on mains electricity, and mobile phone reception is available, although guests are requested to limit phone usage to within their rooms.
Activities include day and night game drives, and guided walks in the national park with enthusiastic and informed guides. Guests can enjoy cultural visits to the local village and schools, and shopping excursions to Mfuwe’s vibrant markets and shops or ‘dukas’. Throughout the Jan/April ‘Emerald' season boat excursions on the Luangwa River are available. The camp operates its own pontoon and enjoys direct access into the national park, either by boat or by driving across the arid river bed during the dry months. Note that visitors during October and November should come prepared for high temperatures, coinciding with wildlife at its most prolific.
The accommodation comprises just six spacious riverside chalets with cool stone floors and airy thatched roofs. Each chalet is fronted by shutters, open by day to allow wildlife viewing from the comfort of one’s bed. Five chalets accommodate two guests in a double or twin beds, and there is one larger family unit. All rooms are ensuite, featuring an indulgent open air bathroom with twin washbasins, WC and shower. All units have mosquito nets and fans, but there is no air conditioning. Outside is a private veranda with seating and lovely river views.
Children over seven years of age are welcome, and there’s a designated family unit which accommodates up to four guests. Parents should note that there is a minimum age of 12 years for guided walks. Since the camp is unfenced, with wild animals free to wander through, parents are also reminded that children must be supervised at all times.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019