Robin Pope Safaris
Robin Pope Safaris runs 3 intimate Camps (none accommodates more than 12 guests), and 2 beautiful private houses, in and adjacent to the South Luangwa National Park.
This is a family run business, and specialities are walking safaris, night drives, and private family/ group safaris.
All of the properties offer walks and game drives (including morning, afternoon and night drives). In addition, you might prefer and all day drive, with a picnic lunch. The vehicles are open, and all passengers enjoy a ‘window’ seat, and excellent photographic opportunities.
Walks are led by knowledgeable guides, accompanied by a National Park’s scout. The guide will teach you more about your surroundings that you might imagine, and this is surely one of the best ways to get close to nature.
From December to April the River level tends to rise, and can be flowing bank to bank from January to March. This makes boating excursions a must. There are 2 boats available for exploring the lagoons, or travelling up River.
You also have the chance to visit Kawaza Village, and the school – an enriching experience, and one which allows you interact with the local community. The Village visit is usually done in the morning, but overnight stays can also be arranged. In addition, you might also wish to visit the Chipembele Wildlife Education Centre, it is run as a charitable trust for the school children of the Luangwa Valley to teach them about wildlife and conservation.
Nkwali Camp – open year round
The camp is in the Mfuwe area, on private land, and overlooks the South Luangwa National Park. This is an excellent game viewing area, and features ebony woodland, in combination with open grasslands.
Accommodation is in cool, spacious, en suite chalets, which overlook the Luangwa River. The camp accommodates only 12 guests. The National Park is accessed by boat, or pontoon.
Activities include guided walks, game drives, and night drives. Boating trips are seasonal, and can be enjoyed in the so-called green season (generally November to mid May).
Game viewing in this area is some of the best in Zambia, and frequently includes excellent leopard, lion and elephant sightings. The endemic Thornicroft giraffe is seen daily, from the camp itself, and elephants regularly cross the Luangwa, seen from the bar, or come to the waterhole near the thatched dining room.
Nsefu – open mid January to end March, and late May to October
This is one of only 2 camps in the Nsefu area (itself some 1 000 square kilometres) of the South Luangwa National Park, the other being Tena Tena. This is a remote area, and only operates for 5 months of the year (late May to October). There are some spectacular lagoons in this area, and good populations of elephant, and excellent leopard sightings.
The camp, accommodating only 12 guests, is set on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River, 12 kilometres north of Tena Tena. Nsefu was the first photographic safari camp in Zambia, and it has been kept in the original style. Accommodation is in traditional Rondavels, which are en suite, and enjoy excellent views of the River.
The view of the river is excellent, and includes a terraced area where game grazes during the day. The bar, set beside a huge extinct termite mound, overlooks a waterhole, which is known for its night sightings of leopard.
Activities are centred on guided walks, game drives, and night drives.
For the new season (2009), Nsefu will be open 22 January to 31 March, during the height of the green season, which is when the river and lagoons are full. A week long River Journey will be offered, which combines Nkwali and Nsefu Camps. Access to Nsefu Camp will be a 2 – 3 hour boat ride on the Luangwa River, from Nkwali. Game viewing and birding is something to look forward to on this trip. Nsefu will be running as normal, but activities will involved boating and walking only. This is, without doubt, the best time of year for birding, and there is a famous colony of yellow billed storks in the area.
Transfer days by boat Nkwali/Nsefu – Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays only
Tena Tena – open late May to October
This camp is the second property in the Nsefu area of the South Luangwa National Park, and is set on a bend of the Luangwa River.
Accommodation is in large, custom-made, en suite tents, and is shaded by a grove of mahogany trees. The camp accommodated 8 to 10 guests.
From the thatched dining room and bar, you can watch the elephant, hippo and antelope on the river banks. In addition, there is a nearby lagoon, where hours can be spent just sitting a watching the local wildlife come down to drink.
Activities offered are guided walks, game drives, and night drives.
Robin’s House – open year round
Robin’s House lies on the edge of Nkwali Camp, and offers private accommodation, making it ideal for families, and small groups of friends, or even honeymooners. The House is set apart from the Camp, and is on the banks of the Luangwa River – thus enjoying excellent River views.
The House is well shaded by a grove of large trees, and large windows enhance the natural light. There are 2 en suite bedrooms (1 double and 1 triple). In addition, there is a central sitting room, and dining room. The private kitchen comes complete with a personal chef, and there is also a valet on hand. All activities are conducted by your personal guide, and for game drives – in a private vehicle.
Luangwa Safari House – open year round
This the second of the private houses, and is situated a kilometre from the Nkwali Camp. It has been built on the edge of a seasonal lagoon, with the Chindeni Hills as a backdrop.
This is a uniquely designed property, and accommodates up to 8 guests, in 4 individually styled, en suite bedrooms, each of which is equipped with ceiling fans and mosquito nets. The upstairs rooms have a suspended balcony, whilst those downstairs have a private tiled veranda.
The house is open-plan, with a spacious lounge and dining area. From the terrace a magnificent walkway leads to a wooden deck surrounding a small group of huge ebony trees in the middle of the lagoon. From here the waterhole is nearby, and sitting quietly you will be close to families of elephant that come to bathe.
For relaxation there is a swimming pool to laze in and around.
The house has its own chef, and manager, who will be happy to discuss menus during your stay, as catering revolves around the group’s personal requirements.
All activities are exclusive to house guests only, and you have a private guide and scout, along with vehicles.
Luangwa River House is particularly suitable for families (there is a minimum age requirement of 7 years for children), and there is a good range of requirement of 7 years for children), and there is a good range of hosted activities for children (and a child minder is available)