South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Nsefu lies on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River and is situated in the heart of the undeveloped Nsefu sector of the South Luangwa National Park - one of the most beautiful, unspoiled wilderness areas in Zambia.
At a Glance
Visit the Nsefu salt pans, famous for their population of crested cranes and hot springs
Nsefu camp is Luangwa's oldest camp, and retains its original rooms, all with beautiful views of the Luangwa River
Visit Nsefu in the Emerald Season, when the local stork colony is in full swing
Enjoy superb game viewing in the remote Nsefu sector of the national park, where the camp is situated
At the end of a busy day, relax around the camp fire and share stories of the bush
Sit on your balcony and watch the game come in to drink in front of camp.Louisa Ross-Taylor
Visit Nsefu in the Emerald season for some spectacular birding and boat trips up the Luangwa's tributaries.Anna Hearn
The Rondaval rooms are the oldest safari camp in Zambia and are designated as a national monumentLouisa Ross-Taylor
Great game viewing in the remote Nsefu Sector of the South Luangwa National ParkLouisa Ross-Taylor
Nsefu was the first photographic safari camp in Zambia and dates back to the early fifties. It is owned and run by Robin Pope Safaris who were among the first to operate in this area. The Nsefu Sector was recognised then as a phenomenal area and it still is. The camp re-opened in 1999, in keeping with the original style, and is one of only two camps in the Nsefu Sector of the park.
The traditional structures have a simple, understated elegance, with stylish pale furnishings and spacious en-suite bathrooms. The large bar is tucked in beside a huge extinct termite mound, overlooking a waterhole, and offers fantastic game viewing opportunities.
Safari activities include walking, the best way to discover the secrets of the bush, led by an experienced guide and accompanied by an armed game scout. There are day game drives conducted in open, four-wheel drive vehicles, as well as night drives which set out in the afternoon and, after watching the sun set over the river with a sun downer in hand, continue with a powerful spotlight.
Nsefu Camp is open during the height of the Emerald Season from mid January until the end of March, when the river is brimming and the lagoons are full. During this time its possible to boat to Nkwali from Nsefu - a two hour boat ride down the amazing Luangwa River. The journey is always exciting, with flocks of birds, hippos and crocodiles. Often elephant, lion and even leopard are seen on the river bank. With the river high, its easy to boat into the ebony groves, up the channels and into many of the lagoons. These lagoons are a haven for birdlife. The famous yellow billed stork colony, one of the largest in southern Africa, is reachable (by boat and then foot) and it is during this time, with the area flooded that the storks will be breeding.
Accommodation is in six rondavel rooms. They all have a spacious bathroom added and the furnishings and fittings are in keeping with an "old fashioned" feel. Each room has a clear view of the river, through both the large windows and from the wooden verandas. Each cottage has been installed with the latest Easy Breeze over-bed air conditioning system over the beds and is run off the solar power.
Due to the remote nature of Nsefu and the walking involved there is a minimum age of 12 years. For families with older children, there is a whole range of family safari activities available including game drives and nature walks to learn to identify animal spoor and droppings, birding for beginners and learning to use spotlights at night.
The dinning room has a superb view of the river and throughout the heat of the day, elephants come to drink and then cross the river. All the main areas have comfy chairs and wide decks to lounge around on and watch the wildlife go by.
Activities are entirely chosen by the guests and tailored to their requirements. Guests have the option of a walk or a game drive. The drives include morning, afternoon and night drives. An all day drive, with a picnic lunch, is also available. The walks are led by very knowledgeable guides, and escorted by armed National Park scouts. The standard of the guiding is outstanding. In the 'emerald season' boating gives an excellent opportunity to explore the park's more remote corners that cars cannot get to.
Location & Directions
South Luangwa National Park, Zambia
Nsefu sits on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa river and in the heart of the South Luangwa National Park.
When to go
Nsefu Camp is closed November to January.
Zambia has a moderate to sub-tropical climate with three distinct seasons: from November to March is the Emerald, or the rainy season, April to July is Zambia's winter, when the weather is cool and dry, and August to October is summer, when the weather is hot and dry. In terms of game-viewing, the drier months, meaning a higher concentration of game at the permanent water sources, are a superb time to visit. Alternatively come for some superb bird-watching at the end of the rains.