Second, I really enjoyed the time with animals and the guides were superb...especially Tafika.
It was a great feeling to get back to another rustic camp. If we weren’t already sure, Tafika certainly confirmed our preference for We all concluded. Another superb camp in a stunning location with fabulous food. The family unit surpassed even that at Old Mondoro. Guiding was excellent & interesting that guides are rotated between guests. We were lucky to go out on drives with Bryan, Bryn, Isaac, Gareth & Jen Coppinger. Some great leopard sightings including 1 with an impala it had just caught but not yet killed. We'd forgotten how enjoyable it is to all sit together round a table under the stars enjoying a great dinner swapping stories & sharing experiences. We met some great people throughout our stay & it was great to see our girls engage & be engaged in the conversations. 1 in particular, a guide/safari planner based in Zimbabwe, Garth Thompson, who was with us at Old Mondoro for a couple of days & then we met up again at Tafika. Great character & listening to the stories he & John C shared gave us all hours of entertainment. Village & school trip was amazing, a real eye opener for the girls & truly humbling. Micro-light flight provided a completely different perspective & was enjoyed by both Alice and me. Alas our time went far too quickly here! Flight from Tafika to Lusaka with Gareth in the Camp’s plane was another great experience.
We just loved Tafika. (Thank you Ted, again, for almost insisting that we came here.) Although a more unorthodox way of doing our trip - Lower Zambezi first and then South Luangwa, it worked really well for us. I felt that we were experiencing something very special here - a lifetime's work from a couple who have with their gentle dedication and love of this area created not just a safari camp but a focus for the village and support for the community. The microlight was out of action after a crash a few weeks before our visit; their pilot and an american guest were badly injured and had to be flown to South Africa for medical treatment. We were happy to be able to add walking to our range of activities and a scool visit. Our room was stunning - the family room with the tree. We had some very heart-pounding moments in the middle of the night with elephants and hippos munching noisily by our ears as we lay nervously in bed. Our tick sheet of game sightings grew quickly at Tafika - with wild dogs, big prides of lions, leopards, vultures, giraffes, wildebeest, elans and many many more animals and birds that I could barely keep up with. Tafika served my favourite food - just good, home made cooking with wonderful fresh salads and vegetables. We stayed 3 nights in total at Chikoko and Crocodile. One night on our own at Crocodile with the wonderful Alex and the next two at Chikoko. I was so impressed by Alex - his guiding skills were incredible and we had great competitive card sessions. (Ted - we put two and two together with the lovely, honey-mooning couple Charlie and Alice and realised that you had organised both our trips. We spent lots of time with them and really enjoyed their company. I am sure we both have unforgettable memories.)
At Tafika we found both John and Carol Coppinger and Brian delightful hosts and the game viewing was outstanding (the most leopards we have ever seen!) but the highlight for us has to be the Chikoko walking trails where we were lucky enough to be on our own with an outstanding guide and guard who made those four days a really memorable experience. Both Tafika camp and the bushcamps on the walking trails were very comfortable and welcoming. For us, it was lovely to be in a small owner run camp where you truly felt a guest rather than simply a paying customer in a "commercial" operation. Out of 5, this has to be 5.
Again this was a very attractive camp in a very different environment, but with some familiarity, we having been in two Norman Carr camps in the South Luangwe some years ago. Once again the huts, food, guiding and service were excellent.
We did however have a slightly lower level of enjoyment than at the other camps. I think we were simply unlucky with our timing. Firstly, we saw relatively little game although I gather that before us there had been plenty around. Second, unlike at any of the other camps some of the other guests were distinctly disagreeable and this affected the atmosphere. The camp itself certainly cannot be blamed for either of these factors. The third was that I had booked Tafika with a desire to go microflighting with Jon Coppinger, but in the meantime it had been crashed by an assistant. I was disappointed but Celina was delighted!
Despite these minor gripes we enjoyed our stay at Tafika, and the services of their pilot, Chris, were invaluable to our itinerary.