Nsefu Camp: The Classic Safari Experience


Zambia’s first photographic safari camp is authentic and lovely as it gets

The history of African safari sadly has roots in game hunting but with visionaries like the late conservationist Norman Carr, this finally started to change. In 1961 he partnered with the Kunda chief Nsefu and started the first photographic safari camp in Zambia.  After Carr’s death, his former guide and fellow conservationist Robin Pope took over Nsefu Camp to preserve its heritage and continue to offer some of the best safaris in Africa.

Set on a lively and lovely bend of the great Luangwa river, the historic location is the best in the park.  The six cabins have kept the same foundation and style of the original camp (with old black and white photos in the bar area to prove it!)

The thatch roof and round walls may keep to the original concept but the interiors have been updated with a chic classic look. Large, comfy beds with the ever-romantic and functional mosquito nets give the room an airy African feel.

The in-suite bathroom is open along the roof to let in a fresh breeze, the sounds of nature, and maybe a visitor or two. This itty-bitty frog perched itself on the hanger of our linen robe and– no joke–he was so adorably perfect, we thought he was a porcelain decoration! Hey, that’s safari camp for you!

Each sunrise, we would head over to the breakfast buffet along the shore.  With fresh-baked bread, homemade jams, granola, yogurts, exotic fruits, and French press coffee, we would feast around the fire and watch the wildlife wake up from its slumber.

Robin Pope’s Nsefu Camp is luxurious and romantic, without being stuffy. The staff was always there to cater to our every need, but we never felt they were doting over us. Case in point, when the bartender is away from his post, the camp policy is, “The bar is never closed, as long as don’t mind helping yourself.” No problem!

Sitting in the lounge chairs under our favorite tree, we would sit and drink cold Mozi lagers and watch the baboons, impala, wart hog, and the occasional elephant go by.  

The Luangwa river snakes through the park, attracting countless animals to its shores. After each game drive, we would head to the cliffs above the river to watch the hippos, crocodiles, and countless birds go about their amazing ways over sun-downer drinks. For special honeymoon treat, the Nsefu team sweetly surprised us with a private session of champagne and hors d’oeuvres to toast our nuptials.

After we had our private sundowners, we joined our fellow safari-goers and guides for an intimate dinner under the lantern-light. Enjoying a delicious steak, grilled vegetables, potato souffle, we chatted the night away. The staff’s unpretentious and welcoming nature, always set the table at ease.  

As if there wasn’t enough wildlife spotted from camp, we have more to share from our four  game drives around the incredible South Luangwa.

Much love from South Luangwa,
Anne & Mike

Note: Robin Pope Safaris invited us to be their guest; however, all opinions are our own.

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