Nsefu turns 20!


Nsefu Camp, Zambia’s oldest camp – originally built in 1951 – turns 20 this year under the Robin Pope Safaris’ banner. Set on a stunning wide bend of the Luangwa River in the game rich Nsefu Sector, Nsefu enjoys a truly remote setting which it shares with sister camp Tena Tena.

Looking back in time – where it all begun and how far we have come:


1950 First Nsefu Camp, a temporary camp, opened north of the present site by the northern Rhodesian Game Department. The camp had been used for department officials when on duty. Turning the camp into a tourist camp came as the initiative of chief Nsefu and in turn all the profits from the camp went to him. The department assisted with the development of the scheme giving advise, providing construction and maintenance of access and gameviewing roads, the training of Native Authority Game Guards, camp reservations and with publicity.

1951 Nsefu Camp – moved to the present site as a temporary camp.

1954 Nsefu Camp – upgraded to a 12 bedded permanent camp.

1965 Nsefu Camp – taken over by the new independent government, under the Zambian National Tourist Board.

1966 Nsefu Reserve declared a Game Reserve, thus legalizing its status.

1971 The National Parks and Wildlife Act of 1968 comes into effect thus forming the South Luangwa National Park. This included the Nsefu Sector. Nsefu Camp continued to be run by various government departments.

1979 Two chalets burnt down, and the camp was closed. Zambia Safaris the largest hunting company in Southern Africa at the time took over the camp.

1981 Robin Pope, on a profit-sharing basis reopened the camp for Zambia Safaris. Robin ran the camp for five years during which he developed his reputation. In 1982 he opened Tena Tena as a ‘fly camp’ for three-day walking safaris from Nsefu.

1984 At the end of the ’84 season, Zambia Safaris folded, and the company was taken over by Eco Safaris.

1985 Robin left Nsefu Camp and opened Tena Tena as a 12 bedded camp under his own company – Robin Pope Safaris. Between 1985 and 1997 Nsefu Camp was run by Wilderness Trails. After declining occupancy levels, the camp did not open for the 1997 season.

1998 Robin Pope Safaris takes over the Nsefu Camp lease and starts renovations.

1999 July – Nsefu Camp opens as a Robin Pope Safaris camp.

2004 Luangwa Bush Camp, then called Nsefu Fly Camp, started operating between Nsefu Camp and Tena Tena.

2009 River Journeys: launched to now operate Nsefu for a few weeks between Jan and Mar.

Nsefu Camp is a historical property and in fact a listed property. Due to this there can be very little structural changes that can be made to the camp but innovation over the years has helped make it remain ‘current’:

* Wide windows and doors.
* Shady verandas on each chalet.
* Soft furnishings.
* Most recently ‘Evening Breeze cooling system’ – excellent eco-friendly air-conditioning/cooling system for the bed.

Highlights of the camp:
Location – true remote wilderness of Nsefu Sector, only shared with sister camp Tena Tena.

The Hide – perfectly positioned by a game rich lagoon, offering an option to stay in camp instead of going out on an activity. Perhaps even enjoy the sightings here instead of an afternoon snooze…

Lounge area – views over the Luangwa and a game rich lagoon which often offers excellent sightings for our guests. We have almost daily views of elephants crossing the river once the river levels drop.
Stork colony – this is an annual phenomenon with the peak breeding season for the yellow billed storks. Hundreds of these birds congregate on a small cluster of huge ebony trees where they breed and raise their young.  There are so many birds that the trees turn white from the excrement. Crocodiles and marabu storks are usually seen waiting patiently under the trees for the inevitable nestling casualties. The storks usually start to congregate in Feb/March and the last fledglings leave the colony in late April early May.

River Journeys – Nsefu opens for a few weeks Jan-Mar to explore the Luangwa during the Emerald Season while the Luangwa River is flowing high. Walking remains on during this period, coupled with boating safaris; which makes for incredible contrast to dry season experiences.

To celebrate the big 2-0, we have put together a special package in honour of Nsefu as well as Luangwa Bush Camping which turns 15 years: Nsefu@20.

Contact us today for more information.

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