Nsefu is superbly situated on the Luangwa River, in the middle of the Nsefu Sector. It was first opened in 1951 by Norman Carr – making it Zambia's oldest safari camp – and moved to its present location in 1953. Then the camp consisted of raised brick rondavels that were entered via a few steps.
In recent years these deteriorated until, in late '98, the camp was bought by Robin Pope Safaris, who completely rebuilt and refurbished it for 1999. (Robin himself had guided there for many years before starting up his own company, and so had always been closely connected with Nsefu.) Now it is once again one of the best camps in the Valley.
Nsefu's original row of round rondavels has been retained, but each now has a shady wooden veranda at the front. Inside are twin beds surrounded by a walk-in mosquito net. Soft colours and quality fabrics are used throughout. Large windows look out over the river, stylishly curtained. At the back, each rondavel has had an en-suite shower and toilet added – complete with old-style bath taps (but efficient hot water) – which is partially open to the outside.
The camp has been furnished with taste and elegance, in the style of the 1950s – complete with wind-up gramophone and traditional silver service. The whole effect is impressive and, despite the camp's creature comforts, it has retained an old, solid feel of history.
Nsefu's thatched bar stands beside a huge termite mound, overlooking a small lagoon and a sweeping bend in the river. In a separate dining area, under thatch, the food very good, and the atmosphere relaxed – although the tables are often laid beside the riverbank, or elsewhere under the skies. A stay here is often combined with Nkwali, Tena Tena, or one of Robin Pope's walking safaris.