Tafika stands on the bank of the Luangwa, overlooking the national park. It is perhaps the smallest of the Valley's main camps, with just five reed-and-thatch chalets. Four of these have two double beds in each, surrounded by separate walk-in mosquito nets. The fifth has two rooms, with a king-size double in one room, and one double bed and one three-quarter bed in the other, all built around the trunk of a stunning sausage tree, Kigelia Africana
. This is usually the honeymoon suite, though it is sometimes used by family groups. All have en-suite facilities – including a flush toilet, wash basin, and excellent shower that is open to the skies. Lighting is by solar-powered storm lanterns.
It was founded by John and Carol Coppinger, who managed Chibembe for years before about 1995, when they branched off on their own to start Tafika. John's years of experience in the Valley are augmented by the experience of several other top guides working here, including Bryan Jackson, Isaac Zulu, Ernst Jacobs and Stephen Banda; thus Tafika's guiding is amongst the best in the valley. Game activities include day and night drives, as well as walking safaris.
The bar/dining area has comfortable chairs and large, circular dining tables, though dinner is a relaxed affair, often eaten together outside. Tafika is not luxurious in any conventional sense, though it is very high quality: the food is superb, the atmosphere friendly and unpretentious, and the guiding truly expert.
John (who had a commercial pilot's licence at one stage) keeps a microlight aircraft nearby, which can take a passenger. If he's in camp, as is usually the case, flights can be arranged – best let them know in advance if possible. So if you stay here, don't miss seeing the park from an eagle's point of view.
During the dry season, Tafika acts as the hub for Chikoko Trails which use two walking bushcamps, Chikoko and Crocodile, just over the river in a wilderness area of the park, and also with Mwaleshi Camp's walking safaris in North Luangwa National Park. Although Tafika isn't accessible by road during the wet season, it arranges excellent river safaris for adventurous travellers during this time.