We have recently returned from a safari to Tafika,
Remote Africa Safaris in South Luangwa - Zambia, which is an
authentic African Safari experience made up of Tafika, Chikoko
Camps and Mwaleshi which are situated in the highly productive
wildlife region of the Luangwa Valley. Tafika is around 60km
from Mfuwe airport.
The camps are re-built each year (to some extent as a
result of the rains) by the local villagers of Mkasanga with
natural materials. The owners in this initiative, John &
Carol Coppinger with co-owner Bryan Jackson, have engaged with
the Mkasanga community over the last 20 years to create a very
impressive & working partnership – most important of all
is that the projects are maintained.
Apart from the employment, annual lodge building work &
skills transfer created within the safari operation Remote
Africa Safaris have established projects within the Mkasanga
Village & have encouraged their visitors & tour
operators to participate in the Tafika Fund to support their
Three projects worth noting are the assistance and
upliftment of the Government run Mkasanga School where
the buildings have been renovated, purchase and supply of
stationary, textbooks and over 2,500 library books and
assistance with teachers' salary payments.
The Tafika Fund has also created a scholarship programme
for post school training where there are presently 30 students
An outpatient clinic was established in 2006 which acts as
a first aid centre for over 2,000 residents of Mkasanga with a
long term plan to include an outpatient maternity wing.
Guests are furthermore encouraged to pack items in their
luggage, prior to their visit that can make a difference.
These include deflated footballs or netballs, educational
posters, coloured pens, pencils & crayons as well as
For this they have partnered with the "pack for a purpose"
initiative which has worldwide reach and more can be seen at
John Coppinger conducts micro light flights over the
concession areas in the early mornings which are a great way
for guests to experience an aerial view of the rich diversity
of the Luangwa system and this is undoubtedly a good
management tool for conservation control over the region as
well as keeping tabs on the location of the wildlife.
The wildlife activities were impressive, we got to see
close to 300 crowned cranes landing in the salt pan delta as
well as some new species for us which included: the four
toed elephant shrew; the marsh or water mongoose & bushy
tailed mongoose. We were lucky with some good Serval viewing
and large numbers of Buffalo & Elephant, good predators,
Eland, Zebra, Thornycrofts Giraffe. We were also able to
photograph a Bat Hawk near the Tafika camp.
At this time of the year the large population of "food
stressed" hippos are feeding on the sausages of the Sausage
Tree (Kigelia - one of the only places where this
happens and something that I have never seen before) & the
many crocodile nesting sites can be seen from the micro light
flights along the Luangwa riverbank in the early mornings.