Valley & Lake Safari

This 12 night Valley & Lake safari combines some of the best of Zambia and Malawi and offers a unique take on the classic bush and beach safari.

It combines the Robin Pope Safaris camps in the South Luangwa Valley, one of Africa’s finest wildlife sanctuaries, with their equally unspoilt beach retreat on the southern shores of Lake Malawi. It is ideal as a honeymoon option. Or for anyone looking for a relaxing safari with the emphasis on wildlife and comfort.

Your Valley & Lake safari begins with 2 nights at Nkwali Camp in the central park of the South Luangwa National Park. Next you head north to the more remote parts of the park. Stay 3 nights at either Nsefu Camp or Tena Tena, or if you wish, a combination of both. Next you return to Mfuwe to fly to Lilongwe in Malawi and continue on by light charter flight to Lake Malawi to spend the final 5 nights at Pumulani Lodge by the shimmering waters of this ‘lake of stars’.

Accommodation at a Glance:

4 nights Nkwali Camp, South Luangwa National Park
3 nights Tena Tena or Nsefu Camp, South Luangwa National Park
5 nights Pumulani Lodge, Lake Malawi

Add-ons to the Valley & Lake Safari

If you have more time to spend, we recommend adding a few nights in Victoria Falls at the start of the safari, or adding a couple of nights in Liwonde National Park for some more relaxed game-viewing by vehicle, on foot or by boat.

Please note: These particular bush camps in the South Luangwa National Park are only open during the dry winter season. (late May to October). We can do a similar itinerary from April onwards by substituting similar camps which open earlier.

Contact us for a tailor-made quote…

See Day by Day
Day 1

Central South Luangwa national Park for 4 nights Nkwali Camp, Fully inclusive

On arrival at Lusaka Airport, you check in for your scheduled flight to Mfuwe. Here you are met by a representative from Robin Pope Safaris and transferred by road to Nkwali Camp where you settle in.

The South Luangwa National Park in Zambia, at the southern tip of the Great Rift Valley, is one of the finest wildlife sanctuaries in Africa. The brooding Luangwa River meanders through this luxuriant valley, supporting thousands of hippo and crocodile and sustaining the park. The beautiful ox bow lagoons, woodland and plains of the Luangwa valley host huge concentrations of game – elephant, a wide variety of antelope, buffalo, kudu, zebra, Thornycroft’s giraffe and wildebeest occur in great numbers as well as over 400 bird species. Lion, wild dog and hyena are also common and the South Luangwa National Park is famed for its excellent leopard sightings.

Nkwali Camp is built on private land overlooking the South Luangwa National Park on the other side of the Luangwa River. This is superb game-viewing country, famous for leopard and giraffe sightings, with a beautiful area of ebony woodland and open grass plains. This small camp of six thatched en suite chalets has an unusual bar encircling an enormous ebony tree and a dining room overlooking the lagoon. The six thatched chalets at Nkwali are cool and spacious. Each has an en suite semi-open bathroom with a large open shower and an enclosed flush toilet under thatch. There’s a honeymoon suite which has a separate sitting room.

Following afternoon tea, you enjoy the first of your game drives. This drive will introduce you to some of the nocturnal animals and their predators as they become active and begin to hunt. You stop for drinks at sunset to enjoy the sounds and smells of the bush before continuing with the night drive. Afterwards you return for an atmospheric dinner back at the camp.

Accommodation: Nkwali Camp
Located in: South Luangwa - Zambia

Day 5

Head North for 3 nights Nsefu Camp or Tena Tena Camp, Fully Inclusive

Today you head north to stay at either Tena Tena or Nsefu camp (or a combination of both if you prefer.)

Nsefu Camp lies on a sweeping bend of the Luangwa River in the exclusive Nsefu section of the South Luangwa. Nsefu is a stylish and utterly charming camp and the Nsefu private concession is a phenomenal area for game. Six spacious rondavels have been skilfully remodelled with a semi-open spacious en suite bathroom/dressing room added and large windows onto a new wooden veranda with superb views of the river. The bar, tucked in beside a huge dormant termite mound, overlooks a waterhole that is very productive for game, especially leopard at night. Nsefu’s affable team offer great hospitality and game viewing takes place on foot or on day and night game drives.


Tena Tena Camp is a renowned safari camp also within the Nsefu private concession in the north of the South Luangwa. It has a stunning location on a remote wooded bend of the Luangwa River. A grove of mahogany trees shades the five large custom-made tents (under thatch) with en suite open air bathrooms. There’s also a honeymoon suite with twin basins and showers and a separate sitting and private dining area. From the thatched dining room and bar at Tena Tena you can watch the elephants, hippo and antelope on the river banks. Being remote and so small, Tena Tena guests have these scenes to themselves, as there are no other camps in the whole area. Game viewing takes place on foot or on day and night game drives.

Note: At the start of the summer season (November onwards), the Nsefu concession closes and so we substitute the lovely Puku Ridge Camp which is in the Southern part of the South Luangwa. So pricing for November to early Jan and for April to mid May is based on Puku Ridge Camp or possibly Chichele Lodge for the very hot summer months.

Accommodation: Nsefu Camp
Located in: South Luangwa - Zambia

Accommodation: Tena Tena Camp
Located in: South Luangwa - Zambia

Days 6 & 7

On safari in the South Luangwa, Tena Tena Camp or Nsefu Camp, Fully Inclusive

You enjoy an early morning game drive immediately after early morning tea and coffee, as the animals rise early to hunt in the cool of the day. The three hour game drive finishes in time for brunch, which will be keenly appreciated after your early morning start! After brunch, you can simply relax around the lodge or at the swimming pool during the heat of the day. Afternoon tea is served just prior to your late afternoon game drive.

Accommodation: Tena Tena Camp
Located in: South Luangwa - Zambia

Accommodation: Nsefu Camp
Located in: South Luangwa - Zambia

Day 8

Fly to Lake Malawi for 5 nights at Pumulani Camp, Fully Inclusive

Today you return to Mfuwe Airport in time for your scheduled flight to Lilongwe. On arrival at Lilongwe in Malawi, you are met and transferred to Lake Malawi and Pumulani Lodge.

Uniquely Pumulani Lodge is the only luxury beach lodge within the Lake Malawi National Park. The lodge is perched on a hillside, giving fantastic views over the clear waters of the lake. The main building has a dining room, bar and leads onto a large wooden deck. The infinity swimming pool is on a lower terraced deck. Accommodation consists of ten huge villas, each has a bedroom, bathroom and sitting area. All villas have large sliding doors leading out to the elevated wooden deck.

Note: A charter flight to Pumulani may be possible (for a small supplement), but it doesn’t always work with the flight from Mfuwe to Lilongwe

Accommodation: Pumulani Lodge
Located in: Lake Malawi - Malawi

Days 9 to 12

Relaxing on Lake Malawi, Pumulani Camp, Fully Inclusive

Enjoy your days at the lake. The activities included at Pumulani are snorkelling, fishing, sailing, nature and village walks, sunset cruises on the dhow and kayaking. Scuba diving and motorized water sports  (water-skiing, fun tube, picnic tours) are all available but at an additional cost.

Accommodation: Pumulani Lodge
Located in: Lake Malawi - Malawi

Day 13

Fly back to Lilongwe

Today you are transferred back to Lilongwe Airport in time for your onward travel arrangements.

View Interactive Itinerary
See Route on Map
All meals, local drinks, safaris activities in the itinerary, scheduled and charter flights, road transfers, selected activities at Pumulani Lodge
International flights, optional activities such as diving, visas, items of a personal nature
Best time to go:
Ideal in the dry season from May to October, however also possible in November, December & April by changing Tena Tena to Puku Ridge Camp. This tour does not operate between mid January and March as Pumulani Lodge on Lake Malawi is closed during the rainy season (Jan to March)
Health requirements:
Malaria area so anti-malarial precautions are essential
SAFARI SPECIAL - This safari includes a 10% discount on all camps
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