Reviews of Kwihala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A great start to our safari
Kwihala Camp was a great spot to begin our third safari. It is a very friendly, welcoming camp that seems to be blossoming under Asilia management. The Ruaha landscape is varied, and the animals were plentiful. Our guide Festo maximized the hours spent on our game drives, sharing his vast expertise and love of the animals and the land.
The tents at Kwihala are large, comfortable, and spotless. The bucket showers had plenty of hot water. Drinking water is provided in reusable containers rather than throwaway plastic bottles. The food was very good and included a wide variety of dishes. Fresh vegetables and salads were plentiful. Campfires each evening always included special hors d'ouevres, followed by dinner under the stars. Those who were served vegetarian meals said that they were excellent. A special birthday was marked with a celebration including champagne and a cake carried in by singing, dancing waiters. It was a real treat!
The manager Sandy was attentive and caring. We noted that she seemed to be well respected by the staff. The guides mentioned that they believe the camp has improved in many ways since the change to Asilia management last May. They especially like the increased training opportunities, so it seems to have certainly been a change for the better.
Since Ruaha is one of the less-populated tourist areas of Tanzania, we were surprised to find vehicles from several other camps as we did our game drives. But it never felt crowded (with the exception of one leopard sighting which drew about 5 cars).
Kwihala Camp review
Just as good as ever - a fantastic campRead more about the whole safari
Excellent stay at Kwihala camp
Thanks to Michelle for being an excellent host,a great camp with a great atmosphere,and very good vegetarian food,and thanks to Festo our guide.Read more about the whole safari
outstanding safari at Kwihala camp
Having already spent three nights in Siwandu, this camp is a perfect compliment. The accommodation is slightly less luxurious, but still excellent and probably more what I was expecting. The landscape is very different, much more open and we covered a lot of ground!
The guides were exceptional, so knowledgeable and passionate and very cleverly made it interesting for our age ranges - 14 to 50. The days were full on, we certainly put the maximum number of hours into the game drives.
The food was excellent and it was interesting to sit on a communal table to dine and share stories, something we hadn't done in Siwandu - again the camps compliment each other, as it was also good to have family meals.
Kwihala Camp and Ruaha heaven on earth.
From start to finish our visit was wonderful.
From our first game drive where we were taught how to track by Festo and Tony there were fantastic viewing of the birds and animals along with informative information and much laughter. Even the early morning cold was quickly forgotten by the time our bush breakfast was served alongside dry riverbeds, watching the antics of baboons, buffalo and humans. Our first close up of leopard. Both Festo and Tony are passionate about the wildlife and Rhuaha National Park and we can see why.
We chose this area because on a previous trip someone had told us he wanted his ashes scattered there as it was such a wonderful place, all four of us are in complete agreement. Sandy and her team provided a great experience.
Kwilhala camp - a great experience
Our first visit to Ruaha and despite some rain at night which had made some areas wet and the grass high we still saw a lot of game.
Our guides, Festo and David were superb, very knowledgeable but also great fun as well. We got very close to elephants and a wonderful pride of lions. The highlight though were the two cheetah brothers that we followed.
Our tent was clean and comfortable, only slight criticism was that the bathroom fittings were rather 'tired'. All the staff were very friendly and helpful, food was good but lunch starters and desserts slightly repetitive.
Amazing in the green season
After my first visit to Kwihala last October I was encouraged by Lorenzo and Sara to revisit in the green season and my expectations were once again exceeded.
As a camp Kwihala continues to deliver a magical wilderness and bush experience .A truly warm welcome and atmosphere, just enough of the right sort of comforts, a great staff team and superlative guiding in a beautiful setting.
Finding a place like Kwihala which so closely fits my ideal bush camp has, I fear, spoiled me for other camps.
Before coming at this time of the year, I was careful to bear in mind that animals might be more widely spread out and hard to spot ,some trails would be impassable and rain might even prevent us leaving the camp . To some extent this was true .We did not have any where as near as many sightings of cats ,we could not cross the sand rivers except by the bridges but despite the rain, mostly at night, only one afternoon in 6 days was too rainy to venture out .
But any limitations were completely outweighed by the miracle that is the bush transformed by the rain;-the lushness of the trees, grasses and flowers, the rivers flowing strongly,squelching through the muddy puddles in the land cruisers, spectacular thunder and lightening displays at night ,going to sleep to the sound of rain on the tent roof and of course the varied array of butterflies and birds in breeding plumage. Game was still plentiful if not as abundant as in the dry season and it was good to see the animals and their young in such good health.
Highlights included following a cheetah on the hunt with two very young cubs, a very newly born giraffe being licked clean by its mother , a herd of 200 elephants stampeding across the Ruaha River and circa 140 different bird species . It was great for much of the time to go at a slower pace -to spend half an hour admiring a sunrise ,to take time to identify a tricky bird ,track a pride of lions ,watch an army of driver ants cross the track or gaze in awe at huge flocks of black-headed weavers building their nests from scratch in bushes hanging over the water-how did they evolve to be able to tie knots in bendy grass stems!
I fear that having discovered a place like Kwihala, which so closely fits my ideal for a bush camp, has spoiled me for others.
It is such a special place that I was somewhat alarmed to hear that it had been sold to a bigger safari group, Asilia, particularly as I was planning to return in October with my sister. Angela at Expert Africa provided some reassuring information before I came and this was confirmed to a large extent in discussion with three reps from Asilia, who dropped in for a couple of days so I truly hope the best features of Kwihala camp will be retained.
Best wishes and thanks to all staff at the camp ,with a special mention for Sara, Lorenzo and Saidi, whose passion and dedication ensured another amazing trip and many happy memories of people as well as wildlife.
Informal luxury in the bush.
A beautiful place, 6 huge tents widely spaced. Amazing food (my husband was in heaven!)
The safaris were amazing, totally different terrain to Selous, dry so easy to observe big cats, of which there seemed to be large numbers.
Our guides, Lorenzo and Said were great guys to spend time with. Lorenzo was very knowledgeable about all aspects of the area and he was very informative. A highlight was watching elephants at a small waterhole enjoying a mud bath after rain.
Kwihala Camp review
Expectations had been raised to a high level at our previous camp and we wondered how Kwihala would compare.
From the start this warm friendly bush camp excuded team work and enthusiasm at all levels and it was a real joy to share in the wonderful atmosphere and ethos that seemed so effortlessly created.
What was also great about this camp was its commitment to training local tanzanaians in all aspects of camp life including becoming guides.
The weather was very hot but not humid thoughout our stay (35-6C daytime and 20-24C at night) and the level of birds and game was very high .The scenery here is stunning and there is a very wide range of environments ,each with its own flora and fauna.
All the facilities are simple but imaginatively designed .The tents are very big and set widely apart. This meant privacy was maintained even when we kept the curtains open so we could see the bush lit up by the full moon .Electricty is available 24hrs and there are 2 sockets for charging cameras etc -very useful. Water is somewhat limited and bucket showers provide enough hot water for 2 showers each a day. Quite enough if you are careful.Amazingly there is network access.
Dining was communal ,which we really like;in the dining tent at lunchtime but together with guides out under the stars at night. Food was imaginative and varied despite the cooks liberal use of chilli .Specail diest were sensitively catered for.Vehicles were extremely comfortable -padded seats in 3 rows of just 2 seats abreast with baskets between for personal items. Good views for all.
The day starts at 5.15 with a wake up tray of drinks in readiness to leave promptly at 5.45am -earlier than at most camps but it meant we saw a great deal before our breakfast in the bush around 8.30 amd 9 and it meant we had nearly 7 hours safari by lunchtime .
Our guide/driver Lorenzo was a star and up among the 3 best guides we have had in our travels.He really helped us see and appreciate the bush in all its glory and whether we were watching a group of 4 lions catch and eat an impala before our eyes ,or 8 lions devour an adult giraffe over 3 days or a leopard stalking impala or just to simply lingering under the baobabs and acacia trees to see what came to us or enjoy gin and tonic taking in a glorious sunset ,Lorenzo added so much to each experience from his wealth of knowledge and experience-and wonderful sense of humour. His sidekick, trainee Rajabu was a first class spotter and also endowed with infectious laughter fun.Good luck in yopur level 1 exams in January Rajabu.
An unprecedented incident relating to our departure resulted in an unexpected extra overnight stay .Just to stay the matter was dealt witrh extremely professionally and promplty by all concerned ,for which we were most grateful.
This is an outstanding camp, very ably lead by Sara the manager .We would love to return.
An amazing experience
We had the best game viewing experience we have ever had. Our guide Marius was sensitive, attentive, extremely knowledgeable and as keen as us to take things slowly and really observe animal behaviour. He was a perfect match for us. We loved the harsh beauty of the terrain. We enjoyed stunning sunrises and sunsets. Daudi, the assistant guide with such an engaging personality really helped to make this such a memorable experience
The food and wine was really excellent. That all guests and guides ate at one long table set outside each night sharing the days experiences added to the enjoyment of the camp.
This camp is not for the faint hearted with game drives totalling 9-11 hours some days, with very little down time.