Reviews of Kwihala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Kwihala Camp review
Very friendly atmosphere. Warm welcome and well looked after by Sandy.
Fantastic guide - Festo.
A magical place
We came at the same time last year- however this year the rains had come earlier and there was a little water in the river beds ,making for a different experience in bird life and animal behavior. Having stayed at Kwihala twice before this was our first visit after it had been taken over by the much larger company Asilia .
So we were pleased and relieved that the special Kwihala magic was still much in evidence -not surprising as the wonderful staff and the stunning scenery were just the same. The very high level of returning guests speaks volumes. Lorenzo and Saidi make a formidable team and between them their knowledge ,tracking skills,patience and sense of humour make for great game drives day after day.
Highlights include ;-
-tracking a leopard for about 45 minutes after being alerted to its presence by the hyrax colony and being rewarded with an extended sighting of 'Onca' a beautiful and relaxed young male .The grin on Lorenzo and Saidi's faces said it all.
-watching elephants rub clean every nook and crannie of their bodies on a fallen tree trunk -including behind the ears/ knees
-a large pride of lions with very tiny cubs that had feasted on an elephant kill
-2 honey badger cubs on a night drive just before we had a puncture near to said lions
-a herd of 700 + buffalo as they came to the Mwagusi to drink
-lots of wonderful birds and interesting animal behavior
Thank you to Michelle for arranging for us to have our preferred tent and guide/tracker and for being so committed to keeping the Kwihala atmosphere alive and well.
Message to Asilia
The food ,previously perfectly adequate, was very much improved and it was good to hear staff speaking very positively about increased training opportunities -all benefits from being part of a larger company .The addition of the little shop was also welcome.
But we were disappointed to see the beautiful and stylish 'Baobab' crockery was gradually being replaced with more corporate white china .Please think about replacing it - we can't be the only guests who would love to purchase items as a reminder of a wonderful camp. Please don't even think of changing the Baobab bed covers.
We realise change is inevitable, especially to ensure Ruaha remains viable. However the prospect of a sister camp to Kwihala very nearby will inevitably increase traffic in the area, which we noticed had much increased since this time last year. Still nowhere nearly as congested as northern Tanzania but how long can it remain the isolated wilderness we love?
A last request - a bird list would be really helpful. Notes written on a bumpy vehicle are pretty indecipherable.
First class camp with limited activities
Bordered on the excellent, (we compare everything to our favourites in Zambia) The density of game in Rhuaha was much better than we expected and the variety of species bringing in the northern area game was superb.
This camp was run very well and the accommodation was very good, Food also excellent. We were lucky to have a very experienced guide in Festo who suited us very well and was quietly informative and enthusiastic. (some others would have been a bit too noisy for us)
The camp could not provide walks or night drives and this meant it was lacking in variety of activities. There were also a few occasions when this area of the park became quite busy (4 vehicles around lions)
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
My Splendid Safari in Ruaha National Park
I recently returned from a ten-day safari to Southern Tanzania. I had booked this safari through Expert Africa, and it was already
my third safari with them. I flew from Nairobi to Dars em Salam, and had expressed mh trepidation that one hour would'nt be sufficient
to make my connection to Ruaha. Well, I was pleasantly surprised as the transfer went perfectly smooth. I then flew to Ruaha where I was picked up at the air strip by Douadi, a tracker as well as an apprentic guide in training. I have to mention that he has three wives and one child and is planning to have ninemoe children. He is a traditional Maasai tribesman.
At the camp I was met by Mitchelle, the temporary managerwho hails from Zambia. She was kind, charming and always helpful. Absent minded as always, I somehow managed to loose the return portion of my return ticket to Nairobi. Mitchelle contacted Expert Africa, who sent me the return portion of my ticket, which she promptly printed out for me. I made sure not to loose it again. I enjoyed talking to her about her career as a photographer in South Africa, the U.K and all over Africa.
I enjoyed the tents at Kwihala Lodge as they were roomy and comfortable. Hotwater bucket showers were always available. A generator provided power twenty-four hours a day. A gentle breeze cooled off the camp. I really enjoyed the communal didning. I remember that everything served was extremely delicious. The campfires before dinner were delightful.
I saw many giraffes, impalas, buffaloes, jackals, zebras and babbons. I also viewed a black-necked spitting cobra as well as a rarely seen Egyptian mongoose, and both civet and genet. I saw many lions and too many elephants to mention. My guide Lorenzo and his assistant Douadi asked me what I wanted to see and when I responded a klipspringer, they managed to show me two of them. I was fortunate enough to have a Landcruiser the entire time I was there.
I'm an avid birder, so I have to say I was'nt disappointed. As for birds of prey, I was able to see four different species; a Tawny, an African Hawk-Eagle and a Brown Snake Eagle. I also saw a beatiful Eastern-Chanting Goshawk and a lovely Grey Kestrel.
There was no lack of beatiful and graceful aquatic birds as well. I saw a Pied Kingfisher, an African Open-Billed Stork and a Yellow Billed-Stork. I've long enjoyed watching lilac Breasted Rollers and so for this reason, I was delighted to see a little Bee Eater, as well as Rufous Crowned Roller. Another gorgeous bird I observed through binoculars was the Variable Sunbird. The most beautiful bird I saw was the Yellow Collared lovebird, although a Cut Throat Finch was a close contender.
I'm looking forward to another visit to Kwihala but this time in February, or March because I'd love to see bat-eared fox and all the species of immigrant birds. Again, I have to stress that the guiding was superb which is the most important part of any 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.