Reviews of Mwagusi Safari Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
We liked: very knowledgeable guides; the fact that guides were local people. Loved the rustic bandas, which were fantastically clean and bug-free. So very quiet (not even generator hum). Everyone very friendly and helpful.
Areas for improvement: lighting and mirror at basin not great eg for shaving. Slippery floor in shower (but quickly provided an improvised non-slip mat when requested). Safaris were excellent but little option other than in vehicles.
Good to be able to get camera batteries charged but because of limited window to do so it was necessary to have spare batteries.
Laundry service was excellent.
A good starting point and great game
Accommodation and food were excellent. Ethos at camp was OK but somehow lacked spark. Guiding was informative but lacked variety - same guide all the time - I think the best guide was dominated by one guest who had him to himself the whole time we were there! Our guide seemed to have his set programme - which on the walks centred on dung(!) and he did not try and find out what we were really interested in.
We saw a lot of game and had a very good time there but just felt the Mwagusi experience didn't come together in such a way as to give it the Wow! factor.
Mwagusi Camp was brilliant. We all loved the rooms - especially with the elephant walking past us on a regular basis which we got used to in the end. We had a really good guide and drivers and saw some fantastic animals.
However, we did find the management at Mwagusi were a little offhand on arrival and, although very nice, were more focussed on running their camp than ensuring their guests were happy. The meals were excellent but the same applies here as at Selous - when there are children/teenagers they need to ensure there is something they are happy to eat.
Dining in the open air is a wonderful experience but was not conducive to spending an evening chatting with fellow guests after dinner. We had a special last evening at a water hole watching the sun go down with a herd of elephants taking their evening drink whilst we had ours - perfect.
A real experience
The game drives were good with excellent staff and, luckily, marvalous game.
I liked the accomodation but did feel that the ambience generally could be improved by making a bit more of sundowners, not always eating out and allowing guests to use the dining area after dinner (which they did on the last night).
The food was fine if a little curry focussed and the staff were brilliant about trying to accomodate my sugar intolerance
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Fantastic experience here - great attention to detail. Two key elements are food and guiding, and the camp excels on both. The tents/rooms are enormous and are very well serviced. Staff got to great trouble to make evening meals memorable and atmospheric. Great flexibiity possible in managing game activities.
As an aside, this was our fisrt trip to Ruaha - this is a fantastic park, suitable for first safari and afficionados too: it is also a very attractive area: rolling hills, baobas, woodlands and the river. Very photogenic.
Mwagusi for 3 nights
The camp is located on the banks of a nearly dry river bed and from our banda on a bend we had a view in both directions. There was plenty of wildlife, animals, birds, reptiles and butterflies to keep us amused during the heat of the day when we were in the room. This was very spacious, well appointed and imaginatively laid out.
Our guide Joffrey was excellent and we had six great game drives, all to different locations. The scenery was stunning and we encountered lions from five separate prides.
Dinner was served in a different place each evening under the stars. Most of the food, especially the lunches, was delicious, (the only exception being some very tough lamb). Attention to detail in the housekeeping was extraordinary to the extent that every piece of our clothing was refolded and rearranged! We were a little disappointed that the only activity on offer was driving - no walks were possible. Riaan is an excellent host and we very much enjoyed his company.
A very special stay at Mwagusi
We were lucky to have had the camp to ourselves for two of our three night stay and couldn't have been looked after better.
The camp has a great bush feel with large tents set within thatched open bandas overlooking a dry (in late October) section of river-bed where wildlife can and does pass through as we found with some ellies who made for a couple of facinating close encounters. The owner Chris Fox was on hand for much of our stay and gave us our first game drive - a fascinating character with a real passion for wildlife and his safari business who made for great company.
It seemed to us a well-run and happy camp with a really adventurous feel where Kimberley was a great hostess and Samson an excellent guide. A private dinner on the river-bed under the stars on our last night to celebrate our anniversary was a special highlight made just a little bit magical by the camp staff bringing out a specially made cake whilst singing a Maasai traditional song at the end.
This section of Ruaha had fantastic diversity at an interesting time of year when the water sources are really drying up. Great sightings of cats and other big game together with a few rarities such as wild cat, lesser kudu, klipspringer and egyptian mongoose. Activities are generally restricted to game drives but, in late October at regular 40C temperatures by mid-day, that suited us fine - particularly given the extent of different habitats to see and very few other vehicles about.
Food is fresh, varied and plentiful with various options/combinations available. We'd prefer to see drinks included in the overall rate as is more often the case with the top-end camps rather than wondering how much we'd spent by the end but that's small beer in the scheme of things. All said, definitely one of the best camps we've stayed in.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Everything was at least as good as described - if not better! We saw more animals of different types than we had any right to expect. The organisation, food, service and attention to detail were wonderful. This was our first safari and it might have spoilt us for anything else.
The only negative whatsoever was the reliance on solar power for lighting in the banda. This limited the amount of available light (the bulb in the bathroom did not work). I doubt if the long term environmental advantage is particularly compelling. On the other hand Ellie recommended that we took head lights, which we did and they were invaluable in making up for the lighting deficit.
The solar heated water was fine.
Mwagusi Safari Camp
Another well run camp in which we particularly like the outdoor private dining. We were given the honeymoon suite which was very spacious with lovely view over the dry river bed.
Food was good, especially the buffet lunches and cake for tea! Breakfast in the bush every day was a must.
Just a beautiful park with varied scenery and masses of game - lots of lions, leopards, elephant, buffalo, kudu......and amazing baobab trees. Very good guide. Dinner on our own on last night with 26 lions having just passed through the camp and heard roaring on bank! Magical place.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Our banda was extremely comfortable, though in common with previous reviewers we thought the lighting in the bathroom was poor and the step down to the loo a potential hazard, particularly at night. Beware of squirrels in the bathroom; they are harmless and cute but they do have a particular taste for toothpaste; ours escaped their attention but the talcum powder bottle got a good nibbling! Any loo roll left hanging is likely to be scattered over the floor! Housekeeping was of an extremely high standard.
Martin particularly liked the squashy sofas in the sandy area outside the tent, though he was somewhat disconcerted one afternoon on peering round the corner and coming nose to leg with a giraffe! Animals really do come through camp, though generally not as closely as at Mdonya. Guides are provided to take you to and from your banda at night – especially valuable on the evening when the return from dinner was interrupted by the low growl of a lioness on the path. Our guide led us around and through lots of buildings until we arrived safely 'home'. Next morning we discovered the lioness had had three small cubs with her so was definitely in protective mode.
Riaan and Kimberley were excellent hosts and very attentive to their guests. When Riaan discovered we travel around with a hand-held GPS unit we were enlisted in his campaign to show that there are far more cats in the park than shown in official figures. Lions, leopards and cheetah are no longer just watched, photographed and videoed – they get waypointed too now! It was great to feel we were being involved in the life of the park and making a contribution.
Drinks were about twice the price of Mdonya but there was always plenty of water available at no cost. A nice idea was being able to order a bottle of wine, have a couple of glasses and then have the rest kept for later by the staff – much more economical than paying by the glass. Breakfasts in the bush were excellent, lunch very good (I was almost embarrassed by how much effort they'd gone to in accommodating my cheese allergy) and dinner in the bush or riverbed great fun.
Loved the idea of keeping the food hot using a shovelful of coals from the fire as a brazier! However, due the distance between 'brazier' and table food was not that hot when you actually got to eat it. Excellent puddings, though when we had chocolate and cinnamon tart I was a bit concerned about the next day's cinnamon bread – no need to worry!
Our guide, Geoffrey, and driver, Christian were excellent and took great pains to ensure we got the best sightings. A magnificent Martial eagle was a highlight, only beaten by a day in which we saw 29 different lions in 5 sightings plus a cheetah PLUS a beautiful leopard cub left up a tree whilst Mum went hunting – definitely worth risking few Tsetse bites! Oh, and a hyena and some klipspringers as a bonus as well as all the usual suspects.
We discovered after a day or so that not only were our team willing to go out early in the morning, they actively wanted to and would be disappointed if we didn't – that suited us fine! Particularly on the day when we'd been watching a male leopard for 40 minutes before our fellow guests were out of bed! It really was worth the pain of getting up in the dark to see some wonderful sights.
On our last morning we did the bird walk – about 1-1.5k gentle toddle in the bush around camp which produced a surprising number of new species for the list.