Reviews of Mwagusi Safari Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
We had high expectations from what we had heard about the camp but it didn't quite live up to these and we wonder whether Chris' absence, whilst setting up his other project, has affected the overall experience quality. The camp occupancy, down to 4 or 6 for a couple of the days, also affected the feel of the stay and unfortunately, both managers had bouts of illness - Serena on the first day and Ryan as we left.
The general staff were polite and looked after us satisfactorily but one got the impression that they were fairly new to the job, had very limited English, and, as a result, were rather nervous. Ryan was clearly extremely knowledgeable but didn't really initiate any conversation at mealtimes and perhaps we noticed this particularly after the warmth and friendliness of the Selous managers & staff.
Plus points were Jimmy, our really excellent guide, who was brilliant at spotting the game and went out of his way to give us memorable viewing and photographic opportunities. Also we liked the different settings around the river bed for the evening meals and the camp fires and lamps created a lovely atmosphere.
The accommodation was artistic - nice to have the natural materials and various artefacts - and the veranda overlooking the river bed was lovely. We would have preferred to have the bathroom area also enclosed in a linked tent as mosquitoes and little animals could get in that area (something made a deposit every night!) and it was a pain to keep unzipping the flaps when using the bathroom area.
We thought it was unusual that we were asked not to tip the guide separately and were a bit surprised that there was no indication of the price of any of the drinks and we got a hand written scrap of paper as our bill at the end. We suggest the camp should have a guest feedback form.
We were pleased that we combined Selous with Ruaha as the vegetation, degree of dryness, and quantity of game viewing were very different.
Camp four of four!!!!!!
What a great place to finish our holiday.
The accommodation was superb, food wonderful, guides exceptional, organisation excellent and the most wonderful evening meals.
Cannot fault any part of our stay.
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.