Reviews of Mwagusi Safari Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mwagusi certainly did not disappoint. On our arrival we were met by Charlotte, one of the camp managers. She went out of her way to make us feel welcome, organised everything we wanted to do, and was always on hand with her impressive air of calm efficiency.
We had a superb Banda overlooking the dry river bed, the honeymoon suite, we found out the day we left!! It was very comfortable, with all mod cons although the lighting at night was a little dim, but very rustic African. We particularly enjoyed the lovely candlelit dinners under the stars, in a different location each night. The food was very tasty and imaginative, but not always as hot as it might have been, (difficult we appreciate under the conditions).
Our game drives were excellent with friendly and knowledgable rangers. The bush breakfasts were great fun. We soon realised the importance of being escorted to and from our Banda at night, with regular sightings of game in and around the camp. On the day we left we were unable to get into our Banda after breakfast as a large elephant was standing right in the doorway!!
Mwagusi Camp review
very laid back relaxed camp.Read more about the whole safari
Mwagusi has an organic, natural feel that just lets you know you're in Africa. Words failed us when we were shown to our banda - the tents were unlike anything we'd imagined - in a good way! Dinners were magical - shown to a different spot every night with oil lamps twinkling and a camp fire burning. Food was so good which made you wonder how they could do it - serving up piping hot, tasty food in a dry river bed some way away from the camp!
We had both our scariest and most amazing experience at Mwagusi - scariest was being charged by an irate bull elephant one morning on the way to breakfast - however big thanks to Rhiann for standing his ground - we don't know how he did it! This just reminds you however you are in Africa, and the animals are wild, so after our hearts had stopped pumping we had a great tale to tell!!
Most amazing was seeing an actual leopard kill - which as Chris Fox and our guides kept reminding us, is a very rare experience indeed, and we felt very privileged to see it. We stayed with the leopard until sundown afterwards, which gave us chance to get some brilliant photos in that perfect light, so lucky! As we both wanted to see leopard after our glimpse at Impala, this whole experience was quite an emotional one, there were a few high fives between us and our guide, Sansom, and driver, and a Kili or two to celebrate afterwards!!
Overall this was the icing on the cake to our safari, we left this amazing place full of sadness but also just not believing our luck at what we'd seen - most likely once in a lifetime experiences.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
One of the few camps we've been to twice. It didn't disappoint. Wonderful attention to detail which runs from the food, through the service and kindness of staff, to the excellent guiding. The camp has evolved over the past 5 years while retaining its distinctive architecture of thatched bandas with very good bathrooms. Each room has a big and comfortable seating area looking over the dry river bed.
Best night time animal noises! And an amazing variety of game on the drives. Guides are very well trained and really work hard for you - thank you Samson! And many of the staff have been with the camp for many years which says a lot for the owner, Chris Fox's, commitment to the local community. We'd go back a third time!
Mwagusi aims to please
We stayed at Mwagusi for four nights at the beginning of July. The camp is medium sized and there regularly seemed to be about twenty plus tourists coming and going.
Staff were friendly, efficient and helpful. Guides varied in ability, and as some were shyer than others, imparted different amounts of information. We had several different guides and drivers during our stay so didn't really get the opportunity to develop a relationship with a particular individual.
Chris, who owned the lodge was interesting to talk to and keen to solve any minor problems.
The buildings that we stayed in were superbly designed, consisting of open sided viewing area containing comfy seating, tent with comfortable furniture, and a toilet/shower area with clothes storage. There was no power point so all batteries plus charger had to be taken to the office for charging which was a drag as you had to make sure that you got the right one back, plus they had found time to charge it.
The person in charge of cleaning and tidying the accomodation was amazingly thorough and everything was left perfectly.
Food was of a reasonable standard and the staff went to a lot of trouble to set up a different dining area in the bush each night. The system of everybody sitting along one table had its good and bad points. Mwagusi staff were experimenting with setting up two areas if the numbers eating was quite high to make it a little more personal.
Laundry was availabe free and the system generally worked well.
Wildlife and scenery were varied. The bush was still quite high and green which made animal spotting more difficult. Wild dogs were hard to locate and hadn't been seen for several months. Apparently December is the best bet. Lion were common, leopard elusive and the terrain didn't suit cheetah. Elephants were numerous but Roan and Sable, which I thought were in the area were rarely seen. We did see Lesser kudu but, like many of the shy antelope there, only from a distance.
Ruaha was an interesting place to visit and the camp was a good base.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Fantastic - in fact I'm struggling to find any constructive feedback... really lovely atmosphere - particularly dinners in the bush greatRead more about the whole safari
Mwgusi is excellent!
Mwagusi is an excellent camp. It has excellent facilities, good food, good staff, good service and is a great location right on the river.
I was there when the water was very high. We had to use a chairlift to get across the river and it was great fun but after a few days the 15 minute walk along a sometimes muddy path was something to be missed ......... but it did add to the adventure and does not detract from the over quality of Mwagusi. The presence of animals right in amongst the lodges was great ...... I had an elephant swimming right in front of me as I sat in my hammock!
And Mwagusi is perfectely placed to see Ruaha, even though parts of it were out of bounds because of the high water levels. The game sightings were excellent and I saw two brilliant but unsuccessful lion hunts. The guides here know their park and worked hard to bring us the very best viewing with good, sometimes spectacular results. It was hard to find some animals because of the vegetation and greenness ....... I would love to come back in the dry season.
Mwagusi Safari Camp
A very good camp, well run by Libby - Chris was away and then ill!
We had the added delight of swinging across the raging river on a seat and pulley contraption 4 times a day - due to unexpected rains.
One small point - it seemed to be the only camp which did not provide a packed lunch for the flights to Arusha and Dar. However, our flight was an hour early so we had no problem.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Mwagusi is a lovely camp with good facilities and a spectacular location - we visited early in the wet season when occcasional rain storms would see the river in front of camp rise and fall dramatically. With the river generally impassable by vehicle at this time of year we had to be "winched" across in a bosun's chair whenever we left or returned to camp - great fun but possibly not for everyone!
However, a new bridge was almost complete as we left, implying that this particular aspect of Mwagusi life will no longer be required.
The landscape around the camp is truly beautiful, with hills and plains covered with varied vegetation, including thousands of baobabs. Our animal viewing was also excellent, with cheetah, leopard and many lion, including a pack with 9 cubs.
Guiding was very good, with our man Zawadi having amongst the sharpest eyes of any guide we've ever had. This is a camp where the guides keep themselves to themselves away from the game drives, so you don't get to know them as well as at some other camps - this isn't a criticism, by the way, just an observation.
The camp itself was run wonderfully by the marvellously serene Libby (who also did sterling work as a medic treating an infected insect bite which I had picked up). Food was very good, with the vegetable dishes being particularly memorable for their variety. The closest I would come to a criticism of the camp would be to say that the lighting in the banda bathrooms could do with being beefed up a bit, but this is scarcely a big deal.
Owner Chris Fox is regularly around camp, and very interesting company, with very forthright views on the politics of Tanzania's safari industry - well worth hearing, if a little sobering.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Game viewing in the Ruaha was more productive than in the Selous. The animals are less skittish and more approachable. We saw many different groups of lions and once saw some cheetahs as well as an excellent variety of other game including less frequently seen creatures like lesser kudu, Kirk's dikdik and bat-eared fox. Birdlife was prolific.
The roads are better maintained (apparently the difference between this being a National Park and Selous a Game Reserve). The weather was also much less humid and a bit cooler but it still rained a lot.
Mwagusi Camp we found to be a bit formal - the African staff work hard but do not interact with you, which we felt a pity. Meals are taken with all the other guests together. Depending on who you are thrown in with this could be an absolute horror, but we were lucky and had a very convivial group on this occasion.
Safari activities were all game drives - we were usually with two other guests on each drive. Private safaris cost extra. Our guide was excellent, and unusually knowledgeable on birds (including little brown jobs). Unusually they had field guides in the vehicles and our guide and driver were frequently referring to them when we stopped; continually building up their knowledge.
It rained a lot, especially overnight, and this brought forth one of the notable features of this camp. When the river rises, vehicles cannot cross, so the camp is marooned on the far bank. To get across there is a wooden seat suspended from a rope and pulley system spanning the river. It is great fun and adds to the adventure but is time consuming and on such days it is best to organise all day drives - especially as at this time of year the wildlife is active throughout the day.
The food was probably the best of all the camps we visited on this trip. We especially liked that it was self-serve from a buffet so we could choose what and how much. All camps did well for vegetarian food but this one excelled.
The thatched bandas with a tent inside were fine but we did not really do anything but sleep in them.
Once again the lack of local maps and geography/ecology information was disappointing.
Most reviews go on about Chris Fox - he was absent when we were there so no comment.