Amara is one of the newer lodges in the Selous...
Amara Selous: Our full report
Situated on the banks of the Ruaha River, the smart but relaxed Amara Selous opened in 2010 and is one of the newer lodges in the Selous Game Reserve. This is the first lodge of the ‘Amara Group’, which states its aim as offering ‘the highest quality and services in bush hospitality’ as it ‘develops a luxury travel collection of tented camps around Tanzania’.
At the heart of Amara is a large infinity pool overlooking the river – perfect to escape the heat of the day, with plenty of loungers and shady areas on the surrounding wooden decking.
Behind the pool, raised up slightly on different levels, are two stone areas draped in canvas. One houses Amara’s lounge area with dark leather sofas and a selection of coffee-table books on a low table. Various antique safari ornaments lend a slightly colonial feel and – with an open front and gauze windows at the back – it all feels very airy and spacious. Alongside is the dining area, whose dark furniture and black chandeliers give it an elegant edge, yet the open front allows views of the pool area and on to the river, so it retains a natural feel.
Sandy walkways lead to Amara’s eight tented rooms, which are well spaced out, so feel quite private and secluded. With over 90m2 of inside space, and an additional 40m2 of outside decking, these rooms are vast. Although tented, they are permanent, with stone floors that help to keep them cool during the hot months, and air conditioning near the bed (albeit from 7.00-11.00pm only), as well as a fan.
Despite their size, the bedrooms at Amara Selous are quite simply furnished, with a large double bed under a mosquito net, bedside tables, a leather chair, a chest of drawers and a safe. In keeping with the central areas, the furniture is quite dark, but with pale fabrics set in such a big space, it works well. An iPod docking station is on a writing desk, with a radio for contacting the main lodge and to order drinks.
Adjoining the bedroom is a stone-built dressing room, which can be curtained off, and has space for luggage and hanging clothes. This in turn leads to the bathroom, which has the luxury of very spacious inside and outside showers – the latter with water cascading over a piece of slate rock, like a waterfall. You’ll also find a flushing toilet and twin sinks with views out to the river, and a small mirror. Some toiletries, such as shampoo and body wash, are provided.
The front of each tent at Amara is protected by mosquito gauze, beyond which is an extensive deck with a couple of chairs and a table overlooking the river. From here, a short paved pathway brings you to your private plunge pool.
Activities at Amara Selous focus on game drives with knowledgeable and patient guides, although it’s worth noting that the game here is not as prolific as in the more eastern lodges. The managers are keen wildlife photographers, and a selection of Peter’s photos is found hung around the lodge. Peter also has a telescope at the lodge, so can advise guests on astronomy as well as photography.
If this is all too cerebral, then rather more hedonistic is the opportunity for a massage in the privacy of your own room. And for children, there’s a special programme with a certificate to be gained at the end. In fact, Amara is the only camp within the park that accepts children under 12.
Our viewWhen we stayed in September 2012, we found Amara Selous to be a well-run, high-quality lodge with a nice relaxed atmosphere in good surroundings. The chic design and experienced management couple make Amara a high-quality choice, which may suit couples seeking privacy and comfort. However, be aware that the wildlife in this western side of Selous Game Reserve is both less relaxed and less numerous than it is in most areas further east.
Ideal length of stay: 3–4 days
Directions: Amara is a 45-minute flight from Dar and then just 1km from Simbazi airstrip.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food here is of a high quality and good variety.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included.
Honeymoons: There are plenty of choices for those romantic moments at Amara Selous. Bush dinners are a popular choice for some privacy while massages can be arranged in the spacious rooms, which also have a plunge pool. The plush feel of the camp make it a good choice for honeymooners looking to relax and indulge.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Amara is happy to accept children over the age of 6.
Property’s age restrictions: Children must be aged 6 or over to stay in the camp – but throughout the whole of the Selous, the minimum age limit for walking is 16.
Special activities & services: The Amaradillos is a special children’s programme with workbooks and a range of activities such as plaster-casting, fishing, word games and quizzes. A certificate is awarded at the end of their stay.
Equipment: There is no special equipment for children.
Generally recommended for children: Yes. Amara is the only camp in Selous to accept those aged six to eleven. However, as with all safari camps, we would recommend Amara only for mature children with an interest in wildlife – but the extensive kids club and large pool would make it a good option for families.
Notes: Children should be supervised by their parents at all times, especially by the river and by the pool.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are radios in the rooms to contact the main area for room service. WiFi is available in the main area.
TV & radio: There are iPod docs in each room, but no TV or radio.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: They have a basic first-aid kit. Should medical evacuation be necessary the camp is located right next to Simbazi airstrip.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Askaris (guards) patrol the camp and escort guests to and from each room after dark.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all the rooms.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included
Money: There are fire extinguishers in all the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: The only form of payment accepted is US dollars cash. However guests here are booked on a full-board and activities basis, so there is very little to pay for except massages and tips.