Beho Beho somehow manages to combine quite a rustic outside, with...
Beho Beho: Our full report
Beho Beho has a unique location in Selous Game Reserve – high on a hill in an area dotted with baobab trees. Indeed, the name Beho Beho means ‘breeze’; apt given its airy location. Its site was first used as early as 1972, and it’s not only one of the reserve’s first camps, but also on of the few camps in the Selous which is set away from the river. In 2004 the camp was rebuilt using locally sourced materials; its since been and completely refurbished regularly, and the décor includes with some classic pieces of furniture from Europe.
The central lounge and bar area at Beho Beho has a mix of comfortable sofas, Persian rugs from the owners’ family home and African carvings. Coffee-table books and family photos are dotted on the small tables, lending the feeling of a slightly eccentric family house. The whole area is open sided with fantastic views across the valley, and down to a small floodlit waterhole. Near the bar is an interesting library with old maps and prints, and many historical artefacts found on the nearby World War 1 battlefield. Behind the lounge area you will also find a full-size slate-bedded billiard table.
Slightly down the slope, the swimming pool and its sundeck also command a spectacular view across the valley – and you can often spot game from the pool’s terrace. There are a few comfortable loungers here, as well as a small thatched seating area, which is great for relaxing out of the heat of the day.
There are only eight stone bandas (rooms) at Beho Beho, all of which are permanent, thatched and open at one side to the amazing views. The stone used in their construction was sourced locally, and the wood for the door frames, bed frames and wall lights was found in the park.
Designed to feel homely, these bandas are also very spacious and comfortable. Picture huge canopied beds under mosquito nets, large comfy armchairs and a wonderful old writing desk. Each has an area slightly separated by a step, which is part lounge, part veranda, and the entire front is open to the view. A separate ante-room provides storage for clothes and luggage, and each of the rooms has a ceiling fan and 24-hour electricity (three-pin UK-style plugs).
Large en-suite bathrooms feature great outdoor showers (two also have baths), flush toilets and dual washbasins, that latter set into a surface decorated with pebbles gathered from the Rufiji River. The bathrooms are amongst the best equipped we have encountered in any safari camp, with shaving mirrors, retractable washing line, loofahs and pumice stones included among the thoughtful extras. Toiletries (by Charlotte Rhys), hairdryers and light cotton dressing gowns add a touch of indulgent luxury.
We’ve visited Beho Beho often since 2004, and when we last visited, in December 2011, they were busy building a new luxury private suite for those seeking a little more privacy. This suite will have its own private chef and a private guide.
Despite its many comforts, Beho Beho has risen to become of the top camps in the Selous Game Reserve primarily due to the superb quality of its guiding. The guides here team are consistently excellent, with a breadth of knowledge that is hard to match – and a drive or walk with a guide from Beho Beho is a truly fascinating experience. There’s usually at least one “Zim-pro" guide on the team, and a good history of these top-level guides training promising learner-guides here.
Activities from Beho Beho include 4WD safari drives and boat trips on Lake Tagalala, but their speciality is walking safaris. On a typical walking safari, you’ll set off at around 6.00am when it’s lovely and cool, and stay out as long as your enthusiasm lasts. It’s unusual to find a camp where the activities are so flexible and last as long! On our most recent visit to Beho Beho, our morning walking safari lasted right through until early afternoon – with a very civilised ‘bush’ breakfast set up for us, to keep us going!
Generally, though, guests return from their first activity in the late morning, in time for brunch. Afternoon activities then depart at around 4.00pm, and return after a sundowner drink in the bush. Another option is to take a trip to the hippo pool, where you can watch a few hundred hippos splashing about in the mud, for as long as your nose can stand it!
Close to Beho Beho, there are also some historical sites which are sometimes visited as part of an activity. (Be sure to ask for to see these if you are interested.) These include some World War 1 trenches where you can still find scattered artefacts, the grave of Frederick Courtney Selous – after whom the park is named, and who was killed in action here – and some lovely hot springs set in a patch of riparian woodland where you might fancy a swim.
Beho Beho also offers super-luxurious bush nights – with a small bush camp set up for just 2–4 guests. These bush-nights rate as one of Africa’s most exclusive and stylish camping expeditions (but note that at £219 per person sharing on top of the normal camp rate, they are fairly costly).
Our viewSince it opened, Beho Beho has set very high standards; it’s certainly one of the very best camps that we deal with anywhere in Africa. It’s welcome is always warm; it’s smart and luxurious, but friendly rather than pretentious; the food’s excellent; the accommodation very high quality, but not flash; and, perhaps most importantly, the guiding is first-class. Even more surprising, somehow – despite comments like this – it still usually manages to exceed expectations. Beho Beho’s only downside is a high price tag, although this can be offset by long-stay reductions.
Ideal length of stay: Whilst you can visit for 3-4 nights, the range of activities at Beho Beho means that 5, 6 or even seven nights also works well – especially if nights if bush camping is included.
Directions: It’s a 35-minute flight from Dar es Salaam into the Selous Game Reserve, where you will land at an airstrip right next to Beho Beho.
Owner: Independent / Owner Run
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we last stayed at Beho Beho, the food was outstanding. There was a real variety on offer, with dishes deliciously prepared and beautifully presented. A very sociably atmosphere adds to this – with guests and guides usually sitting around one large table – perhaps helped because the team there clearly think about their hosting, and it shows. Dinner runs like a very well-organised dinner-party, with excellent service.
Breakfast at Beho Beho is usually fruit, fresh bread and a full cooked breakfast with eggs of your choice, and a wide choice of spreads.
Lunch is served at around 1.00pm and comprises a variety of hot and cold dishes such as fresh salads, Swahili dishes and light curries. On our last visit, in December 2011, lunch included a choice of quiche, spare ribs, tiger prawns, salads, and homemade cheese and tomato bread followed by cinnamon tortillas and fruit salad.
Dinner is served in a different location each night and is a varied three-course menu. Dinner on our last visit included carrot, coconut and ginger soup with bruchetta as a starter, white snapper with white sauce and vegetables for main course, and chocolate mousse with a chocolate éclair for dessert.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included at Beho Beho.
Solo Travel: Beho Beho is a very sociable camp; it’s like visiting a family home. You are warmly welcomed by the team and very well looked after. We find that walking safaris are often better for single travellers; probably as guests interact more. Add to this group dining in a very friendly atmosphere, and Beho Beho is a good bet for single travellers.See more ideas for Solo Travel in Tanzania
Honeymoons: The huge rooms at Beho Beho, romantic canopied double beds, and the sheer comfort of the camp make it popular for honeymooners - and that is quite apart from the excellent bushcraft of its team.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania
Birdwatching: The Selous is a good park for travellers who are very keen on birdlife. During our most recent visit in December 2011 we saw a fantastic variety of species including the white-fronted bee-eater, a beautiful hoopoe, a bat hawk, crested guinea fowl and a vibrant red bishop.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Tanzania
Walking safaris: Walking safaris at Beho Beho are some of the best you will find in Tanzania. With extremely knowledgeable and well-trained guides, and good wildlife viewing in the Selous throughout the year. The high guiding standards translate into visitors gaining more of an insight into the smaller species and more intricate ecological patterns that make up this great park.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Tanzania
Wildlife safaris: The wildlife I this area of the Selous is good, with a healthy permanent population of lions and frequent sightings of more transitory wild dogs. Amongst much other game, there’s usually an abundance of giraffe, wildebeest and the odd buffalo. Heading out with one of the camp’s excellent guides is a great wildlife experience – a really fascinating education.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Beho Beho isn't suitable for children under 12 years of age.
Equipment: There is no special equipment for children at Beho Beho.
Generally recommended for children: Only for children over 12 who are mature and responsible.
Notes: Beho Beho considers that children staying at the camp are very much the responsibility of their parents. Parents should also be aware that this camp is not fenced and wildlife can pass through at any time – children cannot be left unaccompanied.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: Since our last visit, the camp has had a good satellite connection installed, which gives it a satellite phone for use in emergency.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio – this is deepest Africa!
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: There is a first-aid kit on site for minor illnesses and injuries. For more serious cases, Beho Beho has links with the flying-doctor service in Dar es Salaam. Two walking guides have had advanced first-aid training.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are guards around the camp and at night you will be escorted to and from your room.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all of the rooms and communal areas. There is an emergency horn in each of the bandas.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There is a free laundry service included, although, as in many camps, underwear is not accepted. Washing powder is supplied in the bathrooms.
Money: There is no currency exchange at Beho Beho.