Sable Mountain Lodge sits high up above the Beho Beho hills.
Sable Mountain Lodge: Our full report
Situated 1km outside the park's western park boundary and 12km from Matembwe Gate, Sable Mountain Lodge sits high up, north of the Beho Beho hills, and offers lovely views across the surrounding dense brachystegia forest. It is a good base to explore the northern reaches of the Selous Game reserve with guides from the camp who have a reasonable knowledge of the animals and birds.
The 8 fairly simple stone bandas, and 5 slightly more luxurious tented bandas are spread across quite a large, hilly site. This results in a bit of a walk to get to them, sometimes up and down a bit, but plenty of privacy. Two of the tents are honeymoon suites; these are larger with open fronts, outside showers and better views. All the rooms have mosquito nets over the beds, 24-hour electricity, and an en-suite bathroom, with a hot shower and toilet.
As the Sable Mountain site is quite large, there are two separate bar and dining areas, each catering to the rooms closest to it. The first area is nearer reception and has a friendly bar and dining area. The bar is quaintly named the 'cup and bucket' after the era before there was running water in camp. People had to wash by pouring water over themselves with a cup from a bucket! Thankfully that is no longer the case as all rooms have a proper shower with hot water.
The second bar area is further up the hill and based by the spring-water pool. There are some lovely outdoor tables under umbrellas around the pool as well as a comfy sofa by the bar. Walk along a short walkway to an open-sided lounge area under thatch, with plenty of wicker and cushioned sofas and arm-chairs. This is a good place to relax and enjoy the views, or just read a book in the shade.
Along a second walkway is the dining area with a few tables set up for people to sit together in small groups.
Activities include 4x4 safaris and walks in the park– these begin at 6am and return around midday in time for lunch. Then head out again at 3pm, returning slightly before sunset. The tireless can go on all-day trips which depart at 7 am after breakfast, with a picnic lunch. You head deep into the park, returning late in the afternoon after a very full day of safari activities.
Lake Tagalala is about 3 hours' drive from the lodge. Sable Mountain usually offers boat safaris on this as part of their full day safaris, however when we were last in the Selous (early 2007), the park authorities had stopped them doing this. They are hoping that this will be rectified for the start of the next season, in mid-2007.
Sable Mountain Lodge is one of very few camps which can be arranged on a FB basis, without activities – so is ideal for those on a tighter budget.
Ideal length of stay: 2 nights
Directions: It is a 35-minute flight to Matambwe Airstrip in the Selous Game Reserve, where it is then around a 14km drive to Sable Mountain Lodge. Alternatively you can take the Tazara train which runs (rather unreliably) between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka, getting off at Kisaki train station. If you decided to drive from Dar es Salaam, it would take around 6 hours – though during the rainy season this journey time could be longer due to bad road conditions. (If we arrange this for you, then Expert Africa will take no responsibility for any delays or mishaps that happen during your journey.)
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast times depend on each guests own programme for the day – you would usually decide on a time the night before. It consists of fruit, toast and a cooked breakfast – served pretty much when you want it.
If you opt for a morning safari, then a light lunch is then served at 1pm and consists of salad, a few Tanzanian snacks such as samosas, and fruit. Alternatively, if you're out on an all-day safari, then you'll have a picnic lunch somewhere in the park.
In the evening, dinner is a 3-course affair with plenty of fresh vegetables and salads. Dietary requirements can be catered for if the camp is given good advanced warning.
When we last visited Sable Mountain, the food was quite simple camp food. However it was filling and there was plenty of it - great when you have been out on safari all day.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks are not included.
Birdwatching: To see a variety of bird life, perhaps do some walking whilst at Sable Mountain and head out into the dense brachystegia forest. This is a great place for birds and you can expect to see a host of forest species including the exquisite Livingstone's turaco, a variety of hornbills and the vociferous forest weaver.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Tanzania
Wildlife safaris: The surrounding woodland is a lovely place to experience a variety of wildlife. Whilst on guided safari walks, you might have the opportunity to see forest associated species such as blue monkey, black-and white colobus and the amazing chequered elephant shrew. Game drives concentrate on the plains in the vicinity of the camp and the north of the park. There are very few other vehicles around, although when last we visited there wasn't much game around either.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome children at Sable Mountain Lodge
Equipment: There is no special equipment for children
Generally recommended for children: Yes - if over 5 years old.
Notes: Parents should be aware when staying there with young children that the paths leading between the rooms and main areas are very uneven with lots of loose stones. Children should also be supervised by their parents.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There are no central communications available for guests at Sable Mountain Lodge, however there is mobile phone reception.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio – this is deepest Africa!
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: There is a dispensary in the nearby town of Kisaki and a first aid kit on site.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are 3 guards on site.
Fire safety: Sable Mountain Lodge had no fire extinguishers or other measures in place when last visited. However, all the buildings are single-storey and open-sided, so escape routes in the event of a fire would be very obvious.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Extra Charge
Money: There are facilities to change money at Sable Mountain Lodge.