Each tent at Selous Impala Camp stands on its own, slightly raised, overlooking the Rufiji River.
Selous Impala Camp: Our full report
Selous Impala Camp is situated on a wooded stretch of the stunning Rufiji River within the Selous Game Reserve. Simply though stylishly designed, it offers varied safaris and combines well with its sister camp in Ruaha National Park, the rather more spartan Mdonya Old River Camp.
Selous Impala’s breezy lounge and dining area sit on spacious wooden decking with spectacular views across the river, making it a wonderful place to watch game come down to the water to drink. There are plenty of lounge chairs, all made of solid carved wood with woven seats and backs of natural fibre. Touches of African art dotted around give the central area a homely feel. Here’s a place to stretch out, put your feet up, and leaf through some of Impala’s wildlife and bird books, or just enjoy the view.
Across a short walkway, in the bar area, high chairs are set against a small bar made from an old mokoro (dug-out canoe), and a few comfortable sofas with beautiful rustic-coloured cushions line the edge.
Extending further still from the bar area you can enjoy an evening drink around the campfire whilst relaxing on canvas directors’ chairs.
Walk a short way through the acacia woodland to your tent beside the river. Raised high up on decking, each of the eight Meru-style tents has a veranda with two comfortable chairs and a table from where there is a lovely view of the Rufiji River and land beyond. A family unit comprises two en-suite tents sharing a single platform.
Inside, Impala Camp’s tents are reasonably spacious with wooden floors, large (and very comfortable) beds with kikoi-style bedspreads and a writing desk. Much use is made of colourful local fabrics to create an African feel. Each room has a fan, electronic safe and a useful power point, with a UK-style socket – very handy for charging batteries.
Impala’s tents all have large gauze windows that help to protect against the mosquitoes, though (even visiting when it was raining steadily) there are so few that there is no need for mosquito nets. Canvas flaps can be let down for increased privacy.
At the back of each tent, kikoi-style curtains separate a spacious en-suite bathroom. Here you’ll find large white ceramic ‘his and hers’ sinks set into a beautiful wooden surface. Behind a partition is a proper flush toilet, and a second partition conceals a hot shower. There is also hanging space for your clothes. Soap, shampoo, shower gel and mosquito spray are useful extras.
Note that in 2012, Selous Impala Camp is rebuilding its rooms a little further back from the river, although the interiors will stay largely as they are now.
Safari activities at Impala Camp include game drives in open-sided 4WDs, boat safaris along the Rufiji River and on the nearby lakes, and walking safaris. You can also head out onto the river for some fishing, and the more adventurous might try a night or two fly-camping in the bush. You will always be accompanied by a camp guide who has a good knowledge of the game found in the area. For relaxation between safari activities, guests can enjoy a swim in the pool whilst looking out over the river.
Our viewOn our last safari here, in December 2011, Impala Camp had a friendly atmosphere with an attentive team who tried their utmost to ensure you enjoy your stay – which accorded well with the feedback that we’ve consistently had from the many travellers that we send here. It’s a very comfortable yet down-to-earth camp that doesn’t charge top prices and thus has become a firm favourite in the Selous.
Ideal length of stay: 3 nights to make the most of all the activities.
Directions: From Dar es Salaam, it’s a 35-minute flight into the Selous Game Reserve, where you will land at an airstrip 14km from Impala Camp. It’s then a short safari drive or boat ride back to camp. Alternatively, it is around a six-hour drive from Dar es Salaam – depending on the weather and therefore the state of the roads.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food at Impala Camp was beautifully presented when we were last there in October 2011, with lunch and breakfast being served on large wooden platters and in little coconut-shell dishes. Everything was very fresh and tasty, and the meals offered a real mix of international cuisine.
Breakfast at Impala Camp is usually fruit, a variety of cereals, bread and homemade jam, as well as eggs of your choice.
Lunch is a two-course affair, with a main course and salad, then fruit for dessert. When last at Impala Camp we had prawn and fish kebabs served with potato and sweet potato chips, salad and bread, finished off with fruit salad.
For dinner you can expect a four-course meal, with a few main-course options. We found it tough to choose between the calamari risotto and pork chops!
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: At Selous Impala Camp filtered water, tea and coffee are included, but other drinks are extra (eg US$4 for a glass of wine, US$2.50 for soft drinks, US$3.50 for a beer).
Family holidays:See more ideas for Family holidays in Tanzania
Honeymoons: Impala Camp has a beautiful and romantic setting, right on the edge of the Rufiji River. The rooms are very private, each with its own veranda and wonderful views across the river. On our last visit, the Impala team told us about the surprises that they arrange to help ensure a very special experience for honeymoon couples: you’ll be very well looked after.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania
Birdwatching: The Selous Game Reserve is a great place to enjoy watching a variety of birds. On our last visit to Impala Camp in October 2011 our favourite sightings were malachite kingfishers, very regal-looking African fish eagles, and dozens of carmine bee-eaters building their nests in the river’s banks, which they do after the rainy season.See more ideas for Birdwatching in Tanzania
Wildlife safaris: Selous is an excellent game reserve with great populations of big game from large herds of elephants and buffalo to lion, leopard and an excellent population of wild dogs. Black rhino are present in very small numbers, but they are rarely seen.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Impala Camp welcomes families with children over the age of 6.
Property’s age restrictions: Children under the age of 6 years are not advised to stay at Impala. Only children over the age of 16 years may go on a walking safari or fly-camping.
Special activities & services: Impala Camp are flexible about the length of their safari activities – they will happily do shorter drives and boat journeys for families with children.
Equipment: There are special children’s lifejackets available for boat-trips.
Generally recommended for children: Yes – there is a family room here that consists of two tents together.
Notes: Parents should be aware that Impala Camp is not fenced and dangerous wildlife can, and does, pass through at any time – so children should not be left unaccompanied.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: Impala Camp has a satellite phone and basic email in the office, but these are for camp use and emergencies only. Although there is now intermittent cellphone reception in the Selous, the camp requests that guests refrain from using phone in the public areas.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio – this is deepest Africa!
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a first-aid kit at Impala Camp for minor injuries and illnesses and some members of the team are trained in basic first aid. For emergencies, Impala has links to the flying doctors’ service in Dar es Salaam, which is a 35-minute flight away.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The camp is not fenced and wildlife does occasionally pass through, so traditionally dressed Maasai, armed with spears, will escort you to and from your room at night; there’s also an armed park ranger at the camp. Every room has a safe for valuables.
Fire safety: Impala Camp has a pump to pump water from the river in case of a fire and there are extinguishers in all rooms.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Included
Money: No money exchange is offered.
Accepted payment on location: The camp prefers payment for any extras in US dollars, Tanzanian shillings or euros cash. They are unable to accept travellers’ cheques or credit cards.