Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp)

Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp): Our full report

Rooms
13 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (98%) From 41 reviews
Open
1st June to 17th March

Very plush and luxurious, Selous Safari Camp is set amid mixed woodland on the shores of Lake Nzerakera, in the Selous Game Reserve. There are two different and entirely separate sections of the camp – North and South – and one or both are used, depending on the number of guests. This is to ensure that the camp never feels crowded or busy. With six rooms in the North Camp, and seven in the South, both are relatively small, and both have the same excellent facilities with a similar feel, but slightly different layout.When we were last at Selous Safari Camp in November 2013 we stayed in the South Camp and we were pleased to see that the entire camp had just been completely refurbished - so the tents were in fantastic condition.

The communal bar/lounge area of North Camp is tastefully decorated and comfortably furnished. Large squashy sofas provide perfect areas to relax in the shade after a morning’s safari, taking in the view and watching the excellent birdlife that frequents the area. A small but well-stocked bar is in one corner, and traditional African bao boards are scattered around should you feel like challenging someone to a game!

To the right of this central area is a large shaded swimming pool, which is surrounded by wooden decking with plenty of loungers. Dining usually takes place outside on this decking.

The South Camp at Selous Safari Camp is very similar in style, with interesting African art and wooden furniture that includes some beautiful writing desks. The main difference, however, is that the whole of the main area is raised up on stilts – offering lovely views. Dinner is served on a different raised area each evening to add variety. There is another swimming pool here and a separate dining area as well as a small shop selling curios and useful items such as sun cream. If guests stay in the North Camp they can asked to be driven to the shop in the South Camp.

The tented rooms in both parts of Selous Safari Camp are identical: permanent tents on slightly raised platforms, under thatched roofs. To maximise air flow, the tents are octagonal in shape. They are large private rooms, each with a pleasant view of the lake and with a comfortable sofa, writing desk and small table on your own spacious veranda.

Natural reds and yellows are used throughout the rooms, which results in a simple yet stylish feel, while subtle touches such as full-length mirrors make the rooms feel really quite luxurious. The furniture is locally made, and includes a bed, wardrobe and dresser (with safe). Decoration comes from a selection of artefacts from different ethnicities found in Zanzibar.

Each room has convenient power points where you can charge batteries using a standard British plug. For hot nights there is also a cooling fan, but no air conditioning. There are no mosquito nets over the beds, but there are gauzes over the windows.

The bathroom is really just an extension of the bedroom, albeit with a canvas partition that can be let down for privacy. The ‘his and hers’ sinks are deep brass bowls and there is also a proper flush toilet. Step right through the bathroom into the outside shower, most offering a view to the water, and passing game. Here you will find all the toiletries you need and plenty of warm water.

Activities at Selous Safari Camp include boat safaris, walking safaris, 4WD safaris and fishing for catfish and tigerfish.

Our view

Selous Safari Camp has a comfortable, unexpectedly homely feel and a great lakeside location. The tents are of a very high standard – the best in the park. Excellent service and guiding mark it out as a high-quality operation that pays real attention to detail.

Geographics

Location: Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: 3–4 nights

Directions: The Selous is a 35-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, and the camp is only a five-minute drive from the airstrip. Alternatively, it is around a six-hour drive from Dar – depending on the weather and therefore the state of the roads.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Selous Safari Company

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Breakfast at Selous Safari Camp consists of a selection of fresh and dried fruit, cereals, cold meats, yoghurt, muffins and toast. You can also order a cooked breakfast with eggs of your choice plus bacon, sausage, tomato and mushroom. The timings for breakfast are 7.00–10.00am, so guests can have a flexible start to the day.

A two-course lunch is served between 13.00-14.00, with fresh salads and breads, followed by a fruit-based dessert. It is perfect for the heat of the day – fresh, tasty and light.

Just before your afternoon activity, at around 3.30pm, there is afternoon tea, which often includes refreshing home-made lemonade and cookies.

Dinner is served at 8.00pm after a sundowner in the bar and is a three-course affair. When we last visited in November 2013 we had vegetable samosas to start; chicken tikka and pilau rice, served with spicy mango chutney and Tzatziki for main course; and a chocolate pot for dessert. All three courses were delicious! Generally, the food is a mix of international cuisine, imaginatively presented and of a high standard.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Tea/coffee and filtered water are included in the rates at Siwandu, but other drinks are extra.

Further dining info: Yes – but there are no phones in the rooms so requests have to be made in advance.

Special interests

Honeymoons: Siwandu is a small and romantic camp with a lovely setting, luxurious rooms and a homey feel. For special evenings the camp can arrange candlelit bush dinners – making this a good option for some indulgence whilst celebrating on your honeymoon to Tanzania.

See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania

Birdwatching: With a wonderful location on the river, birdwatching around Selous Safari Camp is great. The guides are knowledgeable and there’s a wide variety of species. We had no problems sighting European rollers, hoopoes, fish eagles and hammerkops, amongst many others. In camp, a bird bath attracts masked and sparrow weavers and glossy starlings.

See more ideas for Birdwatching in Tanzania

Wildlife safaris: The Selous Game Reserve has a good population of wildlife throughout the year. There is always an abundance of giraffe and impala as well as a number of lion. The fortunate might see leopard, as well as wild dogs that occasionally move through the area around Siwandu.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania

Children

Attitude towards children: Siwandu are happy to welcome children over the age of six years old, but they feel that whilst in camp children are the full responsibility of their parents. A maximum of three children are allowed in camp at the same time.

Property’s age restrictions: Children must be 6 years old. Only children over 16 years old may walk or fly-camp while staying at Siwandu.

Special activities & services: No

Equipment: There is no special equipment, but one or two children under 12 can sometimes be accommodated in their parents’ room.

Notes: Siwandu is a small place that is happy to have children to visit. That said, parents should be aware that this camp is not fenced and wildlife can pass through at any time; children cannot be left unaccompanied.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: Mainly solar (for hot water), with generator assistance (the generator normally runs when guests are out on activities). Type of plug: 3-pin UK-style plug sockets in all rooms. You can charge items only 10.00am–midday and 6.00–10.00pm, but a battery inverter provides power overnight for the lights and fans.

Communications: There is intermittent cellphone reception at Selous Safari Camp, though travellers should note that the use of cellphones in public areas is not allowed. The camp’s satellite phone is for camp use and emergencies only.

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 Siwandu for minor injuries and illnesses. For emergencies, the camp has links to the flying-doctor service in Dar es Salaam, which is a 35-minute flight away.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There are around ten guards on site, as well as Maasai armed with spears and pangas to escort you to and from your room at night. All the rooms also have whistles, so that if you need help in the night you can call for attention.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in every communal area and room as well as a fire hydrant for the main area. The team practises fire drills when there are no guests in camp. Please note that no smoking is allowed on activities, although a suitable spot can be found during a comfort break, if you warn your guide in advance that you may want to smoke.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included in the rates at Selous Safari Camp. It is hand washed, sun dried and ironed with a charcoal iron – so it is not advisable to put any delicate items in the wash. For cultural reasons, ladies need to wash their own underwear. The camp provides washing powder for this.

Money: There is no currency exchange at Siwandu. There is a safe in each room.

Accepted payment on location: The camp prefers payment for any extras in cash, and accepts US dollars, Tanzanian shillings, British pounds or Euros. However they are also able to accept credit cards; there is a 5% charge for Visa (the preferred card), MasterCard and Amex. Card details for MasterCard and Amex payments must be given the night before departure.