Reviews of Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp)
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Selous Safari Camp review
Luxury camp but modest guides and game viewing.Read more about the whole safari
Selous Safari Camp
Very comfortable. Grat location for camp. Tents fabulous. Staff exceptional.
Less of a wilderness experience so more of a very comfortable place to be based than an adventure.
Elephants and Giraffes Galore
Sorry for replying so late to email – once back we all got quickly involved in stressful jobs and projects and there was no time.
We all had a great time together and the safari trip was a really good bonding experience for the whole family. We are planning a photo book and will send you a link as soon as it is ready. However, with over 6,000 images taken by 3 cameras and 6 hours of video footage this will take some time to create.
Planning the trip
Your Services are outstanding and we appreciate your patience.
The camps were well chosen for their wildlife variety and different landscapes. The most striking was the difference between a National Park (Ruaha) and a Game Reserve (Selous) close to a hunting concession. While we saw a large number of animals in both camps, those in Selous – especially zebras and wildebeest – were running away as soon as they got to hear/see/smell the jeeps. We did not come as close to the animals as in the private game reserve in South Africa as drivers in the National Park are not permitted to leave the road to follow the animals. However, large herds of elephants, giraffes and zebras are quite close to the tracks and sometimes even the lions!
We recommend to inform any visitors to Selous that wild dogs are not to be seen during the dry months as they obviously live underground until the rain ‘flushes’ them out.
We were impressed how well all animals looked at both locations– clearly a sign of a balanced wildlife.
Guides and Drives
Guides in both camps were adequately knowledgeable – however less than what we had experienced in South Africa, where all local guides had a special degree which clearly made a difference in the information they provided.
In Selous we were disappointed that there was no additional driver, leaving the guide to drive the car while looking for wildlife. He did a great job driving in incredible difficult terrain though. Drives in Selous only start at 8:00 am – obviously to accommodate the foremost honeymooning guests – but we believe that the best time to see the game is shortly after sunrise. Selous’ late morning game drives were considered as negative by several well-experienced safari tourists we met in Ruaha. An earlier start could allow to visit more remote places.
The guided walking tours in both camps were outstanding. In Ruaha the river walk seeing hypos, crocodiles and huge flocks of birds was absolutely fantastic - to get so close to the animals yet staying safe. The landscape is overwhelming!
In Selous the walking tour guide was very good – we enjoyed the information and the subsequent surprise breakfast at the lake side.
We also recommend a boat trip on the lake in the morning, when hordes of elephants and giraffes visit the shores – great photo opportunities beyond the many hypos and crocs; however you need a really good telephoto lens for close-ups.
Food was above expectations at Ruaha – clearly Mrs. Fox’s recipes cooked on open fire are a legend. The settings of the dinner tables in the river bed close to an open fire are dreams come true.
In Selous, food was good too, however less experimental – breakfast was much better at Ruaha.
In Selous, unfortunately two members of the family caught a stomach bug – both believe it had to do with the drinking water provided from the lake. Our son-in-law was worst hit and could not go back to work for a week after his return.
Both camps were outstanding in their own way and clearly exclusive and clean.
Beds are very large and comfortable. Bathrooms are an experience in itself with smaller wildlife never being far away… However, closing the tents properly makes you feel very safe also at night. No mosquitos in September!
In Ruaha, the elephants visit the camp during day and night to feed on the fruits of the palm trees. Our daughter Jennifer had one looking into her bedroom – she froze for a good 15 minutes before the elephant moved on…
We were a bit surprised that in Ruaha there were no guards to be seen during day time, while at night we did not see a single guard carrying more than a light. In contrast, there were plenty of armed guards in Selous – the hypo trails go through the camp to the lake.
Service was very warm and polite and clearly staffs are making huge efforts at both camps to accommodate all your needs.
The laundry service is very helpful and good to point out to visitors struggling to fit your clothes within the 15 kilo permitted by the local airline.
Flights and luggage
It may be helpful to mention that we were not asked to add hand luggage (camera equipment) to the weight of the bags. However, you have to place hand luggage on your lap during the local flights – very cramped then.
We believe it is very important to make tourists more aware of the additional costs including the additional payments for the water provided on game drives. This can be a substantial sum to be added to the pre-paid expenses and should be
added to the quotation when planning the trip to avoid surprises. Tips are clearly expected – and almost as compulsory as on cruises.
Hotel accommodation Dar-Es-Salaam
Please make a note that the Asian restaurant at the Seacliff hotel was below standard. Service was extremely slow (35 minutes!) and the food was dreadful.
Selous Safari Camp review
This part of the park is very beautiful with lakes and lovely acacia woodland with casia and terminalia in full bloom. We loved the location of the camp, being near the lake and the tent was comfortable and well equipped.
The food was very good and we were served at individual tables except for one delightful lunch which was served on the lake. Our guide and driver (Mwatu) was very good. We saw hyena with cubs, plenty of giraffe, kudu, herds of zebra and wildebeest, 2 prides of lions including one with cubs on a kill and the hippos, birds and crocs on the lake. The game drives started at 8.00 am. We enjoyed the lake trip.
Ricus and Pietro made us very welcome.
Selous Safari Camp review
ExcellentRead more about the whole safari
Lifetime experience to say the least
Lifetime experience we enjoyed every moment of it.
Location is excellent we were able to see great number and variety of game. Furthermore, we were able to witness live the hunting of Lions to buffaloes. Concerning the accommodations and the stuff we need to say a big thank you to Ricus nd Beatris to Said and Onesimo last but not least to Mpoto a perfect guide and a knowledgeable guard.
I would recommend the place and the people with no reservation whatsoever
Lovely safari camp, right by a beautiful lake
This was the best place we stayed on safari in terms of accommodation. There was a lovely veranda with great views and the outdoor shower area was very nice.
We enjoyed being somewhere where a boat safari was available and the sunsets you got on the lake were exceptional and made for some amazing photos. Being by the lake also meant the bird life was almost as interesting as the other wildlife. The walking safari was well worth doing here and felt very safe.
The main lodge was excellent and had a great pool for cooling off after a hot morning's safari. The food served here was also excellent and Emile who managed the camp was always on hand to help or just for a nice chat.
Selous safari camp exceeded all expectations!
From the moment we landed and were greeted on the airstrip to when we were bid farewell this safari camp was amazing!
The tents were just beautiful and so very comfortable, ours looked out over the river with regular visits from many different animals. The camp itself was well run with extremely knowledgeable staff, who were so very friendly and helpful! We went on 2 activities a day including game drives, boat and walking safari's. I enjoyed all of these and the range of animals we saw was incredible. My favourite by far was the pride of lions with 3 different aged cubs - just adorable!
The drivers were great at seeking out the animals and knowing where to find them, getting very close and providing lots of opportunities for some great photos! We had elephants and giraffes strolling right past our tent on several occasions and lots of other animals right on our doorstep! The food was just great, well prepared and delivered. Sitting around the camp fire at night was a lovely touch, as well as the surprise breakfast after the walking safari and a surprise lunch on the river.
The whole experience for me was perfect and I loved every minute of it, truly an amazing experience! Thank you Selous Safari Camp!!
Fantastic food at Selous and fantastic place
Really wonderful, food was excellent if not a little too much, river trips were great, guiding was great too, swimming pool a real treat.
Would have preferred to stay at the southern part of camp as the bar area so much nicer, but the pool situation is better in the north end. Rooms were glorious, cant fault the place. Walter our driver went out of his way to find a pack of wild dogs and we did, all 18 of them...
Selous Safari Camp review
Very luxurious camp with excellent cuisine and attentive service that combined a holiday atmosphere with the opportunity to do essentially what you wanted when you wanted - game drive, river trip, escorted walks, fishing. The more open, drier landscape gave more and easier game viewing opportunities than the denser bush in Ruaha - not necessarily better, just different environments.
The area is more populous with safari operators than at Ruaha so you do not get the same feeling of isolation and hence be prepared to meet others when interesting opportunities are available e.g hunting dog sitings with the massed ranks of vehicles racing to the appropriate spot (the word is out folks!) but this does not necessarily detract from the overall experience.
We particularly enjoyed the boat trips with much birdlife in evidence and fishing for catfish being hemmed in by hippo on one side and crocs on the other with binoculars scanning constantly. Catfish cooked for dinner! No pressure here, you can lounge by the pool if you want or do the game thing just as you wish