Reviews of Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp)
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Excellent time at SSC
We were in the North Camp (ex Private Camp) which was lovely and seemed much better laid out than South Camp. We liked the way the decking for dining, bar, sitting area and pool were integrated. Our tent was beautiful and very comfortable though, again there was an issue with lack of privacy when on the loo. Unless you pulled the flaps down there is nowhere in the tent from which a person on the loo cannot be seen.
The outdoor shower was excellent with plenty of power and hot water. It was also nice to have hot water to the basins (only cold tap at Mdonya and Mwagusi) and the lotions and potions provided were very welcome and of excellent quality.
The pool was scrupulously clean and very welcome after a morning walk. The food was consistently excellent and drinks prices not unreasonable for this quality of camp. One couple were on a drinks included deal; Lana, the manager, said she was surprised more people didn't go for this as it was not expensive. The answer may be that nobody knows about it; Expert Africa never mentioned it to us and it's not even on the Camp's own website! What is on the website is the Camp's support for a local school and a request for guests to bring a few supplies if possible. We'd taken a few pens, pencils etc plus a football which were received with much appreciation.
Mashaka was determined to show his guests as many animals as possible and got nearly as excited as us at our second, unexpected, sighting of the wild dogs! He was less impressed by the rain one evening (not supposed to happen at this time of year).
We also had a very interesting walk led by Mtambo one morning and now know more than we could ever wish to about 'poo'!
An afternoon pootling about the lake on a boat was lovely and we saw lots of birds and dozens of crocs lus a lot of animals coming down to drink.
All the staff were excellent; Lana was a very friendly and bubbly hostess/manager who did a superb job, even willing to change dinner arrangements when her guests all decided they'd rather eat together than at separate tables. Alphonce was a superb butler with a beaming smile and Suliemon kept the tent immaculate. If necessary there is even a clothes repair service – minor items repaired by the room attendant, more major ones sent to the tailor in the local village who did an excellent job on Martin's shorts.
We'd love to go back, particularly when the rivers are in full flow.
Our one small criticism is that guests' activities for each day were arranged before the previous night's dinner in such a way that guests were fitted into the activities available not activities flexed to guests' wishes. For example during our transfer to Beho Beho Mashaka mentioned something he'd seen on a full-day game drive – the possibility of doing this had never been raised.
Superb time at Selous safari camp
Best food and guide we have ever had on safari !!Read more about the whole safari
Selous Safari Camp review
After Mdonya we were unsure what to expect. We were not disappointed and everything about this camp was of the highest quality As a family we did feel a little out of place with honeymooning couples but we were made to feel very welcome by Lana and her team. Nothing was too much trouble.
The accommodation was outstanding, comfortable bandas which are probably larger than our cottage at home. Food was out of this world. We tended to eat at our table but particularly enjoyed a dinner at a communal table after having been entertained by the Masai guards.
The game was harder to find than at Mdonya. We heard lions only once and saw them twice. No leopard or cheetah but of course we saw African Dogs. The trips on the lake were fantastic, but the highlight had to be the walking safari with an armed guard. Didn't know that you can use hyena poo for chalk or that Civets eat everything and how smelly their scat is. The close encounter with an elephant and the bush breakfast were the high spots.
Activities were morning and evening so we had time for a swim in the pool and more unwind time.
Suggestions: we enjoyed having dinner with others on the same table. It mixed us up and to share news and information over a meal felt very comfortable to us. It might not suite everyone but its worth doing every second or third day.
Selous Safari Camp review
Selous was a great expericence, the location on the lake is fantastic as you see a completely different set of animals and habitats.
The safari was also fantastic. It did not feel as private as Jongomero but was still a great experience.
Selous Safari Camp review
We were overwhelmed by the attentiveness of the staff and the quality of the accommodation, food and activities.
We had never been on safari before and this was a fantastic place to start.
Selous Safari Camp review
Excellent camp. We were made to feel very welcome by Larna and Emile and all the staff. The location was great - next to the water - and the accomodation very good. Everything about it was good.
Andrew had a wheat allergy which they really took on board. There was an alternative to anything with wheat especially prepared for him - fantastic. And the children [Ed: the 'children' are aged 20, 19 and 17] liked the later game drive and breakfast before they went.
The only slight complaint was that our guide (Mushaka) mentioned the tip we gave him when he took us on the transfer to Beho Beho. We realise that we may have undertipped him when we spoke to the management at Beho Beho but with no guidance, its hard to get that right. We tipped everyone quite generously we thought) rather than concentrating on the guide.
Game was plentiful. And the river cruise was very special. Would definitely return.
Up market,well run, good location&facilites,
Perfect location by the lake (5km long).
Very well managed and hosted (thanks to Chloe and Mark)
Food was excellent and catered for our childrens requirements well.
Great game viewing - guides were friendly and affable and knew their way arond and found everything for us - including wild dogs. The lake added another dimension - crocodiles, and hippos all over the place - plus a fantastic abundance of wonderful birds - we took two boat game viewing trips.
It was good having a swimmng pool to cool down in and for the kids.
Selous Safari Camp review
Everything was excellent !!
The staff were so very helpful, the tents were amazing and always well maintained by your own attendent who also ensures all of your washing and ironing is taken care of ... for free. The location on the lake was fantastic with a fantastic view from our veranda of the lake with animals regularly crossing your field of view. The staff, i.e. Cloe, Mark, Mohammed, could not have been any more helpful and attentive.
The quality of food was gourmet with 3 course lunches and dinners every night. The quality of guiding was amazing with MoShaka getting a special mention as he was simply aweseom at finding the wildlife, especially the Hyenas, Liions and Wild dogs. The variety of excursion was great with the option to go on early morning guided walks or boat trips across the lakes a welcome alternative to the standard driven game drive.
There is even a nice little touch for Honeymoon couples on their last night, which I will not divulge.
We were located in what is sometimes known as the "Private" camp, and from what we could see was a touch nicer then the main camp which has all of the generaters, etc.
All in all it was an absolutely amazing experience for both of us.
By boat, 4WD and on foot - Selous Safari Camp
The camp and the staff exceeded all our expectations. The short drive from the airstrip to the camp gave us a taste of what was to come as we passed giraffe and impala. The staff, led by Mark and Jenny, gave us a warm and enthusiastic welcome. Jenny wasted no time in briefing us on the essentials before sending us off to Tent 1 with half an hour to freshen up before our first boat safari.
The camp blends into the landscape unobtrusively and the tents are very private. The tents were amazing – better designed and more luxurious than any in which we had stayed on previous safaris. We had a wonderful view across the foreshore to the lake – and could lie in bed or enjoy an 'outdoor' shower while watching elephant, antelope and waterbuck wander past. Our first ever boat safari with guide Mboto gave a new dimension to game viewing. We saw hippo and crocodile at close quarters and a wide variety of birds, sometimes in huge numbers. Our guides both on and off the water were very knowledgeable and we learned far more about the lives and habits of the wildlife than ever before.
We returned in time for an excellent lunch in the elevated and open sided dining room overlooking the foreshore and lake. The food at Selous was generally of a very high quality – particularly the cakes provided at tea time before the late afternoon safari and produced as snacks on game drives. After tea, we were taken on our first vehicle game drive by guide Allen, the only one of our drives in boat, vehicle or on foot in both Selous and Ruaha which we shared with two other guests. As we had expected from the literature, the game was well spread out across this vast reserve and well hidden by the lush vegetation resulting from the early short rains, but our knowledgeable guide knew where to look.
In our three vehicle game drives – two late afternoon and one in the morning, we saw elephant, huge numbers of giraffe, hippo both off and in the water, crocodile, buffalo, impala, zebra, greater kudu, waterbuck, wildebeest, hyena, jackal, mongoose, squirrel and, the highlight of the Selous visit, wild dogs on an Impala kill followed by a huge heap of vultures – plus, of course, birds wherever you looked – our list over the six days in Selous and Ruaha totalled 95 different varieties that we actually managed to record. There were lions around the camp, but we managed to miss them.
On our second afternoon boat safari, we left the lake and followed the Ruifiji River – again seeing huge varieties of birds and excellent close up views of elephant drinking and feeding on the waterside vegetation. As we sat in our boat enjoying a drink, Mboto suddenly spotted four of the rare black and white Colombo monkeys high in the tree tops on the opposite side of the river – a sighting that is very difficult from beneath the canopy. Mboto also escorted us on our early morning walking safari. We hugely increased our knowledge of both fauna and flora including an insight into the diet of a Civet cat. After a couple of hours walking in the bush, we arrived back at the lake to discover what we thought were fly campers at the water edge – but turned into a surprise breakfast with a huge herd of impala and several giraffe arriving on cue at the neighbouring beach to drink.
We were allocated the 'honeymoon' table for the last night of our stay looking over the camp fire down to the lake with the noise of the hippos echoing up the beach – magic. Mark, Jenny and all the staff went out of their way – beyond what might be called normal duty – to make our stay very special. The final chapter at Selous was the drive back to the airstrip with Mark where we spent half an hour in the Land Rover trying to encourage a small herd of elephants to stay away from the airstrip, only for them to charge across just two minutes before our plane touched down – out of this world!
Great Safari at Selous Safari Camp
Overall an Excellent Camp. Lovely staff, with a high standard of guiding and customer service. The whole experience felt very personal.
Fantastic game viewing in a beautiful location, with plenty of wildlife coming through the camp. Would highly recomend it.
The only small area for improvement would be in the food which relative to the price and standard of the camp as a whole could be more imaginative.