Goliath Safaris' flagship camp is semi permanent and usually situated near the banks of the Zambezi
Goliath Safaris: Our full report
Goliath Safaris is one of the most established safari operators in the Mana Pools National Park with nearly 30 years’ experience in the area. The company is part owned and run by Stretch Ferreira who, over this time, has gained a wealth of knowledge of the bush and its residents. A trip with Goliath Safaris is made by Stretch’s charisma, charm and hospitality, combined with a great location for game.
While most safari operators in southern and eastern Africa fall squarely into the ‘mobile’ or ‘lodge’ category, Goliath Safaris seeks to address the middle ground. While equipped with features normally associated with a permanent site (such as flushing toilets and hot and cold showers), the camp stays in the same location for around only six months before it is dismantled for the season, to be rebuilt in the same place the following year.
Even at its busiest the Goliath Safaris Tented Camp has only six Meru-style tents, so caters to a maximum of 12 guests. Each tent incorporates a bedroom with twin beds or a double with mosquito nets, a couple of bedside tables, a luggage cabinet and a wardrobe. The canvas walls and ceiling are high and mesh windows provide a breeze to keep the tents cool. A smooth ground sheet provides a comfortable floor and a rug here and there adds warmth. Curtains keep the light out while roll-down canvas flaps can be released to cover the windows in the event of rain or a cold snap; extra blankets and a hot water bottle are also provided. A low-energy LED ceiling bulb affords enough light at night to read by.
Through a flap in the rear wall of Goliath Safaris’ tents, the bathroom is a canvas-walled extension housing a fully flushing toilet and washbasin; a jug of water is provided during the day and in the early morning a canvas basin at the front of each tent is filled with warm water. Beyond this covered toilet area is an open-air shower, with a wooden platform on the pebble floor; hot and cold running water flow at a good pressure. Expect hand-wash and a few other complimentary toiletries too.
Goliath Safaris’ camp is set up beside the Zambezi and the communal main area – a large canvas structure with wooden pillars over a sand floor – has a fantastic view across the river. Here you’ll find a bar area and a lounge with a few comfortable chairs, and a small collection of coffee-table books and other literary offerings. A water-purification unit supplies clean, fresh drinking water all day and there’s a coolbox behind the bar for other drinks.
Beside the main area is a separate dining room, where brunch and evening meals are taken. A long dining table is flanked by a wooden fence adorned with black-and-white wildlife photographs and colourful paintings. At the foot of the table is an open view across the river as it gently meanders by.
To dwell on the physical camp here is to miss the point; it’s the safari activities that travellers come here for – and Goliath Safaris includes a diverse range of options. 4WD game drives and walks are all led by Stretch, whose knowledge of the park (and some of the individual animals) is extensive. O our last visit there, Stretch stopped a game drive at one point when he saw an elephant that he recognized. We got out of the vehicle and slowly, carefully and gradually walked up to within 5m of it. This was an amazing experience – and an example of just how good his knowledge of the game in Mana Pools game is. In addition, Stretch has several fully trained, experienced canoe guides are on hand to help you explore the Zambezi further. Fishing is also available but guests are advised to bring their own equipment.
Our viewGoliath Safaris offers a comfortable adventure in a wilderness environment. The experience revolves around the skill, knowledge and personality of Stretch Ferreira – who has a real following; he’s very good indeed. If you’d like to walk up to elephant, or crawl up to wild dog, Stretch is the perfect guide to it with!
Ideal length of stay: We'd recommend a stay of 3 to 4 nights at Goliath Safaris. The variety of activities mean you'll want to give yourself enough time to experience everything the camp has to offer.
Directions: Five hour road transfer from Lusaka or two hour flight from Victoria Falls. The nearest airstrip is Mana Main.
Owner: Stretch Ferreira and Flo Coughlan
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we last visited Goliath Camp, in June 2011, we found the food to be very good.
Before heading off on your morning activity a breakfast of porridge, kept warm on the campfire – which is lit in the early mornings and in the evenings – and a selection of cereals and toast, is served.
Lunch was a self-service buffet, eaten on our laps on comfy chairs around the campfire. We had home-made burgers and chips with a selection of salads, followed by fresh fruit for dessert.
Dinner is in the semi-enclosed dining area on the river bank and is very atmospheric with candles and locally made beaded placemats. We had fillet steak, roast potatoes and carrots and beans, followed by a lemon cheesecake.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Included except for premium wines and spirits.
Walking safaris: Mana Pools is a top destination for walking safaris. Its environment is very open, giving good visibility under a canopy of tall, old trees – and walkers can often get surprisingly close to some of the most relaxed old bull elephants in Africa. The focus with Goliath Safaris is squarely on the guiding and being able to do a walk or game drive with Stretch Ferreira. His passion and knowledge of the area is the main draw here.See more ideas for Walking safaris in Zimbabwe
Attitude towards children: Only children over 12 are accepted at Goliath Camp. Should travellers wish to visit with children under 12 years then they would need to book out the whole camp; the minimum charge is for 8 adults.
Generally recommended for children: This is a very open camp with wild animals often walking through and around it. Activities such as walking and canoeing are less suitable for children than most and as this is the main focus of Goliath we'd hesitate to recommend this camp for children.
Notes: Expert Africa doesn’t recommend Goliath Camp for children under the age of about 16; there is very little to entertain youngsters in between guided safari activities and the area is very wild and open with game wandering through camp.
Power supply: Generator
TV & radio: None
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: The hearest doctor will either bein Victoria Falls or Kariba. In serious incidents guests can be air lifted to hospital, otherwise there is first aid treatment available in camp.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The guides are in camp at night
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the camp and in the main area.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included.
Money: There are no safes in the tents. All valuables are to be left with the manager for safe keeping.