Reviews of Kwihala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
An authentic bush experience at Kwihala
We spent six days at Kwihala. It was exceptionally hot throughout our stay with only one brief shower. One area of the Park had received enough rain to start to green it, but most areas were very dry. In particular, the Mwagusi and Mdonya rivers were more or less completely dry with only a few puddles remaining, and even the Ruaha river was virtually dry with only the area next to the Ruaha bridge retaining some deep pools.
The camp provides an authentic bush experience with tents and bucket showers etc. But it is nonetheless very comfortable.
Ruaha provides a wide variety of differing landscapes including a remarkable concentration of huge baobab trees.
Tam, the manager, was an outstandingly good hostess and made everyone feel very welcome. All the staff were exceptionally friendly and helpful.
Game was fewer and further between than we were expecting, but we did nonetheless have several remarkable game viewing experiences, especially with lions and leopards. Alex, our guide most of the time, was very experienced and a reassuring person to lead a game walk - particularly when we happened upon a lion!
The food was imaginative and very well prepared and presented, especially the buffet lunches.
Tsetse flies were an issue in some areas, notably along one stretch of the Mwagusi, but were not a problem in the camp itself. Although we expected to share game activities with other guests, in practice we only did so on a limited number of occasions, although we found that sharing with four others in the vehicle (which happened once) was not a good experience.
Kwihala Camp review
This camp has just six tents and a relatively small reception area which gives it an especially intimate atmosphere. Tam, the manageress, is a wonderful hostess and all the staff are warm and very hospitable. Tea or coffee is brought to the tent before the morning game drive. There are four guests to a vehicle and Tam does her best to match interests- there are a lot of lions in the area, which is clearly the main concern of some, whereas others want to see as wide a variety of wildlife as possible.
The guiding (we had three on different occasions) is outstanding. We especially valued Noel's extensive knowledge and enthusiasm and his evident enjoyment in sharing what he knows. He also has an eye for finding the best angles for photographers, and his quiet approach to guiding and the way he drives gave us so many wonderful sights. Alex is a specialist walking guide who is also immensely knowledgeable and who gave us a quite different and complementary experience to the one we'd had in Manze.
The food in Kwihala is quite simply superb. The evening meal was always a lovely experience with the staff doing their utmost to make our time in the camp the best possible.
The night game drive is really to be recommended. We had sightings of bat-eared foxes, an ardwolf, and bush babies.
The tents are beautifully done with very comfortable beds and excellent shower facilities, though they are bucket showers. My one complaint was with the hyena who kicked off just outside our tent at four in the morning.
The whole was an unforgettable experience.
Back -again !
This was my fifth visit to Kwihala ,which I guess says it all and means I don't have much more to add to previous comments.
The unique,intangible Kwihala welcome and family atmosphere was very much in evidence and a few small changes were appreciated (eg most drinks and night drives now included , bathrobes supplied ,hot water bottles on morning drives and fans in the tents. None of which spoiled the overall bush experience.
While it was good to hear that some members of the team have moved on to other opportunities within the wider Asilia family and beyond it was really great to see some had been promoted within Kwihala .The new bunch of trainees ,who had been through an incredibly rigorous process, all seemed to be fitting in very well. Lorenzo and his new trainee Moinga made for a fantastic team and created for us a memorable few days .
This time my daughter accompanied me for her first safari and was completely enchanted with the whole experience. Her main bag didn't turn up for a couple of days and Michelle managed to find a few supplies to keep her going,which was really kind of her.
Terrific all round experience at Kwihala
Following our two previous camps Kwihala appeared rather more basic and we both felt ion arrival we should have perhaps visited this camp first.
However our stay proved otherwise, our time spent there was good to say the least, our guide Mohamed proved excellent and Michelle the manager made our stay equal to any where we have been/
Great Traditional Bush Camp
Kwihala is a proper bush camp, with tents on the ground, bucket showers and very local wildlife that includes a pair of large lizards that live in the mess tent.
Saidi is an excellent guide and together with Ayube, our trainee guide, gave us some wonderful game viewing. For the first time, we saw black and white colobus monkeys - a truly memorable experience - and a family of seven very young lion cubs with their mothers.
Dining at Kwihala is communal, preceded by drinks around the fire, which adds to the intimate feel of the camp. The food is excellent. For "bake-off" fans, the cakes produced for afternoon tea are wonderful.
Fantastic Camp in Ruaha
We came to Kwihala for 4 nights as the second stop on our first safari. Our first camp in Selous had set a high standard, but I have to say that Kwihala maintained that standard.
Once again we were very impressed with the level of service throughout the camp.
On arrival we were welcomed by Tam, the manager, and given a drink and a cool towel to refresh ourselves.
After a briefing with Tam we were shown to our tent which was enormous. The bed was super large and we also had a flush loo and a bucket shower. The shower was prepared twice a day (warm at lunch time and hot for the evening) but you could request extra water at other times if required. There were 2 useful electric sockets for charging camera batteries etc.
Lunch and dinner were communal, with everyone, including the manager Tam and at least one guide, seated at a large table. The food was extremely good and plentiful. Lunch was a buffet where you able to help yourself to whatever you fancied. Pre-dinner drink (most are complementary) and nibbles were available around the camp fire and the chef would come and describe the menu before dinner was served. As per our previous camp breakfast was served on the morning game drive, after selecting a spot under a shady tree a blanket was thrown over the bonnet of the Land Rover and food (including cereals, muffins, eggs, bacon, bread and fruit) and drinks (juice, tea and coffee) appeared from the picnic bag.
Our trip was at the end of the dry season and the rivers were empty, so no boat safaris. We spent most our time doing game drives but did do a walking safari one morning and also a night drive. Our guide was Hamsa and we sometimes had Noel, a trainee guide, as our spotter. The wildlife was scarcer close to the camp than in Selous and had to be found. Hamsa was a great guide and used his knowledge of the area and guiding and tracking skills to ensure we found ample game. Although not as plentiful there was a greater variety of wildlife and the animals were not skittish so we able to get much closer to watch and photograph them. During the night at the camp we could hear Hyenas and Lions in the distance and were woken very early one morning when a small group of elephants passed within a few metres of our tent.
On the day game drives Hamsa found lions every day and we had 2 great sightings of leopard, one laying on the ground and the other in a tree. A highlight was a mother lion and her 3 cubs, the mother was dozing and the three cubs were playing in the grass beside her - beautiful! It was also fascinating watching the elephants dig holes with their enormous feet in the sandy river bed to find water. We also saw Impala, Giraffe, Tree Hyrax, Spotted Hyena, Greater and Lesser Kudu, Baboon, Dik Dik, Mongoose, Zebra, Black faced Vervet Monkey, Ostrich, Buffalo (a herd of about 500), Hippo, Warthog, Savannah Monitor Lizard, and Black Backed Jackal. There were also plenty of colourful birds. The early morning game drives started at 06:00 with hot water bottles and blankets available to counter the chill air when driving in the open fronted (no windscreen) Land Rover, a fleece could be useful.
An armed national park ranger and an armed guide escorted us on the safari walk. We saw a Pearl Spotted Owlet, Giraffe and followed some Elephants for a while. We saw Lion, Leopard and Hyena tracks and found various colourful feathers and a porcupine quill. Investigated more poo and cut open and tasted the fruit of a Baobab tree. Lorenzo our armed guide spotted a leopard with a Hyrax in its mouth. Unfortunately we startled the Leopard and by the time we managed to focus on it, the it was running off into the long grass, having dropped the lucky Hyrax, and we only managed a fleeting glimpse. It was a very interesting morning.
The park ranger also escorted on our night drive. Noel drove the Land Rover, Hamsa manned the spotlight and Chris (the ranger) had a very bright torch. Our first spot was a Spotted Eagle Owl in a tree followed by a Scrub Hare with enormous ears. We also saw a Hyena, Banded Mongoose, Genet, Bush Baby and a Hippo. The highlight was a leopard which we first saw on the road and followed in the long grass. Hamsa was able to keep it in the spotlight beam enabling us to take photos. A great night.
On the day of our departure we opted for an early start and a final game drive on our way to the airstrip. What a good decision, we found a cheetah and managed to follow it for about 40 minutes; what a bonus!!!
Great camp, great people, great service, great food, great guides and great wildlife, go to Ruaha, stay at Kwihala Camp, you will not be disappointed.
Great animal viewing in a remote park.
We had a superb time at Kwihala Camp in Ruaha National Park. The young manager was most welcoming and professional, as were all the staff.
Our guide Lorenzo was brilliant and went to great lengths to get us good views of both the animals and birds (which we were also interested in). He was both observant and very knowledgeable, and all our safaris were excellent.
The food was quite outstanding, both in variety and quality. It was also very healthy food, which we appreciated.
Ruaha is hard to get to, but worth it
Arrived the week of manager transition and was impressed with both the old and new.
Great elephant sightings of large groups with lots of juveniles in dry river beds
saw reasonable amounts of many game species.
Lion kill on baboon from large troop
hyena family out of den in early Am was special
outstanding service and 5 star food
very comfortable vehicles
excellent large predator bird sightings
guide spotted huge python coiled in tree(something we were looking for)
would say 5 stars based on everything except camp itself which is very good
Kwihala Camp review
Our 3 night stay at Kwihala was excellent. We were very well looked after by the camp manager and the staff and I can't speak too highly of all the guides. Our allocated guide was faultless and the other two guides, who accompanied us on our walk on the last day, were also extremely knowledgeable and competent. The whole experience was a step up from Lake Manze, but for us, still struck the right balance - not too plush, but comfortable whilst retaining the "bush" experience.
It was the attention to detail that was impressive - comfortable vehicles, excellent meals in the bush, and flexibility of activities and meals to suit our preferences. We had numerous sightings of lion and elephant, as well as good sightings of leopard on two occasions. Bird life was quite prolific considering migrants had not yet arrived and we achieved an impressive list of sightings with the help of our guide. We took half day game drives with bush breakfasts, evening game drives, a night drive and a walk.
We squeezed the walk in our last morning and this proved to be the best way to round off our stay - a proper safari walk. For this, we drove for 30 minutes away from the camp and then walked for over 2 hours with 2 very knowledgeable guides and an armed ranger. Altogether a great experience, and rates as one of the best in some 40 years of our African safaris.
One word - AMAZING
As some one who appreciates the details and the little things, kwihala Camp did not disappoint. Everything from the staff, to the decor of the tents, to the food, to the guides was exceptional.
It was the perfect size camp. The guides were exceptional and a lot of fun to be around. We took full advantage of the various tours they offered. The walking safari, night ride and game drives were all unique experiences.