Reviews of Kwihala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Luxurious lodging and superb tracking
Kwihala was a very different experience from Manze in terms of luxury. To call their accommodation tents is something of a misnomer! Being half the size in terms of guests, it was a very different atmosphere too and dinners were much more intimate and friendly. Sara was a wonderful manager and hostess. The food was good but sometimes a little too fancy in the evenings for our taste. The brunch and the lunch (depending on when you return to camp) were wonderful though.
Excellent guiding again and even fewer vehicles in the Ruaha. Lions on every drive, two separate Cheetah and a Leopard, big herds of elephant and buffalo - and my first Lesser Kudu made it another superb game experience. What was so evident here was the quality of the tracking, rather than reliance on radio contact although the two, sometimes three Kwihala vehicles were in constant touch for the big sightings.
Kwihala Camp review
Whilst it is difficult to compare camps, this was our favourite. The guides Pietro, Festo and Lorenzo were superb, you could not praise them too much. As a result of their skills we had a great time, seeing some extraordinary wildlife. The camp was very well managed by Sarah, and we loved the informal way in which everyone ate together in the evening.
The guides 'forced' you out of bed at the crack of dawn, but we were rewarded with seeing some amazing sights.
In the main the food was good, but on a couple of occasions the meat was almost impossible to eat - this is not a complaint.
So a great site, fantastic people, with some unbelievable wildlife - superb.
Kwihala Camp review
Guides were excellent, especially Lorenzo. Staff & management were very helpful.
Generally a great experience.
I partly chose Kwihala for an 8 night stay based on the based on the comments of Expert Africa's previous guests and I can now say that all the praise of the guiding is completely justified. I have been on many safaris and spent 6 months working in safari camps, and I don't think guiding gets any better than the guiding at Kwihala.
Festo had an answer for every question about any bird or animal, as well as an in depth knowledge of the particular individual animals and prides of lions in Ruaha and their histories. Pietro is extremely passionate, not only about wildlife and conservation but also about his involvement in contributing to the guiding profession by the training of guides. The camaradarie within the team also makes for a fun atmosphere in camp and at mealtimes. I was the first guest of the season and their only guest for the first 5 nights of my stay and their enthusiasm was apparent when I found myself accompanied on a number of my early drives by the entire guiding team of 2 guides and 2 trainees who couldn't wait to get out there and see what had been going on in the 2 months of camp closure (or in Pietro's case, since he left last October).
The game viewing exceeded my expectations for what is, allegedly, not the best time of year . For only the beginning of the dry season I found it already looking very dry with no particularly high grass or thick vegetation. We saw a big male lion on the way from the airstrip followed by leopard and cheetah on my first afternoon drive, and continued with countless lion sightings, glimpses of serval and honey badger, not to mention Ruaha's herds of elephant and buffalo. There was plenty to see and, thanks to Festo, Pietro, Lorenzo and Tony my bird knowledge has improved significantly. Three lion cubs in particular provided numerous highlights including playing in the Mwagusi river bed and climbing a tree, and we also saw lions feeding on buffalo and giraffe. The piece de resistance was on my final morning, when I awoke to sounds of lions killing a warthog about 100 yards from my tent. We were quickly rounded up by Pietro and taken to watch two males (one of which was the aptly named Grumpy) feeding for 2 hours from darkness through sunrise, with the three cubs (Grumpy's offspring) arriving to beg for scraps.
Ruaha is a superb park with a lot to offer and can easily justify a stay the length of mine. It is huge with many different areas and Kwihala has a prime location close to the most productive game viewing area. I asked Festo what different lion prides they saw on a regular basis and I lost count at 10. In my stay we saw lions from 4 of them, as well as a shaky coallition of 4 new young males. The scenery is also very diverse, from the granite kopjes, boulder strewn river beds, to the open spaces of the "small Serengeti" to the wide sand rivers and the shady woodland along the Rufiji River. Best of all, I hardly had to share it with another vehicle.
I think Kwihala is definitely a camp which would be appreciated by experienced safari goers as the guiding is outstanding. Having said that, such enthusiasm is infectious and the three honeymoon couples who arrived during my stay (mostly first timers on safari) seemed to be loving it as much as me.
I would love to come back and see what Kwihala has to offer in "peak" season!
Kwihala Camp: an experience
Kwihala is not "just another" Camp, but has a special substance. It was perfectly managed by Steve, who was also one of the two guides.
Our tent was large and very comfortable, but had no view though. In this time of the year the grass was high and the trees had leaves. We didn´t miss the view, because we scarcely had time to sit on the veranda. We didn´t "spoil" time for relaxing.
The service was excellent. All of the staff took very good care of us. After one day I didn´t recognise my own drawer anymore: I found my clothes folded in neat piles.
The food was being served outside and very good, considering the facilities "in the middle of nowhere".
We especially enjoyed the camaraderie at the dinnertables with lots of jokes and laughter. The different nationalities mixed very well.
Steve was the most knowledgeable guide we ever had. He is very enthusiast and exploring, and eager to share everything he knows and sees. In the vehicle we often landed in the middle of detailled discussions about specifications of birds everybody spotted exept us, which is a very special experience for "non-birders".
The morning drives in Kwihala usually turned out to be long though - up to 8 hours-, which ,we thought, was very heavy. Steve couldn´t stop looking for another lion: maybe around the next corner? As we are not keen birders, Steve suggested that we changed vehicles (and guides) to the more relaxed Festo.
I´m sorry not having written in the guestbook, when we left for our last drive on the way to the airport. 6 AM is not my favorite time of the day. We should have been reminded to write the book the evening before, I think.
Kwihala was a wonderfull and special experience. We wouldn´t have missed it.
Kwihala was the best, easily.
We loved Ruaha, Kwihal & Steve Roskelly.
Great food, service & location. But it was the superb guiding that really made it.
Was nice here to have everything included.
Patti cried when we left!
Kwihala Camp review
Steve Roskelly, our guide was a fount of knowledge & made our stay a truely memorable experience.Read more about the whole safari
Kwihala Camp review
We had an excellent guide called Steve who also enjoyed photography as much as the guests. It really helps that he is well educated and knowledgeable, not only on plants and animals but also on geology.
We saw lots of animals. The rooms, service and food are excellent. The only comment (and possibly complaints) I heard from my daughter and another lady was that, the servants who tidied up the room actually folded their underwear although they are not supposed to touch them.
It was also good to have the all inclusive feature on drinks.
Kwihala Camp review
We very much enjoyed our time here, Ruaha NP was beatifully green and different to Selous.Steve Roskelly was our guide He made our time so interesting he patiently spent time explaining every animal bird and plant we came across,and we had some fantastic siteings.
The highlight had to be Wild Dog we saw a large pack so many it was impossible to count them,they were hunting,one of then caught a Wart Hog piglet, caused alot of excitment hardly a meal for the dog that caught it,one evening a pride of lions were on the move as we were on our way back to camp,it was dark,they were in front behind and to the side of the vehicle they carried on walking for quite a while before turning of into the bush, we also saw Leopard,also the Bat Ear Foxes and lots of Elephant.
The animals seemed more relaxed even the Impalas seem to take time to leave the track as the vehicle approached them.Our tents where clean and comfortable every one was friendly.Early morning tea and coffee was bought to our tent by 6am we we off for 10hrs+ game drives during the day.
This was a first safari for my daughter a 5th for myself,we both enjoyed Kwihala so much thanks to Steve he made so interesting and enjoyable.
Truly outstanding Guide in Steve Roskelly
Steve's knowledge of the wildlife and ability to approach them without disturbing them was outstanding. His complete all-round knowledge of animals, birds, plants, photography and geology were exceptional and made the 5 days really interesting. He also showed a high level of regard for everybody's needs and desires whatever the level of their interest or knowledge. He could not have done more to make the time better.
The wildlife was very good, but the limit on game drives only and some of the roads were impassable to some areas meant we tended to revisit several areas over the 5 days. However, Steve's wonderful sense of humour and keenness made it a wonderful time, even if the weather wasn't as good as Selous!