Reviews of Mwagusi Safari Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Loved the bandas...
The camp is comprised of tents within straw huts, called bandas, which are much cooler than the double roofed tents.... it is situated alongside a river bed, which was dry when we were there.... it is an unfenced camp with many visiting animals, including hyenas, which did cause some damage while we were visiting!
We had banda 5 which had the giraffe neck bones built into the wall, brilliant idea but anatomically incorrect!! There were only 6 cervical bones... hey ho! Later found one on the desk!
The lunches and dinners were buffet style and the food was plentiful and interesting, if occasionally bizarre... Beer, wine, spirits and some fruit juices were not included. The bush breakfasts were a little dull compared to other camps and always the same...
We were lucky to see a leopard on our second game drive and enjoyed 2 bush walks with the guide trainees.... In the National Park there were so many elephants that we almost ceased to remark on them! On Day 3 we saw 6 wild dogs, which was fairly special. They were more attractive with better markings than those that we have seen in Laikipia, Kenya, but harder to find. We saw another leopard in a sausage tree, on the way to the airstrip...
The one downside was the vehicles, which were not well appointed and would have benefitted from side bars, foot bars and better visibility for all seats... the first guide and driver chatted a lot and were not as attentive are we would have expected... however, after the first day we changed guides which was a great improvement.
The management were reactive... but some aspects of staff motivation/training were lacking...
Overall, this was not my favourite Camp of the 5 that we visited; I would recommend it with some reservations...
1. We left on a 2 hour, 11.45am flight - a small packed lunch would have been good, as we were starving by the time we reached Dar... I am sure they would have provided something if we had asked, but we didn't think...
2. There was no WiFi for guests, although it was available in the office, however they did help us
to check in for our Kenya Airways flight from Dar to Nairobi and to send a couple of emails to family....
3. The beds were rather hard for old bones....
4. Fans in the Banda would be good for the very hot days... as in Impala Camp.
5. The buffet food was often left uncovered for long periods of time, not great with the number of flies...
6. This was the only camp which sprayed the tent with insecticide every evening when we went to dinner...
7. Provision of cold water in a vacuum flask would have been appreciated in the high temperatures. We did request ice but they had some problems producing it....
8. Solar hot water was always available....
The game in Ruaha was truly amazing and the guides at Mwugasi (particularly ours: Geoffrey) were really good. Our banda was good, although a bit shabby in places and not everything worked too well (but it did have a lovely hammock!). We have rated it as 'excellent' as minor weaknesses in some areas are more than made up for by the enthusiasm, friendliness and skill of the guides and the location and game to see.
We felt that the staff (apart from the guides) were embarrassingly deferential to the guests, behaving like servants (in complete contrast to the more relaxed and ‘family’ atmosphere at Siwandu). The organisational timings were not ideal. However we understand that this is being reviewed, and while we were there the more experienced guides worked round them and set their own timings for drives. One day Geoffrey took us off for a whole day, with a packed lunch. We saw an amazing amount of animals that day! It all worked fine for us, because Geoffrey organised a very good timetable for us, and everyone tried to make it work for the guests. We were offered a game drive to the airstrip on our last day, with an early start and breakfast on the way. This was great, we had an amazing breakfast, but the highlight was seeing a leopard sleeping in a tree.
The food was fine, but nothing to write home about (apart from the delicious cinnamon bread!).
What was really great were the animals. We saw leopards up close twice, an amazing buffalo hunt by a pride of lions, then two hours later, the eating of the kill (we missed the actual kill as we had to go back for lunch). We saw more lions, including lots of cubs, doing more things, than we thought was possible. We also saw just about all the different antelopes (except Eland) and a plethora of other animals. We saw lots of hyena and a variety of raptors. We almost saw wild dogs (we got within about 10 minutes of them, from the fresh dung and the overlay of the paw prints on the previous tyre tracks). We saw a massive herd of buffalo (Geffrey estimated about 1,300), and lots of giraffe and elephants. After a day or so the elephants and giraffe became so familiar they were, like the impala, part of the scenery. We saw so much, and had such a great time, that is barely credible that it all happened in only four days!
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Firstly do not be misled by our comments which are not intended as negative but honesty was requested and here it is for the sake of keeping standards high and improving the whole experience for future guests.
We really enjoyed our stay and these are more personnel points and minor at that; We were lucky to have a vehicle to ourselves at our first camp and so were a little disappointed at having six in each vehicle, we got on famously with our other guests but if you don't it really would have a negative effect on your Safari. The old Landcruisers are reliable old things but passed their best, rear seats having no floor felt odd and not ideal comfort or saftey wise.
Compared to previous camps there was a distinct element of more a dictation of what the following days itinery was to be rather than being offered a choice, and our guide although superbly knowledgable had a lack of people skills when it came to picking up on what his customers wanted,
Second safari experience at Mwagusi
The size, layout and location of the Banda in which we stayed was excellent, overlooking the dry river bed with a variety of wildlife wandering around.
The creative dining arrangements whereby different locations away from the main dining area were used each evening (in the river bed and in the bush) is a brilliant initiative and very atmospheric.
All staff were both friendly and helpful and we liked the initiative whereby staff rotate through several of the front and back of house functions whilst training to be safari guides.
Laundry service was outstanding - very helpful to have and turnaround was extremely quick.
No hot water in the sink although plenty for showers. We understand that the solar power may not be able to cope with the provision of extra hot water to the sinks but it did make shaving slightly less pleasant.
Fun at Mwagusi
We had a superb time at Mwagusi. It was partially because of all the wildlife we saw and partially because of the hospitality of the management and staff of Mwagusi.
This camp had really great communal meals with a more African flare. I was always going back for seconds at lunch.
There was one guest during our visit though that was a chronic complainer. She should have never gone on safari. Her expectations were all wrong so if you read any degrading comments about this wonderful camp disregard them.
We saw 3 different prides of lions and fortunately (for me) missed the actual giraffe kill but saw the hunt and subsequent feast. All in all this camp was one of my favorite of the 6 times I've been to the African continent.
The Place to be in Ruaha
There is something about the location of Mwagusi on the riverbank of the Mwagusi river because, in the time we were there, it was an absolute magnet for game! From our banda we saw elephant, zebra, impala, baboon and hyena, but around the camp we saw a pack of Wild Dog on two different days and also two prides of lions walked past while we were having dinner in the bush!! Not bad going...
We stayed at Mwagusi for the second leg of the Southern CIrcuit for our honeymoon and had an absolutely brilliant time. When you enter you can really feel that the camp is geared towards giving you a true experience of Ruaha. The camp is elegently rustic, stretching along the side of the river to give the best views of any marauding animals as they go down to drink. The bandas are semi-stone with an inner tent and a very comfortable hammock with views over the riverbed. The food is very good and buffet style, we definitely didn't go hungry! Dinner is served by the brilliant staff in different locations around the camp, which certainly adds to the experience!
On the drives the guides were incredibly knowledgeable and friendly. Mwagusi uses a set up where each car has both a driver and a guide. This means that you have the guide's 100% attention and two pairs of eyes to spot the things we could not!
Overall we had a wonderful stay at Mwagusi. It is a true wildlife lover's experience and will certainly not disappoint for anyone who wants to make the most of Ruaha!
Incredible Experience, enjoyed every second.
Huge heart felt thanks to James and his team, excellent service from start to finish. Good to also meet a member of Expert Africa team (Lyndsey) on site, purely by chance.
Chris Fox who owns the camp made us feel very welcome, and was an excellent host, with lots of tales to tell around the camp fire at night.
The food was outstanding, and plenty of choice, all beautifully cooked and presented. Two guests had an anniversary during their visit and a special cake and singing was done as a surprise by all the staff. Baldun's singing was superb.
All the staff were extremely friendly, polite and did everything they could to make the stay a real home from home. I cannot praise Jimmy and Abdullah enough, with their keen eyes and driving skills we saw many, many animals. Wild dogs, which we were very lucky to see as so very rare, a lion hunting, hyena, leopard, elephants, giraffe, crocodile, hippo, to name just some of them, and most of these each day of our four day stay.
We both now have the Africa bug and would love one day to return.
Erica, the site manager was very kind, and accommodating in helping us with anything we wished to know. A very genuine experience, where we felt like family members rather than guests.
Mwaguis is not a holiday, its a experience, and one that will stay with you for life. Please go.
This is one of our favourite camps in Africa - the only one we have visited 3 times!
Why do we like it? It's kept its integrity over the years. It feels simple and comfortable (very comfortable) and you really do feel you are in the bush - no swimming pools or spas here! It also has the very best guiding. This all stems from the vision and commitment of the camp's owner, Chris Fox, who has created a very special feel here on the banks of the dry Mwagusi riverbed.
Huge thatched rooms with curved verandas overlooking the river, only solar power, and a bedroom area that zips into a tent at night to keep out curious mosquitos. The team here are fantastic - many of them have been here a long time as there is a real training programme for staff, many of whom are from the local area. The food is great and there are many surprises as the location for dinner changes every night.
The guiding is terrific - the staff really go the distance for you. We saw wild dog, lion, hyena, giraffe, zebra, and loads of elephants including many babies - and this was at the very beginning of the dry season when the game is a bit harder to spot.
Definitely a camp with an individual feel - something to be treasured.
Mwagusi Safari Camp - an awsome experience!
I arrived at Mwagusi Safari camp as a female solo traveller on June 8th, 2016 and what can I say, I fell in love! This was my first safari experience and I could not have chosen better. I arrived very early in the season and for a couple of days I had the good fortune of having the camp to myself, which was a lot of fun!
The camp itself is located on a beautiful riverbed and every tent overlooks the river. The tent itself is amazing, super comfortable and has an adjoining bathroom in the back of the tent. The décor is very nice, very traditional and all made from natural elements. The camp is located in Ruaha National Park, which is also incredibly beautiful, with many boabab trees dotting the landscape and many wild animals and beautiful species of birds roaming the park.
Asides from the beauty of the camp and park, the staff at Mwagusi was incredible. Erica made sure that I was well taken care of and made me feel like part of the family. Kanu, who came to wake me up in the morning for my early morning drives, brought me coffee and the most amazing biscuits I have ever had. He also made sure all my laundry was perfectly folded and my tent was in perfect order. My guide Jimmy and my driver Dula, who I spent almost five days with, made my stay at Mwagusi one of the most special times of my life. Jimmy was always kind and attentive and his knowledge of wildlife in Ruaha is amazing. He explained animal and bird behaviour to me in such great detail I would have to read many books to learn what I learnt from him.The rest of the staff at Mwagusi was also super nice and always had a smile for me. The food was great too.
I would highly recommend going early in the season like I did. I had been told you do not see as many animals as later in the season but I had some amazing sightings (including wildogs and a leopard). The weather is not as hot during the day (it is quite cool in the morning), there is less dust, and we rarely saw any other cars within the park.
Five star review - I would go back in a minute!
An excellent stay, particularly after the flash floods which hit the camp only a week before we got there.Read more about the whole safari