Reviews of Mwagusi Safari Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
great location but just a bit too big
Brilliant guides, great viewing, luxury accommodation, good food, excellent staff and management but just too big for us.Read more about the whole safari
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Chris was generally in attendance whenever we were in camp and was a good host, interesting and informative.
The game viewing here was particularly good, with probably the widest variety seen, but unlike the other camps we visited, we did not have the same guide every day. We had reservations about our first guide who seemed keener to irritate the elephants on one occasion than to give us good viewing. We therefore appreciated having different guides on other days, who were excellent.
We thought the food - particularly breakfast provided on the drives - of a lower standard than the other camps, although it was perfectly adequate. We enjoyed the buffet evening meals on the river bed under the stars and with the odd elephant strolling about.
The tent was well planned and fitted out. Nights were cooler than in Selous and constant hot water not so much of a factor.
The service was excellent and we preferred the system of having a tip box for all staff, including drivers and guides.
exceptional! Friendly, helpful.Food amazing
Mwagusi was an unforgetable experience.The camp, and our banda were stunning. Everyone there from the manager, Chris Fox, to our driver and the young lady who cleaned our banda were friendly and helpful. Our dirty clothes 'disappeard' each morning - to reappear washed and ironed later that day.
Our driver and guide's 'spotting' skills were amazing. We saw leopard, cheetah and lion. We could just sit in the bush watching zebra, elephant etc - soaking up the atmosphere. I read an article describing being in the African bush as "spiritual nourishment" - I agree. I spent the time between an excellent lunch and the afternoon/evening game drive lying in the most comfortable hammock I have ever lain in.
The evening game drive was followed by superb food - so much choice - and very good company. Thank you all at Mwagusi.
Wonderful stay close to the animals
We had a wonderful stay at Mwagusi.
The staff were very friendly and helpful. We had the same guide, Issac, for the entire time we were there and did not share our car with anyone else which was unexpected but good. Issac was excellent. He was very unassuming. His knowledge was good but he did not bombard you with facts but tended to wait until you asked questions.
We were a little worried about the number of animals walking through the campsite to begin with but got used to this after a short time as it seemed quite safe. We were awoken the first night by a loud crunching noise which sounded very close to our tent. We shone our torch through the tent to find there was a large elephant eating the bark off the tree directly outside our tent!
Another day a leopard had her cubs in the service hut behind one of the bandas. It was amazing to get up so close to the animals on our drives. There was lighting in the tent provided by photocells. The hot water was also provided this way. There was no other electricity in the tents but the staff were very good at charging camera batteries in their office.
A dry safari
We enjoyed Mwagusi - it has the neat trick of mixing a few luxuries with a bush atmosphere.
The number of guests means you get really personal service from the guides - you made up your own itinerary and the guides responded.
The food was excellent, and the settings wonderful. We especially liked the bush breakfasts and the dining under the stars
The bandas were gorgeous and very luxurious. I loved our huge terrace outside the tent with built in sofas with big squashy cushions and a swing seat, and a view over the almost dry river bed.
It was so relaxing to lounge there watching rock hyrax, baboons and banded mongoose, and one afternoon 3 lions came down to drink. The resident elephant wandered past our banda several times as well. The management team were very efficient and friendly and our guide Isaac was very good.
The game drives were superb, we saw so much wildlife, elephants in particular, and cheetah at the end of our last drive which was an excellent finale. We went out early one morning and had a bush breakfast in a scenic spot, which was lovely. The food was very variable. The day we arrived the lunch buffet was superb with a good choice of imaginative dishes which were full of flavours. But things tailed off after that and lunch was not as good again and dinner was very basic.
Cameras have to be charged in the office and realistically the only window for doing that is between lunch and the afternoon game drive. I found this very inconvenient and while it wouldn't be practical now to fit charging sockets in the bandas, if cameras could be left charging overnight in the office that would be much more helpful.
The Nairobi airport fire affected our homeward plans and we were very impressed how Expert Africa swung into action immediately and changed our flights. Getting 4 business class seats at such short notice could not have been easy and we are very grateful to you.
Location,location, location - amazing Mwagusi
We were stunned by the beauty of the camp's location and in particular the location of the bandas built right on the river bank overlooking a dry river bed. With animals coming down to drink in the bore holes on a regular basis I began to think game drives might be unessential. This is a special place.
I was initially a little put off by the attentiveness of the staff, such as the pulling out of one's chair before you sat in it, but I soon appreciated they were taking enormous pride in attending to their guests. The game drives were very different from the Selous experience were there was abundant surface water.
Some rivers were not entirely dry, but it meant for some easy viewing of large numbers of animals seeking out what was there, with lion ready to join in the fun. We saw lion and elephant every day, and cheetah and leopard twice. Our guide Isaac was eagle-eyed and another expert, and our driver excellent. They were both charming. We were entertained and educated in equal measure.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Excellent in every respect. Animal sightings, guides, camp, food all first class.
A fast paced safari, very rustic but extremely comfortable. Very laid back camp, pleasant atmosphere.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
A wonderful camp in a great setting. Great food and staff. Managers were very friendly and helpful. And thank you for a second birthday song, dance and cake!!
The guide and driver were extremely helpful and knowledgeable and tried to give us the best possible photo opportunities.
The jeep, however, was awkward for photo taking (moreso than any other jeep we were in) primarily as it was difficult to gain a purchase for tripod/monopods on the uneven floor and move a long lens into the best positions. There were several posts that obstructed the view.
We were instructed by the manager not to tip individuals but to give her the tip money that she would look after and supposedly divide out evenly among all staff. This we found irregular and think it better to give the tips anonymously via a tip box. Also we feel that if someone excels in a service to us there should be recognition.
We were surprised to learn on the last day that we were charged for juice drinks. This was not the case in any other camp. In addition the price of all the drinks here were very expensive.
We found that there needed to be some attention paid to small issues of cleanliness in the room e.g. the light switches were dirty as was the "bidet" tap.
We had to ask for a "lunch" to tide us over on our last day as we had several hours of flights ahead of us (and then we only got t buns and sticky buns). Perhaps lunch should have been automatically provided as it was on our trip from Ubuntu to Selous.
Expert Africa comments
We were very pleased to read these travellers enjoyed their time at Mwagusi! We sent this feedback onto the managers to get some feedback regarding the tipping situation.
They said the following: "With regard to tipping at Mwagusi it has been agreed by all staff that their tips are given to management to lock away immediately into the safe and kept until the end of season - when they are shared appropriately. Management are not included in any tips. We have approx 40 staff members and this system makes sure everyone (not only the handful of staff - guide/driver and waitering staff) who interact with guests are not the only ones who get a tip. Everyone even the staff member who launders guests clothes, cleans room / sweeps pathways / cuts grass - benefits from the total sum of tips at end of season."
Mwagusi Safari Camp Review
For 3 of our 4 nights we were the only guests in the camp and so had very personal service! Everybody was attentive and the camp is well run, providing such things as after-dark escorts and spraying of the tent with insecticide to ensure a bug-free night. Wake up calls were on time, with attendant tea or coffee before the morning game drives. These were longer than we have experienced at previous camps (mainly in South Africa) as they included a picnic breakfast, so there was no need to return to the camp much before lunch time (around 1pm). We really appreciated this as it gave more time to travel to different areas of the park, which has many different landscapes and habitats, giving good game viewing opportunities.
The afternoons were quite short, with not a lot of time between the leisurely lunch and tea at around 4pm prior to the evening game drive. The daylight is partly responsible for this, as it was dark soon after 7pm, but it did give a sense of being quite busy most of the time. After dinner at 8pm we were quite happy to retire for the night!
All meals were served as a buffet. Presentation, quality and flavour were all excellent and special dietary requirements were happily accommodated.
Our guide and our driver, Samson and Moses, were both competent and engaging. After it rained the roads were quite difficult but Moses handled them with aplomb. Samson was very knowledgable about the whole ecosystem, including animals, birds and plants.
Although the bandas do not have Wi-Fi or electricity for charging cameras etc., mobile phone coverage is good (the guides themselves use it to keep in touch) and batteries can be recharged in the camp office. The lack of Wi-Fi was not an issue for us as we go on holiday to escape such things!
The camp manageress was welcoming and accommodating, and performed her duties as a hostess very well.
We really enjoyed our stay here.