Reviews of Mwagusi Safari Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Everything was at least as good as described - if not better! We saw more animals of different types than we had any right to expect. The organisation, food, service and attention to detail were wonderful. This was our first safari and it might have spoilt us for anything else.
The only negative whatsoever was the reliance on solar power for lighting in the banda. This limited the amount of available light (the bulb in the bathroom did not work). I doubt if the long term environmental advantage is particularly compelling. On the other hand Ellie recommended that we took head lights, which we did and they were invaluable in making up for the lighting deficit.
The solar heated water was fine.
Mwagusi Safari Camp
Another well run camp in which we particularly like the outdoor private dining. We were given the honeymoon suite which was very spacious with lovely view over the dry river bed.
Food was good, especially the buffet lunches and cake for tea! Breakfast in the bush every day was a must.
Just a beautiful park with varied scenery and masses of game - lots of lions, leopards, elephant, buffalo, kudu......and amazing baobab trees. Very good guide. Dinner on our own on last night with 26 lions having just passed through the camp and heard roaring on bank! Magical place.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Our banda was extremely comfortable, though in common with previous reviewers we thought the lighting in the bathroom was poor and the step down to the loo a potential hazard, particularly at night. Beware of squirrels in the bathroom; they are harmless and cute but they do have a particular taste for toothpaste; ours escaped their attention but the talcum powder bottle got a good nibbling! Any loo roll left hanging is likely to be scattered over the floor! Housekeeping was of an extremely high standard.
Martin particularly liked the squashy sofas in the sandy area outside the tent, though he was somewhat disconcerted one afternoon on peering round the corner and coming nose to leg with a giraffe! Animals really do come through camp, though generally not as closely as at Mdonya. Guides are provided to take you to and from your banda at night – especially valuable on the evening when the return from dinner was interrupted by the low growl of a lioness on the path. Our guide led us around and through lots of buildings until we arrived safely 'home'. Next morning we discovered the lioness had had three small cubs with her so was definitely in protective mode.
Riaan and Kimberley were excellent hosts and very attentive to their guests. When Riaan discovered we travel around with a hand-held GPS unit we were enlisted in his campaign to show that there are far more cats in the park than shown in official figures. Lions, leopards and cheetah are no longer just watched, photographed and videoed – they get waypointed too now! It was great to feel we were being involved in the life of the park and making a contribution.
Drinks were about twice the price of Mdonya but there was always plenty of water available at no cost. A nice idea was being able to order a bottle of wine, have a couple of glasses and then have the rest kept for later by the staff – much more economical than paying by the glass. Breakfasts in the bush were excellent, lunch very good (I was almost embarrassed by how much effort they'd gone to in accommodating my cheese allergy) and dinner in the bush or riverbed great fun.
Loved the idea of keeping the food hot using a shovelful of coals from the fire as a brazier! However, due the distance between 'brazier' and table food was not that hot when you actually got to eat it. Excellent puddings, though when we had chocolate and cinnamon tart I was a bit concerned about the next day's cinnamon bread – no need to worry!
Our guide, Geoffrey, and driver, Christian were excellent and took great pains to ensure we got the best sightings. A magnificent Martial eagle was a highlight, only beaten by a day in which we saw 29 different lions in 5 sightings plus a cheetah PLUS a beautiful leopard cub left up a tree whilst Mum went hunting – definitely worth risking few Tsetse bites! Oh, and a hyena and some klipspringers as a bonus as well as all the usual suspects.
We discovered after a day or so that not only were our team willing to go out early in the morning, they actively wanted to and would be disappointed if we didn't – that suited us fine! Particularly on the day when we'd been watching a male leopard for 40 minutes before our fellow guests were out of bed! It really was worth the pain of getting up in the dark to see some wonderful sights.
On our last morning we did the bird walk – about 1-1.5k gentle toddle in the bush around camp which produced a surprising number of new species for the list.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
Everything about this sociable camp is authentic and first rate. The guides are enthusiastic and very well trained, the food is great, the bandas a delight. The location at a bend of Mwagusi sand river allows for lazy afternoon game viewing. Evenings under the stars are pure theatre.
Animals in Ruaha NP seem relaxed around vehicles. This means that the longer you stay the more interesting behaviours you will get to see. We stayed three nights and were sad to leave.
We all agreed that Mwagusi Camp was the highlight of our trip to Tanzania.
Great rustic "in the bush" experience
Very relaxed, good game viewing - long game drives (9-10 hours a day)
One really felt like you were part of nature - elephants walking between the tents , lions in the river bed, bats & monkeys in the bathroom - great
Food was good but limited - basically one menu for each meal - not unreasonable given the remoteness. Every night was an evening alfresco dinner in the bush or in the river bed near the camp. Lit by lanterns and with a big fire - cooking was on hot coals.
Very informal - keen knowledgable guides - kids loved it.
Traditional african safari in great setting.
Rooms had brilliant veiw but bathroom layout was too 'open' for us. No hot water to the basin but plenty to the shower.
Meal times ensured that guest mixed and it was great to talk through our days experiences. Good veiws of lions and one excellent view of leopard.
Dissapointed that we did not see the African dogs in the four nights we stayed at this camp.
Mwagusi - a great bush camp
We loved Mwagusi - an informal top quality African bush camp. You have the benefit of sleeping in a tent, combined with the luxury of a beautifully designed, spacious and private banda. We particularly liked the flexibility and the fact that Riaan or Kimberley (the managers) asked us each evening what we would like to do the next day. Even on our last morning we were offered 3 different options and provided with our own vehicle to allow a morning drive, return for breakfast and then a leisurely game drive to the airstrip to catch the 11.30 flight.
The guiding was excellent with both a guide (Daniel in our case) and a driver and the morning drives typically lasted 6 hours with a gorgeous breakfast (the cinnamon roll really is as good as its reputation!) and careful thought taken into which part of the park they would take us on each drive. The park is scenically dramatic and varied and we were lucky enough to see a wonderful variety of game, which was particularly dense around the Ruaha river.
Although we dont chose a camp based on its food, dinners at Mwagusi are a highlight and foster a terrific atmosphere in the camp, which is further enhanced by the presence of the owner Chris Fox.
My only criticism is that the camp undersells itself on its website, such an important influence on travellers today - I would recommend Mwagusi to anyone who wants to retain a real bush atmosphere and high quality guiding with a significant degree of comfort.
View to a kill
At first site this is a large camp, but you immediately feel at home, the staff are friendly and helpful.
Kimberley and Rianne were great hosts and Samson was an enthuastic guide.
The highlight of the stay was the seven hours spent watching a cheetah with two cubs, making 5 failed attenmpts stalking and hunting impala, before finally making a kill less than 300m away - truely widescreen viewing.
Mwagusi Safari Camp review
This was our next stop after having been at Selous. The landscape was quite different - more open , hotter.
The camp was excellent. The location overlooking a dried river bed was interesting - with elephants, jackal , monkeys wandering around ( and lion ).
The game viewing turned out to be even better than we had had in Selous. On our first drive , we made a rapid detour to see a leopard , photogenically perched in a tree. We then came across a large pride of lions, over 20 strong. On our second day , we encountered a mother cheetah with 2 cubs. Our guide ( Samson ) was sure it was hunting and we watched as it attempted on about 5 occasions to run down impala. This took some time and the camp brought out a packed lunch for us so that we could continue to watch. Just as it looked as if the cheetah would never succeed, it pursued and dragged down an impala - a grisly lunch for the cubs , right in front of us. All this goes to show is that the guiding here was excellent.
The accommodation was very comfortable. Each night , dinner was held a short distance from the camp , under the stars and next to a roaring fire. On the second night it was not only the fire that was roaring. We were dining in the dry sandy river bed and over coffee suddenly heard loud growling . The camp manager ( Rian ? - big South African - excellent) flashed his light to reveal about 6 lions prowling and looking straight at us about 75 yards away. We were very calmly ushered back to the camp , where the same lions , and the rest of the 20 strong pride were to wander through during the night, with very loud roaring. I was impressed with the professionalism of the staff. It sounds scary, but we didn't feel in danger and it was all rather exciting !
Mwagusi - full of character
One can feel that Mwagusi has grown over the decades as an owner-run camp, loads of character and and owner Chris makes an excellent host with plenty of stories to tell after over 20 years in Ruaha.
The best feature of the bandas may well be the sunken corner with big cushions - a great spot to relax and watch the action down in the sand river. Not that there wasn't plenty of wildlife outside the camp - guiding was excellent and one really noticed that each guide knows the different areas of the park very well.
In general, we really enjoyed the fact that Ruaha has such a varied landscape - everything from plains to wooded hills or rocky kopjes can be seen in good day's drive.
Dinner at Mwagusi is a real occassion - the camp has three different locations along (and in) the sand river which are lovingly decorated for dinner, making for a very special experience. While there were some issues around quantity at lunch, the food was fresh and of excellent quality.