The small and relaxed Azura Selous is set on the bank of the Ruaha River.
Azura Selous: Our full report
Situated on the banks of the Ruaha River, the smart but relaxed Azura Selous opened in 2010 under a different name 'Amara Selous' and is one of the newer lodges in the Selous Game Reserve. The lodge was taken over by Azura who run the very high quality Azura Benguerra in Mozambique. They plan to put time and effort into increasing the standards at the camp - with particular attention to the guiding. Their aim is to offer 'the highest quality and services in bush hospitality' as it 'develops a luxury travel collection of tented camps around Tanzania'. If it is be anything like its sister property, then we're excited to see what Azura Selous will bring.
At the heart of Azura is a large infinity pool overlooking the river – perfect to escape the heat of the day, with plenty of loungers and shady areas on the surrounding wooden decking.
Behind the pool, raised up slightly on different levels, are two stone areas draped in canvas. One houses Azura's lounge area with very comfortable sofas and a selection of coffee-table books on low tables. The colours and design lend a quirky, modern and fresh feel – with an open front and gauze windows at the back – it all feels very airy and spacious. Alongside is the dining area, whose open front allows views of the pool area and on to the river, so it retains a natural feel.
Sandy walkways lead to Azura’s twelve tented rooms, which are well spaced out, so feel quite private and secluded. With over 90m2 of inside space, and an additional 40m2 of outside decking, these rooms are vast. Although tented, they are permanent, with stone floors that help to keep them cool during the hot months, and air conditioning near the bed (albeit from 7.00-11.00pm only), as well as a fan.
Despite their size, the bedrooms at Azura Selous are simply furnished, with a large double bed under a mosquito net, bedside tables, a writing desk and some comfortable chairs. They bedrooms are all slightly differently decorated, and certainly quirky! Pale beiges combine with bright lime greens or purples, and animal print. They would really suit those who would appreciate a more modern take on a traditional safari tent!
Adjoining the bedroom is a stone-built dressing room, which can be curtained off, and has space for luggage and hanging clothes. This in turn leads to the bathroom, which has the luxury of very spacious inside and outside showers – the latter with water cascading over a piece of slate rock, like a waterfall. You’ll also find a flushing toilet and twin sinks with views out to the river, and a small mirror. Some toiletries, such as shampoo and body wash, are provided.
The front of each tent at Azura is protected by mosquito gauze, beyond which is an extensive deck with a couple of chairs and a table overlooking the river. From here, a short paved pathway brings you to your private plunge pool.
Activities at Azura Selous focus on game drives with knowledgeable and patient guides, although it’s worth noting that the game here is not as prolific as in the more eastern lodges. On our last trip in June 2015, we were lucky enough to see a couple of lion, and some elephants just after sunset, however we found plains game to be sparse compared to the areas further east. Unlike most of the other lodges in the Selous, boating cannot be guaranteed here. The water levels of the Ruaha River, which the lodge is on, varies considerably due to a dam upstream - and so guests coming here should know that there is a high chance they won't be able to do this activity.
If this is all too cerebral, then rather more hedonistic is the opportunity for a massage in the privacy of your own room. And for children, there’s a special programme with a certificate to be gained at the end.
Our viewWhen we stayed in June 2015, we found Azura Selous to be an exceptionally well-run, high-quality lodge with a nice relaxed atmosphere in good surroundings. There were a few aspects which we felt were looking a bit tired, such as the canvas on the tent and the boats, but we were told these were being replaced shortly after our visit. It would be a great option for honeymooners or couples, who want a luxury lodge, with great service, and are happy to accept that the game-viewing is not as easy as in some of the other areas.
Ideal length of stay: 3–4 days
Directions: Azura is a 45-minute flight from Dar and then just 1km from Simbazi airstrip.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: On our last visit in June 2015 the food here was generally of a really high quality. The team made a really special effort to mix up the dinner locations to keep things interesting!
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included.
Further dining info: Room service is available.
Honeymoons: There is plenty of opportunity for those romantic moments at Azura Selous. Private bush dinners are a popular choice and massages can be arranged in the spacious rooms, which also have a plunge pool. This luxurious and exclusive camp is a great spot for a Tanzania honeymoon.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Azura is happy to accept children over the age of 6.
Property’s age restrictions: Children must be aged 6 or over to stay in the camp – but throughout the whole of the Selous, the minimum age limit for walking is 16.
Special activities & services: The Amaradillos is a special children’s programme with workbooks and a range of activities such as plaster-casting, fishing, word games and quizzes. A certificate is awarded at the end of their stay.
Equipment: There is no special equipment for children.
Generally recommended for children: Yes. Azura is one of the only camp in Selous to accept those aged six to eleven. However, as with all safari camps, we would recommend Amara only for mature children with an interest in wildlife – but the extensive kids club and large pool would make it a good option for families.
Notes: Children should be supervised by their parents at all times, especially by the river and by the pool.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There are radios in the rooms to contact the main area for room service. WiFi is available in the main area.
TV & radio: There are iPod docs in each room, but no TV or radio.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: They have a basic first-aid kit. Should medical evacuation be necessary the camp is located right next to Simbazi airstrip.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Askaris (guards) patrol the camp and escort guests to and from each room after dark.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all the rooms.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included
Money: There are fire extinguishers in all the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: The only form of payment accepted is US dollars cash. However guests here are booked on a full-board and activities basis, so there is very little to pay for except massages and tips.