Azura Selous

Azura Selous: Our full report

Rooms
12 tented rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (90%) From 2 reviews
Open
June to March

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. Since opening the management have put in a lot of time and effort in to raising the standards of the camp, and they have certainly succeeded. Azura Selous has been transformed in to a high quality safari lodge offering excellent guiding in a remote corner of the reserve.

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 deck. In the evening this area is lit by storm lanterns and string lights to create a lovely atmosphere.

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. This area also contains a small curio shop.

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, reds 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 complete with a beaded chandelier, 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.

Twiga Villa is the latest addition to Azura Selous, and it is the largest and most luxurious room on site. Its name translates as ‘giraffe’, and this theme is apparent throughout the villa with giraffe sculptures, art work and fabrics. In addition to a private plunge pool, Twiga Villa has a comfortable outdoor seating area and even a bath! It is located at the eastern end of Azura Selous and offers lots of privacy, making it a great choice for honeymooners.

Activities at Azura Selous focus on game drives with knowledgeable and patient guides. All vehicles are out every day regardless of how many guests are in camp; this allows some cars to act as spotters, and sightings are called in to other vehicles. It’s worth noting that the game here is not as prolific as in the more eastern lodges, however it has certainly been on the rise in recent years. This area of the Selous is particularly good in the green season, between the months of November and June. During the wetter months the wildlife tends to disperse and more plains game enters the area around Azura. On our last trip in September 2016, we were lucky enough to see a pride of lion, and some elephants just after sunset, however on the whole 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 chance they won't be able to do this activity.

Azura Selous is currently the only lodge in the Selous to offer night drives. You will head out after dark accompanied by a park ranger where you will look out for the lesser-known, nocturnal wildlife of the Selous. You are likely to see smaller species such as bat eared foxes or marsh mongooses; if you are lucky you may be able to see a solitary leopard or a pride of lions.

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 and activity book with a certificate to be gained at the end.

The landscape around Azura Selous is quite different to the eastern regions of the park. In contrast to the vast waterways, lakes and palm trees found around Lake Manze, the terrain here is fairly scrubby, with small acacias, grassy clearings and the Ruaha River running through. Whilst we would not describe this as the classic Selous safari experience, it a lovely safari area in its own right and would combine nicely with a few nights the eastern Selous.

Our view

When we stayed in September 2016, we found Azura Selous to be an exceptionally well-run, high-quality lodge with a nice relaxed atmosphere in good surroundings. It would be a great option for honeymooners or couples, who want a luxury lodge, with good service, and are happy to accept that the game-viewing is not quite as easy as in some of the other areas.

Geographics

Location: Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

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.

Special interests

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

Children

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.

Notes: Children should be supervised by their parents at all times, especially by the river and by the pool.

Infrastructure

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.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Included

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.

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