Beho Beho

Beho Beho: Our full report

Rooms
9 stone bandas (rooms)
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 144 reviews
Open
1 June to 22 March

Beho Beho has a unique location in the Selous Game Reserve – high on a hill in an area dotted with baobab trees. Indeed, the name Beho Beho means ‘breeze’, which is apt given its airy location. Its site was first used as early as 1972, and it’s not only one of the reserve’s first camps, but also one of the few camps in the Selous that is set away from the river or one of the lakeshores. In 2004 the camp was rebuilt using locally sourced materials and it regularly undergoes a complete refurbishment.

The central lounge and bar area at Beho Beho has a mix of comfortable sofas, Persian rugs from the owners’ family home and African carvings. The décor also includes some classic pieces of furniture from Europe. Coffee-table books and family photos are dotted on the small tables, lending the feeling of a slightly eccentric family home. The whole area is open sided with fantastic views across the valley, and down to a small artificial waterhole on the hillside, that’s floodlit after dark when it often attracts interesting mammalian drinkers. Near the bar is a well stocked library with old maps and prints, and a variety of historical artefacts from the nearby World War 1 battlefield. Behind the lounge area you will also find a full-size slate-bedded billiard table.

Up the slope a little, the swimming pool and its sun deck also command a spectacular view across the valley – and you can often spot game from the pool’s terrace. There are a few comfortable loungers here, as well as a small thatched seating area, which is great for relaxing out of the heat of the day.

There are just nine stone bandas (rooms) at Beho Beho, all of them permanent, thatched and open at one side to the amazing views. The stone used in their construction was sourced locally, and the wood for the door frames, bed frames and wall lights was sourced from dead wood found in the park.

Designed to feel homely, these bandas are also extremely spacious and comfortable. The furnishings include huge canopied beds under mosquito nets, large comfy armchairs and wonderful old writing desks. Each has an area slightly separated by a step, which is part lounge, part veranda, and the entire front is open to the view. A separate anteroom provides storage for clothes and luggage, and each of the rooms has a ceiling fan and 24-hour electricity (three-pin UK-style plugs).

Large en-suite bathrooms feature great outdoor showers (two also have baths), flush loos and dual washbasins set into a plinth decorated with pebbles gathered from the Rufiji River. The bathrooms are some of the best equipped we have encountered in any safari camp, with shaving mirrors, retractable washing line, loofahs and pumice stones included among the thoughtful extras. Toiletries (by Charlotte Rhys), hairdryers and light cotton dressing gowns add a touch of indulgent luxury.

We have visited Beho Beho on numerous occasions since 2004 and each visit brings something new. In 2016 we took a good look around the now well established Bailey’s Banda private house. With its pool and private dining arrangements, we think it’s great for larger groups, or mixed-generation families who want to focus on themselves, but we like the main lodge bandas better than the rooms at Bailey’s.

Despite its many comforts, Beho Beho has become the top camp in the Selous primarily due to the superb quality of its guiding. The guides here are consistently excellent, with a breadth of knowledge that is hard to match – and a drive or walk with a guide from Beho Beho is a truly fascinating experience. It’s important to understand the principal of how they work as a team, too: the guides cannot under any circumstances be booked privately, even if you have a favourite (they are all brilliant in any case) and even if you shell out to have a private vehicle on one or more of your days here. The services of the guides are strictly shared among all the guests in camp, and over the course of three or four days you are likely to experience activities with each of them, and often more than once. This requires the guides to talk to each other, and recount their experiences with their guests to avoid repetition: you don’t need to hear about the social life of the ground hornbill, the sex life of the spotted hyena, or the eating habits of the civet, fascinating as these are, more than once. Most of Beho Beho’s guides have FGASA training (southern Africa’s prestigious Field Guides Association).

Activities out of Beho Beho include very competent 4WD game drives in the western Selous and full-day excursions to Lake Tagalala, using the lodge’s small motor boat moored there to explore the lake’s birdlife and view crocs and hippos. But the lodge’s speciality is walking safaris. On a typical game walk, you’ll set off at around 6am when it’s lovely and cool, and stay out as long as your enthusiasm lasts. It’s unusual to find a camp where the activities are so flexible and last as long. On one of our recent visits to Beho Beho, our morning walking safari lasted right through until lunch time – in fact a slightly late lunch – with a very civilised bush breakfast set up for us along the way to keep us going. Close encounters with the local megafauna are quite common on these excursions, and the pre-walk briefing is a serious matter.

Generally, though, guests return from their first activity in the late morning, in time for brunch. Afternoon activities then depart at around 4pm, and return after a sundowner drink in the bush. Another option is to take a trip to the hippo pool, where you can happily watch dozens of hippos splashing about in the mud – for as long as your nose can stand it.

Close to Beho Beho, there are also some sites of historical and geographical interest which are sometimes visited as part of an activity. Be sure to ask to see these if you are interested. They include some World War 1 trenches where you can still find scattered artefacts, the grave of Frederick Courtney Selous – after whom the park is named, and who was killed in action here – and some lovely hot springs set in a patch of riparian woodland where you might fancy a swim. In 2016, the currently favoured sundowner location, on a spur of the hillside opposite the lodge, was revealed as the site of ancient burials, as human skeletons began to be exposed. It makes a memorable way to ease the sun below the horizon.

There is now also the option to spend a night in Beho Beho’s rather luxurious Treehouse. The Beho Beho team built it by hand, out of naturally sourced materials, creating a stylish platform in the trees, complete with a bathroom. It makes for an exclusive experience for guests who want to enjoy a night in the tree tops – though at a fairly hefty supplementary cost.

Our view

Since it opened, Beho Beho has set very high standards. This is one of the very best camps we know anywhere in Africa. While it’s smart and luxurious, the welcome here is always warm and the mood is friendly, not pretentious. The food is outstanding, like dining out at a very good restaurant at every meal. Most importantly, the guiding is first-class, delivered by individuals who know their subject inside out and for the most part have perfected the art of passing it on to guests across the whole spectrum of safari experience, from first-time safari-goers to those who come back again and again. And despite these very high, self-imposed standards, Beho Beho still manages to exceed expectations. The only downsides are that it isn't on a riverbank or lakeshore (the defining appeal of many Selous camps) and the relatively high price tag, although this can be offset by long-stay reductions: the minimum stay in any case is 3 nights.

Geographics

Location: Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: You can visit for 3-4 nights, but the range of activities at Beho Beho means that 5 to 7 nights also works well – especially if a night in the tree house is included.

Directions: It’s a 35-minute flight from Dar es Salaam into the Selous Game Reserve, where you land at Beho Beho's own airstrip right next to the camp, dubbed 'Beho Beho International'.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Independent and owned by the Bailey family

Staff: The execellent guiding team includes Roel, Heribert, Godlisten and Saning'o.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Whenever we have stayed at Beho Beho, most recently in 2016, the food has been outstanding. There's a real variety on offer, with dishes deliciously prepared and beautifully presented. A very sociable atmosphere adds to this – with guests and guides usually sitting around one large table – perhaps helped because the team there clearly think about their hosting, and it shows. Dinner runs like a very well-organised dinner-party, with excellent service. The new food and beverage manager who arrived in 2016 has brought even more flair and originality, making the food one of Beho Beho's outstanding features.

Breakfast at Beho Beho is usually fruit, fresh bread and a full cooked breakfast with eggs of your choice, and a wide choice of spreads. The egg and bacon muffins are a bit special.

Lunch is served at around 1.00pm and comprises a variety of hot and cold dishes such as fresh salads, Swahili dishes and light curries. On our last visit, lunch included a choice of quiche, spare ribs, garlic tiger prawns, halloumi salad, and homemade cheese and sundried tomato focaccia bread followed by cinnamon tortillas and fruit salad.

Dinner is served in a different location each night and is a varied three-course menu. Dinner on one of our visits included spinach and feta ravioli in a tomato sauce as a starter, fillet steak with peppercorn sauce, potato wedges, and vegetables for main course, and yogurt panna cotta with apples poached in red wine for dessert. More recently we were wowed with a quinoa salad and a truly divine (for meat-eaters, at least) lamb shank, gently stewed to perfection.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: All house drinks are included at no extra charge at Beho Beho, though Champagne is not available.

Further dining info: Group meals in various locations are the thing at Beho Beho. There is little option for private dining and an informal, sociable dinner party atmosphere that includes guests, guides and managers, is encouraged throughout your stay.

Special interests

Solo Travel: Beho Beho is a very sociable camp: it’s like visiting a family home. You are warmly welcomed by the team and very well looked after. We find that walking safaris are often better for single travellers, probably as guests interact more. Add to this group dining in a very friendly atmosphere, and the fact that there is no solo supplement and Beho Beho is a good bet for single travellers.

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Honeymoons: Beho Beho, with its huge luxurious open rooms, romantic canopied double beds, general excellent standards, and attentive service, make it a perfect choice for a Tanzania honeymoon. For a special addition to your stay, spend a night under the stars, in the Beho Beho treehouse.

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Birdwatching: The Selous is a good park for to visit on a birdwatching trip to Tanzania. During our visit in November 2013 we saw white-fronted bee-eater, a beautiful hoopoe, a bat hawk, crested guinea fowl, a Verreaux eagle owl and a vibrant red bishop.

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Walking safaris: Walking safaris at Beho Beho are some of the best you will find in Tanzania. With extremely knowledgeable and well-trained guides, and good wildlife viewing in the Selous throughout the year. The high guiding standards translate into visitors gaining more of an insight into the smaller species and more intricate ecological patterns that make up this great park.

See more ideas for Walking safaris in Tanzania

Wildlife safaris: The wildlife in this area of the Selous is usually good. There is a healthy permanent population of lions and frequent sightings of more transient wild dogs. Among much other game, there’s usually an abundance of giraffe, wildebeest and the odd buffalo. Heading out with one of the camp’s excellent guides is a great wildlife experience – a really fascinating education.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania

Children

Attitude towards children: Beho Beho isn't suitable for children under 12 years of age.

Property’s age restrictions: Children need to be over the age of 12 years.

Special activities & services: There are no special services or activities for children at Beho Beho.

Equipment: There is no special equipment for children at Beho Beho.

Notes: Beho Beho considers that children staying at the camp are very much the responsibility of their parents. Parents should also be aware that this camp is not fenced and wildlife can pass through at any time – children cannot be left unaccompanied.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: There are UK-style 3-pin plugs in every room.

Communications: There is wifi in all the bandas, and a guest computer in the study.

TV & radio: There is no TV for guests, though the staff will share their TV for important matches and the like. The exclusive Bailey's Banda has TV.

Water supply notes: There is hot water in every room, heated by solar geysers.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a first-aid kit on site for minor illnesses and injuries. For more serious cases, all guests at Beho Beho are registered with a company which can do airlifts if necessary. Two walking guides have had advanced first-aid training. All the managers and guides have first-aid training.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There are guards around the camp and at night you will be escorted to and from your room.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in all of the rooms and communal areas. There is an emergency horn in each of the bandas.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: There is a free laundry service included, although, as in many camps, underwear is not accepted. Washing powder is supplied in the bathrooms.

Money: There is no currency exchange at Beho Beho.

Accepted payment on location: There are no extras to pay at Beho Beho, but tips are best made in either US dollars or Tanzanian shillings.

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