This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines now closed

User menu
Rufiji River Camp

Rufiji River Camp: Our full report

One of the first camps to be established in the Selous Game Reserve, Rufiji River Camp has a fine location, ...

... on a bank several metres above the Rufiji River at the eastern end of the reserve’s photographic area. The camp spreads along a considerable length of the river and the tents are reasonably well-spaced. The public areas are also large, with room for some privacy.

At the heart of Rufiji River Camp is a large central area with wonderful views over the Rufiji River. The lounge and small library, bar and dining area are all under one high thatched roof with lovely stone floors and comfortable soft furnishings. A few old board games are dotted around for playing before or after dinner. There’s a second floor to this area too, providing more seclusion and good spots for taking in the scene. The whole area has a rustic African feel to it, with thatched roofs, stone floors and the occasional piece of carved furniture.

Outside, some simple wooden seating is set around a campfire, and set a little further back from the river is Rufiji’s shaded swimming pool, which stays very cool in the heat of the day. There are loungers around the pool for those wishing to relax and sunbathe in between safari activities.

Well laid-out pathways lead to 14 en-suite tents, spaced along the river in a lush stretch of woodland populated by vervet monkeys and numerous birds – and occasionally visited by more exciting large mammals. There are three pairs of family tents, sleeping up to four people and connected by wooden platforms. These family units also all have their own, private plunge pools.

Each tent has a stone or wooden deck, with a table and two chairs: a pleasant place to relax between safari activities. Inside, the tents are simple in style and boast little in the way of luxury, but they are clean and have comfortable, are pleasantly decorated with colourful African prints, are are furnished with a hanging space for your clothes and a writing desk. Floor-standing fans and mesh-covered windows keep conditions reasonably cool. Torches, a whistle and insect repellent are provided.

The bathrooms are situated through a door at the back of the tents. These too, are simple yet large and clean, with a shower, a bidet, a single washbasin and a flush toilet. Soap and shampoo are also supplied.

When we last visited Rufiji River Camp in 2016, the camp had recently been renovated. The newer tents are significantly more spacious and they all have two double beds. The tents also benefit from electric plug sockets, which were previously missing, and having just been refurbished, they now have a brighter, fresher feel to them.

Rufiji River Camp offers a range of activities, all accompanied by camp guides who are very friendly and have a reasonable knowledge of the wildlife. As well as boat safaris on the Rufiji River and walking safaris from the camp, there are game drives encompassing three nearby lakes, including a full-day safari with a packed lunch. For the adventurous who wish to experience more of the bush, there is also the option of fly-camping for a few nights. The vehicle fleet at the camp consists of 3 Maruti jeeps with beach seats, taking four passengers, 3 old Land Rover Defenders and 3 new Land Rover Defenders.

There is a fairly formulaic approach to activities here, common to many camps in the Selous. Guided walks run from 6.30am to 9am; boat trips or game drives from 06.30 to 11.30 (with a bush breakfast) or after breakfast from 8.30 to 1pm; then in the afternoon from 4-6pm. Full-day game drives can also be arranged, with a picnic lunch.

Our view

For a relaxed, down-to-earth stay in the Selous, Rufiji River Camp is a good choice. The camp is clean and comfortable with a pleasant, unpretentious air and reasonable prices. From the front of the camp, the views across the Rufiji are impressive, and the scene is frequently dominated by hippos wallowing and honking nearby.

Olivia Barclay-Hudson

Olivia Barclay-Hudson

Tanzania expert


Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
Ideal length of stay
3 nights to make the most of the activities on offer.
The Selous Game Reserve is a 45-minute flight from Dar es Salaam, then it is only a five-minute drive to Rufiji River Camp. Alternatively, it is around a six-hour drive from Dar – depending on the weather and therefore the state of the roads.
Accessible by

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
The food served during our visits was simple and tasty standard camp food, with much of it grown on a local farm. All dining tables overlook the river under the big roof, or out on the deck.

Breakfast at Rufiji River Camp is served at 7.00am before the morning activities and usually consists of eggs (cooked however you want), toast and fresh fruit, as well as pastries such as cinnamon rolls.

Lunch is a buffet served at 1.00pm. Last time we ate lunch at the camp they were serving a tasty buffet of well prepared salads and other dishes, including some tough steak strips and a very good mango relish. There was also a good vegetarian dish of crisp broccoli florets and cashews in a creamy sauce. Bananas and coconut sauce finished the meal.

Dinner, at 8.00pm, is a three-course set meal. On our last visit we enjoyed a starter of tomato and olive soup, followed by a buffet of roast potatoes, ogali, green beans, carrots, and roast pork. For dessert we had a rhubarb crumble and custard.


Attitude towards children
Responsible older children are welcome at Rufiji River Camp in accordance with the restrictions below, but they are very much their parents’ responsibility.
Property’s age restrictions
There is no age restriction at Rufiji River Camp. Children under 12 are not allowed on walking safaris in the Selous.
Special activities & services
With advance notice, early dinners can be prepared for children.
No specific equipment is provided, though there are triple rooms for parents to share with a child.
Generally recommended for children
Yes although we’d suggest at least age 12. Though there are no special facilities for children at the camp, there is a lovely pool to keep them occupied when not out on safari.
Rufiji is quite large, and the staff does not have the capacity to help look after children staying at the camp. Parents should also be aware that the camp is not fenced and wildlife can pass through at any time – children should not be left unaccompanied.


Power supply notes
Generator hours are 05:45-06:30, 09:30-12:00, 14:00-15:00 and 18:15-22:00. Otherwise, solar power is used and solar water heaters for hot water.

There are UK-style electric sockets in the tents for guests to charge batteries and devices.
There is a torch and solar lamp in each tent.
For all intents and purposes you should consider yourself out of contact. There is intermittent cellphone reception (Airtel, not Vodafone). Internet is not available in camp.
TV & radio
There is no TV at the camp.
Water supply
Water supply notes
Water is pumped from the river, filtered and treated. The best pressure is during the hours when the generator is working. During our stay in 2016, we found water pressure was generally poor. A limited supply of bottled drinking water is provided to guests free of charge. Extra bottles have to be purchased.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended
Medical care
On site first aid can be administered and various medications are kept in the camp. In severe emergencies Rufiji can arrange for clients to be flown out from the nearby airstrip.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
The Selous has a large population of dangerous game and Rufiji River Camp is unfenced, so all guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. There are also camp guards on duty 24 hours a day. The local vervets can be a menace so it's important to keep tents closed.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers outside every tent and in key areas such as the reception, kitchen and workshop.


  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching


  • Boat trip

    Boat trip

  • Fishing


  • Fly-camping


  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari


Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Laundry is complimentary.
There are no money exchange facilities here. There is a small digital safe in every tent.
Accepted payment on location
For payment of extras, Rufiji River Camp accepts payment in cash US dollars, euros, pounds and Tanzanian shillings. Visa and Master Card are accepted but there is a 5% surcharge.

Other lodges in Selous Game Reserve

Alternative places to stay in this same area.

Selous Impala Camp

Impala Camp

Selous Impala Camp is a comfortable, excellent-value camp with colourful tented rooms raised on platforms, good guiding and tasty food.

96% (279 reviews)
Lake Manze Adventure Camp

Lake Manze Camp

Lake Manze Camp is a rustic, lakeside bushcamp in the Selous Game Reserve that offers a great experience and doesn’t cost the earth.

93% (212 reviews)
Beho Beho

Beho Beho

Beho Beho is one of the best camps we work with in Africa, with gracious hosts, fantastic food and most importantly, excellent guiding.

100% (165 reviews)


Siwandu is a luxurious and smoothly run camp with beautiful rooms offering great views over Lake Nzerakera.

97% (79 reviews)
Sand Rivers Camp

Sand Rivers Camp

The stylishly put together Sand Rivers has an outstanding reputation, with a wonderful location on the Rufiji River and great guides.

96% (69 reviews)
Beho Beho Tree-house

Beho Beho Tree-house

Beho Beho Treehouse is a satellite tree platform for just one couple, managed by Beho Beho and ideal as a one-night honeymoon retreat

97% (34 reviews)
Selous Impala fly-camp

Impala fly-camping

While you're staying at Impala Camp in the Selous Game Reserve, you can enjoy a few nights' fly-camping in the heart of the bush.

92% (32 reviews)
Sand Rivers fly-camping

Sand Rivers fly-camp

Sand Rivers fly-camping safaris in Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve operate out of Sand Rivers Camp, on the Rufiji River.

99% (14 reviews)
Roho ya Selous

Roho ya Selous

Roho ya Selous is a smart tented camp on the west side of lake Nzerakera, close to the park’s best wildlife-viewing areas.

100% (5 reviews)
Beho Beho Bailey's Banda

Beho Beho Bailey's Banda

Bailey's Banda at Beho Beho is a luxurious safari lodge in the Selous which can be booked exclusively for you and your party.

100% (4 reviews)
Sand Rivers walking mobile

Sand Rivers walking

Sand Rivers walking mobile safaris in Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve operate out of Sand Rivers Camp, on the Rufiji River.

100% (3 reviews)
Kiba Point

Kiba Point

Kiba Point is the private sister camp of Sand Rivers, available on an exclusive basis, with its own private drivers and staff.

100% (2 reviews)
Rufiji River fly-camping

Rufiji River fly-camp

Fly-camping trips can be organised from Rufiji River Camp in Tanzania's Selous Game Reserve

90% (2 reviews)
Sable Mountain Lodge

Sable Mountain Lodge

Sable Mountain is a simple safari lodge just outside Selous's northern boundary, and perfect if you're travelling on a tighter budget.

No reviews yet
The Retreat

The Retreat

The Retreat offers a holistic approach to a safari, combining wildlife and nature with spiritual health, healing and spa treatments.

No reviews yet
Mivumo River Lodge

Mivumo River Lodge

Mivumo River Lodge is Serena's main lodge in the Selous. Although comfortable, the windows and air-conditioning dispel any wilderness feel.

No reviews yet

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link

New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team