Sable Mountain Lodge: Our full report
Situated 1km outside the park's western park boundary and 12km from Matembwe Gate, Sable Mountain Lodge sits ...... high up, north of the Beho Beho hills, and offers lovely views across the surrounding dense brachystegia forest. It is a good base to explore the northern reaches of the Selous Game reserve with guides from the camp who have a reasonable knowledge of the animals and birds.
The 8 fairly simple stone bandas, and 5 slightly more luxurious tented bandas are spread across quite a large, hilly site. This results in a bit of a walk to get to them, sometimes up and down a bit, but plenty of privacy. Two of the tents are honeymoon suites; these are larger with open fronts, outside showers and better views. All the rooms have mosquito nets over the beds, 24-hour electricity, and an en-suite bathroom, with a hot shower and toilet.
As the Sable Mountain site is quite large, there are two separate bar and dining areas, each catering to the rooms closest to it. The first area is nearer reception and has a friendly bar and dining area. The bar is quaintly named the 'cup and bucket' after the era before there was running water in camp. People had to wash by pouring water over themselves with a cup from a bucket! Thankfully that is no longer the case as all rooms have a proper shower with hot water.
The second bar area is further up the hill and based by the spring-water pool. There are some lovely outdoor tables under umbrellas around the pool as well as a comfy sofa by the bar. Walk along a short walkway to an open-sided lounge area under thatch, with plenty of wicker and cushioned sofas and arm-chairs. This is a good place to relax and enjoy the views, or just read a book in the shade.
Along a second walkway is the dining area with a few tables set up for people to sit together in small groups.
Activities include 4x4 safaris and walks in the park– these begin at 6am and return around midday in time for lunch. Then head out again at 3pm, returning slightly before sunset. The tireless can go on all-day trips which depart at 7 am after breakfast, with a picnic lunch. You head deep into the park, returning late in the afternoon after a very full day of safari activities.
Lake Tagalala is about 3 hours' drive from the lodge. Sable Mountain usually offers boat safaris on this as part of their full day safaris, however when we were last in the Selous (early 2007), the park authorities had stopped them doing this. They are hoping that this will be rectified for the start of the next season, in mid-2007.
Sable Mountain Lodge is one of very few camps which can be arranged on a FB basis, without activities – so is ideal for those on a tighter budget.
It has been a while since we stayed at Sable Mountain Lodge, however on our last visit this was a comfortable, good value safari lodge on the edge of the Selous National Park. It is in a remote location, meaning that you will see few other vehicles in this area, although it is further to drive to the better wildlife areas.
Country manager: Tanzania
- Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- 2 nights
- It is a 35-minute flight to Matambwe Airstrip in the Selous Game Reserve, where it is then around a 14km drive to Sable Mountain Lodge. Alternatively you can take the Tazara train which runs (rather unreliably) between Dar es Salaam and Lusaka, getting off at Kisaki train station.
If you decided to drive from Dar es Salaam, it would take around 6 hours – though during the rainy season this journey time could be longer due to bad road conditions. (If we arrange this for you, then Expert Africa will take no responsibility for any delays or mishaps that happen during your journey.)
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Breakfast times depend on each guests own programme for the day – you would usually decide on a time the night before. It consists of fruit, toast and a cooked breakfast – served pretty much when you want it.
If you opt for a morning safari, then a light lunch is then served at 1pm and consists of salad, a few Tanzanian snacks such as samosas, and fruit. Alternatively, if you're out on an all-day safari, then you'll have a picnic lunch somewhere in the park.
In the evening, dinner is a 3-course affair with plenty of fresh vegetables and salads. Dietary requirements can be catered for if the camp is given good advanced warning.
When we last visited Sable Mountain, the food was quite simple camp food. However it was filling and there was plenty of it - great when you have been out on safari all day.
- Walking and heading out into the dense brachystegia forest offers superb Tanzanian birdwatching at Sable Mountain. You can expect to see a host of forest species including Livingstone's turaco, hornbills and the vociferous forest weaver.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Wildlife safaris
- The surrounding woodland is a lovely place to experience a variety of wildlife. Whilst on guided safari walks, you might have the opportunity to see forest associated species such as blue monkey, black-and white colobus and the amazing chequered elephant shrew.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome children at Sable Mountain Lodge
- Property’s age restrictions
- Children under the age of 5 years are not allowed to stay at Sable Mountain Lodge.
- Special activities & services
- There are no special activities or services for children
- There is no special equipment for children
- Generally recommended for children
- Yes - if over 5 years old.
- Parents should be aware when staying there with young children that the paths leading between the rooms and main areas are very uneven with lots of loose stones. Children should also be supervised by their parents.
- There are no central communications available for guests at Sable Mountain Lodge, however there is mobile phone reception.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV or radio – this is deepest Africa!
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a dispensary in the nearby town of Kisaki and a first aid kit on site.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- There are 3 guards on site.
- Fire safety
- Sable Mountain Lodge had no fire extinguishers or other measures in place when last visited. However, all the buildings are single-storey and open-sided, so escape routes in the event of a fire would be very obvious.
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Extra Charge
- There are facilities to change money at Sable Mountain Lodge.
- Accepted payment on location
- The camp prefers payment for any extras in Dollars, Pounds and Euros cash. However you can also pay using travellers' cheques.
Room types at Sable Mountain Lodge
The honeymoon suites at Sable Mountain Lodge are lovely rooms, with open fronts that look out over a wonderful view of the forest. Each has an enormous bed beneath mosquito netting, some comfortable armchairs, a writing desk and some hanging space for your clothes.
Grass mats and rugs cover the floors and African materials decorate the walls and mosquito nets
These rooms have electricity 24 hours a day, though there are no sockets for re-charging batteries. For this you need to use the power points at reception.
The en-suite bathroom in the honeymoon suite at Sable Mountain Lodge is partially under thatch with one side completely open, extending out to the open-air shower. The shower has a large double seat in its deep base which will be filled up with hot water for when you return from safari – perfect for a relaxing soak.
The stone-and-thatch bungalows at Sable Mountain Lodge are slightly more basic than the tented rooms – but generally pretty ugly. On the positive side, they are reasonably spacious, comfortable and very cool inside – which is important given the lack of any fan in the rooms.
They each have sturdy beds under mosquito netting, a few chairs to lounge in during the heat of the day, and a simple rail is used for hanging space for clothes.
These stone cottages have electricity 24 hours a day, though there are no sockets for re-charging batteries. For this you need to use the power points at reception.
All the stone cottages have simple en suite bathrooms – with a sink, a proper flush toilet and a hot shower. Sable Mountain have set quite large stones into the corner areas of the bathroom floor, and decorated them with clumps of dried flowers, to try and add a touch of character to an otherwise drab room. It's original and entertaining, but anyone with design sensibilities should consider themselves as pre-warned about Sable Mountain Lodge …
The tented rooms at Sable Mountain Lodge are spacious and light, with their own balcony affording lovely views over the forest. Though the rooms are quite simple in style they are comfortable, with grass mats covering the floors, a rail for hanging your clothes and a sturdy bed under mosquito netting.
The balconies have comfortable wicker chairs with cushions on the seat and back – making it a lovely peaceful place to sit and enjoy a wonderful view.
None of the bedrooms at Sable Mountain Lodge have either fans or air-conditioning in them. However, they do have 24-hour electricity, albeit without any sockets in the rooms for re-charging batteries. For this you need to use the power points at reception.
The bathrooms are en-suite and situated at the back of the tented rooms at Sable Mountain. You pass through a door into an open plan bathroom with stone floors and palm-thatched walls and roof. The bathrooms are simple, yet pleasant: with a flushing toilet, a wash basin and a hot-and-cold shower. Toiletries are not provided.
Other lodges in Selous Game Reserve
Alternative places to stay in this same area.