Reviews of Sand Rivers Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Five day stay
Accommodation and service was very good.
Ernest, our guide was excellent and went out of his way to make our stay so good, very knowledgeable and persevered in difficult conditions to find wildlife.
Unprecedented rains made game viewing difficult and challenging.
Our fly camping experience was very well organised and well worthwhile.
Tanzania in the ( very ) Wet Season
The camp has been built along the side of the Rufuji River and all the bandas as well as the central area with the dining room and swimming pool have a good view of the river. At the time of our visit the river was very full due to the exceptional rains that the area has had this season
The bandas are very private and well equipped with an enormous double bed with mosquito net and adequate storage for clothes. There is a comfortable sitting area looking out through some trees to the river and a good en suite bathroom with a 'water fall' shower. There was always plenty of hot water and the toiletries provide were lovely - made locally.
All the bandas are open to the surroundings and monkeys play in the trees around them - this was not a problem ( though could be if food is left out) and any adventurous monkey wishing to join us was easily deterred by a clap of the hands. It was great to sit and watch them leaping through the trees accompanied nay the sound of hippos in the background!!
The food was generally good though, occasionally, a little too spicy for our tastes. On a couple of occasions, when it was far too spicy for one member of our party, an omelette was provided without any problem.
Seating at meal times was in our travelling groups except on the evening of the barbecue where all guests sat at one table on the pool terrace. If we had a choice we would choose the larger group as it is good to chat with folk outside of our own party and to share experiences although there were other opportunities to talk before and after meals.
The game drives were interesting due to the unusual weather that had been experienced this season. Many of the tracks had been washed away or badly damaged but Ernest, our brilliant driver / guide , and the Land Rover coped well. Game spotting was particularly challenging as the grasses were high and the foliage thick but that made anything we saw even more rewarding..
We had visited this area before both in February and in September but this year it was like visiting a totally different place - it would probably have be a little disappointing for first timers.
The walk and the two river trips were good, interesting and added another dimension to our experiences.
The Selous is a game reserve and not a National Park which means that off roading is allowed and Ernest took advantage of that trying to find the elusive leopard. All his efforts were in vain but the experience was fantastic.
All the staff at Sands River were helpful and charming and could not be faulted. It was especially nice to meet up with some old friends whom we had met at other Nomad camps on earlier visits to Tanzania.
We would definitely return to Sand Rivers Camp
g Sand Rivers stay
Fabulous place. Attention to detail on every level - our suite was wonderful, the food great and the location stunning. The staff were friendly and helpful and had a huge knowledge of the wildlife. We packed a lot into our three days there.
We saw lots of animals at close quarters. We had an elephant visit our terrace at 1am on our final night. A little scary but he meant no harm and only damaged a couple of boulders!
Luxurious safari at Sand Rivers
We stayed 4 nights at Sand Rivers for our last lodge in Tanzania.
We had very good gamedrives even if we saw less animals than in Katavi. We saw lions, leopard, buffalos, giraffes, zebras, waterbucks, kudus, wildebeests.
The setting is great with a splendid view on the river. It was very good to be able to do boating trip as well as walking safari or a trip to the hotsprings.
We stayed in one of the hillside suites (no 1) which was very spacious and comfortable and had a great view down the river. We had a private pool which was really convenient for the hot hours of the day. The service and the food were very good. The main communal areas are lovely and comfortable.
A safari experience with 5 star accommodation
Accommodation is stunning. Food is excellent and worthy of some of the best restaurants we have visited throughout the world.
Location is spectacular and the option of the river trips gives the variety of experiences that some camps lack.
Fly camping is a must do experience - particularly on your wedding anniversary.
The only disappointment is the dearth of elephant in Selous - poaching has decimated the population and left those elephants that remain scared of human contact - such a shame for these noble beasts.
the grand finale
Sand Rivers had the least game and I would have been disappointed had that been our only camp. But we had seen so much in Ruaha and in the Crater that it was fine to focus on other things like the walking safaris, boat rides ( altho we could only go upriver, not down to Lake Manza) or relaxing at camp.
The pool was an important feature for the midday heat and there were fans in the common areas and above our beds.
It was a beautiful camp with impeccable service.
Sand Rivers Camp review
An interesting contrast with Lake Manze. The cost of staying at Sands River means that one is looking for very high standards throughout, so here gradings of Excellent might be expected.
Bearing this in mind, the food, we thought was far from exciting. Main courses were basically stews of fish or meat, the desserts often microscopic portions of, eg, flan. Moreover, for the main course, everything was dumped on the plate, where, at Lake Manze, at least the vegetables were served separately.
Again, excursions (although excellent in themselves) did not in one respect compare well with the much cheaper Lake Manze (see above). Here the guide was also the driver and we had to share the 4WD/boat with another couple, which reduces flexibility.
Expert Africa comments
The team at Sand Rivers were surprised to hear these comments regarding the quality of the food as they also received very good feedback from guests who were staying there at the same time. We too usually receive very positive feedback about the food at Sand Rivers. So we are sorry if their usually very high standards perhaps slipped a little on this instance - it is something that we will continue to monitor in the future.
The norm in southern Tanzania is for a single driver who is also a guide to take the game drives. There is sometimes an exception when guides are training up; in which case there will be a driver and a separate guide on the game drive. Equally game activities are shared with other guests at most camps, unless there happens to be a spare vehicle or a private vehicle is specifically requested.
It is possible to arrange for a private vehicle, however it is at an extra cost. Had we known that these guests wanted a private vehicle for their stay at Sand Rivers we would have arranged for one, and the team at Sand Rivers would have been happy to accommodate them. We're sorry that we didn't discuss this option with these travellers in more details before their trip.
Sand Rivers Camp - great boat safaris
Another very comfortable and luxurious camp - we'd certainly go there again if we were ever in the Selous again.
Particularly enjoyed the boat safaris when we saw a lot of bird life.
We had a great drive with Geoff (the manager) one morning - he was very good on birds and we were lucky enough to get a very good sighting of a rather rare bird.
Sand Rivers Camp review
A fabulous wilderness location set on a beautiful river. The banda had a great view and a plunge pool, most welcome! The game drives were somewhat limited especially with a driver/guide.
I have every confidence that the new management will make Sand Rivers Camp an absolute must in the future.
Out of this world lodge in stunning setting
What can we say about Sands Rivers, other than that it was perfect in every way! A breathtaking location overlooking the river, with hippos and crocs in the waters below. A beautiful lodge, tastefully decorated, with individual, luxurious open fronted safari cabins all with stunning river views. It was a joy waking up to that view every morning!
We also thoroughly enjoyed the range of activities available at Sand Rivers, with walking safaris, river safaris, fishing trips and more available alongside the classic game drive. There was less game here in comparison to the other camp we stayed in (Mdonya in Ruaha), but that didn't matter to us at all, and we still saw lots of animals and birdlife. Our guide here was excellent - his eagle-eyes and knowledge of the birdlife in the area was astonishing. Because of the lower levels of game though, we think our itinerary of staying in another, game heavy park first, followed by Sands River was a great combination.
The food and service at Sands River was excellent - first class every step of the way. The managers, Kate and Cameron, were also incredibly welcoming, professional and friendly, going out of their way to ensure guests enjoyed their stay.
We cant recommend this place highly enough - stay here and you won't be disappointed.