Reviews of Sand Rivers Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Luxury and variety at Sand Rivers
Stunning setting by the wide beautiful river. Our room was outstanding, huge comfy bed , fantastic bedroom, sitting area overlooking the vally and river seeing the hippo and crocs below and the birds in your garden. All open sided, but plenty of privacy and protection. You really felt part of the wild. High soaring ceiling with old wooden beams like some ancient open sided barn surrounded by a 7 foot wall at the back. Cool at night , plus efficient fan for days.The public area was right by the river again open sided to the river, comfortable sofa and chairs a generous open, help yourself bar, plenty of places to sit and relax, pretty pool round the corner again by the river.
lovely breakfasts and lunches, dinners a bit disappointing ( meat was a bit tough or tastless, particularly given the heat) but the baking was out standing, delicious cakes, bread and biscuits. As it seems everywhere on Safari the purpose of the cook seemed to be to feed you up when it came to his pastry. lovely.
Not as much as Ruaha, but there is an outstanding variety of ways of seeing it. The river trip in the morning up to the gorge resulted in all the major animal sightings including a baby panther ina narrow cave above the river. hoW the massai guide saw it I cannot imagine it was thrilling. Birds were everywhere, beeeaters, weavers in every colour masses of raptors and loads more on every drive.
Make sure you do the trip to the hot springs. Travel past lovely lakes full of spoonbills and storks, impala and baboons on the shore, hippos and crocs snoozing nearby.
The springs are yours alone to enjoy and the guides go out of their way to help you change discreetly and look after you getting in and out, its a heavenly experience and i would have stayed in the final pool all morning if allowed, it was like a film set.
We went walking which was exciting and learnt masses from our guide Peter who was a joy throughout our stay. We'd discuss what to do at tea each day and again review our time over drinks before dinner.
12 others here most of the time so although on your own during the day( maybe with one other couple) at meal times, especially dinner where you eat all together at various locations by the river there is plenty of chatter and opportunity for socialising with a great mix of people, simillarly fasinated by safari but interesting stories and lives too, a great mix
Could easily have stayed here a week.
Excellent guides very knowledgable, support lovely and helpful, new managers charming and friendly and clearly respected by the guides.
We had a perfect time and can imagine returning
Sand Rivers Camp review
We stayed in Suite 3, which used to be called the Rhino House, and it is absolutely superb. Sited a the far end of the camp, it's quite a walk but it really is worth it: we felt as if we were in our own private little corner of Africa.
Without exception, the camp staff were wonderful -very hospitable, friendly and helpful. Mike and Carol , the managers are new in post, this being their first month at Sand Rivers, but they were excellent hosts. Having been to Sand Rivers previously, our expectations were high and were exceeded: it felt more like a sharing the camp with friends than being "guests".
Our guide, Iyan, was superb, as was the variety of game that we saw, the highlight being wild dogs (fantastic!). Our time with Iyan was shared with other experienced "Africa hands" and he really listened to what we were interested in and tailored the game drives to the best opportunities for the things we wanted to see.
Going back to a camp we have previously enjoyed is always a risk: we know that teams change and the question is always "will it be as good as it was before?". In the case of Sand Rivers, the answer emphatically not just yes, but even better against a standard that was already exceptional.
Safari at Sand Rivers
We arrived with some other Expert Africa customers and were paired with them during our stay although we had very little in common. This would not have been a problem if the guide had decided on each days activities but he tended to ask the guests and as one of the other couple was significantly incapacitated we tended to go along with their suggestions.
Game was plentiful but it was difficult to get close as the animals were extremely skittish which we were told may have been caused by an increase in poaching.
Expert Africa comments
In this case, it seems that these travellers felt a little restricted by a situation in which they were ‘paired’ with the same two people for all their activities. In a case like this, we’d always advise our travellers to explain very clearly to their camp managers about anything that is upsetting them, or limiting their enjoyment of their safari.
In this case, sadly, they didn’t make the camp’s managers aware about this issue. This is a shame, as the managers would have worked hard to re-arrange the guests accordingly if they possibly could. They could have smoothly dealt with this without fuss by splitting up the two couples … but didn’t do this as they didn’t know about the issue.
See previous feedback on Sand Rivers
See previous [Ed: These travellers had two separate stays at Sand Rivers, either side of a 2-night fly-camp. See below for their comments on the camp.]]Read more about the whole safari
Great stay at Sand Rivers
A good balance with Beho Beho with different
terrain and the river bringing a new dimension .
Highlight was two nights fly camping.
Great service and friendly people ; charming new managers
who are working hard to make their mark .
Dedicated guide for the whole stay provided
a tailored programme . Good game viewing
especially lion .
First Night at Sand Rivers
After the overnight flight from the UK and a short flight out into the Selous, we received a warm welcome at Sand Rivers.
The camp is perched on the bank of the Rufiji River in a beautiful setting. We enjoyed an evening drive and a "sundowner" whilst watching a young elephant grazing peacefully amongst lush vegetation.
A good dinner and an early night in readiness for the walking safari to follow.
WHAT A PLACE!!!!!!!!!!
The accommodation at Sand Rivers has to be seen to be believed. The location looking out over the meandering Rufiji River is to die for.
As well as landrover and river safaris we did walking safaris with our children which just took an already brilliant experience to another level. Given where we were the food was frankly amazing. And as for our hosts Claus and Jill .......... I can't praise them enough, two wonderful, charming, knowledgable, delightful people.
Finally, at first I was not at all sure about the communal eating arrangements at dinner but it is the only way to do it!
Sand Rivers Camp review
Overall we were disappointed in Sand Rivers. The food and service were both very good; however, the rooms were not as well maintained as they should have been. For example, the mosquito nets had holes in them, the pillows were old, lumpy, and flat, and our toilet seat was very loose and shifted every time we sat on it. The "door" to our bathroom was broken and seat and throw cushions were stained with monkey feces. The rooms are designed to be very open concept so it is virtually impossible to prevent monkeys from accessing the rooms; however, simply wiping down the cushions after a monkey invasion is insufficient and unsanitary.
Most disappointing was the guide. Although our guide was very knowledgeable and enthusiastic, his guiding philosophy was diametrically opposed to ours. We prefer to observe wildlife, without interfering or stressing out the animals. Our guide seemed to feel his role was to get us the best photo, even if that meant driving off road and literally chasing down animals. In one instance, his enthusiasm for a close-up resulted in a very unsafe encounter with an angry mother elephant. As I said, our guide was very knowledgeable but he lacked adequate respect for the environment, the animals, and the safety of guests.
Expert Africa comments
We have sent our travelers’ feedback to the Sand Rivers management who are, understandably, very disappointed to receive such negative comments as this is very rare for Sand Rivers. The MD of the company that owns Sand Rivers, John, responded personally to this feedback, commenting on each issue individually.
He told us that “The mosquito nets are being replaced across the whole lodge as part of the refurbishment for the beginning of June 2010, as are cushions, linen etc. We have a tailor in camp and if any holes appear in nets, they are usually stitched up the same day”
He also commented that “stained cushions are usually washed in the laundry; the managers try to deal with issues like this very quickly if they are made aware of them.”
We do think that it’s worth any travellers noting that the chalets at Sand Rivers are open-fronted; it is not unusual to have wildlife getting in. The camp is working with the Selous Game Reserve management to find a way of resolving the monkey issue.
Our travellers’ comments about the poor guiding here was very worrying. The MD, John, said: “We pride ourselves on our high standard of guiding and what these travellers describe is at total odds with our philosophy. It is very tempting for a guide to get that little bit closer to game in order to please his guests but a good guide should know when is close - and when is too close, both for the game and for the guests. I am personally looking into this issue with this particular guide and will ensure that this area is particularly covered in detail for our annual Guide Training in April/May 2010 this year.”
Way, way beyond our wildest expectations.......
We had the top Guide, Masaa, which made the whole experiance a sensation.
Lynn and Steve, being the perfect hosts, made he whole experience run like clockwork
Nature and luxury at Sand Rivers Camp
What a wonderful balance of laid-back luxury and game viewing. We had a superb guide who kept conjuring up lions and elephants - amongst much other game.
Highlights included a walking safari where we came (reasonably) close to a herd of elephants; a beautiful boat trip amongst crocodiles and hippos; and a stunning game drive amidst giraffes and a host of storks and weaver birds.
Menatime the hospitality and food here was second to none.