Reviews of Selous Impala Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Superb guiding at Selous
Impala camp is a comfortable,well run camp ,which excelled in terms of the quality of guiding - always our first priority.
The weather was hot and humid and the recent heavy rains had dispersed much of the larger game , which we had expected would be concentrated round isolated water holes .Neverthless there was a lot to see and it was magical to experience the greening up of the bush. It rained one morning and substantial raincoats were provided .(umbrellas also available in the tent if needed)
Our tent was comfortable and the access to plentiful hot water and electricity was very convenient .Toilet and shower areas were separated off from the wash basin area so providing maximum privacy.
We were in tent 6 ,very close to the river ,the shore of which was frequented by hippo ,elephant and water buffalo -often noisily in the night .The dawn chorus around 5 am was the loudest and most joyful we have experienced .
The land cruisers were extremely comfortable due to proper moulded seats (not benches) and we were fortunate to be the only passengers in our 4 night stay.This enabled us to go at our own pace and linger to watch interesting animal and bird behavior and not bore others with our interest in the myriad birds. (By the way the bird list booklet in our tent was very useful and much appreciated.
The boat safaris (one morning ,one evening and one en route back to the air strip ) were fascinating .Faidh our boatman made some great spots and Ezra explained how the african golden weaver builds its nest . We enjoyed the walking safari as an opportunity to stretch our legs and focus on the micro habitats.Red velvet mites emerging from the sand were everywhere once they had been pointed out to us!.
Ezra was an outstanding guide who shared his knowledge ,enthusiasm ,stories and sense of humour such that we learned a great deal and enjoyed ourselves hugely .His excitement when a radio newsflash announced a sighting of wild dog towards Lake Manze resulted in a dash to the scene in time to have good sightings.Manuel our driver was superb- coping with the wet and muddy potholes remarkably well. Many animals such as impala,giraffe and wart hogs had very tiny newborns .
While we were aware that dining at this camp involved separate seating arrangements ,the prevailing atmosphere was rather more european than African bush and we did miss the informality and camaraderie that is generated by
sharing meals with fellow travellers and guides.
There was only one incident of concern in an otherwise great stay. On our way back to our tent after lunch the first day we came across a huge hippo grazing to one side of our tent. Now we are always warned that hippos are dangerous and fast running so i heeded instructions to call for a Masai to come to our aid.This prooved fruitless so i tip toed round the back of my tent. When I reported the incident later we were told 'don't worry, its only Andrea our resident hippo who knows us'. That may well be so but I think its not wise to treat wild animals as harmless pets -even if they have never been known to 'misbehave'.
Selous Impala Camp review
We first went to Impala in 2009 and had excellent guiding. This time, because of the early rains predators and prey were not concentrated and as a consequence we experienced fewer sightings. We did not feel the guiding was quite as good this time and felt our guide did not engage with us as much as we would have wished during those times of sparse game viewing.
However, Impala is a fabulous camp, well run and in a great location, with excellent service.
An exciting safari at Impala Camp
We had a great time at Impala Camp with good sightings of game. The boat safaris were particularly enjoyable and the walking safari was very interesting thanks to Omari our excellent guide.
The camp was good, the only slight qualification being that our hut (and most others) have very limited views of the river due to vegetation growth. Great food and service but perhaps the seating on individual tables meant that the camp had a slightly less friendly atmosphere. Heavy rain fell on our last day and this would have made game viewing more difficult had we been staying longer.
Selous Impala Camp on foot, river boat or veh
The high professionalism of the staff & the ability to cater to all our needs made our stay in this camp first class. All the staff made every effort to make us feel special.
Our guide Dennis & our waiter David adapted themselves to our wildlife special interests and mealtime needs. Barbara and her camp managers organize the camp superbly in a very subtle way.
The camp strikes a balance between over luxurious and basic bush camp in a harmonious way.
Selous Impala Camp review
Barbara and her team were good hosts.
Very well set up camp built to a high standard. Restaurant and lounge at first floor level gave an airy atmosphere and good views over river. As with Lake Manze Camp, the location enabled us to alternate river trips with game drives. Hot water always available, which is important in the humid night climate here.
The in-camp service was excellent and we thought the food was very good.
Our guide, Andrew, was particularly good and the game seen was very varied. The off-road driving was quite an experience here.
Selous Impala Camp review
Great location. Champagne by the river on our arrival was a treat
Liked eating out in different areas of the camp at night, especially by the wood fire
Nice swimming pool
Good choice of activities
Especially enjoyed boat safaris and fishing trip. Interesting trip to local village
Gerrard was an excellent, well-informed guide, enthusiastic about his job and showed us lots of game and birds
There was nothing massively wrong with Selous Impala, but I didn't really warm to it. The rooms are nice, the managers were nice enough but it was rather hard not to compare it to Kwihala which has a much more friendly atmosphere. The separate dining policy is probably mostly to blame for this, and I was aware of this in advance and suspected it would be a negative but unfortunately this seems to be common at a lot of camps in Selous.
Our guide was also a bit disappointing. Although his knowledge was good if we asked specific questions, he didn't volunteer much in the way of information either about the wildlife or about where we were going and why. When we suddenly found ourselves crashing off road into a gully nearly having our eyes taken out by bushes, we had to ask why to find out it was because a leopard with cubs had been sighted there recently. He did also seem to drive a bit too fast for comfort on the very bumpy Selous roads, and seemed reluctant to switch the engine off whenever we stopped. Even if I'm not taking photographs, I'd still rather sit in peace listening to the sounds of the bush than to the engine idling. Again, Selous Impala just didn't measure up to Kwihala on the guiding.
Impala Camp at Selous
We were made to feel very welcome the moment our plane touched down at the airport - Pollycarp and Benjy greeted us and took us on a little detour game drive between the airport and the camp. In that short space of time, we saw many animals - giraffes, zebras, water buck, hippos, to name but a few.
The highlights of the camp for us were the following:
- Very knowledgeable guides (Omari and Rajabu) who followed paw prints of lions to bring us straight to the lions almost every day (days 2, 3, 4)
- The options available to us in game drives, boat safari and walking safari (we tried all - and loved the variety)
- The food cannot be faulted; each meal was perfection and the dessert always surprised!
The scenes that will stay in our minds are the hundreds of vultures waiting for the lions to have their fill of the prey, 2 lionesses devouring a wildebeest and one later walking about 200m to feed her cubs, and 6 lionesses devouring a wildebeest in 15 minutes (freshly caught, we had arrived 10-15mins after the kill). Herds of elephants just doing their own thing, and baby zebras, giraffes, baboons all added to the magic. Lions and hippos mating were also sights we won't forget!
However perhaps because of the period we were there, all the action was around the Lakes and we spent about an hour getting there every morning (and back). That seemed like a lot of time for a 4 day trip.
Selous Impala Camp review
An attractive camp on the Rufiji river, we loved our tent no 1 which was accessed by a rustic bridge and was surrounded by wildlife as it was on the edge of camp.
The boat trip on the first day ending with a surprise sun-downer was lovely, and we saw plenty of birdlife and bigger game such as elephant crossing the river. The rest of the time we had morning and evening game drives.Our guide Ezra and driver Victor were both very good and made sure we saw plenty of wildlife, though sadly not the leopard and cubs. We appreciated having the vehicle to ourselves, and one of the highlights was seeing the 6 brother lion pride.
The food was very good and we appreciated having our own table and the various dining areas especially the table on the last night which allowed us better views of genets and bush babies. Our hosts Barbara, Silvie and Francesca were helpful and attentive as were all the staff, especially Maasai Daudi who was usually our faithful escort after dark.
This part of Selous is green and attractive at this time of the year with the scent of Terminalia and yellow Cassia in bloom. We saw a huge variety of game and birdlife.
Fantastic Safari at Selous Impala Camp
Selous Impala Camp was a wonderful start to our holiday.
The raised tents were extremely comfortable and well kitted out and it was great to overlook the river and hear all the animal noises at night. The food was healthy, tasty and well varied. We were particularly pleased that the portions were on the small side in order to avoid waste. The service was faultless at all times and our guide Ezra was unbelievably knowledgeable about the reserve. The game drives and boat trips were rewarding, if sometimes a little too long.
Unlike other parks, the Selous is very quiet and it was quite common for us not to see another vehicle, or only one or two. The downside is that the game is sometimes harder to spot, though the peaceful atmosphere in the park more than made up for this. It was lovely to refresh ourselves in the pool in the afternoon! The camp is very well managed by Barbara and the other staff, who are always on hand to answer questions and deal with any problems.
To be honest we just couldn't find any faults with Impala Camp at all!