Reviews of Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp)
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
A Perfect Introduction to an African Safari
Siwandu was our first taste of being in Tanzania and in a safari camp and we loved it. The care and attention given to the guests by Ricus and Pietro and their staff, especially Alphonce (our personal waiter and language tutor!) were exceptional. Nothing was too much trouble.
The accommodation was amazing - clean and spacious - and the chef performed fantastic meals in what must have been difficult conditions, e.g., tropical heat and without modern equipment. A wonderful start to our Tanzanian adventure.
Great stay at Siwandu!
We had a wonderful 3 night stay at Siwandu that delivered exactly what we had hoped and more!
It was incredible to look up when having breakfast and see a couple of elephants who had suddenly appeared a few meters away! We had a wonderful warm welcome on arrival and were introduced to our host Emiel, our butler Mau and our lovely guide Mohammed. All the staff around the camp were very attentive and charming and we felt very well looked after. The chef proudly announced his dinner menu every night and made a lot of effort to accommodate my vegetarian daughter and on our last night there was a very entertaining procession as the staff followed chef through the tables singing and dancing as birthday cakes were delivered to two tables one of which was ours! Thank you Liz for passing on the info!
We did a walking safari one morning which was very interesting culminating in a fabulous bush breakfast that had arrived by boat and was laid out on the lake shore much to our surprise! I am very glad that we visited Siwandu first as originally I had planned to go to Ruaha first but had switched due to lack of availability. Siwandu is definitely more luxurious and although the guiding was very good, as the guide was also the driver, maybe another pair of eyes would have made the guiding even better as we were to discover in Ruaha. If I could I would award Siwandu 4.5 paws just because what we were to experience next was a notch above.
On the morning we left we had to hurry after breakfast as we were told the plane had arrived and wanted to take off half an hour early to make a second stop en route to Ruaha and so we had little time to explore the shop which is located in the main reception area (not south camp as in your notes!) and is well worth a visit with some lovely locally made items for sale. Also FYI there are hairdryers available for guest use!
Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp) review
Siwandu was awesome to say the least. The mishaps in Dar was quickly washed away and I realized Expert Africa were truly experts.
The majesty of the lake, the abundance of wildlike, the solitude, the vastness of the bush, and the sheer variety of things to see and do between walking, Range Rover, boat -- were sensational. Ricus and Pietro run a quality flawless operation -- the camp hums with precision. A 0630 wake-up with coffee is just that -- steaming coffee on my deck watching the baboons frolick at sunrise rendered me speechless.
The guides were all experts: split between walking, driving, and boating. Getting up close and personal by doing the morning walk is not to be missed: seeing a day-old giraffe with its mum or seeing two lions mating roaring, while seeing hyena cubs being weened in their shelter...all amazing. The room was spacious, the bed cosy, the toilet first world, the outside shower and hot water were magical.
However, as far as the food is concerned, you are more likely to die of a heart attack at Siwandu than you are at the hands of a wild beast........deep fried, oozing with mayo, bursting with cholesterol -- healthy eating was simply not in the cards.
Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp) review
Fantastic camp with amazing accommodation and staff very friendly, helpful and accommodating.
Daily plans well set out and great game drives and boat trips. Guides informative and accommodating. Really enjoyed our time there. Peaceful and relaxing.
Good stay at Siwandu
Very nice camp set up on the picturesque shores of a large lake. Boating activities provided a change from the typical game drives. Good game viewing. Good, knowledgeable guiding. Great "tent" on the lakeshore with game walking by.
Expected more elephants. The few that we saw were vehicle-shy.
Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp) review
The flight landing was like returning in a WWII spitfire, as the pilot had to adjust to miss a Giraffe on the runway. Then a trip to the camp arriving approx 1100 hrs. WOW the reception with music and singing, refreshing drink and then to the rooms. Total comfort in the bush. 5 star room with a butler.
Over the next few days we had splendid food by the chef at anytime of the day. Excellent safari trips, with a superb driver 'Walter'.
The best break we could have wished for. On the last morning we woke up to Elephants immediately outside our hut. Greg pictures.
We are now saving to do mount Kilimanjaro and the sister camp. If you ever only do on safari it has to be Siwandu
Wonderful stay in Siwandu Camp
Wonderful stay in Siwandu Camp
Siwandu Camp is real luxury in the bush. The camp itself is beautiful, the luxury tents are large, extraordinarily well furnished, cleaned several times a day, with two verandas and a superb view to the lake. The food is delicious, prepared and served by such a nice team. All the lunches and dinners we had there were exquisite, let alone the breakfasts served in the middle of the bush when you choose to make an early game drive.
The management is doing every effort to accommodate the guests’ needs … and do succeed in that matter. They manage to insufflate a nice atmosphere in the camp and between the guests.
The camp is really well situated in the middle of the game reserve, so that you’re never too far of the action when animals are spotted. They have several land rovers and several boats, so that you always can choose the activity you want to engage in.
Last but not least, they have wonderful guides-drivers. We’ve been lucky to be all the time with a guide named Allen, who spots and knows every animal, bird or snake of this game reserve and who taught us such a lot of things about them.
If I once have the opportunity to go back to the Selous Game Reserve, I will definitely choose to stay again in Siwandu.
Selous Safari Camp review
Luxury camp but modest guides and game viewing.Read more about the whole safari
Selous Safari Camp
Very comfortable. Grat location for camp. Tents fabulous. Staff exceptional.
Less of a wilderness experience so more of a very comfortable place to be based than an adventure.
Elephants and Giraffes Galore
Sorry for replying so late to email – once back we all got quickly involved in stressful jobs and projects and there was no time.
We all had a great time together and the safari trip was a really good bonding experience for the whole family. We are planning a photo book and will send you a link as soon as it is ready. However, with over 6,000 images taken by 3 cameras and 6 hours of video footage this will take some time to create.
Planning the trip
Your Services are outstanding and we appreciate your patience.
The camps were well chosen for their wildlife variety and different landscapes. The most striking was the difference between a National Park (Ruaha) and a Game Reserve (Selous) close to a hunting concession. While we saw a large number of animals in both camps, those in Selous – especially zebras and wildebeest – were running away as soon as they got to hear/see/smell the jeeps. We did not come as close to the animals as in the private game reserve in South Africa as drivers in the National Park are not permitted to leave the road to follow the animals. However, large herds of elephants, giraffes and zebras are quite close to the tracks and sometimes even the lions!
We recommend to inform any visitors to Selous that wild dogs are not to be seen during the dry months as they obviously live underground until the rain ‘flushes’ them out.
We were impressed how well all animals looked at both locations– clearly a sign of a balanced wildlife.
Guides and Drives
Guides in both camps were adequately knowledgeable – however less than what we had experienced in South Africa, where all local guides had a special degree which clearly made a difference in the information they provided.
In Selous we were disappointed that there was no additional driver, leaving the guide to drive the car while looking for wildlife. He did a great job driving in incredible difficult terrain though. Drives in Selous only start at 8:00 am – obviously to accommodate the foremost honeymooning guests – but we believe that the best time to see the game is shortly after sunrise. Selous’ late morning game drives were considered as negative by several well-experienced safari tourists we met in Ruaha. An earlier start could allow to visit more remote places.
The guided walking tours in both camps were outstanding. In Ruaha the river walk seeing hypos, crocodiles and huge flocks of birds was absolutely fantastic - to get so close to the animals yet staying safe. The landscape is overwhelming!
In Selous the walking tour guide was very good – we enjoyed the information and the subsequent surprise breakfast at the lake side.
We also recommend a boat trip on the lake in the morning, when hordes of elephants and giraffes visit the shores – great photo opportunities beyond the many hypos and crocs; however you need a really good telephoto lens for close-ups.
Food was above expectations at Ruaha – clearly Mrs. Fox’s recipes cooked on open fire are a legend. The settings of the dinner tables in the river bed close to an open fire are dreams come true.
In Selous, food was good too, however less experimental – breakfast was much better at Ruaha.
In Selous, unfortunately two members of the family caught a stomach bug – both believe it had to do with the drinking water provided from the lake. Our son-in-law was worst hit and could not go back to work for a week after his return.
Both camps were outstanding in their own way and clearly exclusive and clean.
Beds are very large and comfortable. Bathrooms are an experience in itself with smaller wildlife never being far away… However, closing the tents properly makes you feel very safe also at night. No mosquitos in September!
In Ruaha, the elephants visit the camp during day and night to feed on the fruits of the palm trees. Our daughter Jennifer had one looking into her bedroom – she froze for a good 15 minutes before the elephant moved on…
We were a bit surprised that in Ruaha there were no guards to be seen during day time, while at night we did not see a single guard carrying more than a light. In contrast, there were plenty of armed guards in Selous – the hypo trails go through the camp to the lake.
Service was very warm and polite and clearly staffs are making huge efforts at both camps to accommodate all your needs.
The laundry service is very helpful and good to point out to visitors struggling to fit your clothes within the 15 kilo permitted by the local airline.
Flights and luggage
It may be helpful to mention that we were not asked to add hand luggage (camera equipment) to the weight of the bags. However, you have to place hand luggage on your lap during the local flights – very cramped then.
We believe it is very important to make tourists more aware of the additional costs including the additional payments for the water provided on game drives. This can be a substantial sum to be added to the pre-paid expenses and should be
added to the quotation when planning the trip to avoid surprises. Tips are clearly expected – and almost as compulsory as on cruises.
Hotel accommodation Dar-Es-Salaam
Please make a note that the Asian restaurant at the Seacliff hotel was below standard. Service was extremely slow (35 minutes!) and the food was dreadful.