Reviews of Siwandu (Selous Safari Camp)
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Selous Safari Camp review
Very luxurious camp with excellent cuisine and attentive service that combined a holiday atmosphere with the opportunity to do essentially what you wanted when you wanted - game drive, river trip, escorted walks, fishing. The more open, drier landscape gave more and easier game viewing opportunities than the denser bush in Ruaha - not necessarily better, just different environments.
The area is more populous with safari operators than at Ruaha so you do not get the same feeling of isolation and hence be prepared to meet others when interesting opportunities are available e.g hunting dog sitings with the massed ranks of vehicles racing to the appropriate spot (the word is out folks!) but this does not necessarily detract from the overall experience.
We particularly enjoyed the boat trips with much birdlife in evidence and fishing for catfish being hemmed in by hippo on one side and crocs on the other with binoculars scanning constantly. Catfish cooked for dinner! No pressure here, you can lounge by the pool if you want or do the game thing just as you wish
Fantastic food at Selous and fantastic place
Really wonderful, food was excellent if not a little too much, river trips were great, guiding was great too, swimming pool a real treat.
Would have preferred to stay at the southern part of camp as the bar area so much nicer, but the pool situation is better in the north end. Rooms were glorious, cant fault the place. Walter our driver went out of his way to find a pack of wild dogs and we did, all 18 of them...
Selous Safari Camp Review
We had a fabulous time here from arrival to departure. Gerald and the team met us at the reception area and gave a comprehensive introduction to the camp, with each member of the team who would be looking after us introducing themselves in near perfect English. Mohammed and Omary who looked after our room and dining made sure we wanted for nothing. The attention to detail and service at this camp was excellent in all aspects.
The rooms were very comfortable and clean with sensational views onto the surrounding bush. Watching two hippos charge by the tent at 3pm was certainly confirmation we were in the wild!
The jeep and boat safari trips were excellent. Tea breaks and sundowners were always very welcommend after a couple of hours of activity.
The highlights for us included the early morning walking safari with Mtambo, who's calm attitude helped to calm the nerves! Seeing the wild dogs on foot is something we will treasure! Secondly we did a boat trip down the river which is not to be missed by bird watchers.
Our only suggestion to the camp was that they could have promoted the river trip as an option. For us it offered a real alternative to the main lake and it was only by chance that we requested to visit the river. Gerald did explain that this option is seasonal and based on the rains which is completely understandable, but we think that it could be promoted as a seasonal option.
Overall we had a fantastic time here and a perfect start to our honeymoon.
We only stayed one night so our opinion may be unreliable. We thought the way the staff were asked to introduce themselves on our arrival was a bit demeaning for them. Some were obviously uncomfortable with the process.
The guide on our river boat safari was not as god as we had met in previous camps.
Special safari experience at Selous Safari Ca
The excellent personal service was evident from the start of our visit. We liked being introduced to each of the staff and thought it was a really nice touch to be allocated a particular waiter and tent "butler" both of whom always addressed us by first name and had cheerful smiles and greetings when they brought the morning tea in bed (just what we needed !) or served meals. Everyone was extremely friendly and we appreciated the managers meeting us with cool towels after a drive and spending time chatting in the lounge before dinner. Although they must have heard the same accounts numerous times, they made you feel as though they were genuinely interested and cared if you experienced good viewings or not.
The game drives were very good and we were glad they used open sided land rovers which were nice and cool and gave excellent viewing although, of course, you have to put up with a bumpy ride as it's mostly off track. We were a little surprised that the guide also acted as the driver and wondered whether more game might have been spotted if the duties had been separated; however,the terrain is covered with trees and bush rather than open plain and the guide relied on his considerable experience to judge where the animals were likely to be. We were quite lucky to see a small group of wild dogs on our very first day.
We liked the opportunity of taking boat safaris on the lake - we're not great bird enthusiasts but were stunned by the sheer variety and number of bird species there. Lots of crocodiles and hippos too.
The accommodation was excellent, as were the communal areas. The meals were generally very good, particularly the lunches, and presentation was of a high standard. There was a good view of the lake from both our tent and the first floor dining room and nice to see the camp fire and candlelight in the evenings.
We did have a problem with tepid water in the shower but that was rectified once we mentioned it.
I think our only criticism was that we felt the prices of some items in the souvenir/gift shop were very high.
Selous Safari Camp was wonderful. I've already recommended it to some friends. Our guide was excellent and also fun to be with and the two young men allocated to look after us were charming and efficient. The Camp Managers were also great company and were as enthusiastic about what we had seen as we were.
Their attention to detail made our stay so special - being met from each drive with refreshing towels for our hands and faces and a drink; tea served each day prior to the afternoon drive with the chef's tea time offering of the day; the organisation of our 'sundowner' drinks which for those of us who like gin & tonic included proper glass glasses, ice & a slice of lemon along with the nibbles of the day; the quiet but definitely efficient Masai who accompanied us to and fro in the evenings.
We loved the bar and dining area as well and the meals were excellent. Only suggestion we would like to make is that they could give more thought to what teenagers will eat when they have families staying there, both our sons and the children of another family found the adult nature of the menu a little testing at times e.g. some very unusual soups.
We were so pleased to have visited Selous at a time when there were so many cubs/calfs/chicks to see. We saw an amazing array of animals. We want to go back!
A Great Camp
Jenny and her staff made our stay here a fantastic experience. The 'tent' was beautiful and very clean, with a glorious view. The food was really excellent (particularly the cold tomato soup!). There was a lot of game to see here and it was nice to be able to have an alternative lake 'safari' to the usual land game drives.
Our guide, Mashaka was well informed and had a good sense of humour. My only criticisms are that 8 oc. was rather late to start the morning game drive so it was very hot by the time we returned at nearly midday. The seating in the restaurant was at individual tables with our own 'butler' - which we enjoyed - although sometimes it may have been good to be able to join other guests at mealtimes - this of course depends on whether you want to dine with other guests! This is a matter of preference - sometimes it is nice to dine alone, other times it is good to chat with other guests.
Selous Safari Camp review
After staying at Lake Manze camp for 4 nights, our next camp here at Selous Safari was "posh"!! Electricty in the enormous tent, large shower and an up market feel to the whole camp.
Excellent service, the General Manager of the three camps was staying whilst we were there, so everything was very polished. The guides were very good and knowlegable and we had wonderful sightings again, of lion, leopard and very excitingly wild dogs.
The food was fantastic and served beautifully, we missed the long table of everyone together, as at Lake Manze, but this happened out under the full moon on our last nights stay. A super camp.
Selous Safari Camp review
Fabulous in every respectRead more about the whole safari
Excellent time at SSC
We were in the North Camp (ex Private Camp) which was lovely and seemed much better laid out than South Camp. We liked the way the decking for dining, bar, sitting area and pool were integrated. Our tent was beautiful and very comfortable though, again there was an issue with lack of privacy when on the loo. Unless you pulled the flaps down there is nowhere in the tent from which a person on the loo cannot be seen.
The outdoor shower was excellent with plenty of power and hot water. It was also nice to have hot water to the basins (only cold tap at Mdonya and Mwagusi) and the lotions and potions provided were very welcome and of excellent quality.
The pool was scrupulously clean and very welcome after a morning walk. The food was consistently excellent and drinks prices not unreasonable for this quality of camp. One couple were on a drinks included deal; Lana, the manager, said she was surprised more people didn't go for this as it was not expensive. The answer may be that nobody knows about it; Expert Africa never mentioned it to us and it's not even on the Camp's own website! What is on the website is the Camp's support for a local school and a request for guests to bring a few supplies if possible. We'd taken a few pens, pencils etc plus a football which were received with much appreciation.
Mashaka was determined to show his guests as many animals as possible and got nearly as excited as us at our second, unexpected, sighting of the wild dogs! He was less impressed by the rain one evening (not supposed to happen at this time of year).
We also had a very interesting walk led by Mtambo one morning and now know more than we could ever wish to about 'poo'!
An afternoon pootling about the lake on a boat was lovely and we saw lots of birds and dozens of crocs lus a lot of animals coming down to drink.
All the staff were excellent; Lana was a very friendly and bubbly hostess/manager who did a superb job, even willing to change dinner arrangements when her guests all decided they'd rather eat together than at separate tables. Alphonce was a superb butler with a beaming smile and Suliemon kept the tent immaculate. If necessary there is even a clothes repair service – minor items repaired by the room attendant, more major ones sent to the tailor in the local village who did an excellent job on Martin's shorts.
We'd love to go back, particularly when the rivers are in full flow.
Our one small criticism is that guests' activities for each day were arranged before the previous night's dinner in such a way that guests were fitted into the activities available not activities flexed to guests' wishes. For example during our transfer to Beho Beho Mashaka mentioned something he'd seen on a full-day game drive – the possibility of doing this had never been raised.