Somalisa Acacia: Our full report
Somalisa Acacia is a luxury, family-focused camp set in a private concession, deep in the heart of Zimbabwe's ...... Hwange National Park. With two family rooms and no age restrictions for children, it's a very convenient option within the park for families with younger children.
Somalisa Acacia is the sister property of Somalisa Camp, with both properties backing onto each other. The two are nearly identical in terms of construction, style and location, and if you were to walk between them you could easily be forgiven for thinking they were the same property. Yet both are run completely separately, each with its own kitchen, main area, camp managers and guides. The main difference comes down to atmosphere, with Somalisa Acacia being much more welcoming to families, especially with younger children.
Somalisa Acacia has just four tented rooms, two of them designed for families:
- The two standard doubles are identical to those at Somalisa Camp, their solid wooden frames supporting the walls and roof of stretched sail canvas. Floor-to-ceiling gauze sliding doors make the most of the views, while letting in a cooling breeze and keeping insects out. Inside, the rooms – with a king-size bed or twins – are well appointed, with a cast-iron safe and traditional-style wood burner for colder nights adding an old-world character to an otherwise modern design. The en-suite bathrooms are equally well thought out, with twin basins, a large copper bath, separate shower and toilet, and an additional outdoor shower.
- The two large family tents are formed from two en-suite tents linked by a short corridor. The master bedroom is the same as the standard double tents, with all the same features. In the second bedroom, which is a little smaller and is made up as a twin, the most noticeable difference is the lack of an outdoor shower. The family tents are also the closest to the main area so that guests and children don’t need to walk as far through the bush.
The main area at Somalisa Acacia is open-sided, in order to take full advantage of the small waterhole in front of camp, and the frequent procession of buffalo, elephant, giraffe and even lion that come to drink here. Along with a smart open-plan lounge/dining area and a well-stocked bar, there’s also a small swimming pool here, perfect for cooling off in the hotter months of September and October. There is no curio shop at Acacia but it is only a short walk across to Somalisa Camp where you can browse through a surprisingly large range of clothes and souvenirs.
Families with children are assigned dedicated ‘child specialists’ to help look after and entertain them. These specialists offer childminding services and will often entertain younger family members in the middle of the day during siesta by making lunch (pizzas seem to be a favourite) or playing games, providing an often welcome break for parents.
Otherwise, activities from Somalisa Acacia are exactly the same as from Somalisa Camp – walking safaris and game drives – with highly qualified Zimbabwe professional guides. The guides themselves often switch between the two properties, but you will have a dedicated guide throughout your stay.
While game drives on the Somalisa concession and into the wider national park areas are accessible to all ages, walking in the national park is restricted to children aged 16 and over, as large animals are often approached on foot during such activities. For children under 16, nature walks around the camp give them the chance to learn about the smaller species in the bush, and to recognise different tracks and spoor.
Somalisa Acacia is both luxurious and immaculately designed. It works very well for a comfortable stay in the middle of the bush for all ages, and we're delighted to see a camp in the area that specifically caters to families.
Country manager: Zimbabwe
- Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
- Ideal length of stay
- A three- or four-night stay at Somalisa Acacia is ideal for most visitors, and this combines well with a stay in Victoria Falls town. Some visitors combine Somalisa Acacia with one or more of its sister camps, which include Nyamatusi Mahogany in Mana Pools, Bumi Hills Safari Lodge in Matusadona or Linyanti Tented Camp and Khwai Tented Camp in Botswana.
- Somalisa Acacia can be reached by road from Victoria Falls. This fairly economical option takes about 3½ hours: 90 minutes on tarred road followed by about two hours on a game drive vehicle through Hwange National Park (though the second part of the journey may take longer, depending on what you see on route). Alternatively, fly into the nearby Manga airstrip, and then it's about a 30-minute game drive transfer to the camp.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- On our last visit to Somalisa Acacia in November 2017 we didn't have time to stop for a meal, but we would anticipate excellent food along similar lines to that at Somalisa Camp. That said, because Acacia is designed to be family friendly we would expect there to be a degree of flexibility in the menu and mealtimes.
Typically, menus at Somalisa Camp run along the following lines:
Breakfast will be the usual choice of cereals with fresh fruit and a selection of seeds, porridge with fruit compote, toast, muffins, cold meats and cheeses. A cooked breakfast including eggs, bacon and sausage is also available, cooked to order.
Served after your morning activity, lunch is usually a two-course set menu, perhaps something like chicken kebabs with tzatziki, marinated olives, roasted vegetables, couscous, roasted butter beans, green salad and freshly baked bread, followed by Eton mess.
Dinner is usually three courses. At Somalisa Camp we have enjoyed a starter of spicy butternut soup, followed by a perfectly cooked beef fillet on butternut purée and courgette rosti, served with butternut and potato crisps or salad. Dessert was a delicious pink grapefruit soufflé.
- Family holidays
- With no age limit, child-friendly activities and private vehicles for families, the atmosphere at Somalisa Acacia is relaxed and family friendly making it a perfect destination for a family safari in Zimbabwe – especially for those who still want a touch of luxury.
- See ideas for Family holidays
- Wildlife safaris
- Somalisa Acacia is in a wildlife rich area, with healthy populations of elephant, buffalo and lion. These and other species can be seen on walks and drives, as well as at the waterhole in front of camp, making for a varied wildlife safari in Zimbabwe.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Private villas & houses
- Acacia is a standalone satellite camp to the adjacent Somalisa Camp. It is totally self-sufficient with separate guides and staff making it a great choice for families or groups looking for some privacy and flexibility.
- See ideas for Private villas & houses
- Somalisa Acacia offers world-class accommodation and service whilst managing to retain an authentic bush-feel. Spacious tents with rustic-looking décor feature wood panelling and copper bathtubs.
- See ideas for Luxury
- Attitude towards children
- Somalisa Acacia does not have any age restrictions in camp, and is very welcoming towards families with children of all ages.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- Short nature walks around the vicinity of the camp are an interesting and engaging option for children under 16, who may not take part in the usual walking safaris.
- Highchairs and cots can be provided with advanced notice.
- Generally recommended for children
- Somalisa Acacia is one of the few camps in Hwange National Park to cater specifically towards families, and is one of the best options for children in the park. Although the camp doesn't have any specific age limits, activities are focussed very much on safari, and there is often large game within close proximity to the camp. Because of this we would only recommend Somalisa Acacia for children over the age of seven.
- Somalisa Acacia is an open safari camp, deep in the bush, with dangerous big animals often passing through. The swimming pool in the camp is also unfenced. Children must be under parental supervision at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Somalisa Acacia
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Somalisa Acacia have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- The camp is run entirely on solar power farmed from impressively sized solar panels – the biggest of its kind seen at a safari camp. There is a back-up generator for the very rare occasions where this doesn't provide enough power. A strip of multi-national plug sockets is provided in each tent for charging batteries.
- There is no cellphone signal or WiFi at Somalisa, but the camp can communicate by satellite phone in case of emergency.
- TV & radio
- No facilities available.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Water from the borehole is filtered multiple times, and provides clean and fresh tasting drinking water.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a basic first-aid kit on site with both managers and guides trained to use it. The nearest doctor is in Hwange Town, about two hours' drive away. A medical air rescue service (MARS) covering Hwange is available in the event of serious illness/injury.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guests are accompanied to and from their tents after dark by a guide. Air horns are provided in each room to attract attention in case of emergency.
- Fire safety
- There is a fire extinguisher outside both the kitchen and each tent.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A complimentary laundry service is included, although for cultural reasons, women's underwear isn't accepted. Washing powder is provided for guests who wish to do hand wash these, and any delicate items, themselves.
- Each tent has a large safe in which to lock valuables.
- Accepted payment on location
- The camp accepts Visa and Mastercard, as well as cash payments in US dollars, British pounds and South African rand.
Other lodges in Hwange National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.