Reviews of Somalisa Camp
Wildlife sightings and reviews
33 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Somalisa Camp and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"Somalisa Camp [11-2019]"
Facilities: Located in an isolated area of the Huangwe park, you can fully emerge into the bush feeling you are looking for (no cell phone connection or WIFI). You have a nice overview on the surrounding plains both from your tent and the central area. The central area has a small pool and a nicely arranged shaded area overviewing the water hole where you can relax during lunch break. Very nice rooms with comfortable bed and both an indoor and outdoor shower, as well a stylish copper bath tub.
Service: Excellent food and drinks, attentive service. After being ripped open by baboons while we were away (fortunately, they just made a bit of a mess and obviously slept on the bed, but didn’t steal anything), the fly-net surrounding our tent was repaired immediately. We visited three camps from African Bush Camps during our trip. What sets these camps apart from other sites we have visited before: The common rule is that dinners are taken at a large table together with camp manager + one staff member. Thereby, you interact both more with other guests, as well as get to talk with local Zimbabwe guys enabling lots of interesting conversation.
Experience: Excellent location within Hwange park giving a representative feeling of its nature and animals. You will meet only few other vehicles during your game drive (due to Somalisa Camp having its own concession area and a limited numbers of visitors in the vast area of Huangwe). Huangwe is basically the most eastern part of the Kalahari desert therefore being unaible to sustain large numbers of permanent game. This was overcome early by drilling (now half solar/half diesel generator driven) artificial waterholes which provide the necessary waterholes to sustain abundant wild life. Unfortunately, the impact of the 2019 drought in combination with an overpopulation of elephants in the park were clearly visible as we saw a number of very thin and regularly also dead elephants, as well as many destroyed trees/bushes where even the roots were digged out. Our guide was Bee. Special sightings: Elephants (of course), Lion pack (descendants of Cecil) with several cubs playing around and one time gathering to go hunting in the evening (unfortunately it got dark and we had to stop following). Cheetah mother + son seen twice. Abundant roan antilope (rarely seen on other trips so far). Spring hares, african wild cat and nightjars during night drives. Numerous smaller and also larger birds (secretary bird, grounded and other hornbills, Kori bustard…)
Overall: Luxury bush-feeling camp with a limited number of the opportunity for great game drive experiences. Excellent camp management by Roland (always joyful and observant camp manager)." See all these reviews: 9n in Zimbabwe
"Luxury, tented camp in great location."
The staff were friendly and food good, with an interesting take on 'do it yourself' wood fired pizzas and stir fries (you choose the ingredients and it is cooked for you). The camp supports local charitable initiatives and has a craft shop which profits the charity.
The guiding was excellent, especially if you ask the guides to show you everything, not just big cats.
Somalisa did seem to attract a different clientele from Hwange Bush Camp and Amalinda - older and more conservative and content to be drive around looking just for big cats; they missed out on a lot." See all these reviews: 11n in Zimbabwe
The tents are very spacious with seating area, desk space and large bathroom and very large balcony with sofa, chairs and table and hammock. We were in tent 4 which is the nearest to the water hole, so we were able to watch the animals there as well as the comings and goings.
The food was excellent with a little DIY for stir fry and pizza. Breakfast by the fire was also great. Another bonus was the 5.30 delivery of a pot of coffee with our wake up call.
Game viewing was good - so many elephants swell as Cecil's daughters and grandchildren." See all these reviews: 13n in Zimbabwe
"Somalisa Camp review"
Staff very keen on providing best experience." See all these reviews: 8n in Zimbabwe
"Large camp luxury"
The facilities are obviously outstanding - luxury tents, copper baths, a wood burner(!) in tent, plus small pool and high quality furnishings in private and public areas. Staff were delightful (a feature of all three African Bush Camps we visited) and guides excellent in quality vehicles. If this is what you like then you will not be disappointed!
What surprised us, however, was how close the sister camp of Somalisa Acacia was i.e right on top of it, enabling it to act as a single entity for large groups. Our tent #7 looked onto the back of Acacia and was certainly less than 100m from it. We dropped the curtains to give us a sense of privacy. This was no intimate Bush experience, and was therefore not for us. Other tents had more privacy but it is still a sizeable complex." See all these reviews: 9n in Zimbabwe
"Fabulous property and experience"
Exercise awareness of where the elephant are if you decide to use your private outdoor shower. Having your shower interrupted by an elephant is funny now but it required quick thinking and reaction - quite exciting at the time.
Extensive wildlife sighting notes will be emailed." See all these reviews: 3n in Botswana; 3n in Zimbabwe; 2n in Zambia; 1n in South Africa
""Home Sweet Home" Somalisa"
Bee also found the previously elusive Secretary Birds and a pack of Wild Dogs for me to photograph, and we enjoyed a half dozen close-up sightings of Sable Antelope and two Lion prides.
My tent (No. 1) was the one farthest from the reception/dining area, so it seemed like a pretty long walk back there late at night. However, during the day I liked being far removed from the crowd, and each afternoon I enjoyed sitting out on my back deck "alone" with the Elephants, Kudus and Zebras as they paraded by (oblivious to me) on their way for a drink at the Somalisa waterhole.
The food, as during my previous stay, was very good and there were many new and quite interesting additions to the menu. One evening at dinnertime we were given a very special treat when members of the staff performed a short program of traditional songs and dances for us. Outstanding!" See all these reviews: 11n in Zimbabwe; 10n in Zambia; 7n in Malawi
"Over the top"
"5 star rooms, great guides, food just ok"
Our guide Calvet was one of the best guides we have ever had.
The staff were kind and Dophus, the camp's host was very good.
The only minus point was the food. We don't go on safari for great food so it was not a big issue. Overall food was ok but not great (trifle for example was not a trifle, vegetables served quite raw) but the worst was that at lunch time especially there was not enough food. We had a wonderful pizza but only a tiny salad to share between 7. The next day I asked for more salads and they did not seem to like that.
Asides from that we had a wonderful experience and would consider the camp again" See all these reviews: 5n in Zimbabwe
"Amazing sightings at somalisa"
Our guide Lewis was excellent, very keen to find things and enthusiastic. When he told us that we would walk up to 4 young cheetah, I think that the honeymoon couple thought that they had misheard him!
A lion kill outside camp, failed lion stalks, eles galore and lots of birds to boot. A fabulous start to the trip." See all these reviews: 14n in Zimbabwe
Holiday styles & special interests in Zimbabwe
From birdwatching breaks to walking holidays, find great ideas for your trip in Zimbabwe.
Other lodges in Hwange National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.