Reviews of Somalisa Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Tented camp in the Hwange bush
Service at the camp was excellent, the staff were exceptionally approachable and they have really thought about how to make guests comfortable e.g. hot water bottles and ponchos for morning game drives.
We saw a great range of wildlife with our guide David who was excellent and shared a wealth of information with us about the animals including tracks, diet, food chain, habitat and other 'evidence' of their presence - his enthusiasm was infectious.
The food was excellent and incorporated traditional dishes and regional produce - we absolutely loved the braai on our first night and the opportunity to try sadza porridge.
The tents are comfortable however the shower part of the tent only has a gauze roof however so you are exposed to the wind/temperature (on our second night the wind was very strong so showering was too uncomfortable and our toiletries were blown across the room). The rooms do not have hot water on tap so you have to book your shower slot. Similarly breakfast is taken outside and the main tent is not overly wind proof so warm layers are definitely required for early morning and evening.
Excellent first time safari at Somalisa
The staff at this camp very friendly and welcoming, especially Evonne, the Manager. My guide Michel, was very friendly and incredibly knowledgeable. The rest of the camp staff were also friendly and tried to meet your every need.
The camp itself had a lovely old word charm about it along with an informal feel where the staff were more than happy to get you a drink but you were also encouraged to get your own in no one was about.
The room here was a lovely, characterful tented form of accommodation with a private open air bathroom that on occasion the elephants did help themselves to the soap. The area in which the camp was situated also supported large amounts of game so plenty of game viewing close to camp was available.
Somalisa Camp review
Yvonne could not have been more helpful. Michael Padiwa, the guide, was the best.He was enthusiastic and extremely knowledgeable
Food and drink was top notch.
I expected to swim in the pool there but the swimming pool has been taken over by the ellies!
Your information sheet mentions walks and hides at Somalisa. Not the case.
A real experience of life in the bush....
We very much enjoyed the remote location of Somalisa Camp in Hwange NP and have great memories of watching animals at the water-hole and in the vicinity of the camp, as well as during our safari drives into the vast area of Hwange. On so many occasions we enjoyed drinking our morning coffee or having sun-downer drinks with wonderful elephants in close attendance and our guide Mike always seemed to know just the right place to find them - or baboons- or zebra - or ostriches.
Visitors during the winter months need to be well-prepared for cold overnight temperatures, in contrast with warm sunshine during the day, especially when out in safari vehicles early morning or after dark. However at the camp itself the warm log-fire is very cheering and the hot porridge provided for breakfast is most welcome. Beds are comfortable (and included hot-water bottles) but showering arrangements need improvement. Food is good and plentiful and a very congenial atmosphere prevails at meal-times, particularly in the evenings
Somalisa Camp has seen better days
Our driver Victor from Victoria Falls Tour Link was great in getting us through the Police road blocks between Victoria Falls and Main Camp at Hwange National Park. I can not say the same for the men that picked us up from African Bush Camps Somalisa Camp. We were stuffed into the back seat of an old land rover, windows only partially working, with part of our luggage. The two camp employees had the front seats fully extended backwards so that we had less leg room than on an airplane. The employees proceeded to chat and regale one another for the two hours of the trip. We finally had to interupt and request a stop to get out of the car and stretch our legs.
Upon arriving at Somalisa we were warmly greeted by Shane, Johnny, Sandra, and Nick. We never saw Johnny or Nick again, and Sandra left the next day; so although Shane took excellent care of us they seemed to be short handed. That being said, for two days all the guests in camp toured in one safari vehicle, seven of us, a bit crowded to say the least. Obviously there was not other driver/guide for us in camp.
The safari drives had a limited area to roam in and they tended to be repetitive, the same waterholes morning and evening. Michael was really into tracking lions and wasn't too interested in stopping for us to photograph other animals.
On the morning of our departure, about halfway into our two hour return to Main Camp our safari vehicle broke down. After about a half hour a vehicle from another camp came by and offered to help with repairs. After another half hour a supply truck from our camp came by an took us on to the pick up point. Break downs can happen anywhere. I think the age and run down condition of the vehicles at Somalisa camp was a major contributing factor.
There is a bright spot. On our final evening Shane had organized a lamp-lite dinner on the deck beside the pool and in the full moon elephants came and drank from the pool as we were sitting there, truly magic. Well done Shane!!!
Somalisa Camp review
Our first camp ever, nice people and quality tents.Read more about the whole safari
Somalisa Camp review
The camp was a great experience.
Excellent staff and guides. The elephants drinking y the pool in the afternoon and right before dinner was a very unique experience. Once we got used to scheduling the hot water for the overhead bucket shower, it was great.
Somalisa Camp Review
A few ragged edges did not serious distract from what was a very enjoyable stay.
Excellent and friendly upper echelon staff. Mike was a brilliant guide. All were very accommodating.
Hwange Park is a bit challenged for wildlife due to limited water. Consequently, the park might not be the best choice for a first visit to Africa. Unless one wants a bush camp experience as opposed to the more usual lodges. Then, it's excellent.
Very peaceful, too. You can design what you do to get all the rest you want.
We're definitely planning on go back fairly soon.
Somalisa Camp review
We stayed at the smaller, Somalisa Acacia camp which backs onto the larger, original site. We were given the family room which had two bedrooms and two bathrooms. Wonderful beds and duvets, and bathrobes were provided but out of four nights, we had no water (except a dribble) for two nights and hot water on only one of the other two nights.
Food would have been given a "good" score but the kitchen was at the main site so the hot food was warm at best and the sorbet was a puddle. I understand that a new kitchen for Somalisa Acacia is planned. However, the recipes were good and Smart, our chef, passed one on to me which I plan to make and serve to my family - hot!
Whilst the huge herds of elephant and buffalo are incredible to see around Somalisa, the driving is limited in area so the same waterholes were driven to on a repetitive basis.
So So Somalisa
Somalisa Acacia is a new addition to the main camp and we were lucky to have it to ourselves along with the Baileys. This made for a very private experience. However it is some distance from the main camp kitchen which has its own problems. Food was often luke warm and service was somewhat slow. We were looked after by Betha who we feel requires more training. Dudley was good guide but as he was also camp manager his duties meant he had no time to recharge himself between game drives.
The brand new tents were excellent but our bathroom area needed further screening for complete privacy. The wasbasin and wc could be seen from the mess tent. This was mentioned to Dudley but was not resolved during our stay.
It was great to see huge herds of elephant, buffalo and zebra. Big cat viewing was limited to one brief and distant sighting at dusk. As the concession is quite small the game drives were routine and repetitive. Not much guiding was required.