Reviews of Somalisa Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Great location and guiding at Somalisa
This is a difficult camp to review because our experience is coloured by specific circumstances. We found ourselves on arrival the only guests (except one other long stay guest) at the camp who were not travel trade representatives on familiarisation trips. In itself this may not seem a problem but it significantly altered the dynamic and experience.
In addition from the second of 3 days the owner of African Bushcamps was there with some friends, this is no criticism of him because he was charming and helpful, however it felt like we were intruding on a private party. The staff seemed aware of the issue and did their best to make us feel comfortable. However some service was a little erratic, if you are asked if you would like tea with your wake up call it would be nice if it arrived. We only got this on the last morning and then we hi-jacked someone elses. I would comment that there appeared to be a lack of management oversight and attention to detail.
Now the positives: The accommodation is very good quality and the food good. Tent 5 which we had is perhaps a little close to the kitchen but not a major issue. The staff are very friendly and do their best to ensure that all is well.
The guiding was excellent and a very knowledgeable guide in Louis made all of the trips a great experience. Once again there was the opportunity to walk which was very welcome and I would recommend it as an alternative to spending hours sat on a safari vehicle.
Somalisa Camp review
Best guide of the trip. Albert had immense knowledge. Masses of elephants, amazingly close. Could have spent the whole time here on the deck watching them at the waterhole.
Camp has recently been upgraded and it is amazing, however the food was a big disappointment. No choice and poorly cooked.
Somalisa Camp review
This was an incredible place.
We arrived mid afternoon and Dophos gave us a very good arrival brief and then showed us to our tent which was spectacular. Due to the time of year we were there we had hot water bottles and a log fire in the room every night. Any washing we needed doing was done the same day.
Our guide, Lewis, was amazing. His knowledge of the area and wildlife is second to none. On the day of our wedding anniversary he arranged a surprise for us at one of the sun downer stop offs, we had a beautiful cake and champagne as the sun set. It certainly will be an anniversary we will never forget.
All of the staff were very friendly and always on hand for any questions we had.
A Great Safari Experience
The staff & the food were excellent. The accommodation is amazing. It renders the description "Tent" completely inadequate.
We saw abundant & varied wildlife especially around the waterholes and, if you like Elephants, then this is the place to be.
There is a waterhole less than 100yds from the camp with a constant stream of Elephants coming down for a mud bath and a plunge pool 10ft away were all the Elephants come to drink!
A special thanks must go to our guide Calvet, who was simply superb.
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