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 review"
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." See all these reviews: 5n in Zimbabwe; 1n in Zambia
"Somalisa Camp Review"
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." See all these reviews: 5n in Zimbabwe
"Somalisa Camp review"
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." See all these reviews: 9n in Zimbabwe; 1n in South Africa
"So So Somalisa"
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." See all these reviews: 12n in Zimbabwe
"First stop - Somalisa Camp"
The tent was comfortable and clean but a little short on storage space for clothes etc. We were consistently unable to get hot water from the shower and wash basin.
House-keeping service was good at all times. Our laundry was completed quickly and efficiently; washing powder was provided for guests to wash their own underwear. General organisation was a bit haphazard and we were never quite sure where we were supposed to be and at what time or who was in overall charge. This wasn't helped by the fact that rather than the six tents we had expected, there were in fact ten, with two separate dining areas and we were never sure which one to go to.
Food was generally excellent with good vegetarian options. There was always plenty of fruit and vegetables.
The only activity available was game - driving within a fairly limited area and we would have liked to walk. We found that the guides were predominantly interested in finding the big cats which, it must be said, were few and far between. There was very little attempt to spot and identify birds and rather too much time was spent driving at speed to possible cat sightings only to find the cats had moved on!
We asked if we could visit the Painted Dog Conservation Centre, having seen at its conception in 2002; we had noticed it on our way to Somalisa and Dudley arranged for us to visit on the way back to Victoria Falls. It was a thrill to see it in operation and to learn that over 6000 children had stayed there since it opened in 2003." See all these reviews: 10n in Zimbabwe
"Great for elephants."
For 3 days we had to ask at least twice for the water for our shower even though we had agreed a time; so service didn't overimpress.
We were also unlucky I suppose with game given that we were there for 4 nights and saw no hyena, leopard, rhino, only 1 solitary lioness and only cheetah on our transfer back to V Falls.
There seems to be no flexibility in activities. Every day it's just the same old game drives round the same roads at the same times. Compared to our other camps and previous safaris we were not hugely impressed with the quality of guiding although the 2 guides we had were both knowledgeable and pleasant." See all these reviews: 18n in Namibia; 6n in Zimbabwe
Beks regrets that these travellers’ visit coincided with the period of fires that disrupted the camp’s normal operations. However, the fires are now out, the wildlife has settled and the camp operations have returned to normal.
With regards to the tents – the only difference between the two tents is that Somalisa Acacia’s wash basin and showers are plumbed (because the camp caters mainly for families and groups), whereas Somalisa Camp has bucket showers and unplumbed wash basins.
"Somalisa Camp review"
The camp manager/host (I'm not sure what her job title was as she didn't tell us) seemed more interested in entertaining/reminiscing with the (almost) resident wild dog researcher than her paying guests. She was certainly very responsive to demanding Americans, but for us laid back Brits, she did not do much. In fact, whilst broken in a Land Cruiser down at the side of the road, she continued transporting her guests back to camp, without so much as a hint of concern about our situation." See all these reviews: 12n in Zimbabwe
Our guide was very knowledgeable and we had the opportunity to learn a lot about african flora and fauna.
Hwange National Park is definitively worth a visit." See all these reviews: 12n in Zimbabwe
"Somalisa Camp review"
"Amazing bushcamp in the wild"
It is a bit of a long drive from Livingstone, but the drive was made very pleasant by Sevious (from Silver Tours) who is a very friendly and open person and by the end of the trip we were friends - we were happy when he showed up to pick us up on our way back as well. He easily agreed to stop and visit the Painted Dog Conservation Centre near the park gate, which is by the way a very interesting project and really worth a visit if you are in the area.
Back to Somalisa: we were picked up from main camp by Raimond and Mike who took us for a drive and a picnic lunch near a waterhole. We were impressed by their friendly attitude and knowledge. We liked their philosophy of watching without disturbing the animals.
The welcome to the camp, where we met Dudley and Nic and the rest of the staff, was great and we loved it immediately. It is beautifully designed with a "bush feel" in a remote area but you have all the facilities you need. Our tent had beautiful furniture and a fun open bathroom with a bucket shower.
After a quick shower we walked back to the main area and were astonished to find an elephant drinking from the pool less a few meters away from the deck! He kept drinking while keeping an eye on us. The interesting story is that there is also a waterhole in front of the camp, but elephant like the clean water from the pool better!
Sitting on the deck you can watch elephants, baboons, zebra, giraffe.....amazing!
Because it was still a bit too hot for us we did a walk every morning and a drive in the afternoon (but they are flexible and you could stay out all day if you wanted to).
The great thing about this camp (and I am told in Zimbabwe in general) is that the guide acts also as a scout (armed) which allows you to stop the car and get off and walk whenever you wish for as long as you wish. For example during one drive we were so lucky as to find not one but four rhinos grazing near a waterhole. Raimond and Mike asked us if we were up for a closer look on foot and we jumped at the chance. This was the first time we saw rhinos in the wild and it was amazing. We walked checking the wind and hid behind a bush, very close to them. They did not see us and we had a great chance of taking good pictures but most of all a great memory to take back home.
All our walks and drive were great and we saw a huge number of animals. Once we walked very near to a herd of Kudus and everybosy back at camp was surprised we could get that close as they are normally skittish. We watched a huge elephant bull digging for minerals and stayed for a while enjoying the way he broke the soil with a foot and then used his trunk. He then turned around to show us how big he was before slowing walking away. We learnt to recognize the smell of a bull in musth as he followed a female herd. There are thousands of elephants in the park and we never got tired of watching them. We learnt that zebras in Hwange are slightly different as they have a brownish shadow between black and white stripes.
I need to keep this "reasonably short" so I cannot describe everything we saw, but the experience was great!
We deeply enjoyed the atmosphere at the camp including the meals with the giudes, we never stop talking! You can tell they are all bound togheter and friends and work in perfect harmony. It was a pleasure to have the chance to meet all of them and were sorry to leave. We will never forget our days at Somalisa.
We wish we could keep this hidden gem for ourselves only, but it would be unfair....so we reccomend to go there and enjoy the experience!
Finally we would like to mention that we felt perfectly at easy in Zimbabwe, everything ran smoothly for us, we met all friendly people and we think they deserve a growing number of tourists to visit as this may help the local people and the economy." See all these reviews: 9n in Zambia; 5n in Zimbabwe
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