Darn Good Digs Review - Editors' Choice
Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania: Selous River Camp
Nominated By: John Strain, Chippenham, UK, September '11
Price Range: US$65-$125 (full board, per person) # of Rooms: 6 Kid-Friendly: Yes (but wild animals are all around)
What makes the Selous River Camp so Darn Good? I'll never forget the excitement of being awakened at night by a stampeding elephant or a whooping hyena while staying in a mud hut overlooking a river full of hippos! Not only this, but the entire camp is run so efficiently. Meals were punctual (and delicious) and the safaris were well organized, with good vehicles and extremely knowledgeable guides and drivers.
Vibe: Selous River camp was one of the most friendly, personal, and relaxing places I've ever stayed. The owners spent time really getting to know the guests, and the staff was friendly and efficient without being formal. We enjoyed relaxing in the evenings with the other guests sharing stories about the day's safari.
Location: Selous River Camp is surrounded by dense scrub on the banks of the Rufiji River by the Mtemere Gate, just outside the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania. Declared a United Nations World Heritage Site in 1982, the Selous is home to the world's largest population of African wild dogs, the continent's highest concentration of hippos, and more than half of Tanzania's elephants. This fabulous game reserve is both the largest and oldest protected area in Africa, yet during our stay it felt largely undiscovered. From Dar es Salaam, Selous River Camp is a short flight, five hours by 4-wheel drive, or eight plus hours by bus.
Rooms: The camp has three lodging options: mud huts, canvas tents, and a campsite. The mud huts, all with lovely four-poster beds handmade from local tree branches and en-suite bathrooms with showers (some cold), have private terraces overlooking the river. Those opting to stay in the rest camp sleep in canvas tents decked out with local rope beds, safari chairs, and palm leaf mats, while visitors who bring their own tents may camp in the shady campsite.
Food: Meals at Selous River Camp are excellent, and the chefs were happy to cater to our vegetarian diets. For breakfast, we enjoyed fresh fruit, toast with marmalade and peanut butter, and eggs cooked to order. Lunch is served at camp or packed into the Land River for a Safari picnic. You just can't beat eating quiche and salad whilst wildebeests, giraffes, and zebras look on! The camp serves a three course dinner at its lovely restaurant cum bar/lounge alongside the river.
Keep in Mind: Wild animals sometimes enter the camp, particularly at night, but we felt quite safe, especially with the armed guards stationed around camp. The camp is very dark at night, so don't forget your torch!