Why Selous is the ultimate luxury safari destination

It had been six long years since I was last in the Selous, Southern Tanzania, when I was very spoilt and spent a glorious weekend at Beho Beho. Returning after so long was incredibly exciting and this wondrous game reserve blew all my expectations out of the water. Each lodge I visited had a unique location, atmosphere and all were quirky and individual – I’d happily say that these lodges really represent everything that is good and natural about luxury safaris. There are no vehicles here, no radios – the guides use tracks and listen to the surrounding bush when trying to locate wildlife. Walking safaris in the Selous take you through bush where cars have never been, and into remote areas which have previously been unexplored.  The landscape is hugely varied from savannah to rivers and doum palms. Lions roared loudly every single night, and although we never saw one there were leopard tracks everywhere – only adding to the excitement of being in such a remote and pristine area of Africa, possibly the last of it’s kind. The Selous captured my heart wholely and completely, and we had fantastic game viewing including huge herds of buffalo, elephant and lots of lions – each time we saw something it was just us and not a sound apart from the birds.

When visiting the Selous any of the below camps and lodges will wow you, but we also recommend combining them, since this takes you the length and breadth of the Selous with varying landscapes and very different experiences.

Siwandu Camp

This camp had become so popular as the former Selous Safari Camp that they had to change their name, since other people were setting up camps with similar names to try and steal clients! This camp is heaven – the main areas are rustic and charming, but the rooms are luxurious and chic. The food was exquisite and healthy, so you ate a lot and never felt sluggish. The staff were charismatic and friendly, this camp has a relaxed and warm atmosphere and laughter is always the main order of the day. It’s location on the lake shore ensures great game viewing from your room, and fantastic walking and boat safaris, as well as game drives.

Siwandu Camp

Amara

Amara has been shaped by managers Anita and Peter – it is Peter’s fantastic passion as a safari guide which has resulted in the guides at Amara being some of the best in Tanzania – the lodge is incredibly luxurious. It is in such a remote part of the Selous that the wildlife is a little shyer here, but that only adds to the feeling of being in a true wilderness. The walking here is exceptional, we even encountered a hippo setting off out of the river to graze which really got our hearts racing.

Amara Selous

Sand Rivers Selous

The famous Sand Rivers really does exceed expectations – there’s something magical about it’s location, which you cannot put your finger on. Obviously the staff, food and guides are the best in Tanzania, but it is the experience as a whole which leaves you feeling sentimental about this lodge – the smooth river flows beneath the lodge, full of hippo and crocodile with other game coming down to drink regularly – boat trips are a highlight, especially for sundowners on deserted beaches and a spot of (unsuccessful) fishing – returning to the lodge you could just make out the lanterns lit in a welcoming display in the open fronted sitting room, never had a sight been so inviting.

Sand Rivers Selous lion

Rose Hipwood is Managing Director of Africa Rose Travel Ltd.

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Comments (2)

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  1. Dave Miller says:

    Wow just absolutely stunning to see the picture of a luxury pool in the middle of an African desert. Hopefully some of that money is going to local conservation, it would be a sad day if we start losing more species such as the endangered Rhinos.

  2. Rose Hipwood says:

    Hi Dave – great to hear from you, you’ll be pleased to hear it’s these luxury lodges and camps which are the great conservationists – we wouldn’t work with them if they weren’t.

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