I would like to point out that I am solely commenting on the accommodation. I only spent one night at the camp (out of two booked), and had a very limited impression of the conservation efforts in the area.
The cottages in Hippo Pools Wilderness Camp are thatched roof stone buildings that are pretty old and haven't seen any work since. The thatch was in poor condition on the one we stayed in, so it was covered with a plastic foil which defeats the purpose - especially when it is all about nature. My biggest issue with this place is basically that I had asked to book two cottages, as we were three families with a total of 6 kids. The company insisted on putting us all into one. Not surprising if you check their pricing scheme - prices are per person, not per house. That way, more money is made by cramming.
The house, while it nominally had four bedrooms, only had one bathroom, which is rather tight for 10 people. The bedrooms were tiny, and although I had pointed out at booking that two families would have to sleep in them with their kids, they hardly fit one extra mattress on the floor in addition to the two single beds. At booking I had been promised that there would be plenty of space. At booking I was also promised that the rooms would be arranged in advance, with all the beds set up, but when we arrived nothing had been done and we had to do it ourselves. To make matters worse our bedroom had a window into the kitchen (?) so at night even the most careful movements in the kitchen woke up our baby, while the bedroom was lit up from the kitchen light. I had to wedge a seat cushion into the window to get some peace.
I did say I won't comment on conservation - but one thing needs to be mentioned. When you are into protecting the environment and offering eco tourism, why on earth do you have old-type light bulbs everywhere, happily burning through the generally rather scarce electricity in Zimbabwe, and especially in a remote place like this. Yes, in a perfect world I would have expected solar and LED, but at least use energy saving bulbs. . . .
Now I know that I shouldn't expect that much, there is always people saying that the tourism industry in Zimbabwe has it hard and it is expensive to run even basic places like this. Well, I have experienced different. Look at other reviews of mine for places in Zimbabwe, they include one National Parks authorities run place (and they are really cash strapped) and one private place. Both offer much better quality at much less in equally difficult circumstances.
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Hippo Pools Wilderness Camp is situated along the Mazowe River approximately 150km from Harare. Great for a weekend getaway. Our Safari Tents come with bunk beds and a fridge/freezer. We have a number of different size chalets, each with shower room and fully equipped kitchen. We also have wooden cabins and a large campsite. We offer various activities at the camp, namely horse riding, fishing, game walks, bird watching, swimming in our rock pool and our recent addition, river rafting. ... more less