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“A real feeling of Africa” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Somalisa Camp

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Somalisa Camp
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Hwange National Park, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe   |  
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Bedfordshire, England
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
“A real feeling of Africa”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 26, 2013

Quite simply, if you are fortunate enough to have an opportunity to go to Somalisa - do! The camp is about 50km from Hwange main camp and you really do feel very close to nature - and in the case of elephants who visit the camp, you are! Our guides, Mike and Calvet, were wonderful, not only just because of their knowledge of the wildlife but also the wonderful insights they provided into life in Africa.
The camp was very well run and all the staff were invariably friendly and really helpful. On the Acacia side (there are two parts to the camp), Sandra, Dolphas and Macbeth made our stay a truly wonderful experience. How such great meals were prepared remains a mystery. The elephants in Hwange are legendary and they didn't disappoint. We were also fortunate enough to see leopard, lions, crocodile, hippo, zebra, giraffe, oryx and sable to name just some, plus innumerable beautiful birds including the southern yellow-billed hornbill which seemed to be on almost every perch. And, as icing on the cake, we saw two painted dogs.
In June it does get cold at night, so be prepared; but this makes having porridge beside a blazing campfire a great way to start the day!

Room Tip: All the tents are great, on the Acacia side they all have a good view of the water hole.
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  • Stayed June 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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87 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (19)
Date | Rating
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English first
Whipsnade, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
34 reviews 34 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 9, 2013

Big night skies lit up with a million stars, comfy tents, elephants wandering around camp, charming staff, great trackers with a deep well of knowledge, lion, leopard, zebras, birds, the mysterious pangolin, a sense of space and isolation, simple, understated luxury, good food, faultless courtesy, enthusiasm and professionalism, good company over blazing Acacia wood fires after nightfall, all in the beating heart of Africa. What more can you want?

It's not the Kruger or the Serengeti. But Hwange has a rugged, semi-desert beauty that sets it apart from the all-too-frequently over-hyped, over-priced lodges and camps which have spawned across Africa.

Flying in on the company's Cessna206 from Victoria Falls into the newly-constructed airstrip (just over an hour) is fun - especially if you're a pilot. (Just watch the big Acacia on the centre-line just before the numbers). Flying over the African bush gives you a sense of freedom quite unlike anything you'd experience in Europe or the USA.

Of course you don't have to do anything when you get there. Just being there, surrounded by so much and yet so little is enough.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Oslo, Norway
Top Contributor
69 reviews 69 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 41 cities Reviews in 41 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013

The Somalisa camp gives you a closeness to nature that is hard to describe. When two elephants come in around dinnertime to drink water from the pool (which is sweeter than the water in the waterhole) and you are standing 6 feet away watching then that is an experience for a lifetime! We saw lots of animals and our guide Mike was a star attraction all by himself! What he doesn't know about things in Hwange isn't worth knowing. The people who run the camp are both very nice and very professional so you are always being taken care of! The tents are nicely furnished and though they have bucket showers that just gives you a little more bush feeling. For a Norwegian it was a pleasant surprise that the assistant manager was a Swedish girl on a 6 month training course. I wish I could have that kind of training.....

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
5 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2013

4 days at this extremely well run camp was a highlight of our trip. Very attentive staff, great chef, and luxurious tents that were attended to in the perfect way. Hwange, of course, is the ultimate safari destination, the birding is first class also. Having elephants in camp, drinking from the pool every night, certainly enhanced the experience. African Bush Camps can be proud of this camp, a unique experience.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Salt Lake City, Utah, United States
Top Contributor
113 reviews 113 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 53 cities Reviews in 53 cities
51 helpful votes 51 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2013

My partner and I were at Somalisa for 4 days. The location is excellent by a watering hole and the elephant viewing superb. Our hosts, Alex & Karen, were unbelievably helpful and excited about what they had to offer. Our guide Doug was the best on our entire trip.

Driving in we saw that a pride of lions had just taken down a giraffe. We spent the next three days sitting with and watching the pride feed. It was an up close and personal time with this pride as we got to see the habits of each, the pecking order and the personalities come out over time. We did tour the park, too and saw amazing amounts of wildlife. The number of elephants in our camp was unbelievable. Our swimming pool was unusable, because it was the dry season and the elephants came from miles to drink. When they drained their trough, they started in on the pool. The pumps couldn't keep up with the herds. We didn't mind. Being 3 feet from these beautiful beasts as they drank was worth it!

Our tents were beautiful, large and airy. The baths were open air, behind the tents and they used the "bucket shower" technique. We asked for hot water and they brought it to us, pouring it into a suspended canvas bag with a shower head. At times an elephant would strop by, looking down over the fence to watch us bathe. Enchanting!

The food and drink were also world class. every meal was well appointed and served with a flair. I hope to go back!

Room Tip: All the tents are great!
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Oslo, Norway
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 12 cities Reviews in 12 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 22, 2013

We recently took 7 New Zealanders who were out in Africa for our wedding on safari in Zimbabwe and they fell in love with Somalisa Acacia. Alex and his team were incredible – so attentive that the service could not be faulted in any way. The food was just magical – it is really amazing what the team can whip up in the middle of nowhere (we informed them that we had a birthday late one evening and the next day there was a chocolate cake for breakfast). The setting is just beautiful and the tents are absolute luxury. Our highlight was Raymond, the most knowledgeable game ranger I have ever met who impressed our team no end. And of course our interactions with the very special Hwange elephants – such a privilege to get so close to these wild animals. Thank you to the team for an out of this world experience – we will be back!

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
22 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
33 helpful votes 33 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 20, 2013

What a great experience! At first, we thought it was a little too rustic, but it turned out to be a wonderful place to explore Hwange National Park, come together with nature...and watch elephants drink water right from the pool 5 meters away from you! Can't ask for more???

The guides were very competent and the camp was very well run.

We stayed 3 nights and loved the place! Thanks Tammy and Andre for making our stay so wonderful.

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Somalisa Camp

Address: Hwange National Park, Hwange National Park, Zimbabwe
Phone Number:
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Hwange National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 14 Specialty Lodging in Hwange National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A small intimate tented camp tucked away subtly under a canopy of an acacia tree island on an ancient river system. This unbeatable wild elephant sanctuary is known for its large herds of elephant and the Somalisa concession in Hwange National Park affords you with your private African wildlife encounters from the minute you step out of your tent.Somalisa having only 12 beds has been designed as an environmentally low impact camp giving you a barefoot luxury experience with understated elegance. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Somalisa Camp Hotel Hwange National Park

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