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“Swala is an outstanding camp!” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Sanctuary Swala

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Sanctuary Swala
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4.5 of 5 Cabin/Campground   |   P.O. Box 427 | Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
220 reviews 220 reviews
113 hotel reviews
Reviews in 113 cities Reviews in 113 cities
193 helpful votes 193 helpful votes
“Swala is an outstanding camp!”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 4, 2012

Swala is an outstanding camp! Liz and Garth were the most gracious hosts imaginable. They were there to greet new arrivals, oversaw each of the meals, and were somehow always handy to answer questions, provide information or assistance, etc. The meals were served on the outside dining area overlooking the water hole which was always busy with zebras, elephants and impalas.

Service by the staff was impeccable. The "tents" are a step above the ordinary tented camps, with wood floors, concrete bathrooms (including and inside AND outside (shielded) shower. Swala camp is top-tier! On our safari we stayed at the normal “tented camps” and then two nights at Swala - a “luxury tented camp”. Swala was easily the highlight of our safari! You won’t find a better safari camp experience than this.

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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119 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    4.5 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 (21)
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Contributor
18 reviews 18 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 2, 2012

While Swala is typical of many upscale tented safari camps in Africa (solid floor, good bed, hot and cold water, electricity, etc, etc), it has one very important bonus; namely, the only water hole in the vicinity. This means a huge variety of animals come to drink. In two evenings we saw lion, many elephant, giraffe, impala, water buck and many others. Swala also has the advantage of being in the Tarangire National Park. Tarangire has almost as much wildlife as the more popular Ngorongoro Crater, but is much less crowded with vehicles and hence the viewing less hectic and more enjoyable. True, the roads are terrible, but then there are virtually everywhere else as well. It is a small price to pay for such a wonderful adventure.

An added bonus the staff and management are as pleasant and helpful as one could ever want. When we departed the camp I inadvertently left my camera battery charger in the tent. This would have been a disaster. We were already about half an hour drive away from the camp when Garth (who manages the camp with Liz) came roaring up behind us, and handed over the charger. Now that is Service above and beyond the call of duty!

Oh yes, we also highly recommend the hot air balloon excursion in Tarnagire , which can be arranged by the camp. We have done hot air ballooning in many places, but Africa is the best, because you skim low over the animals and can see an amazing amount.

Room Tip: All rooms/tents are well located, but Number 12 is furthest away from the dining/administrative cent...
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  • Stayed September 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 Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 21, 2012 via mobile

Can't say enough about Swala. Staff was fantastic. Food wonderful. Rooms elegant and comfortable. And there is considerable wildlife viewing right from your dinner table. Remarkable place. We loved it.

  • Stayed August 2012
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Los Angeles, California
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 26, 2012

Everything about this camp was stellar from management (Liz & Garthe) to the staff to our guide (Sammy). The amount of animals in the camp and at the nearby watering hole made the experience surreal at times. While having a meal, you could see almost every animal that you would on a game drive.

The food was top notch. Whether you are having meals at the camp or taking a picnic lunch, you were never left hungry or disappointed.

Our guide on game drives, Sammy, was amazing! He was very knowledgeable and could see things with a naked eye that took me a while to see with my binoculars. He was also personable, very easy to speak to, and worked hard to find any animal we wanted to see. They were the only camp with open vehicles in Tarangire that I noticed, and it made for a better experience than only having an open roof.

This camp was by far our favorite throughout our safari experience. They were always a step above the other places we stayed and I can not wait to return!

PS - we also stayed at The Manor by Lake Manyara/Ngorogoro Crater & Sayari in the northern Serengeti.

  • Stayed August 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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville
Senior Contributor
26 reviews 26 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2012

We stayed at Swala in July with our three sons ages 9, 11, 12. We had a great experience here with outstanding service from the owners and wait staff. Our children particularly loved the impalas, waterbuck, and monkeys which scampered throughout the camp and we all enjoyed watching the zebras come to the water hole in the evening. We missed the elephants, but apparently they came in the early afternoon while we were still on our game drive. Our boys loved the fact that we had guards at night around the camp to keep us from getting attacked by predators and I found this reassuring. I agree completely with the review below by Wanderlust as this person describes the camp in good detail. I would recommend this property highly as it is such a unique experience with a high level of service.

Room Tip: Any room looked good to me!
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  • Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
    • 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wausau, Wisconsin
Top Contributor
82 reviews 82 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 44 cities Reviews in 44 cities
56 helpful votes 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 4, 2012

We stayed here as part of an Abercrombie & Kent safari to Tanzania. Our tent was luxurious. Monkeys, impalas and more roamed outside our deck. Staff was super friendly and helpful. Dining on terrace was outstanding.

  • Stayed December 2011, 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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Ohio
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 4, 2012

We stayed at Swala Camp for two nights in March and were impressed with the level of service and comfort that one can find in the African bush. Situated on the west side of Gursi Swamp in the southwestern part of Tarangire NP, Swala is located in a remote and quiet section of the park where every tent and the main lodge have a panoramic view of the woodlands, savannah, enormous baobab trees, watering hole, monkeys, impalas, dik diks, and other wild creatures that come in and out of camp at will. Our daughter enjoyed the beautiful small swimming pool which overlooks the watering hole.

Husband and wife team Liz and Garth manage the camp very skillfully and took great care of us during our 2 night stay. Our Tent #8 was gorgeous - for hubby and me, 2 twin beds widely spaced (that can be joined) with an enormous elegant mosquito net thrown over both. Teen daughter had a third twin bed with a princess net. There was a writing desk with chair and two upholstered chairs, a lovely bathroom with double sinks, flushing toilet, indoor and outdoor showers, and lots of storage space. Lighting was very good. Our huge verandah with tables and chairs overlooked an open woodland filled with vervet monkeys and impala day and night.

The road to camp runs through a woodland that, in March, had tsetse flies (roll up the windows and you will be fine), and there were absolutely no flies in camp (or mosquitoes, for that matter). There is wifi and slow internet service and a lovely shop filled with jewelry and craft items made by local ladies.

Food was outstanding - as good as bush food can possibly be - lots of wine and outstanding service. All drinks and laundry are included in the cost. We sat in the open air dining room both nights with solicitous service from the staff and on the verandah for breakfast where the hornbills kept us entertained with their antics. For our day drive, the camp staff packed us an enormous picnic hamper filled with delicious food, beer and soda.

Perhaps the loveliest part of all was the sound of the wildness around us. We could hear lions at night. And the birdsong at sunrise of many different varieties of birds is a lasting memory from this beautiful place.

  • Stayed March 2012, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.
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Additional Information about Sanctuary Swala

Address: P.O. Box 427 | Arusha, Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Tarangire National Park
Amenities:
Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 21 Specialty Lodging in Tarangire National Park
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Sanctuary Swala 4.5*
Number of rooms: 12
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Sanctuary Swala is located in an exceptionally private section of Tarangire National Park, offering visitors a luxurious and very exclusive safari experience. The camp, which has twelve tents, has recently been completely rebuilt to the highest eco-friendly standards. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Sanctuary Swala Hotel Tarangire National Park

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