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“Paradise” 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
Richland, Washington
Top Contributor
79 reviews 79 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
86 helpful votes 86 helpful votes
“Paradise”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed December 15, 2012

Swala was the highlight of my trip to Tanzania. It was total luxury. Gorgeous tents with every possible amenity. Service where every need is fulfilled and then some. Lovely dining saw Impalas, waterbucks, elephants wander the grounds. Liz and Garth do a great job! I would love to repeat this once in a lifetime experience.

  • Stayed November 2012, traveled on business
    • 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.
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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)
Date | Rating
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English first
New Braunfels, Texas
Top Contributor
165 reviews 165 reviews
62 hotel reviews
Reviews in 95 cities Reviews in 95 cities
128 helpful votes 128 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 27, 2012

Swala Camp was our home for 2 nights on this 14 day tour of Kenya and Tanzania. By the time, we arrived here, we were ready to really relax and it was perfect to relax in such an incredible place. We spent our entire day in the small hut by the pool, out of the sun and invisible to the animals and birds that came up to the watering hole and to the pool to drink and bathe (the birds). Liz and Garth and the staff made sure we enjoyed ourselves and brought us Pina Coladas, African style, to the pool while we took the opportunity to photograph the most beautiful birds and the monkeys less than 20 feet away. I had already photographed every mammal in Kenya and Tanzania so birds were next on the list. Our tent was number 11 and was one of the furtherest away from the central camp and very private. We had a large deck and a huge tree growing out of the deck which shaded our tent. We enjoyed the food especially breakfast and lunch. The staff was outstanding and very friendly and laundry was included in the rate. For those going for the first time, the staff, all male, will launder shirts, pants, socks etc, but ladies underwear you'll need to do yourself and just hang in your tent discreetly to dry. We came here in early November after the first rain and the grasses were greening up. Some of the animals had most likely moved on to other areas but we had plenty to see, leopards in trees, elephants, zebras, wildebeest at the watering hole. I would highly recommend early Spring to enjoy Tarangire. Thanks to Liz and Garth for a remarkable stay.

Room Tip: we liked number 11 or 12 but it's a longer walk to the common dining and pool area
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  • Stayed November 2012, traveled with friends
    • 4 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.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Swala, responded to this review, December 4, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post this comprehensive review regarding your recent stay with us at Sanctuary Swala.

It was nice to read your review, and we are happy to know that overall you had an enjoyable stay with us. We do appreciate your positive remarks about Liz,Garth and the rest of the team,the food, the laundry service as well as our "African style Pina Coladas"

We are delighted that you appreciated our services and had such an enjoyable stay with us. We look forward to welcoming you back one day soon.

Warm regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Oakville, Canada
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
12 helpful votes 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed November 18, 2012

We completely enjoyed our stay at Swala Camp. The tent was beautiful. Loved the choice of indoor or outdoor shower in your own tent. Each tent offers total privacy. The service was impeccable. The food was very good. We loved the camp fires before dinner which provided an opportunity to meet other travellers. The watering hole that is visible from the camp lounge or pool was a huge bonus as it offered a nonstop parade of animals to watch. Garth and Liz (who manage the camp) are very passionate about Tanzania, the animals and the environment. They are very hands on managers and always available to guests. I would highly recommend Swala Camp.

  • Stayed October 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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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
SanctuaryRetreats_2, Manager at Sanctuary Swala, responded to this review, November 28, 2012
Dear Guest,

Thank you for taking the time to post this review on Tripadvisor. We are delighted that you enjoyed your stay with us and for your kind comments regarding the beautiful tent, impeccable service, food and our passionate camp managers Garth and Liz.

We are honoured that you highly recommend our property and look forward to welcoming you back to Sanctuary Swala in the near future.

Warm regards
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Weybridge
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
47 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
39 helpful votes 39 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 31, 2012

I was absolutely blown away with my stay at Sanctuary Swala - we stayed for 2 nights here towards the end of October, so right at the very end of the dry season.

At this time of year, the game viewing was just awesome. Literally every time you rounded a bend in the road, you were met with herds of elephants, zebra, wildebeest - we were also lucky enough to see lion (and we heard them roaring both nights) and cheetah, although the leopard remained elusive as ever! The reason for the excellent game viewing is because of the Tarangire River that runs through the Park, which, during the dry season, is the lifeblood for the wildlife. Come again after the rains, however, and we were told the game will NOT be as concentrated/reliant on the permanent water supply, so it will be more dispersed across the Park, making it harder to spot/find. Aside from the game as well, the Park is one of the most attractive I have ever seen - including baobab trees that are just immense!

The camp itself is lovely. You are greeted with a warm welcome and a much needed refreshing face towel, to wipe away the Tarangire dust! The main area overlooks a waterhole, and again, in October, the claim that the waterhole is well-frequented is not a lie. Elephant, zebra, lion, antelope all visited there during our stay, and you can see the waterhole from not only the main areas, but also from your own private deck outside your room/tent - in fact, we sat on our deck on our last morning and watched zebra and antelope go to drink, then a small herd of 5 elephants wandered up to join in the fun.

The tents are comfortable and pretty spacious, with an en-suite bathroom area (his and hers sinks), a separate toilet and a separate shower area (hot water available all the time). After sunset, because the camp is not fenced in, you wave your torch to attract the attention of your guard, who will then escort you to and from the main areas.

All drinks are included in the rates, and they are not shy in offering to refresh your pre-dinner drinks around the boma fire, or to top up your wine glass when you are seated in the dining area, or offer you a post-dinner liqueur. The food was very good indeed, absolutely no complaints at all.

We took a picnic lunch out on our full day there, and this was exceptional - lunch was a salad and cold meat, served in a wooden bowl/platter, rather than the brown cardboard picnic boxes that seem to be favoured by every other camp - so you really felt special!

The only downside is in the approach to the camp, where you drive through some wooded areas, which are home to what feels like a million tsetse flies, which if let into the vehicle will persistently buzz around you and try to bite. A firm swat away is effective for about 2 seconds. Lots of insect repellent is advised!

Tsetsee flies aside, would I recommend this camp? Yes, without a shadow of doubt.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled on business
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 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.
London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

Going camping in Africa for a honeymoon sounded risky however my wife was over the moon with joy when we arrived at Swala. This is 5 star camping. Great food, service and accommodation. Thank you Liz and Garth for making it a really special experience.

Room Tip: Take strong insect repellent as there are some annoying flies near the camp however they do not actu...
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  • Stayed October 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.
Portland, Oregon
Top Contributor
220 reviews 220 reviews
113 hotel reviews
Reviews in 113 cities Reviews in 113 cities
194 helpful votes 194 helpful votes
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
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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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