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“Great food, great staff, great accommodations, great game viewing”
Review of Somalisa Camp

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Somalisa Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 25, 2011

Highly recommend this wonderful opportunity for safari. Somalisa is a gem of a location.

  • Stayed: August 2011, traveled with family
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2  Thank smith1958
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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198 - 204 of 237 reviews

Reviewed August 12, 2011

Somalisa was the first of six stops my friend and I made on a recent four week vacation in Africa. It was my first trip to Africa and Somalisa was a glorious introduction to safari camps. Other reviewers have said just about everything there is to say about Somalisa so I won’t repeat the many superlatives. Suffice to say that I agree that it is a truly fantastic camp.

Don’t let the rusticity put you off. The accommodation is very comfortable and the meals, afternoon tea and snacks while on safari are great. Plus the staff will do anything possible to make your stay enjoyable; such as placing two hot water bottles under the dinner table for my friend to warm her cold feet.

Two of the most noteworthy aspects of Somalisa are the elephants and the staff. Sitting on the deck only a few meters away from wild elephants drinking from the pool was an experience that is next to impossible to describe. It’s magical. My photos will give you a very good idea about just how close you are to the elephants. By the way, the pool is refilled regularly.

The staff is, without exception, incredible. All of the camps we subsequently visited were excellent in various ways. But only at Somalisa did we feel such a strong sense of camaraderie between both staff and guests. It felt like we were all long-term friends rather than simply guests at a camp. It was lovely experience!

TIP: If you go in June, July or August, take clothing that can be layered – including a hat and gloves – as it can be cold in the early morning and at night. By mid-morning the temperature is very comfortable and you will want to remove layers of clothing.

  • Stayed: July 2011, traveled with friends
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6  Thank mid-age-traveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 30, 2011

Our family spent 3 nights at this fantastic safari camp. Our guide Mike was absolutely fabulous, very knowledgable & great fun. Staff are without fault, food is top class & wildlife viewing is amazing. The ellies are every where, but we had great sightings of 4 of the big 5, no crowds.
We felt completely safe for the whole 3 weeks we were in Zimbabwe.

  • Stayed: July 2011
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6  Thank ZIMREVIEWS
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 27, 2011

Our family of three stayed in the camp for three nights booked through South Africa Airline vacation. The camp is a couple hour drives away from the main camp. The staffs were very friendly and attentive. Our guide Mike was one of the best ones we have had for Safari. We have been in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa for safari. The experience in Hwange is unique that we felt less like tourists, more like a family. We really enjoyed dinner with staff every night.

  • Stayed: March 2011, traveled with family
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3  Thank Meiland77
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed May 18, 2011

In a nutshell: we loved Somalisa in every aspect.

It is a bit of a long drive from Livingstone, but the drive was made very pleasant by Sevious (from Silver Tours) who is a very friendly and open person and by the end of the trip we were friends - we were happy when he showed up to pick us up on our way back as well. He easily agreed to stop and visit the Painted Dog Conservation Centre near the park gate, which is by the way a very interesting project and really worth a visit if you are in the area.

Back to Somalisa: we were picked up from main camp by Raimond and Mike who took us for a drive and a picnic lunch near a waterhole. We were impressed by their friendly attitude and knowledge. We liked their philosophy of watching without disturbing the animals.

The welcome to the camp, where we met Dudley and Nic and the rest of the staff, was great and we loved it immediately. It is beautifully designed with a "bush feel" in a remote area but you have all the facilities you need. Our tent had beautiful furniture and a fun open bathroom with a bucket shower.

After a quick shower we walked back to the main area and were astonished to find an elephant drinking from the pool less a few meters away from the deck! He kept drinking while keeping an eye on us. The interesting story is that there is also a waterhole in front of the camp, but elephant like the clean water from the pool better!

Sitting on the deck you can watch elephants, baboons, zebra, giraffe.....amazing!

Because it was still a bit too hot for us we did a walk every morning and a drive in the afternoon (but they are flexible and you could stay out all day if you wanted to).

The great thing about this camp (and I am told in Zimbabwe in general) is that the guide acts also as a scout (armed) which allows you to stop the car and get off and walk whenever you wish for as long as you wish. For example during one drive we were so lucky as to find not one but four rhinos grazing near a waterhole. Raimond and Mike asked us if we were up for a closer look on foot and we jumped at the chance. This was the first time we saw rhinos in the wild and it was amazing. We walked checking the wind and hid behind a bush, very close to them. They did not see us and we had a great chance of taking good pictures but most of all a great memory to take back home.

All our walks and drive were great and we saw a huge number of animals. Once we walked very near to a herd of Kudus and everybosy back at camp was surprised we could get that close as they are normally skittish. We watched a huge elephant bull digging for minerals and stayed for a while enjoying the way he broke the soil with a foot and then used his trunk. He then turned around to show us how big he was before slowing walking away. We learnt to recognize the smell of a bull in musth as he followed a female herd. There are thousands of elephants in the park and we never got tired of watching them. We learnt that zebras in Hwange are slightly different as they have a brownish shadow between black and white stripes.

I need to keep this "reasonably short" so I cannot describe everything we saw, but the experience was great!

We deeply enjoyed the atmosphere at the camp including the meals with the giudes, we never stop talking! You can tell they are all bound togheter and friends and work in perfect harmony. It was a pleasure to have the chance to meet all of them and were sorry to leave. We will never forget our days at Somalisa.
Being Italians, it is worth mentioning they made an excellent pizza for us (and this is a big compliment!)

We wish we could keep this hidden gem for ourselves only, but it would be unfair....so we reccomend to go there and enjoy the experience!

Finally we would like to mention that we felt perfectly at easy in Zimbabwe, everything ran smoothly for us, we met all friendly people and we think they deserve a growing number of tourists to visit as this may help the local people and the economy.

Stayed: March 2011, traveled as a couple
6  Thank Mmerlot
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed December 22, 2010

We stayed at Somalisa towards the end of November for a 3 night stay after a recommedation from a local travel agent. From the moment we were collected from the Hwange Main Camp we were spoilt rotten with wonderful food, great service & of course an amazing wild life experience.
The camp is wonderful & also very intimate with only 6 tents. It is fairly remote & is a 2 hour drive into the National Park which means there is very little chance of running into other vehicles or tourists in this area. The tents were positioned to face the sunrise, so waking up in the wee hours of the morning was an aboslute treat. The tents were extremely comfortable & well thought out in terms of design and furnishings.
The camp staff & guides were all extremely attentive and dinner times were an absolute as the guide & camp hostess join the guests for meals. The camp over looks a watering hole which means that there is chance of seeing game through the day but the highlight is the regular elephants that visit the camp plunge pool in the evening. 40 elephants including babies drinking out of a tiny plunge pool not even 2 metres away is a breath taking site.
Even though we travelled at the start of the rainy season, the game veiwing was still good and would satisfy even experienced safari goers.
We were very sad to leave at the end of our stay & would have loved to stay on for a few more nights however this might have resulted in excessive weight gain as the food was just soo good !

  • Stayed: November 2010, traveled as a couple
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3  Thank dustytraveller5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 29, 2009

We booked out the camp and travelled to Somalisa as a group of four families. We had five children between us ranging from 3 to 12 in age. The staff at Somalisa were wonderful in catering for the children and in providing activities in a way that was suitable for the children. This included packing special meals for them to be eaten during the game drives so the children didnt become hungry and restless.
The staff were wonderful, catering to our every need. The tents were well kitted out and luxurious. The food sensational (even allergies were wonderfully covered).
Only critism would be the poor signposting to the camp...but as most guests are driven in by staff that would normally not be an issue.
The game.......absolutely breathtaking. Never been that close to so many wild elephants! Incredible!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Stayed: August 2009, traveled with family
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2  Thank BotswanaUranium1
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
Location: Zimbabwe > Matabeleland North Province > Hwange National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Shuttle Bus service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 24 Specialty Lodging in Hwange National Park
Price Range: $1,670 - $1,684 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:4 star — Somalisa Camp 4*
Number of rooms: 7
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Somalisa Tented Camp is set in the heart of Hwange National Park Zimbabwe, and is known as the land of the giants for its big elephant herds. Nestled in a stunning location tucked away on an acacia island along the edge of an ancient seasonal flood plain, Somalisa provides guests with breathtaking views of the savannah plains across the famous Kennedy Vlei line. Recently re-built, Somalisa Tented Camp has upgraded its level of accommodation to that of complete comfort and luxury whilst still maintaining its focus on the guiding and hosting of guests to ensure the ultimate guest experience. Consisting of seven elegantly furnished Sail Tents with gauze sliding doors, a glass wood-burner fireplace for the cold winter nights, and an overhead fan for the hot summer days, each tent has en suite bathroom facilities including flush toilets, an indoor and outdoor shower, as well as a copper slipper-style bathtub. The main decking area includes split level decking with a separate lounge and dining area, as well as a small splash pool for guests overlooking the “Elephant Pool” and a natural waterhole where herds of game congregate to drink and where guests can relax whilst soaking in the African bush. Activities include guided walks lead by qualified and passionate guides who will share their knowledge and love of the bush with you, game drives and night drives. Wildlife sightings include elephant, kudu, sable antelope, zebra, wildebeest, gemsbok, the rare and endangered roan antelope, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, hyena, and many other wildlife species. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Somalisa Camp Hotel Hwange National Park

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