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Kwihala Camp, Asilia Africa
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Reviewed September 12, 2012

On our honeymoon we visited three safari locations. Northern Serengeti (Mara river), Ngorongoro Crater and Ruaha. To my surprise Kwihala came head and shoulders above the other two. The other two camps were ultra luxurious and cost multiples more respectively but when considering a camp's key qualities Kwihala came top of most regardless of the cost. Firstly, Ruaha seems to be all the safari experts favourite park and I could see why. For starters we only came across a handful of other vehicles and with it being Tanzania's largest safari park the landscape was varied as the wildlife was abundant. Festo, our guide, was fun but more to the point was the most knowlegable and the best at tracking wildlife we experienced...by a long shot. The camp interiors were not luxurious comparatively but purely from an aesthetic aspect. They were comfortable and homely. The camp staff were as, if not, more friendly and more attentive than elsewhere and the food was the best I had during the entire trip! (except brunch). Anton, the chef, looked the part as he presented the menu every night before dinner and the food was exceptional. I was totally blown away by the quality given the location and the supper served up under the stars by candle light will form my everlasting memories of the whole trip.

The day we arrived we had a couple of large male lions sleeping under the shade of our tent veranda to welcome us to the camp. With them out of the way we had the company of Giraffes and Hyenas camping outside during the night. There was a huge giraffe chomping on a tree for a few hours and as I peered out of the bathroom window I watched this huge creacher towering over the tent in the moonlight. Memories!

At a fraction of the cost of Northern camps a trip to Ruaha makes it well worth it for 3 nights or more.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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2  Thank Mark W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 9, 2012

This was our second Safari location having just arrived from the sister Selous Impala Camp. Kwihala is run on a slightly different basis to Selous in so much as things at Kwihala are done much more as a group. While your game drives are very personal and done with your own guide, the general shape of the day is organised to be the same for all guests so that you return from game drives to eat lunch and dinner together. This naturally means you get to know your fellow guests a lot more and get to talk about your shared experiences.
The accommodation consists of 6 ground tents which are spacious, have mosquito protection, electricity for charging cameras, en suite toilet and bucket shower - this is simply a reservoir of water that is heated during the day and used by pulling on a chain in the shower. We found it good for 2 short showers but the staff will replenish the supply if needed.
The meals were excellent and all hose drinks are included - and no-one complained about the beers or wines while we were there. As with Selous Impala, the camp if open and animals come and go through the camp. Various prints can be seen in the paths leading to the spread out tents and escorts are provided to and from your tent during sunrise and sunset.
The rivers near the camp are sand rivers with limited water in the dry season so only expect game drives. These start at 6:30 and typically finish around 1 - 2 pm before an evening drive at 4 p.m.. Breakfast and sunset drinks are served on the road which made for an interesting break.
Ruaha is more remote and hence much less densely populated that Selous. It was not unusual to see only 2 to 6 other vehicles in a whole day including the other vehicles from the camp.
Wildlife focussed on lion (we saw 47 in one day), leopard, impala, giraffe, elephant, hyena, jackal, baboon, cape buffalo (several hundred), zebra, monkey and lots of birds. Ruaha very much felt like being in a BBC wildlife documentary.
The staff are great and very knowledgable - Pietro (head guide), Lorenzo, Tony, Festo and Sarah (camp organiser).
The evening stories are definitely very interesting and sharing experiences with the small number of other guests was great.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank daccad
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed September 7, 2012

What a great camp. Sarah is brilliant in running the camp. Festo and the other guides are brilliant (I've been to Africa 11 times and know what a brilliant guide is) and the food was great. Saw 5 different prides of lions......in one day! Don't expect loads of other vehicles in area. We spent a magical day watching a pride eat a recent giraffe kill, watching mating lions, watching males fight for territory etc with no other vehicles in sight. This camp exceeds my expectations big time! This place is special.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled solo
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1  Thank MONYLINE
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 30, 2012

We can't say enough wonderful things about Kwihala, which we visited as part of our honeymoon. We had never been to southern Africa before or on safari and feel incredibly fortunate that the experience was of such quality -- truly unforgettable.

In fact we were there at the same time as the reviewer below and would echo all of their comments. The accommodation, food and service of the staff is impeccable but above all, the actual safari experience is unbeatable. The area is relatively remote so we did not spend any time maneuvering around lots of other vehicles for a view, but rather got to observe the wildlife at close range in a single jeep for an unforgettable experience.

The quality of the guiding is unparalleled and the amount of knowledge that Festo, Pietro, Lorenzo and Saidi displayed is truly incredible. We learned so much and it was clear that whilst there are only a few camps in the park, the Kwihala guides were head and shoulders above the rest in their tracking and guiding abilities. They are also extremely personable and created a very friendly and open atmosphere that developed further over evening campfires and group dinners under the stars.

Kwihala is definitely not a 'budget' option but we certainly felt it was worth every penny. Thank you to Sarah, Festo, Pietro, Saidi, Lorenzo and all the staff for the introduction to the African bush, which we'll never forget.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank gilliangel
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2012

After a fabulous experience at the Lake Manze Tented Camp in the Selous Game Reserve, we did not think it was possible to surpass it...but Kwihala did.

The camp is small with only six tents, and does not enjoy the lake views we had at Manze. However, every aspect was exceptional from the luxurious tents, the excellent and friendly service, to the amazing meals that were served each and every lunch and dinner time. But you don't go on safari for the food (as good as it was), with the outstanding feature being the quality and nature of the guiding.

We were fortunate enough to spend several days with Pietro, Festo and Lorenzo (techno-bird), whose 'style' of guiding is more akin to tracking. Their knowledge and understanding of the fauna and flora is formidable, and allowed us to get incredibly close to some of the bushes most amazing animals in situations and settings that we thought were reserved solely for BBC Natural History programmes.

In the evenings, often after 8+ hours out on safari, all the guests and the guides would congregate around an open fire to have pre-dinner drinks and share that days experiences and sightings. Dinner was always in the bush and the combination of strangers coming together with the guides always made for a great evening of conversation. It really was "Excellence in the Bush".

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank SJWalton
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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