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“Selous Impala - Luxury Tourism”
Review of Selous Impala Camp

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Selous Impala Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Stamford, Connecticut
Level Contributor
70 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 42 helpful votes
“Selous Impala - Luxury Tourism”
Reviewed July 21, 2014

Interesting experience. Excellent guide (Girard), comfortable tents w/solid wooden floors and great verandah overlooking the river, good food. Incongruities: hoses and sprinklers watering the grass daily (!), swimming pool, Poland Spring water cooler in dining area. My first thought was, hmmm, this doesn't sync up with eco-tourism but by the end of my 4 days, I had succumbed to the luxury.

Tent (#6) was very nice; particularly liked the writing desk and chair; large porch that wasn't buggy; full-size bed net as requested; large table in sink area was handy for organizing clothing, etc. I liked the location since the hippos had a river exit/entry area literally five feet from my porch, so was able to hear & see them grazing and snuffling their way back into the river. Food quality and variety was good to excellend (still remember an amazing chocolate creme caramel dessert and pieces of fruit stuck onto acacia thorns). I liked the individual tables (versus communal) since I'm quite happy on my own. When I mentioned that I don't eat fish, the kitchen provided tasty alternatives.

Bar area was nice for pre-dinner gatherings; the lounge section was a great spot to while away a few hours between lunch and the game drives since it got a very nice breeze. Pool was also a treat during those hours (or a quick pre-lunch dip).

Drives: I liked the 6 hour boat safaris since the length provided enough time to go further afield and having a bush breakfast on a beach was a novelty! Girard did a super job tracking animals, including hyena tracks that led us to their den & cubs; a civet midden; not to mention numerous elephants and lions. He provided just the right amount of information. He arranged a special trip to a local village which was a highlight for me.

Not as much sense of camp management & employees & guests all being "in it together", as in the other 2 camps (hard to define, but in the other two places the camp managers were around at all meals and had real conversations with each person where topics touched on animals, other experiences, and were a two-way sharing of opinions.)

I think I would return since the location and the physical camp itself was hard to beat, and I did like the fine dining aspects, plus the guiding was superb.

Room Tip: Tent 6 is close to the communal areas, so less walking but the hippos enter/exit the lake within 5 f...
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  • Stayed July 2014, traveled solo
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Thank vickiebypass
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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  • English first
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English first
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
8 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed July 19, 2014

Very comfortable camp. Excellent boat safaris. Well looked after by our waiter and our Masai Askari. Not as much game to see as Ruaha but still enjoyable. Missed the communal meal times which we had at the other camp. Lunches were excellent but evening meals could be improved. Tents extremely comfortable with animals close by at night. Elephants and hippos right by our tent!
Fab coffee machine- cappacino for breakfast in the African bush, what more can I say!

Stayed July 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank PandCtravels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Goddard, Kansas
Level Contributor
3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed July 6, 2014

We recently spent 4 nights at Impala Camp in the Selous following a stay at Lake Manze Camp which is also in the Selous. Impala Camp has an excellent location along the banks of the Rafiji River. Being less than satisfied with Lake Manze Camp we were pleasantly surprised by Impala Camp and its attention to detail. The lodge area was very nice as was the bar, the food was good, and the staff was excellent. Our server, Jeffry, was excellent and went out of his way to be accommodating.
Our tented room was very nice and clean with all the amenities you could ask for.
We were particularly pleased with our Guide Andrew, a very nice young man who was well informed and takes his job very seriously, our Driver Rajuba, and our boat driver Saidi. All three did everything possible to show us the game in the area. We really wanted to see Angolan colobus monkeys and Andrew found them for us, not once but three different times. The experience on the river is wonderful, the birdlife is amazing, as are the hippos and crocodiles. On land we experienced hunting dogs, lions, elephant, buffalo, and a host of other mammals. We were about a month early as most of the large herds of game had not yet come down from the highlands, but there was still plenty to see.
One thing we did enjoy was the bush babies that come out a dusk and sometimes join the guests at dinner, occasionally stealing the odd dinner roll. They are a bit noisy but add to the night sounds of the African bush and the river enriching the overall experience.
If you want to get off the well traveled path, we recommend visiting Impala Camp in the Selous. You won't be disappointed.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
1 Thank Jim F
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Poole, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
5 reviews
3 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
Reviewed June 29, 2014

We recently stayed here for 2 nights after 4 nights previously at Kwihala camp in Ruaha.

The accommodation was fantastic, lovely shower and rooms although the beds were a little hard! It was good to feel so close to the wildlife, the noises at night were amazing although ear plugs were required after a while of listening! The food was very good and we also enjoyed the small swimming pool for cooling off in the afternoon!

Unfortunately after being spoiled with highly knowledgable guides at our previous safari, we were disappointed with our guides who struggled to answer our questions and didn't explain what we were looking for in different areas. We ended up feeling quite bored during our drives and although we did see some lions it appeared to be complete luck (no looking for prints, listening for sounds etc)There are lots of hippos and crocodiles in Sleous and it was great to see these during a boat safari. We didn't see any elephants here, apparently a result of poaching in the area.

We couldn't fault the accommodation and the staff were very friendly and helpful however the guides we had did not appear to be very experienced and this affected our review.

  • Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank Stephanie G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Totnes, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
17 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
Reviewed June 21, 2014 via mobile

I don't know where to start this place is amazing! it was our first safari (we where the only safari virgins in camp) and we could not have picked a better place!
We arrived on the airstrip after being in the little plane which is brill starts it all off, we where met at the airstrip then taken down to the side of the lake where our boat was waiting for us, before we took off we had some lovely cold towels, juice and homemade biscuits which where very welcome after a long journey, so off we set on the boat seeing hippos everywhere in minutes and crocs. We arrived at camp to be welcomed by the Italian manager who was lovely and very welcoming.
Our tent was the furthest away which was great we had the river right on our door step one of the tents with the best view, we were escorted by our Masai to our tent along with our bags and our tent was amazing this is what I'd call glamping to the max , to think we where in the middle of nowhere and to have electricity,hot water and proper loo was brilliant, and the shower was powerful! Listening to all the noises around your tent was so nice after a day it was normal to hear hippos right outside your tent and monkeys jumping all over your tent!
Our Masai was lovely he stuck with us for our whole 4 days taking us to And from each time we wanted to leave or go back to our tent, our personal body guard armed with spear was brill!
The food was brilliant each day was different, all food very fresh and really tasty, on our last night we had our own private area by the pool with a camp fire, and company of bush baby's which are so funny coming up on your table to steal our bread! our waiter again who stuck with us for each meal our whole time we where there was again brilliant, we loved how you have your own personal waiter/Masai/tour guide we felt this made it very personal, and meant attention to detail was brill!

We did a mixture of jeep and river safaris, you choose what you'd like to do each morning and afternoon, I thought it was a really good never having to share your boat or jeep having it to yourself meant that we had complete control what we where looking for and how long we stayed with each animal! We did mainly jeep with Dennis who was fab, very knowledgable and such a nice guy, we saw all we wanted which was great, it's just amazing how close you get to these animals gives you such a buzz, I feel we went at quite a nice time as it was really green, but this did mean we had to drive around a little more to find animals As there was a lot of watering holes. I recommend doing breakfast in the bush, which was great just parking up the jeep in the middle of the bush and Dennis just laid out a fab breakfast and we just sat there and watched all the animals around us.
We Also did fishing that they offer which was such fun again highly recommend it neither of us are good fishers but just fancied mixing it up a little and we had such fun, again Dennis came along with another tour guide, it was brilliant parking up the the boat putting our rods out and just waiting and watching all the hippos around you, we caught tiger fish and cat fish, which the next day the chefs prepared out tiger fish so we could have it for lunch and it was delicious.
We are both so glad we picked impala it could not have been better if it tried I honestly have no fault in the place, it also being only 8tents is really nice as it's very quiet and chilled and everyone mingled in the evenings discussing what they had seen that day.

So......look no further this is it! And enjoy you won't be disappointed!!

Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank kate1234534
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 4 helpful votes
Reviewed June 10, 2014 via mobile

As 'safari virgins', we spent four nights at the Selous Impala Camp from 3rd June 2014 as the first stop on our honeymoon (followed by a week at the Residence, Zanzibar). We were greeted by Andrew and Rahjab at the airstrip and immediately provided with cooling towels, pineapple juice and home made biscuits to mark our arrival. We then were driven in our private Land Cruiser the forty minutes or so to the camp, during which we found out that we were the first guests of the new season. 

We were given a briefing upon arrival where the facilities and safari options were set out by the manager (a friendly Italian, keen to get you using his new, swanky coffee machine as much as possible). We were then served lunch, a three course meal, which set the tone for the fantastic quality of food we would be treated to over the coming days and nights. 

Our first safari was a boat safari on the afternoon of arrival. This was our first experience of just how knowledgeable our guide, Andrew, was. Clearly he has studied wildlife to a very high standard and whilst lots of it went in one ear and out of the other, it was very interesting and impressive! Some facts remain with us today, but he provides so much insight into the animals observed that it is difficult to take it all onboard!

The boat safari was our introduction to hippos and their wonderful noises. It also gave us the opportunity to see birds such as the kingfisher and bee eater up close and personal. The kingfisher with a successful beakful of fish is one of our best snaps. 

The following three days' safari involved early morning drives each day, leaving camp at 6.30am (tea and biscuits delivered to tent at 6am). This gave us the best opportunity to see as much as possible before returning to the camp for lunch around 1pm. Breakfast was about 9am each day, after a few hours of safari with a stop off at one of Andrew and Rahjab's chosen spots. These always felt safe and they sat at each end of the table to keep an eye on our surroundings! We saw elephants, lions, buffalo, zebra, hyeena, wild dogs and leopard as our main achievements. Also, hippos out of the water, which is a bonus as usually you only see their eyes and ears as they wallow in the river. There were then the more common sightings such as wilderbeast, impala, baboons, giraffes etc that you, believe it or not, become oblivious to by the third day!

Andrew and Rahjab worked together to cleverly track down the desired animals each day. This involved following tracks in the sand (poo and footprints!), plus identifying vultures and eagles to lead us to the locations of big mammals. We had the same guide and driver, with all safaris on a private basis. We think this is the norm for the camp, not just due to it being early in the season and relatively empty. 

The camp is superb. We were lucky to be there when there were a maximum of eight people staying (with about fifty staff seeing to our every need), but we got the feeling that even at the maximum capacity of about twenty, they would still maintain the high quality, personal level of service. Food was fantastic, with each evening meal consisting of four courses, all served by our own dedicated waiter, Dave. 

The tents are amazing. They take glamping to a whole new level. They are powered with plenty of lights and a plug socket for charging batteries (English style socket). The rainfall shower is nice and powerful and although not always hot, we didn't see this as a big problem, more of an opportunity to cool down! 

We were escorted around site by the Masai staff. This came in particularly handy when we had a special private honeymoon evening meal set up by the pool. We heard some swishing noises in the bushes and assumed it was a bush baby hopping about. The Masai heard the commotion and came over, armed with spear and torch. It was then that we were faced with a hippo about four metres from our dinner table! He wanted to pass through site, past our table, so we had to wait in the decking whilst he went past. It was pretty scary having such a killer in close proximity, but a fantastic safari experience in hindsight!

All in all, a great trip and we cannot rate Selous Impala Camp and the Selous National Park highly enough. Go there. 

Stayed June 2014, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
3 Thank FunkyIdioteque
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
San Francisco, CA
Level Contributor
126 reviews
67 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 51 helpful votes
Reviewed April 9, 2014

First, about Selous Game Reserve - the reserve's main feature is the Rufiji river and lakes system which allows for boat safaris and game drives near the water sources. We went in January which was supposed to be a bit more wet but it had not rained much this year, so we got semi-dry season instead. This led to very prolific game viewing near the lakes.

We saw lions (including 2 hunts - one of which was successful), wild dogs, lots and lots of giraffes, zebras, impalas, hippos, crocodiles, elephants, buffalo, and lots of beautiful birds, especially the bee eaters and lilac breasted rollers. There were animals everywhere.

Another cool thing about Selous besides the water, is that it is a game reserve, which allows for off-road driving. This meant we could drive up to 100 meters off road to get closer to the action. It makes for a much more wild experience on game drives and nice secluded spots for bush breakfast. Although, the place felt secluded enough as it is. We ran into just a few cars each day, with no more than 2 other vehicles, even at lion sightings. Most of the day, we felt like we had the whole place to ourselves.

Now about the guiding - Dennis was our guide during our 4-night stay. He took care of us on both the game drives and the boat safaris. You get to choose 2 activities per day. It was like we were on a private safari because we were in our own car/boat and could pick and choose what we wanted to see. Combined with the ability to go off-road and being the only car at a sighting most of the time, this meant almost total flexibility in seeing what you want from the angle you want, as long as you want. It was awesome.

Dennis is an excellent spotter. We are still impressed by how he could spot a lion's presence from very far away by looking at the giraffes' behavior. And I mean from very far. This led us to a lioness who was eyeing a baby wildebeest. We got to see the whole drama unfold... again, off-road, all to ourselves.

Camp and dining - Our tent was right next to the river so we had beautiful sunset views. The tents have en-suite bathrooms which was good to help us warm up to the bush. There was a hippo hanging out in the water near our tent and we could hear him (sometimes quite loud) at night. We also had elephants come up to the tent which added to the fun.

Sylvia and Barbara took good care of us. Everything was run beautifully at the camp. Dining was excellent with 3-course lunches and 4-course dinners. One of us chose vegetarian option which they executed very well. We chose the bush breakfast option every day we were there. Breakfast in the bush is a bit more limited than in the camp but we preferred the experience and having more time in the bush.

One thing we wished was a little more communal time at the bar before dinner. Since dining here is private, unlike at some other camps, the bar time would give a chance for guests to mingle and share their experiences of the day. We also want to suggest making drinks included during sundowners to encourage people to hang out at the bar / camp fire more. Since we already get a private safari and dining the rest of the day, an hour of communal time could be fun.

  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank bellakaye
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Selous Impala Camp

Property: Selous Impala Camp
Address: Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Lindi Region > Selous Game Reserve
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #5 of 25 Specialty Lodging in Selous Game Reserve
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Selous Impala Camp 3.5*
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Selous Impala Camp has just 8 en suite tents of which 2 are family tents with two tents on one platform, each with own bathroom. There are ceiling fans and power showers all run from solar energy. Game drives are in 4x4 vehicles with driver and guide, and we put max 4 people in a car. Boat safaris are on the Rufiji River and the lakes coming off it; walking safaris in season. The camp is closed from end March to end May each year for the long rains. There is a swimming pool and a shady lodge with dining and sitting rooms and a bar overlooking the river. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Selous Impala Camp Hotel Selous Game Reserve
Selous Impala Camp Tanzania/Selous Game Reserve

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