Renowned safari journalist and expert Lisa Grainger recommends her favourite African camps, from savannahs teeming with Big Five, to star-lit desert wildernesses.
Recommended place to stay:
Sand Rivers Selous
Nyerere National Park, Tanzania|www.nomad-tanzania.com|
Official star rating:
This stylish but rustic camp has nabbed the most beautiful spot in Africa’s biggest wilderness park, the unheralded Selous.
While oozing history and class, Sand Rivers isn’t over the top – it’s ideal for those who don’t want crowds, but do want big, comfortable rooms open to the breezes and sounds of the wild, along with good food and wine.
Don’t come here if you just want the Big Five, fast; this is true bush life – unspoilt, raw and vast, with a smattering of game to be found. One main perk is the amount of space – it is miles away from any other camps – but this does mean the best game is found on the plains an hour’s drive away.
The camp is a great place to hang out, swim, read and watch the (wild) world go by. In the camp’s raised, open-fronted stone and thatch cottages, beds are enormous, the showers strong and hot, and views of the mile-wide Rufiji River are spectacular. You can watch hippos from bed while sipping tea.
Children over the age of 8 are welcome. However, fly camping and walking safaris are for children over 12 only.
Game & game viewing
Not the place for the Big Five; the best plains game is seen an hour’s drive away. Enormous flocks of pelicans are often seen here, while the crocodiles are among the biggest in Africa – and most numerous. It’s wild here – big cats often walk through the fly-camps at night and elephants are always spotted on foot.
Sand Rivers is big on fly-camping (walking through and camping out in the bush, in basic tents) and takes it very seriously. Mosquito nets are set up under trees in beautiful spots, and delicious dinners whipped up by chefs in ovens they’ve dug into the earth.
This is about experiencing real, pristine wilderness – heading out on foot to smell, feel and really discover Africa at its most raw. Because there is no light pollution, the star-watching is incredible.
Guides & guiding
Local guides are good, if not top-notch; a real treat is to book camp founder Richard Bonham as a private (and expensive) guide. If you can persuade him, he’s fantastically entertaining.
It’s a 45-minute charter flight from Dar es Salaam to the Selous’s Kiba airstrip.
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Food & drink
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