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:
Selous Impala Camp
Selous Game Reserve, Tanzania|www.selousimpala.net|
Official star rating:
A highly affordable camp, on a very pretty tributary of the Rufiji River.
The camp is set on the riverbanks between two lakes, Mzizimia and Siwandu, behind reeds and riverine channels, which attract colourful birdlife. The dining platform offers good river views.
The camp might be simple, but its basics are good: excellent, fresh food, and super-friendly staff. Breakfast is delicious: home-made breads, fruit platters, espresso and orange-yolked eggs.
Local Maasai askaris, with heavy fighting sticks, are employed to escort guests to their rooms and protect them against wildlife. Book the tents furthest away from the main living area for the most peace and quiet.
Game & game viewing
Offers frequent sightings of lions, buffalos, elephants and giraffes, as well as particularly good birdlife. It’s an inexpensive, relaxed spot for game-lovers who are happy to forego luxuries.
Activities are varied, with walking, boating, fishing and game drives all included, and the incredible bird watching – from flocks of pelicans to nesting carmine bee-eaters – sets this camp apart. On boat trips, not only do the crocodiles come out to swim, but elephants and buffalo, too.
Groups of up to four – or just two for romance – should request a night fly-camping deep in the bush, to experience Africa as it should be experienced. It’s basic but comfortable, and a team of staff go with you.
Activities are early morning and late evening, so there’s plenty of time to soak up the sun (or hide in the shade) and read or sleep.
The nearest airstrip, Mtemere, is an hour’s drive away, receiving flights from Dar es Salaam (45 minutes), Zanzibar, Arusha, Manyara and Ruaha. They’ll pick you up from there (no extra charge).
Taking the kids
They welcome kids of all ages. There are no specific activities for kids, though the guides will take them on flora and fauna tours on the grounds. There’s a family tenet of two tents together on the same wooden platform.
Food & drink
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