Thanks to a refreshing breeze we were comfortable and there were plenty of birds, hippos and crocodiles to keep us entertained.

Overall Impression  A two hour morning flight from Ruaha National Park on a Cessna 13-seat plane found us at the Mtemere airstrip, a half hour’s boat ride from Selous Impala Camp. Musa our guide for the duration of our stay, and a boat driver greeted us at the airstrip. After brief introductions and the customary jambo greeting in Swahili we walked to the small motor boat on the Rufiji River banks on which we made our way to camp.

At Impala, the assistant camp manager, Chloe Sandirer, greeted us warmly before one of the staff escorted us to our colorful tent where our luggage awaited. We promptly freshened up and headed back to the main deck for a yummy plated lunch. Impala is a family friendly camp welcoming children 5 and older. The camp was lively and full of children when we arrived.

Meals and activities were punctual and everything seemed to run well in the camp while we were there. Impala was a good point of departure for wild life viewing, especially on the water. We appreciated the attractive setting for the camp and pleasant location, extraordinary view from the main deck which was steps from the water, our water facing comfortable riverside tent, and the savory plated dishes for all three daily meals. We could tell someone dedicated a lot of time and effort to securing fresh ingredients and preparing tasty and varied meals for guests.

Impala stood out during our Tanzania trip as one of only two properties to offer game viewing on foot, boat and safari vehicle. At the same time, we were fortunate to enjoy all our game viewing activities with Musa by ourselves. Some of our favorite outings were by boat on a neighboring lake. Although these lent themselves to bird spotting mostly, the boat rides were relaxing, fun and smooth. There was little of the jarring and jostling we found on the game drives. Thanks to a refreshing breeze we were comfortable and there were plenty of birds, hippos and crocodiles to keep us entertained.

Class Of Accommodation River front luxury bush tents

General Manager Micol Farina

Handicapped Access Yes. During our stay we saw one guest in a wheel chair.

Length Of Stay Two nights

Location On the east bank of the Rufiji River in the Selous National Park in Tanzania

Owned-Managed Adventure Camps (Gillie Zanacchi and Nicola Colangelo)

Size There were 8 tents, including one double, for a maximum capacity between 16 and 20 guests. The day we arrived the camp was full. There were 38 staff including three drivers, four guides, six waiters, three tent attendants, five kitchen, four ground, two laundry and eight Masaai security staff.

Year Opened-Renovated The camp was established in 2003, part of a six year concession

Lobby And Common Areas The common area was an open thatched roof combination lounge and dining area with a west facing deck overlooking the Rufiji River and the Selous National Park beyond it. The deck was sparsely populated with African wood furniture. To one side there was a bar area and beyond it a walkway led to a small open deck with a fire pit in the center. It was easy to observe the African star filled night from any point on the open deck.

On the other side there was a bar area from which the deck extended offering an excellent spot for fireside chats and star gazing.

Bathroom A brightly colored purple and pink striped fabric divided the bedroom area of the tent from the bathroom. The roomy bathroom occupied the back of the tent. It had a wood countertop vanity with twin white ceramic sinks, a doorless water closet, a wood and canvas shelf with hanging space and large doorless shower with hot and cold water. An attractive driftwood shaped towel rack hung next to the doorless shower.

Room Our 350 square foot tent (Number 6) was at the entrance to the camp from the river. It sat on a wood deck and was entered via the usual zippered “door.” Inside, two rustic style beds joined together to form a queen bed. An electric floor fan in one corner cooled the steamy tent, especially at night. There was a small desk with a canvas armchair in the other corner. The bed leaned against a wood armoire with two battery charged lamps and an electric outlet. The other side of the armoire housed two roomy floor level shelves and an electronic combination safe.

A large zippered screen door led to a Rufiji River facing half covered deck with two canvas chairs and a small wood table. A tree provided some cooling shade during the heat of the afternoon. From the deck we spotted birds on a nearby tree on several occasions.

Overall, the tent was comfortable in spite of the stifling heat and most of the team we were out game viewing or in the common areas where there was a breeze, enjoying a meal or relaxing.   us to

Meals We looked forward to meal times at Impala where all courses were plated. The chef, Mohammed, was from Zanzibar and he specialized in Zanzibari, African, seafood and Italian dishes. Although fresh supplies were a challenge, the camp received weekly produce deliveries from a local village and a truck brought in nonperishable goods. The water was filtered and potable. All baked goods were made fresh in the camp.

For lunch we had chicken bits, vegetable quiche and tomato, green pepper and lettuce salad. For dessert we were served a fresh fruit skewer with a light custard sauce. Lunch the following day was green banana soup, spare ribs, pumpkin frittata, and a garbanzo bean, olive and corn salad. Dessert was spice coconut cake with chocolate sauce. For dinner the main course was a choice of tasty prawns with a garlic and chili sauce or beef with pasta. For starters we had onion soup and tomato frittata and dessert was a flan caramel.  

Amenities All meals, soft drinks, water, coffee, tea and house wines were included in the nightly rate.

Facilities There was a swimming pool, bar and indoor dining area.  

Pool An attractive plunge pool (4 x 21 foot) was near the entrance of the camp and faced the water. There were five lounge chairs in the shade and self service towels on a wooded deck. On the afternoon that we visited the pool, a family of 10 had arrived prior to us. They occupied all the furniture and towels with the exception of one lounge chair.

Game Viewing Impala was distinctive in that it offered game viewing options by boat, game viewing vehicle (partial and full day drives were available) and on foot. The day we arrived the staff had scheduled a boat ride on Lake Nzelekela with Musa, our guide, and Gerald, our boat driver. We departed at 4:30 pm and returned at 6:45 pm. The following morning we went on a game walk departing at 7 am and returning at 10:30 am. We were the only two guests accompanied by Musa and a national park ranger armed with a rifle.

The second afternoon we went for a game drive, in a six seat canvas top Land Rover, at 4 pm and returned at 7pm. We were the only two guests on the six seat vehicle. Musa and a driver accompanied us. During our drive we encountered three vehicles from the neighboring camp. One of the drivers which shared the location of two lionesses they had recently seen and we rushed to see them.

Our early morning bush walk with Musa and an armed park ranger was excellent for birding, especially in the wooded area adjacent to the camp. At the end of the walk, they surprised us with a charming waterside bush breakfast under the shade of a baobab tree.

During our visit we saw baboons, bushbuck, elephant, giraffe, impala, Nile crocodile, hyena, two lionesses, warthog, a waterbuck family, zebra and several hippo pods.

The birding was extraordinary.  Birds we saw: African golden weaver, African hoopoe, African pied wagtail, coqui francolin, crowned red plover, Egyptian goose, goliath heron, green backed heron, gray heron, hadida ibis, long tail fiscal, malachite and pied king fishers, open billed stork, white fronted bee eater, little bee eater, white throated bee eater, carmine bee eater, white crowned lapwing, wire tailed swallow, African fish eagle, gray hornbill, African harrier hawk, broad billed roller, hammerkop, common bulbul, dove, open billed stork, greater egret, little egret, African darter, black headed heron, cattle egret, black egret, Diederik cuckoo, red headed weaver, red billed buffalo weaver, collard sunbird, speckled mouse bird, cardinal woodpecker, southern cordon bleu, brown headed parrot, spurwinged plover, blue starling, chinspot batis, Retz’s helmet shrike, black kite, red billed quelea, Von der Decken’s hornbill, long tailed fiscal, coqui, francolin, grassland pipit, snake eagle, yellow billed stork, helmeted guinea fowl, dark chanting goshawk, gray lourie, coucal, and white backed vulture.

Activities In addition to game viewing activities guests could spend time fishing, in the common areas such as the waterside pool, bar, and viewing deck, play board games, and read.

Curio Shop There were a handful of souvenir items, including local arts and crafts, in the office tent.

Other The water for the camp was triple filtered and chlorinated river water. Tap water was potable allowing us to brush our teeth and shower. According to the assistant manager, the tap water had been tested and was European quality. There was a thermos in the tent with cool extra filtered water. Electricity was provided via a generator run at intermittent times of the day (6 am to 10 am, 12:30 to 4 pm and 6 pm to 11 pm). There was an inverter in our tent that converted the 12 volt battery electricity into 220 voltage. There was a convenient plug in our room which we used to charge our computer and camera batteries. At night we had oil lamps and electric lamps in the tent. Security and evening escorts from the tents were provided by colorful Masaai security men.

During our stay there were two large family groups. This meant there were often children running in the dining area, lounge, bar, decks and pool. Sounds carried; from inside our tent we could hear our neighbors and children playing in the pool area.

The camp managed endeavored to be eco friendly. Paper waste was burned and plastic was recycled. Water was heated with propane.

Cleanliness Good

Date Of Last Visit February 2007

Reviewers Article by Elena del Valle

Photos by Gary Cox

Service Our tent was serviced daily. Our server in the dining room was helpful and friendly. Musa, our guide, was patient, knowledgeable and always willing to stop.  

Would You Stay Again? Yes

Contact Information

  • Address:
    • Selous Game Reserve
    • Reservations
    • Adventure Camps
    • P.O. Box 40569
    • Dar es Salaam
    • Tanzania
  • Phone:
    • + 255 22 245 2005
    • + 255 22 245 2006
  • Fax:
    • + 255 22 245 2004
  • Website:
  • Email: