Story and photos by Manos Angelakis

Somalisa Camp Tent

Luxury at Somalisa Camp

While visiting Zimbabwe we were lucky enough to be invited to spend one night at Somalisa Camp, located in the heart of the Hwange National Park that hosts over 100 mammal and 400 bird species.

Somalisa Bedroom luxury Tent

Somalisa is called a bush camp, but it was much nicer than a number of the hotels we stayed in during our trip. It was recently re-built, adding beautifully furnished luxury canvas tents each with en-suite bathrooms that included flush toilets, double copper sinks, indoor and outdoor showers, as well as  copper slipper-style bathtubs. There was a privacy cabinet so that food  service could deliver meals from the outside, without disturbing the  guests. The provided toiletries were natural products of the highest  order in handsomely crafted containers. In the tent we spent the night,  amongst the other high end furnishings there was a king size bed with  Egyptian cotton linen and a well-stocked wood burning stove we made good use of, as it was near the end of autumn and the nights were bitterly  cold. Built in shelves lined one wall and the opposite wall was a very  large screened window which could be covered by canvas flaps to keep in  the heat. The window looked out towards one of the watering holes;  outside the screened window was a covered porch so that we could sit  outside our room and watch the animal passing scene.

Somalisa Waterhole with Elephants

Nestled under a canopy of Acacia trees and overlooking two waterholes, Somalisa Camp and Somalisa Acacia, twin camps located in a private concession at the park, offer their guests ultimate luxury as well as the possibility of seeing herds of elephants as they came to drink at the waterholes as well as numerous other animals drawn to the available water. Possible  activities for visitors are game drives through the private concession,  safari walks, and game viewing from a blind near the water hole; that  should keep you more than occupied during the day. However if you choose to relax in camp, you can watch the game wandering through, to and from the waterhole. There is also the possibility of a night drive using the camp’s Rovers driven by the camps rangers, which is what we did,  seeing elephants, lions and other animals on-the-hoof so to speak. The  main building where the dining room is located includes split level  decking with a separate lounge, as well as a small splash pool for  guests.

Zimbabwe 2016 Somalisa by the fire

Dinner was served buffet-style while we sat by the bonfire and was fairly simple but tasty and satisfying. 

Somalisa Camp

The Somalisa camps are located about half way by highway and then Road  Ranger from Bulawayo, Zimbabwe’s second largest city, and Victoria  Falls, the tourism center by the Zambezi River.

One thing to note is that Somalisa keeps a highly carbon-neutral footprint  by using large photovoltaic panels (solar cells) located over the camp’s auxiliary buildings, garage and offices; the panels charge batteries  during the day that provide all the necessary electricity day and night. They are also making sure that the water holes are provided with the  necessary water by using electric pumps that operate with electricity  generated from smaller solar panels located over the pumps. Water, both  black and brown, is cleaned and filtered at a sewerage plant near the  camp and is clean enough to drink; that water is normally pumped to the  animal ponds.  The elephants stand and wait by the water pumps - they  seem to know when the sun becomes powerful enough to get them working.

Somalisa Lioness in the bush

Somalisa is an open camp and the animals walk freely around the camp day or  night, so you have to react quickly to things that you are not  expecting. You are in the middle of the “bush” and, after sunset, there  are lots of carnivorous animals; you will be escorted by gun toting  rangers from dinner to your tent, and in every tent there is an  alarm-raising horn to be used to call for assistance if an animal  threatens your tent. When you visit any of the bush camps, make sure to  bring a flashlight with you; you will need it at night even though the  rangers carry flashlights in addition to their weapons.

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© August 2016 LuxuryWeb Magazine. All rights reserved.


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