Hotel review: Selous Serena Camp, Selous Game Reserve
Selous Serena Camp is set right in the middle of the Selous Game Reserve, as already mentioned in my post on flying into the Selous once you land on the airstrip at Stieglers you are surrounded by the most amazing bush wilderness and finally feel like you are in Africa.
After a short game drive, where we spotted half the cast of The Lion King (more on this in my next safari post) we arrived at the Selous Serena Camp. The camp has just 12 luxury tents set around a small watering hole with a communal large lounge, dining room, sun deck and swimming pool.
Our first impressions of Selous Serena Camp began back at the air-strip where we met our safari guide who would be accompanying us over the next few days. Sayedi was great on our first drive, reading our signals of when we wanted to stop and take photos of our first sightings but also very much aware that we wanted to get to the camp and get freshened up.
Arriving at the camp we were greeted by many of the staff, some whom took our luggage, others whom offered cold drinks and face towels and Elietta the general manager who gave us a general welcome. We filled out a personal details form whilst sipping our first G n’T amongst the opulent furnishings of the lounge before being escorted to our ‘tent’.
Or should I say tents! However these tents are nothing like the tents you may have camped in previously and far removed from the tents I use on my Duke of Edinburgh expeditions with my students. These tents have chandeliers, four poster beds and Victorian style free-standing bath tubs.
The tents really are beautiful, the photos don’t do them justice. We felt so comfortable during our stay, the bed was super comfy and had just the right amount of layers for the time of year. There is everything you could want in the tents; tea and coffee making facilities, hair-dryer, safe, comfy chairs to read in and wine! We didn’t really end up spending that much time in the tent as we were out on game drives the majority of the time but there is nothing better that being able to wake up right in the middle of wilderness. All the nights we were at Selous Serena we heard all the sounds of the bush as we went to slept. This was slightly unnerving at first especially as there is a security guard who walks you to and from the main lounge each evening in case of hippos or other animals! There was definitely a hippo outside our tent at least one of the nights and we heard the nocturnal hyenas every night we were there too – all adding to the excitement of being on safari!
The food and drinks
I can’t believe I didn’t take any photos of the food! Maybe this is because it was just so amazing I couldn’t wait to get stuck in! Every single night we were offered a choice of a four course menu; normally some sort of salad starter followed by soup then a meat, fish or vegetarian main course and if you can still handle it a dessert. The food really was outstanding, particularly the lamb and steaks. The other half said it was some of the best meat he had ever eaten. I did manage to find some photos of me at dinner.
I really liked that each night you would be seated at the same table after enjoying some pre-dinner drinks in the lounge area. This gave us chance to speak to some of the other guests and share our game drive stories. All wines and beers are included in the All Inclusive price, spirits are at an additional cost but we didn’t mind as a Gin and Tonic just seems right on safari. Breakfast is served buffet style with requests for cooked items going to the kitchen and arriving shortly after. My favourite meals on safari though were those that we actually had in the bush, each day our guide Sayedi packed us a lunch hamper full of goodies and we had our coffee breaks and lunch surrounded by wildlife.
As mentioned you are right in the middle of the bush whilst in the camp so it’s not really possible to go off wandering on your own! There is a lovely infinity pool at the camp, perfect for cooling off in after a long game drive. After a quick dip you can relax on the sun deck and see who has made their way to the watering hole in front of the camp, there was a hippo in there every day we were at Serena and a whole host of other wildlife including some stunning birds and crocodiles!
We were superbly looked after at the Serena Selous Camp. Every single member of staff went above and beyond to ensure we had a great stay. Our room attendant kept our room looking beautiful and even brought us a little surprise on our second night.
We didn’t have the heart to tell them it wasn’t our actual honeymoon but actually our first wedding anniversary but we were more than gracious and enjoyed our second dessert that night! The staff assisting in the main lounge and dining area were fantastic, and Michael the guard who walked us to and from dinner kept us entertained with hippos in the camp stories. The general manager Elietta checked on guests each evening and even came out to the airstrip to wave us off on our last day. Of course we have to give a special mention to our outstanding safari guide Sayedi with whom we spent most of our time out on the game drives, he really made the trip memorable and ensured we had plenty to talk about back at the camp each night (but more to follow on the game drives in my next safari post)
We had the perfect first time safari experience at Serena Selous Camp and really couldn’t have wished for a better start to our Tanzanian trip. The camp was luxuriously comfortable without feeling ostentatious and fitted in perfectly with its surroundings. Every aspect of the safari experience is thought through by the staff right from what time to get up in the morning to see the best wildlife to the time needed to get to the airstrip because you might just encounter elephants on your way back (we did and they were magnificent) They don’t leave anything to chance but also can’t plan what will happen as that is the nature of wildlife and being out in the bush anything can happen! I would love to return to the Selous and stay at the Serena again but I think we may have blown our safari budget for a few years yet so will just have to recommend it to everyone else on here instead.
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