Tanzania Hotels


Sand Rivers Selous

At a Glance


  • beautiful location
  • river cruises available


  • mischievous monkeys have been known to raid the rooms, so put your belongings safely away
  • no mobile phone reception

Fodorite Reviews

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Sand Rivers Selous Review

Deep in the southwest corner of Selous, this lodge is just about as isolated and exclusive as you can get. Sited in the Sand River area above a wide bend of the Rufiji River, the stone and thatch lodge and chalets are literally and metaphorically hundreds of miles away from tourist Africa with its ubiquitous curio shops and gawking tourists. Your open-fronted en-suite chalet has a king-size bed, elegant wooden furniture, elegant cream and white soft furnishings, carefully chosen African artifacts, and great river views. In front of the main lodge, which is shaded by a 1,500-year-old baobab tree, there's a stone walkway that curves along the riverbank, where you can sit and watch cavorting hippos and dozing crocs. Apart from its game drives, the lodge prides itself on its walking safaris; you don't have to be super fit, but a ramble through the surrounding wilderness with some of Tanzania's best guides is something you'll never forget. Watch birds and game from a gently chugging boat, or spend a night fly-camping beside Lake Tagalala to a soundtrack of roaring lions, chortling hippos, and splashing crocs. The boat trip through Stiegler's Gorge (named after a Swiss explorer who got taken out here by an elephant in 1907) is your best chance of seeing a leopard. The lodge does not take direct bookings.

    Hotel Details

  • 8 chalets.
  • Rate includes all meals.
  • Credit cards accepted.
Updated: 09-25-2012

Fodorite Reviews

Average Rating:  
  • Room  

    Sand Rivers Selous Review

    Sand Rivers is a beautiful, luxury resort – they don’t call themselves a camp. It overhangs the river with lots of decks and terraces. It was originally built as a private game-hunting lodge. The guests would slip across the river to shoot. That area, today, is still open to game hunting. The public spaces are beautiful. We did feel that some of the public areas such as the pool, cabana and pathways had a neglected look. They could us a bit of sprucing up. The current camp mangers at Sand Rivers are leaving very soon and when we were there, new managers had not yet been hired. So I suppose things could change in the future.

    Food at Sand Rivers is excellent and is taken at individual tables for breakfast and lunch and at a communal gathering at dinner. Cocktails are shared with the game guides to plan the next day’s activities and share today’s findings. Each guest has there own guide and vehicle.

    I have to be honest and say that Sand Rivers was our least favorite location. It was the least fruitful of our game experiences. In January, at least, it was unbearably hot. Many of the activities –while sounding wonderful, just didn’t turn out to be that enjoyable. The river cruise to Steigler Gorge, is a very pretty boat ride, through some lovely country – but that’s all. The walking safari turned up only an empty parrot nest. The fishing excursions came back empty handed. Spending an evening with a bottle of wine in the lakeside hide was nice, but we only saw hippos from quite far away. The wildlife in this section of Selous is very shy because of the nearby hunting, so it was nearly impossible to have any lingering observation. All in all, this was just the least satisfying of our game encounters. I will say, however, that if you go to Sand Rivers DO NOT miss swimming in the hot springs. That is an outstanding experience.

    Sadly, the bandas at Sand Rivers (while beautiful) are totally open and have been invaded by the resident monkeys to an extent that literally everything must be under lock and key. They have a reputation for going through ones luggage or cosmetics in search of food. Even the morning coffee comes in a locked box - which the monkeys have now figured out how to open. Our orientation was heavy with information on how to avoid having the monkeys rip up your belongings. I don't mind interacting with wildlife, but previous guests have fed the monkeys within the bandas (I’m not sure how it could be stopped) and therefore encouraged them to become aggressive pests. I find this very sad, because the only solution will be to eventually destroy the animals.

    by TC, 10/18/10

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