Beho Beho was the first camp to be sited in The Selous Game Reserve, not on the banks, or the flood plains of the mighty Rufiji River, but in the cooler highlands so as to enjoy the 'cooling breezes' from which its name derives. Always designated as a 'private camp' it has fiercely protected its individuality and privileged location as one of the most 'magical' places it is possible to visit in safari Africa.
I first visited this little gem of a camp in February of 2019 and was blown away by the accommodation, levels of service and quality of game viewing. The Selous, as a destination, is one of the less frequently visited areas in Tanzania so gusts exploring this vast wilderness will often go for days without seeing other vehicles and will more often than not have sightings all to themselves.
It's the combination of all of these variables that makes Beho Beho one of my personal favourite Safari Camps anywhere in Africa.
Beho Beho is such a great camp that we have chosen to include it in our scheduled departures to the Ruaha and Selous, using it as the base for our 5 night stay in the Selous Game Reserve. The location of the camp is right in the heart of some of the best game viewing areas and I can honestly not think of a more beautiful camp to stay in the Selous.
The entire family at Beho Beho are committed to one thing - your enjoyment of this very special place. From the moment you arrive in camp you are an honoured guest and the focus is upon you enjoying your stay with the team. Beho Beho is slightly different from other safari camps in that the camp staff truly host your stay. New arrivals are soon 'embraced' by the family and established guests, friendships are made whilst being 'awed' by the natural beauty of the Selous and around candlelit dinner tables under the stars.
Rates are fully inclusive of everything so there is nothing to pay whilst you are staying in camp and no horrible extras bill to spoil the holiday.
Meals at Beho Beho tend to be a 'moveable feast' and are not always confined to the 'breakfast, lunch and dinner' of a normal safari itinerary. But this does not mean that you will go hungry - far from it, they are conscious that the fresh African air stimulates a good appetite - so it is not unusual to have a snack breakfast on an early game drive, followed by an early brunch, or a late bush breakfast followed by an early afternoon tea. This is better than rushing back to camp for meals and allows the guides to see how the game situation develops and to allow you the best opportunities to see the wonders of The Selous.
On two separate occasions during my recent stay at Beho Beho we had lunch brought out to us whilst we opted to spend some quality time out in the field with their resident lion prides. This sort of flexibility and dedication to ensuring that the guests are the focus and priority makes Beho Beho a truly special camp.
From Beho Beho it is possible to explore a unique array of environmental biodiversity, from the riverine forests, miombo woodlands and plains to the fascinating lake regions of Tagalala and Mwanze. The speciality of the camp is to go on guided and guarded walking safaris, either early mornings or late afternoons avoiding the intense heat of the day when both animals and humans tend to look for suitable shade. The morning walks commence at 0630hrs and last from three to five hours including a stop for breakfast at a shady spot. Afternoon walks can also be very rewarding, leaving at 1630 hrs for about two hours to meet a vehicle well supplied with welcome 'sundowner' drinks, before the darkness comes and it is time to drive back to camp. Beho Beho is one of the few safari camps where it is possible to walk straight from the camp itself, with a variety of routes to hippo pools, First World War trenches, the grave of Frederick Courtney Selous, for who the reserve was named, and several easy or more demanding trails known only to our walking guides.
There are also Game Drives and the option of a boat trip on the nearby Lake Tagalala.
The Camp and Rooms
A Banda is an East African term for a permanent 'solid structure' erected to give protection from the elements and the animals, as opposed to the impermanence of a tent. Bandas were erected in or near the National Parks and could be rented from the park authorities on a kind of self-catering basis, where guests provided everything, even their own sleeping bags.
You'll be pleased to know that the bandas at Beho Beho couldn't be more different! Yes they are solid structures built out of local stone and palm leaf thatch and do indeed provide shelter from the elements - but they are also a comfortable haven from which to enjoy the delights of the true African bush of the Selous Game Reserve.
Totally rebuilt between 2004 and 2006 the bandas are spacious and airy and have been designed to capture even the slightest breeze - at seven degrees south of the equator this is an important consideration - of course there are strategically placed wide-blade ceiling fans to assist nature if required. This feeling of spaciousness is accentuated by the fact that the main suite area has no front wall or windows, but is totally open on to the front verandah of each banda.
For those a little nervous of sleeping with just a mosquito net between them and the 'great outdoors' there is an ingenious arrangement of a curtain made out of tenting material, complete with gauze windows, which can be drawn across at night and securely fastened. The verandah itself reveals what must be one of the most magnificent views in Africa - a wild, unspoilt, wilderness stretching out to the far horizon liberally sprinkled with a wide variety of ‘big game’!
The bandas have been designed as a comfortable home away from home for intrepid travellers and to be planned as a sophisticated haven where guests can relax in privacy in order to enjoy the 'holiday' part of their safari. So you will find huge comfy chairs big enough to curl up in, a truly 'king-sized', mosquito netted double bed, a Zanzibari day bed to while away the odd hour in the afternoon when it is too hot to go into the bush, a proper writing bureau (with post cards supplied), ‘Persian’ carpets and even a tripod mounted telescope for private game spotting.
A separate dressing room with ample space to unpack and store clothes and belongings, including a personal combination security safe, leads into a spacious fully equipped bathroom with twin wash hand basins, a high flush W.C. and a spacious open-air shower where it is possible to shower and view big game at the same time. The bathrooms are supplied with Charlotte Rhys toiletries, shower gel, shampoo, conditioner, body lotion, and soaps as well as a hair drier and his and hers bathrobes and slippers.
Believe me when I say that these are some of the most incredible views and rooms I have ever had the privilege of staying in.
My Personal Highlights from Beho Beho Safari Camp
Ive been fortunate enough to have visited the Selous and Beho Beho twice - both times in the green season (January and February) and, even at a time of year where the sightings are traditionally not as good as the dry season, have enjoyed very special moments. A great benefit in the Selous is that one is able to venture off-road for sightings which makes a big difference - especially for us photographers.
This image for example was captured on a morning where we found one of the Wild Dog packs that the Selous is so well known for. Not another vehicle in sight for a sighting which evolved over a period of more than 3 hours as we watched them greet one another before moving off on the hunt.
As we followed the wild dogs on the move we noticed the inquisitive heads of a pride of lions watching them, and us, as they ran past them. Thats just one example of how productive the Selous can be.
I've also spent a lot of time with the local lion prides. On both of my visits to the Selous they had young cubs which everyone knows makes for spectacular game viewing. The young cubs are just so full of energy and always up to mischief, climbing trees and harassing their siblings and adult members of the pride.
Leopard are around but are very shy and not seen very often. Other than the predators, there are loads of hippos, elephants, giraffe and the usual compliment of general game including Crawshays Zebra, Niassa Wildebeest and Impala.
Something that also makes the Selous such a special destination to me is the landscape which is incredibly diverse ranging from dense riverine forest to open plains dotted with the unmistakeable shapes of the Doum and Borassus palms.
Beho Beho Safari Camp in A Nutshell
- Who should go: I would say that the Selous as a destination is better suited to more experienced safaro goers as the concentration of game may be less than what you may be accustomed to in places like the Serengeti and Masai Mara. That being said, if you're looking for a quiet and far more intimate experience where you'll hardly see another vehicle and still have incredible sightings on safari Beho Beho and the Selous are ideal.
- When to go: January and February are good times to visit if you're wanting a Green Season safari experience, otherwise June through to the end of November will deliver a spectacular display of wildlife during the dry season. The camp closes between mid March and May each year.
- How to get there: Flights using Safari Airlink from Dar Es Salaam run daily and take around 45 minutes to one hour. The routing makes it easy to connect to other destinations such as Ruaha National Park, Mafia Island and even Zanzibar.
- Suggested length of stay: The camp has a minimum stay policy of 3 nights but i would suggest at least 4 nights to fully appreciate the region and take full advantage of the boating, walking and game drives on offer.
- Insider Tip: A day trip out to lake Tagalala and the Hot Springs are a must.
Feel free to get in touch with me directly if you'd like more information around planning a visit to the spectacular Beho Beho Safari Camp in the Selous Game Reserve.