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Somalisa Camp

Somalisa is an exclusive tented lodge set in acacia woodland but overlooking an open vlei in a private concession in the heart of Hwange National Park.

Somalisa is a lovely camp with luxurious accommodation and spacious central areas. The tents are quite stylish and a little unique in décor, and are set quite privately with views out from the woodland over the open vlei in front of camp, where elephants and other game can often be seen. The management style is warm and friendly, the guides are excellent, and the food and service very good. The camp is split into two sections, with Somalisa Acacia being most suited to families or private groups. Whilst Somalisa will usually suit guests who are keen to see big game as well as get out on foot for some of their safari, one of the best features are the water holes in front of camp which are very close to the main areas and attract a huge amount of game during the day, principally elephants. From June to October the waterhole will have elephants visiting every afternoon, and you can to sit and watch the elephants in between game drives.


Somalisa offers luxurious accommodation for around 24 guests, split between Somalisa Camp (with seven tents) and the more family friendly annex, Somalisa Acacia (with four tents). The rooms in each section of the camp are the same, and Somalisa Acacia also includes two family units. Each tent is built onto a low wooden deck with timber frame and consists of a spacious bedroom and en suite bathroom with double vanity, toilet, bathtub and indoor and outdoor showers. The tents have a plenty of luggage space, a small sitting area with sofa, chair, small table and wood burning stove. Sliding gauze doors lead onto a private, furnished, viewing deck.

Somalisa Acacia caters for up to 12 guests and accepts children of all ages. The two family units have two tents linked by an internal passage. Although it is possible to walk between the two camps, they are run separately and Acacia can also be sold on an exclusive use basis for larger families or groups.

Central Areas

The central areas of the main camp include extensive indoor and outdoor areas built on to split level decking. Under canvas is a large lounge, library, bar and dining tent, which leads down on to an outdoor lounge area and then to a small swimming pool with sun loungers. There is a campfire and boma area where meals can also be served. Please note that Wi-Fi is not available. The central areas all overlooks a waterhole which is pumped during the dry season and which attracts large numbers of elephants and other wildlife. There is also a small curio shop.

Somalisa Acacia has its own central area including a swimming pool and has its own active waterhole in front of camp.


Wi-Fi – No
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Yes

Habitat & Wildlife

Hwange is the largest of Zimbabwe’s wildlife areas. Situated in the south-western corner of the country at an average altitude of around 3,000ft, it covers an area of about 1.5 million hectares, along the border with Botswana.

The Park covers the transition zone between the Kalahari sands and the moist savannah woodland. The poor soil and harsh climate have not stunted or limited the variety of habitat: over 230 trees and shrubs and 138 grass species make up some of the more than 1,000 flora species found here. This diversity allows for more than 50 mammal species to co-exist.

Lacking permanent rivers, Hwange is managed with numerous man-made waterholes which are pumped to provide water for most of the animal species and which form the magnate around which most game-viewing takes place (many of the waterholes have hides). The park has a very sizeable and healthy elephant population (it is not uncommon to see over 150 at a time around the waterholes during the dry season), and other larger mammals to be seen include giraffe, impala, zebra, wildebeest, tsessebe, kudu, duiker, roan antelope, waterbuck, eland, gemsbok (along the drier western border), reedbuck, lion, leopard, cheetah, wild dog and hippo. Unfortunately, rhino are now seldom seen.

The area is also excellent for bird life, most represented by bush country species: babblers, starlings, bustards, ostrich, cranes, hornbills, francolins, guinea fowl, shrikes, etc., although raptors are plentiful and storks, geese and ibis can be seen at the waterholes.

Game viewing is excellent with good general game, big herds of buffalo and all the major predators present in the area. However Hwange is perhaps best known for its huge elephant populations, and from June through to October huge numbers can be seen visiting the various waterholes throughout the park, including the pan in front of camp. Hwange is also an excellent place to see the majestic sable antelope.


Activities focus around game drives by day, mostly within the Somalisa Concession but potentially further afield in the park, especially to the nearby Kennedy and Ngweshla pans. There is a log hide on the concession where you can enjoy up close viewing of wildlife coming down to drink. Night drives are allowed on the concession before dinner and afford the opportunity to seek out nocturnal species, whilst nature walks with professional guides can also be undertaken. In addition there is a sleepout deck “Ray’s Pan” on the concession, around 20 minutes’ drive from camp. The deck is built into a leadwood tree looking over a waterhole. There is a secure toilet underneath the deck, and a guide will stay in a tent nearby. Please note a private vehicle must be booked for the duration of your stay to enjoy the sleepout deck.


Somalisa Camp and Somalisa Acacia are open all year round, though game viewing is best from July through to October.

Whilst children seven years and older are accepted at Somalisa Camp, Somalisa Acacia is generally the better option for families, accepting children of all ages and having specific family units with internally connected sleeping areas. The waterholes in front of both camps are great for providing entertainment in between game drives, and the excellent guiding together with specialist kids’ activities on offer will ensure an engaging safari experience for families. Walking is not available for younger children and would always be at the discretion of the guide.

Somalisa is owned by African Bush Camps who contribute a certain amount per stay in camp to the African Bush Camps Foundation – a non-profit focused on conservation, education, and empowerment in the communities near the company’s camps.

The company has introduced environmentally sound operating practices into camps including low energy and renewable energy technologies, minimising water consumption and implementing sound waste management.

The Foundation is actively engaged with research projects in Hwange National Park including those monitoring lion, wild dog, cheetah, elephant and zebra populations. Individual ID photographs are supplied by the camp’s guides to researchers and there is currently a project to individually identify a number of elephants in the Somalisa concession. Guides also participate in the monitoring of birds of prey and vultures by forwarding sightings to a continental database for Africa.

The Foundation runs a programme called ‘Hwange H2O’ which provides water for wildlife in the dry season by maintaining eight deep boreholes which supply water into seven water pans within the concession; and also by supporting other NGOs who deal with water issues in the park.

Community initiatives include the support of the local primary school and the village of Mambanje in Hwange by installing infrastructure at the school and planting a community vegetable garden. The Foundation also supports two local women’s groups which make handicrafts and jewellery. Items are sold at the curio shop in camp.