Somalisa Camp faces onto a large waterhole.

Somalisa Camp | Hwange National Park Luxury Zimbabwe Safari Lodge

Somalisa Camp is located at the epicentre of elephant activity in the renowned Hwange National Park. This luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge offers breathtaking views of the savannah plains across the famous Kennedy vlei line and overlooks the ‘elephant pool’ which attracts even more residents of this land of the giants.

The place

Hwange National Park is the place to see elephant in Zimbabwe, and rather like an elephant, Somalisa Camp stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to close encounters. Standing on the airstrip, we fill our lungs with fresh savannah air and break into broad grins as we realise just how much space there is around us. The sense of freedom only becomes stronger as our guide drives us towards Somalisa Camp. Swathes of grassland stretch almost as far as we can see, punctuated by small bushes and the skeletal white trunks of long-dead trees. A herd of zebra ambles through the swaying grasses – with their rotund shapes and hidden legs, they remind me of ships at sea. The landscape itself could just be the ultimate indulgence at this luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge, and we excitedly point out distant treelines as we plan our game-drive destinations. Our first stop is Somalisa Camp itself, and the view from the deck is both calming and thrilling all at once.

Hwange National Park is the place to see elephant in Zimbabwe, and rather like an elephant, Somalisa Camp stands head and shoulders above the competition when it comes to close encounters.

Standing on the airstrip, we fill our lungs with fresh savannah air and break into broad grins as we realise just how much space there is around us. The sense of freedom only becomes stronger as our guide drives us towards Somalisa Camp.

Swathes of grassland stretch almost as far as we can see, punctuated by small bushes and the skeletal white trunks of long-dead trees. A herd of zebra ambles through the swaying grasses – with their rotund shapes and hidden legs, they remind me of ships at sea. The landscape itself could just be the ultimate indulgence at this luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge, and we excitedly point out distant treelines as we plan our game-drive destinations.

Our first stop is Somalisa Camp itself, and the view from the deck is both calming and thrilling all at once.

The room

Our tent is the closest one to the main area of the lodge (meaning that we’ll need to participate in walking safaris to burn off some of the delicious food we see being laid out for afternoon tea as we arrive!). Having imagined the zebra as boats, I smile when the lodge manager refers to our new home as a canvas sail tent. As we’re adrift on a sea of grass, this seems entirely appropriate! As we stand on our deck, looking at the nearby elephant pool, one of the local giants nonchalantly strolls by, almost within touching distance. We watch spellbound as he drinks so much that it seems he intends to drain the entire pool! A sunbeam makes our slipper-style copper bath gleam, and draws my attention to the interior of our tent. The netting panels let the breeze and birdsong in, and the taut canvas panels above flex and relax. As I’m watching the soporific movement of our canvas roof I spot an overhead fan, and I’m relieved we won’t be uncomfortable during the scorching days. My partner in turn points out a glass wood-burning fireplace, reminding me that the evenings can get quite cold here in the wilderness. Our bed, set against a distressed wooden headboard as solid as their rest of the furniture, looks crisp and inviting after our long journey. I pull my shoes off and pad across the polished wooden floor to the shower, where I rinse that aeroplane feeling away. As I flop onto the bed and start drifting off, I think that this slice of safari paradise is everything we’d imagined, right down to the burnished metal details around the room.

Our tent is the closest one to the main area of the lodge (meaning that we’ll need to participate in walking safaris to burn off some of the delicious food we see being laid out for afternoon tea as we arrive!).

Having imagined the zebra as boats, I smile when the lodge manager refers to our new home as a canvas sail tent. As we’re adrift on a sea of grass, this seems entirely appropriate!

As we stand on our deck, looking at the nearby elephant pool, one of the local giants nonchalantly strolls by, almost within touching distance. We watch spellbound as he drinks so much that it seems he intends to drain the entire pool!

A sunbeam makes our slipper-style copper bath gleam, and draws my attention to the interior of our tent. The netting panels let the breeze and birdsong in, and the taut canvas panels above flex and relax.

As I’m watching the soporific movement of our canvas roof I spot an overhead fan, and I’m relieved we won’t be uncomfortable during the scorching days. My partner in turn points out a glass wood-burning fireplace, reminding me that the evenings can get quite cold here in the wilderness.

Our bed, set against a distressed wooden headboard as solid as their rest of the furniture, looks crisp and inviting after our long journey. I pull my shoes off and pad across the polished wooden floor to the shower, where I rinse that aeroplane feeling away. As I flop onto the bed and start drifting off, I think that this slice of safari paradise is everything we’d imagined, right down to the burnished metal details around the room.

What sets it apart

The views of the surrounding savannah and seasonal floodplains, and being in a private concession deep within Hwange, underline the remoteness and exclusivity of Somalisa Camp. Local elephant have become accustomed to drinking from the elephant pool in front of the lodge, and guided walking safaris can begin immediately from the lodge, rather like diving into the landscape. Few other lodges offer so many opportunities for close encounters with wild elephant, while the chance to visit a local village (where we know we’ll be made very welcome) is a reminder that successful conservation must necessarily involve people too. We see the lodge staff preparing for a star- and firelit dinner and their evident pride neatly contrasts thoughtful details with the vast landscape.

The views of the surrounding savannah and seasonal floodplains, and being in a private concession deep within Hwange, underline the remoteness and exclusivity of Somalisa Camp. Local elephant have become accustomed to drinking from the elephant pool in front of the lodge, and guided walking safaris can begin immediately from the lodge, rather like diving into the landscape.

Few other lodges offer so many opportunities for close encounters with wild elephant, while the chance to visit a local village (where we know we’ll be made very welcome) is a reminder that successful conservation must necessarily involve people too. We see the lodge staff preparing for a star- and firelit dinner and their evident pride neatly contrasts thoughtful details with the vast landscape.

At a glance

  • Luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge set on an acacia island in the heart of Hwange National Park, with sweeping views over ancient floodplains and the savannah. It has seven ‘canvas sail’ tents, and a small splash pool for guests.
  • Close elephant encounters, private concession, individual dining available and sole-use bookings available for a minimum of 12 guests.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, waterhole, cultural visits (additional cost) and swimming.
  • Not recommended for under-7s. Minimum age is 16 for walking safaris and canoeing; younger children can go on guided nature walks close to the camp.

  • Luxury Zimbabwean safari lodge set on an acacia island in the heart of Hwange National Park, with sweeping views over ancient floodplains and the savannah. It has seven ‘canvas sail’ tents, and a small splash pool for guests.
  • Close elephant encounters, private concession, individual dining available and sole-use bookings available for a minimum of 12 guests.
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, waterhole, cultural visits (additional cost) and swimming.
  • Not recommended for under-7s. Minimum age is 16 for walking safaris and canoeing; younger children can go on guided nature walks close to the camp.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

In a similar fashion to the other key wildlife destinations in this region, the Southern Hemisphere winter is the most popular and perhaps the most rewarding time to visit. Certainly, it’s the easiest to manage in terms of climate (next to no rain, and moderate temperatures). Wildlife spotting is easier as vegetation retreats, and as the dry season continues, it congregates around the remaining waterholes (some of which are pumped by lodge operators). To combine this with a better time to see Victoria Falls, come earlier in the season.

Less-informed perceptions about game viewing, and the risk of rain, make the Southern Hemisphere summer a less sought-after time to visit Hwange … which means that if you’re good with heat and occasional rain, there are bargains to be had, and even more seclusion. After the rains, pans fill and the game disperses, plus growing plants make wildlife more challenging to spot. However, the prevalence of baby antelope ensures predator action, and the nearby Victoria Falls reach peak flow during this time as the summer rains swell the mighty Zambezi.

Get an expertly planned safari trip proposal

Our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.

Enquire Now

Looking for inspiration?

Sign up for our occasional newsletter and we’ll feed your imagination with exciting safari ideas.

Get an expertly planned safari trip proposal

Enquire Now

Want to get in touch?

Contact Us

Creating your canvas!

By clicking on the heart, you’ve just added your first safari item to your canvas, which is where you can curate your personal collection of luxury safari inspiration. View and save your canvas by clicking here, and you'll be able to access it at any time by tapping on the heart icon in the menu bar.

Got it