Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants

Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants is in Hwange National Park (HNP). It is a land of contrasts, from dense teak and acacia forests to vast open golden savannahs. This camp is a place that offers guests the opportunity to see some of the raw and diverse Africa. HNP is Zimbabwe’s most visited safari park because it is so close to Victoria Falls. It is the largest NP in Zimbabwe at around 15,000 sq. km.

Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Map of Africa with Somalisa Camp highlighted
Water is life

There are approximately 60 waterholes. However, most of them are man-made and artificially pumped with water to provide the much-needed water for wildlife. This is because new human settlements were created in the area, and the natural water supply from the Zambezi River was cut.

Somalisa Camp is a private camp and the first camp in the centre of HNP. The camp’s primary focus is on wildlife and relaxation. This camp has a large elephant population and is known as the “home of the elephants”.

Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Severe drought reduced this large waterhole to a tiny muddy pool.
Location

The camp is situated right near a large waterhole which provides impressive views of the elephants coming and going. They do this several times a day to drink and have water or mud baths. Unfortunately, the 2019 drought severely reduced the water available in the waterholes. Subsequently, during this drought, these poor elephants struggled to keep themselves cool and find enough water to drink. Note the parched, dusty ground with no food to eat and no greenery on the trees.

Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Elephants were trying to keep cool in the shade of a very bare acacia tree.
Accommodation

All seven canvas tents are built on raised platforms and decorated with colonial and tribal decor. Copper baths, indoor and outdoor bush shower, large viewing decks from each tent overlook the savannah. A variety of wildlife is always present.

Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Tented accommodation
Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Bathroom
Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Main bedroom with views out to the savannah
Every tent has a large private deck for wildlife viewing.

Solar power is used at the camp to protect the environment. There is a very comfortable communal lounge and reading library, which views the outdoor pool and wildlife. An additional outdoor communal lounge is beside the pool, which lends itself to all day elephant viewing ~ a lovely way to spend the afternoon relaxing while sipping a G&T or a nice glass of Australian or South African wine.

get reasonably close to the elephants while maintaining a safe distance
Somalisa created this artificial water hole beside the main lounge to encourage elephants to drink. Furthermore, guests can get reasonably close to the elephants while maintaining a safe distance.
Very arid and dusty due to drought.
Elephants heading for the waterhole
Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Elephants are heading for the waterhole.

Experienced camp chefs prepare delicious meals inspired by the Far East, Europe and Africa. In addition, there is an extensive selection of Australian and South African wines served with every meal. Dinner is served either in the outdoor dining room or outside the fire pit.

Outdoor dining area with sunset view over the plains of Africa
Outdoor dining area with a sunset view
Getting there

Getting to Somalisa camp is comparatively easy. It is either a 40-minute small plane flight landing on Somalia’s airstrip or a 3-hour drive from Victoria Falls airport.

Activities

Somalisa Camp offers day and evening game drives and guided walks with very experienced guides. Wildlife sightings include elephants, kudu, antelope, sable, zebra, wildebeest, buffalo, giraffe, lion, leopard, hyena, and many birds and other wildlife species. Children of all ages are welcome.

Sable
Sable
Mongoose
Cheetah keeping an eye on its surroundings
Yellow-billed hornbill
Yellow-billed hornbill
A pair of lilac-breasted rollers
A pair of lilac-breasted rollers
Quartet of zebras with friend
A quartet of zebras with “friend.”
drought

When one plans and books a safari, it can be hit and miss depending on wildlife habits and weather. For example, I was in Hwange in late 2019 when Zimbabwe experienced a severe drought. As a result of the drought, over 2.3 million people suffered from poverty, disease, loss of human lives, power outages, crop failure, loss of livestock and loss of wildlife.

Very dry and parched savannahs
Arid and parched savannahs

The savannahs were parched, waterholes dried up, food was scarce for the wildlife. I witnessed starvation and the death of wildlife first-hand. Seeing up to 50 elephants trying to drink and cool off in tiny waterholes was heartbreaking. Elephants were suffering from heat-stroke, dehydration and starvation ~ many of which I saw had collapsed and died.

Elephants coming to artificial waterhole to drink and to cool off in very little water
Elephants coming to artificial waterhole to drink and to cool off in very little water
mother elephant protecting is young.

Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
mother elephant protecting is young
Herd of elephants heading to waterhole at the end of the daySomalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Herd of elephants heading to the waterhole at the end of the day.
Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
Stunning Somalisa Camp sunset
manmade waterholes

Somalisa Camp created artificial waterholes specifically for their wildlife. Water is artificially pumped in to provide the much-needed water for the animals to survive.

I felt that this elephant was reaching out to me to tell me to return to Somalisa!
Somalisa Camp ~ the home of the elephants
I felt that this elephant was reaching out to me to tell me to return to Somalisa!

Somalisa is one camp I would like to return to without drought. It was a fantastic place to visit and see so many elephants (despite their hardship with the drought) in one place.

resources

Somalisa Camp

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