Beho Beho, known locally as ‘wansalishi’ which in Swahili means ‘the pioneer’ was the first permanent camp to be located in the northern sector of the Selous Game Reserve (now Nyerere National Park). Originally established as a hunting camp in 1972 by the well-known safari company Ker and Downey it was purchased by the Bailey family following the break up of the East African community in 1977 and converted into a permanent camp. Mostly used as a private camp for the family it was not until 2004 that the whole camp was rebuilt and promoted to safari enthusiasts.
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Sited on Kipalala Hill, above the Msine tributary of the Beho Beho river, it enjoys uninterrupted panoramic views over the Rufiji river flood plain. The camp is unique in the fact that it sits in the centre of five different eco-systems – riverine; mountainous; water systems; open and lightly wooded savannah; and mixed to miombo woodland. Located 145 miles south west of Dar es Salaam, the camp is 3 miles from the grave of Frederick Courteney Selous after whom the reserve is named
The Nyerere National Park is situated between 8° and 10° degrees south of the Equator, so it enjoys very warm sunny days and warm evenings. The hillside location of Beho Beho benefits from cooling breezes most afternoons. In the Selous mid-June to October is the dry season (with the cooler months being June to August) the short rains are likely in the November/December period while January to March is the hot and humid season with occasional rain showers. April and May is the rainy season with heavy rainfall when the camp closes as road are impassable and airstrips are closed.
Accommodation in the Main Camp
Beho Beho has seven individual very spacious ‘bandas’ (stone built and palm thatched cottages) furnished with king-sized beds, Zanzibari day beds, writing desks and comfortable ‘suite’ furniture. The front of the banda is totally open and extends on to a spacious verandah - the banda can be secured for the night with ‘tented curtains’ or left open as desired. Bandas can be either double or twin and some can also accommodate additional beds. Each banda has a separate dressing room leading into an en suite bathroom with twin basins, high flush WC and an ‘open air’ shower. All bandas are supplied with Charlotte Rhys toiletries and hair driers. In 2019 individual plunge pools were added to each banda.
The main camp house
Furnished in the style of a spacious private house, with comfortable seating, bar and dining areas and even a billiards room with a full-sized billiards table. The most noticeable thing is that there are few walls ensuring fantastic views over the reserve.
Meals are a ‘moveable feast’ and are not confined to the formal dining areas - a feature of the camp being that each meal is served at a different venue. All meals are taken ‘family style’ hosted by the guides and managers. Breakfast is usually served ‘alfresco’ in the bush on the morning game activity. There is no private or ‘in room’ dining at Beho Beho main camp – everyone sits together.
The swimming pool is small but has magnificent views along the Kipalala Valley and is a pleasant place to cool off, but now that all bandas have their own plunge pools is not as central as it once was. There is a pool house with comfortable furniture, and a number of sunbathing/ shade options for relaxing.
Baileys Banda – Private villa
A two bedroomed owner’s house was added to the camp in 2012 allowing for a more ‘private’ Beho Beho experience. Located further up the hill it is away from the main camp and has its own brigade of guiding and hospitality staff and exclusive use of vehicle. Facilities include its own plunge pool, TV/DVD, WiFi together with spectacular views. A perfect ‘hideaway’ for up to five people. Normal Beho Beho rates apply plus a supplementary ‘Baileys Banda charge’ per night.
Almost all guests arrive by air on the scheduled services from Dar es Salaam or Ruaha – it is also possible to privately charter a single or twin-engine plane directly into the Beho Beho airstrip. The airstrip is located within a five minutes drive of the main camp. Flying time is approximately 45 minutes from Dar – but the scheduled service may also involve landing at other airstrips in the Selous.
Beho Beho has its own generator supply giving 240v 50hz electricity. There are light and power points in each banda giving a 24hour electricity output for recharging personal equipment.
Water is supplied from a bore hole. It is pumped up to tanks above the camp. Guests are advised not to drink the water from the tap - bottled water is provided in the bandas, main camp and on game drives.
There is a same day complimentary laundry service (weather dependent). Laundry placed in the laundry bags will be returned in the evening.
Children aged 12 years and over are accepted in the camp – although parents need to be aware that there is a very ‘adult atmosphere’ in the camp - especially at meal times.
There is WiFi in all the bandas – but not in the main areas of the camp. The connection can be slow and is not suitable for sending or downloading large amounts of data. There is no telephone signal in the camp.
There are three main components of a Beho Beho safari each guarded and guided by highly trained and experienced wildlife guides:
Game Drives - These are taken in our specially adapted 4WD open sided vehicles which offer shaded raised seating for better game viewing. Game drives are taken early in the morning or late afternoon and are conducted by our driver/guides.
Game Walks - Only permitted accompanied by our armed guides. Start directly from the camp itself and can last between two and five hours depending on the time of day and weather conditions. Sensible shoes (walking boots not required) and a sun hat are required. White is not a suitable colour to wear on walks.
Lake Tagalala - All guests will do this activity during their stay. Lake Tagalala is about 45 minutes drive (longer whilst game viewing) across the reserve, the shaded boat trip on the lake takes approximately one and a half hours. Very good, close up sightings of hippos, crocodiles and water birds. Breakfast is taken on the lake shore.
Beho Beho has a number of qualified resident guides under the direction of the camp manager/head guide who will plan each individual guest’s safari itinerary. Guests are not allocated one guide for their entire stay but have an opportunity to be guided by a number of different guides. The guides also host meals in camp which adds to the family atmosphere.
For most of the year the lightest and most comfortable clothing is recommended, preferably of natural fibre - especially sand or khaki colour for safari activities. The heat is dry and the sun can be fierce, so long sleeves and a sun hat or bush hat are essential on safari. Sometimes in the evenings or early mornings the drop in temperature may require a light sweater to be worn. Shoes or trainers suitable for walking and having a grip sole. Evenings are a time for a little more sophistication (longs rather than shorts) and for the ladies something that looks good by candle light!
Private Groups & Conferences
Beho Beho is an ideal location for small residential conferences, seminars and presentations. Private groups who would like exclusive use of the camp can be accommodated but early booking is required. Exclusive use can be granted for groups of 12 people or more but the camp can accommodate 18 guests (including Baileys Banda).
Great care and pride will be taken in organising a special occasion or event during a stay at Beho Beho, but as all meals in the main camp are communal the special occasion becomes a celebration for all.
The resident ‘family’ of guides, managers and staff are there to make sure that each guest enjoys the Beho Beho experience to the full. It is designed to be a ‘home’ in the bush rather than a hotel or a safari lodge or camp. Guests who feel at home will suddenly find that this is one of the most beautiful places to stay in Africa.
Seasons – Opening and closing of the camp
Beho Beho is closed from 14th March to 1st June each year due to the ‘long rains’, the absence of scheduled flights and difficult to impossible game driving conditions.
Reservations can be made through any travel agent or tour operator and through the central reservation office in London, UK.
Tel: +44 (0)1932 260618