Exclusivity within an exclusive reserve, Beho Beho offers a unique experience away from the crowds. Jonathan and Sophie discover more…
Review by Jonathan and Sophie Ellaby
Compared to other Selous lodges, Beho Beho literally stands out. Most guests fly in but we drove, away from the Rufiji river that carves through the northern Selous, and up into the hills, from where the lodge looks down across the hills and plains.
We’re greeted by manager/head guide Walter, and Karin, with a cold beer and refuge from the searing afternoon heat.
Beho Beho stands out not only physically – it’s also the most luxurious and polished lodge we’ve seen in Selous. Things are done differently here. All dining is communal and there’s great emphasis on personal relationships, a sense of exclusivity, and being made to feel part of the ‘Beho Beho family’.
With no other lodges in the immediate area, it feels almost as if Beho Beho operates its own concession within Selous, and there’s a good chance you won’t see another safari vehicle on a game drive. Compared to the traffic jams at sightings in the Serengeti, this is almost unheard of in Tanzania. Unlike all other lodges in Selous, Beho Beho is away from the main Rufiji river and lake systems – but this is its strength, not its weakness, and its private airstrip is just a few hundred metres from the lodge.
Considering the remote location, the food is exceptional; chef Karin personally oversees the kitchen with carefully crafted menus.
The main lodge is beautifully furnished (complete with full-size billiard table), as are the traditionally constructed suites; the décor harks back to the time of Selous and the Great White Hunters.
Nearby Lake Tagalala is the venue for boat trips, with plenty of game, especially hippos and crocs. And Beho Beho is the only lodge in Selous licensed to conduct walking safaris with guides Walter and Werner without a Tanzanian Parks ranger in tow, allowing guests the freedom to benefit from two of the most experienced South-African trained guides in the country.
We took a walk with Walter down onto the plains, through thickets of Borassa palms, watching the swarms of white-throated bee-eaters, looking for tracks and the small things that make walking safaris special. And not only small – we looked down on no less than 70 hippos crammed into a small pool, a heaving mass of fat and flesh, just metres away. This is a truly special place, with a beauty of its own.
Under a baobab tree (named after the Camp’s founder, Christopher Bailey), Walter pointed out recently discovered human graves – children that died violent deaths, perhaps 19th century victims of slave raiders that terrorized these hills. Nobody knows – Beho Beho has many secrets. Nearby are WW1 battle fields where Selous himself met his end; remnants of these battles still remain.
Perhaps it’s haunted, but at Beho Beho you feel part of something greater – the fusion of incredible scenery, close-up wildlife and rich history. It’s as if you’re being watched by ghosts of the past….or just a leopard through the palm leaves.
Later that night, after a gourmet 3-course meal (including duck à l’orange) under the stars with our hosts, we sat in the moonlight, cool at last, listening to the rumble of elephants and looking down on that ancient baobab.
It alone knows the secrets of Beho Beho.
Good for: Just about everything, except families traveling with very young children (no under 12s).
Not so good for: Those that prefer private dining or prefer not to socialize with other guests on safari.
Our verdict: Fantastic combination of first-rate guiding, great game viewing (especially Wild Dog), location and luxury make this our number one choice in Selous. Due to the nature of the experience and the many activities on offer, a minimum stay of three nights is recommended.