The Retreat is a surprise in the middle of nowhere. Aside from the fact that it’s located at the edge of The Selous, Africa’s largest and most untamed wilderness, it is one of only a handful of hotels that operate in the area. And, it operates at a level that will blow you away.
You know you’re entering complete desolation when you fly in a small, five seat prop plane for miles over nothing. Not a light, not a building not a village – nothing. But, as soon as you land, you know you’re not alone. Fetched from the dirt Sumbazi air-strip by the hotel staff, you’re whisked away to the stunning buildings that make-up the compound. Thatched roofs, stilts and elegant furnishings – it seems you’ve stumbled into the luxury vacation home of Swiss Family Robinson.
Each guest, or family, is given their own villa with a good deal of space between yours and your nearest neighbor. Fine linens, cozy beds, billowy white fabric and well-curated decor paint the place with charm and character. The staff is all smiles and are truly happy to see you happy – in a genuine way. The food is flown-in fresh and each meal, served in villa or at the main house, is an experience. The presentation is outstanding.
Game drives are thoughtful and time is taken to make sure the terrain is thoroughly explored so guests can go home with plenty of wildlife stories to share. I was privileged to be inundated with giraffe, hippo and lion during my stay. The unique forested land make the area fun to explore and the animals tend to stay close to the camp because of the thick grasses, trees and river.
At the end you’ll feel altered a bit – in a good way. Seeing this part of the world reminds you that mother nature is strong and great and there is nothing that can outdo her beauty or majesty. And what makes her gifts even more appealing, is enjoying them poolside with a cocktail. The Retreat, in The Selous, is the perfect place to call your home away from home in Southern Tanzania.