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Sable Mountain Lodge
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All reviewsdar es salaamrovers returnflying fishwalking safarigame driveswonderful christmasbath and showerseater planename suggestshoneymoon tentlocal wildlifeafrican wildernessland roverloved every minutestaff went out of their wayoutside worldthe reserve
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59 - 64 of 152 reviews
Reviewed 29 November 2013

we stayed for 3 nights as part of a VJV Secret Tanzania trip
the location in the hills is stunning
we were in banda 15UP which as the name suggests is the first floor
of building 15 the furthest away from the facilities. But wow what a view
no windows (and only a half door) and views right across the Selous
to the distant mountains miles away. very good bathroom and bed. clothes storage
was also perfectly adequate as we didn't travel with too much luggage anyway
and used the laundry facilities. only downside of the room to me was lack of windows allowed the wind to come in and we had to weigh the mozzie nets down to stop them blowing away
also if you don't like watching the sunrise (I did) you might not like a room with no window covers
hot water was an issue as it took a long time to come through but a cool shower after a long day
is refreshing anyway
The facilities at Sable Lodge were very good I used the pool and couldn't fault the food service
for breakfast and dinner
safaris were well run and good sightings were had especially on the full day trip to Lake Tagalala
which was full of birds and crocs!
Sorry to leave

  • Stayed: November 2013, travelled with family
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2  Thank scarbyWales
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 3 November 2013

I arranged this holiday for my husband and I direct with Tent with a view, which also have sites in Sadaani and Zanzibar. Rama at their head office in Dar es Salaam is easy to reach by email and arranged everything I asked for, including last minute changes due to flight changes my end, professionally and without any fuss. Sable Mountain Lodge is about ½ hours drive from the Matambwe air strip, serviced by Coastal Aviation and to the north of the Selous game reserve. This was the second leg of our holiday, having been to the Sadaani site for 4 nights before, and dusk was falling as we landed at the airstrip and were met and driven to the lodge. We were unfortunately plagued by tsetse flies on our journey to the lodge, which stab at you, even through clothing. We were told that they prefer dark and black colours particularly. Sable Mountain is in a beautiful peaceful location, surrounded by forest with mountains in the distance. We were taken straight to the lounge/bar area, which has a bar made from the front end of a land rover, a lounge settee made from the rear end and glass topped tables made from the wheels, and is aptly called ‘The Land Rovers return’ we were met by the manager Mbasha, who showed us where the dining area, library and swimming pool were and the times of meals. This area is all raised on a stilted platform and is joined as a walkway. The swimming pool which is roughly 25ft x 12ft and 4ft deep is filled with fresh water and no additives. The water is topped up every day, with the overflow draining off to the animal waterhole lower down the valley, so a shower prior to swimming in it is essential, to keep it clean. The Banda’s are well spaced apart for privacy, and it seemed like miles as we were escorted to number 14. Mbasha gave us a map in case we got lost. Our Banda was built on the same principle as the one at Sadaani; that of a reinforced tent frame, with canvas sides and roof for the main room, with meshed windows, which can be closed off with drop down canvas shutters, and a door to a back extension which in our banda was closed and had half of it tiled as a walk in shower area. The structure was built on a raised stilt platform with a veranda at the front, and the whole topped with a beautiful thatched roof of reeds. All the wood is naturally sourced; even the bed/beds are handmade, and very comfortable. Our banda was smaller than the one at Sadaani and it was a slight disappointment that there were no armchairs or settee in the banda, although the seats on the veranda were OK and the view was fantastic. There was reed matting on the floor with shelving and some hanging space. I had a struggle as there were only 5 hangers and wish I had taken some light plastic ones of my own. The front of the bandas here are designed with French type doors to the front which can fully open, however as the site is fully surrounded by forest and the bugs and animals are plentiful, we didn’t think it a good idea to let the wild completely in, although having our sleep interrupted by the sounds of the animals and birds in the trees around us was a delightful experience, and we welcomed the small lizards that climbed up the inside poles of the banda and roof to feed on the insects that lived there .The water at Sable Mountain is fresh and drinkable and the shower water was hot and plentiful, with shampoo, body lotion and soap supplied. All the electric is solar powered, but there was only electric lighting and no power sockets in the bandas. They will charge your camera batteries behind the counter at ‘The Land Rovers Return’ for free though. A good torch is essential here to negotiate your way in the dark to dinner at 8pm. There are 14 accommodation units at Sable Mountain. A mixture of bandas as described, including two more secluded larger ones with open bathrooms, known as honeymoon suites, and a family villa, as well as several stone built cottages. These have thatched reed roofs and painted pictures on the inside walls which make them more homely. You can have clothing hand washed for $1 per item, you can't ask for underwear to be washed though. As for clothing, think really light fabrics and earthy. Take creams, beige's, leaf greens, nothing too bright or dark, especially not, navy or black, as tsetse flies seem to make a bee line for that colour. We took heavy walking boots, which were not necessary, good walking shoes/trainers are perfectly adequate. I also found my sandals and flip flops invaluable, however don’t wear them wet from the swimming pool as the ants on the pathways will soon cover your feet wanting a drink and they nip. Meal times vary according to what you are doing, but breakfast is usually between 7.30 am and 10am, lunch 1pm and dinner 8pm. Food is plentiful and excellent, with breakfast consisting of fruit juice, a plate of fresh fruit, followed by your selection from an English cooked breakfast, followed by pancakes, other little cakes, honey and jams, tea and coffee. Lunch consists of a salad, followed by maybe a filled pitta bread, more fresh fruit, water, tea and coffee. Dinner here consists of three courses, with a starter of soup and roll or salad or fruit, main course and pudding, water, tea or coffee. You might, if you’re lucky, as we were, to have a preying mantas drop onto the dinner table to stare at you. There is a bar, with a selection of beers at $5 a can, wine at $6 large glass or the cocktail of the day at between $7 and $8 glass. There is a tip box in the bar at your discretion, to be shared by all staff once a month. The lodge is just outside the game reserve, with its entrance and the main rangers’ camp just behind the air strip. Park fees and additions work out at around $65 per day if you haven’t booked an inclusive package. Although our guide Rama was really knowledgeable and helpful, doing his best to find the animals we wanted to see, and bailing out the boat that had filled with water from the recent 4 day rainfall, so that we got our boat trip on the lake, we found the whole day safari really long and tiring, leaving the camp at around 9am and returning at 7pm. So we cancelled our planned half day game drive that was to take place the next day and plumped for a leisurely guided walking tour of the area instead, which was really interesting. We had a great time here and really miss it.

Room Tip: We stayed in Banda 14, understand 12 also good, however if we return, might plump for one of the cottages 5 or 6.
  • Stayed: October 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank SuzeeQ18
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 13 October 2013

This lodge was the second of 3 on our honeymoon safari. We arrived late after a long drive but were greeted with cold towels by Holly (the assistant manager) and another member of staff. The location is excellent and our banda had a good view over the trees. A nearby beehive was a bit unnerving, but nearby wildlife is to be expected. The en suite bathroom is not completely enclosed (which the other lodges had been) and ours had a bat flying around in the evening (we thought that was very cool, others may be less keen!)

Our introduction with Holly started well and we agreed that we would talk about the plans for the following day at dinner, "when these things are normally sorted out". Holly never turned up at dinner so we had no idea what the plan was. Before dinner we had also found that our toilet didn't flush and she was no where to be found when we asked for her after dinner. Someone did come and fix the toilet but didn't do it properly so it only flushed once.

The following day Holly had reappeared and we spoke to her about the toilet and it was fixed properly while we were away that day.

We found the food here to be excellent, (indeed one of the dinners was the best beef we'd ever had!) and the fact that the water came from a nearby spring (we didn't mind drinking) was also very good. The meals were only spoilt by Holly's presence (apart from the first evening) when she would sit very close by despite having the rest of the restaurant to choose from. We felt this was a little awkward and stifled conversation.

All the other staff (including the manager, Mbasha) were excellent.

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank JayTrip56
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2013

We stayed for 4 nights here. I reiterate all the positive comments other guests have made. The safari trips were wonderful, dawn or dusk, by jeep, boat or on foot. The staff really seem to care and looked after us so well. The accommodation surpassed my expectations by a long way (banda 12). Never did I expect hot and cold fresh water and such comfort in such a remote place. Rama, our guide has the most phenomenal eyesight and can spot a 'find' miles off - literally! He is also so knowledgeable, it was a privilege to spend our time with him. The food was wonderful, they will cater for you if you let them know (I don't eat meat) - who needs a menu choice when the food is this good? Pepe the armed guard was friendly and kind, despite us having no common language. Holly, the on-site assistant manager has a wealth of experience that exceeds that of some people three times her age. We saw so many animals, amazing sunsets and sun rises, visited the Masai village and learnt so much. I would loved to have stayed a very long time. We got the train from Dar to Kisaki and despite the fact that we were several hours late, Rama still met us late at night and took us back to the extreme comfort of Sable Mountain Lodge. They even save dinner for us. The staff are a group of exceptional, kind and dedicated people. I can't thank them, or recommend them, enough.
Also note: Tent With a View are a great company - see also Tent with a View Saadani. We went from one to the other and the contrast of the two safari was well worth doing.

Room Tip: Banda 12 has incredible views. Would also like to try the Villa on another occasion - top of the site and roof top room pretty much open on 3 sides. If you are not very mobile, mention it when booking as the lodge is on a mountain (as indicated by the name!) and the site is spread across the mountain side, with the restaurant etc near the top.
  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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1  Thank Claire D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Reviewed 6 October 2013

Yes, the location of Sable Mountain Lodge is very good. We were given a nice tent with outside shower and toilet and a nice view from our balcony. You really feel in the middle of nature.
After a warm welcome by assistant-manager Holly we enjoyed some of the beers we brought with us and then went to the "Landrover Bar" for a drink. Holly was there with two other guests and ignored us completely. At dinner time, she dined with the two other quests (who were the ONLY other guests) and told them lots of interesting stories about her life. Same thing at breakfast in the morning. By that time, we felt definitely "B-category". By coincidence we all left at the same time, the other guests with a warm wave from Holly, who again completely ignored us. I think this is very unprofessional behaviour.
The other negative comment I would like to make is about the price of the beer, 5 USD for a 330 ml can. At all the other lodges we stayed we paid max 2,50 USD for a half litre bottle! A real rip off.
The food was average for a place that purports to be a more or less luxury camp and we only got one towel a day (that also had to serve as towel for the pool).

  • Stayed: September 2013, travelled as a couple
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2  Thank Juliadrusilla
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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