The Retreat


Elephants kick up the dust of the sun-baked ground while close by hippos take a bath in the Ruaha River. Measuring vast 48,000 km², the Selous Game Reserve in southern Tanzania is the largest, oldest and possibly wildest African game reserve.


Named after captain Frederick Courtney Selous, who was at once a big game hunter, naturalist and environmentalist, the Selous Game Reserve is famous for its pristine wilderness. You may look forward to memorable experiences in a pristine environment that read more » has become a sanctuary for many endangered species.


And the stringent protection pays off: Today, the Selous Game Reserve is the park with the largest elephant and hippopotamus population worldwide. Of course, countless other species have made their home in the Selous.


Apart from elephants and hippos, you may also see lions, the African wild dog, leopards, buffaloes, giraffes, zebras and myriads of antelopes. Even the endangered black rhino is occasionally spotted.


Set directly on the Ruaha River, the extraordinary The Retreat Lodge offers twelve generously large (100 m²) tent suites. Experience authentic Africa coupled with luxurious accommodation nestling deep in the bush.


Incidentally, the The Retreat’s founding stone was put down in 2007. Previously, the owner and founding mother, a Swiss surgeon, had traversed the nature reserve on foot for three weeks, to find the perfect spot for her life’s dream.


Finally, a location on top of a forgotten lookout was chosen for The Retreat. Consequently, the guests enjoy a breathtakingly beautiful view of the landscape all around. Far from any other camps, The Retreat is set in the remote, north-western section of the reserve, on a bend of the Great Ruaha River.


A superb location and artfully designed architecture: The Retreat’s twelve highly luxurious tent suites are in keeping with the Feng Shui principles and reflect the philosophy of the five elements.


Grouped around the main building, the so-called Fort, the guest units are in harmony with nature, however, without sacrificing sophisticated creature comforts, superb gourmet cuisine being one of them.


The Swiss celebrity chef Wolfgang Kuchler (awarded 18 points by Gault Millau) personally trained the cuisine’s dedicated team of culinary magicians. Indulge in local and international delicacies. Only the chocolate and the parmesan cheese are imported. All other ingredients are bought locally.


Transfers to The Retreat in the Selous Game Reserve are generally operated by air. The landing strip Sumbazi is located only thirty minutes away. You arrive quick and effortless – and certainly there is no better way to get a first taste of the natural beauty than from the air!


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It was back in 1994 when the Swiss surgeon Dr. Uma Grob decided to create The Retreat in the Selous Game Reserve in order to share her authentic Africa with guests. However, she had a long way to go before read more » she could realise her dream.


After eleven long years of tug-of-war with the authorities as well as extended hikes through the reserve, she finally found the ideal location for The Retreat: at the heart of the Selous Game Reserve atop an elevation overlooking the Ruaha River.


Today, The Retreat boasts twelve luxurious tent suites as well as three infinity pools. However, its magic lies in the secluded setting, far from civilisation, at the heart of pristine Africa.


The tent suites have been erected atop teakwood platforms that rise up as much as six metres. Rich in detail, the interior design incorporates Feng Shui and the philosophy of the Five Elements.


Moreover, certain elements originating from the height of the East African trading decades have gone into the design. However, the design is much more than plain colonial. It is lovingly composed and carefully balanced to make you supremely comfortable.


Select African antiques are complemented by locally crafted furniture. A baldachin above the cosy bed depicts the African night sky. Mosquito nets protect you from any unwelcome visitors in the night.


Of course, every tent suite includes a private bathroom complete with a separate shower and a washbasin framed by semiprecious stones. Step outside and onto your private deck, generously furnished and boasting a magnificent view as well as a brass bathtub.


A tent suite… What sounds adventurous also has its practical values: The canvas walls may be pulled up to enjoy a view of the bush and the sounds of the wilderness while a cool night breeze caresses your skin.


All of the refined units have been spaced at least 30 to 50 metres apart, ensuring maximum privacy. And whenever you want to make sure you are completely left alone, you simply leave the Makonde chief’s staff outside as a sign not to be disturbed.


The Retreat is also a great destination for honeymooners. A lovingly decorated 220 square metres large Honeymoon Suite, the Lion’s River Suite comfortably accommodates the newly-weds.


Climb into the canopy of a soaring tree to find a romantic love nest high above the rest of the land, boasting a spectacular view of the Ruaha River and its wild inhabitants.


The Retreat’s finest, however, are the two luxury suites located at Hippo Point at a distance of two kilometres from the main building. 160 square metres large, the two exquisite units each offer a small pool.


The extensive facilities include an infinity pool as well as a sundeck, a private bar, lounge and dining area. A personal butler, chef and private guide take excellent care of you. Whenever you are ready to set off exploring, your safari vehicle and boat are at the ready!


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No schedules and no commitments: You decide how to spend your day in the African wilderness. Early morning or late afternoon… A classic game drive in a sturdy 4x4, a guided safari hike or maybe, for read more » a change, just a tension-relieving massage by the river.


However, despite the vast infinity pools, cosy lounges and many comforts ensuring a relaxing spell in the wilderness, the focus certainly lies on experiencing the pristine nature reserve brimming with wildlife.


In contrast to many other camps and lodges, The Retreat in the Selous Game Reserve is dedicated entirely to personalised service, well-protected privacy and offering the distinguished guests an authentic Africa experience.


With no fixed schedules for the safaris and other activities, it is up to you to make plans. However, it is always advisable to talk to the safari guides, who look back on many years of working in the reserve.


And, of course, special interests and requests are always taken into consideration. The aim is not to see as many animals in as little time as possible but rather to spot the game in its natural environment with all the time of the world to sit still and observe.


Should it always have been your dream, lets say, to take picture of the black rhino, the guides will go to great lengths to track these magnificent creatures, which are already extinct from other regions but may still be spotted in the Selous.


Another highlight is the large hippopotamus population, which lives in the immediate vicinity of The Retreat in the Ruaha River. Take care as the hippos can be dangerous … but you may get close as the bulky animals are quite untroubled by human presence.


Proud to have many regular guests, The Retreat’s most famous regular is certainly the long-time resident Mohamed Bakari, a huge elephant that may be seen majestically strutting around the hotel premises.


Apart from the classic game drive, The Retreat also offers exciting guided hikes and boat safaris on the Great Ruaha River, where you may observe hippos, crocodiles and water birds. Armed with a line, hook and sinker, you might just hook a large tiger or cat fish.


Uma Grob, the enthusiastic Africa traveller, founder and owner of The Retreat explains that the hotel pledges to pick up on any previous Africa experiences the visitor may have, offering tailored tours that may be an introduction, highly specialised nature study or unique adventure.


One of the many options is the incomparable Nomadic Fly Camping. Spend romantic nights far away from it all in the heart of the wilderness. A luxurious bed complete with mosquito net is set up in the shade with just the sounds of the wildlife for company.


A so-called tree shower allows you to scrub clean at the end of an exciting day while a private chef prepares deliciously smelling treats on the fire. Both an attentive guide and a tracker take care of your wellbeing and introduce you to the wilderness all around.


The Nomadic Fly Camping is both an adrenaline-pumping and spiritual experience beneath Africa’s vast night sky. Savour the strange sensation of having stepped out of modern life.


Back at the luxurious Retreat, you may again turn to the sophisticated modern-day amenities. Professional spa treatments and massages are applied open-air and with the help of natural beauty products.


The Senses to Africa Spa is set directly on the banks of the Great Ruaha River and is reminiscent of a traditional Massai village. Tired out by the African heat and wealth of new impressions, give yourself up to the caring hands at the spa!


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