This is the only camp in the southwest corner of Ruaha National Park. If you've come to see animals, but no other trucks or people, then this is your place. The tents, which have furniture that was made from the wood of old dhows, are perched along the banks of the (sometimes dry) Jongomero River—when you're at the lodge's bar, check out the bowl filled with handmade nails that were collected as the boats were disassembled. Take your morning or afternoon tea out on your veranda—you might catch a glimpse of a few passing animals. The food is excellent, and there is always something packed away for you when you're out on your drives. The pool is a great place to relax and ponder all that you've seen during your day, and the view of the setting sun is incredible. If you're interested, game walks with your own personal armed national parks guard, can be arranged.
Ruaha National Park, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Oct 18, 2010
Upon arrival we were greeted by the entire camp staff singing a song of welcome. It was delightful and set the tone for all the fun we would have there. The camp managers Noelle Herzog and “Moli” (Andrew Molinaro) are absolutely charming. We really hated to leave them after 4 days. It might be different in high season, but at the max during January, there were only 6 guests. On some nights, only 4. We all bonded and had one heck of a good time
together. “Moli” was our guide during the stay and he really knows his stuff. He is a walking encyclopedia of information about Ruaha’s flora and fauna and can spot and identify birds from miles away. He has a wicked sense of humor too. The tents are large and well spaced for privacy. The beds are huge – although hard. All camp beds seem to be quite firm – being only a mattress on a platform of some sort in every camp. Our tent had a desk and chair, a big leather easy chair, side tables etc. The veranda has a daybed and two lounge chairs for sitting and watching the river roll by. The bath has great storage (a safe for valuables), two sinks, flush loo, a gigantic walk in shower and its all under canvas and enclosed from the elements. There’s plenty of hot water, good drinking water, bath amenities (no need to pack shampoo, etc.) Laundry is done daily for free – but be mindful that it is dried via solar power (the sun). Our first two days, it was too humid to get anything dry. At all camps you will have to hand wash delicates. There is always good washing powder provided. There was always electricity in the tents. You are NOT allowed to use a hair drier though. Flashlights are provided in each tent and you will always be escorted to and from the mess after dark. In January, it was cool at night and in the mornings. We slept under a comforter every night. There are no fans in the Jongomero tents. We didn’t need them in January. I don’t know if that would be a concern in other seasons. Each night while we were at dinner, the beds are turned down and the tents are sprayed for mosi’s. The food is very good at Jongomero. It is a set menu that varies each day. Breakfast is a buffet of cereals, fruit, sweet rolls, juice etc and cooked to order eggs and meats are always offered. You will get coffee or tea and biscuits with your morning wake-up in the tent. Lunch is usually served at 1PM at a communal table with all the guests and the camp managers. It would be pastas, salads, breads, etc. Dinner is usually set at individual tables and is more elaborate. It is served at 8PM, preceded by cocktails in the bar. I can’t believe I only gained 5 pounds on this trip! The days are pretty laid back at Jongomero. After breakfast, the first game drives go out at about 8AM, returning for lunch at 1PM. Then it’s a rest during the heat of the day and out again from 4-7PM with sundowners somewhere picturesque. During the “green season”, this section of Ruaha is VERY lush and VERY thick. We had been warned, it is not easy to spot game. The bush is so dense; that an elephant can be standing only a few feet away and you won’t see it. Having said that, we sure saw a lot. The park is literally thick with giraffe. I’ve never seen so many in one place. It is referred to as “Giraffic Park”. I love giraffe. Where there is giraffe, there are always zebra. On one drive we spotted 20 giraffe on the air runway. Thankfully no plane was arriving just then. Some things about Jongomero Camp. The tents are a bit of a hike from the main lounge. If that’s difficult, you might want to request a tent near to the center – maybe tents 1,2,3,4 or 5. Food service can be slow in the mornings, so account for this when timing your game drive departures. The game vehicles are very good and are supplied with mosi crème, sunscreen, and a rain poncho. You really MUST do the full day game drive with a packed lunch. It is spectacular and you will be amazed at how many different terrains you pass through. We loved Jongomero and hated to leave.