Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
At a Glance
Amazingly remote and peaceful position
Fly camping here is a real must experience
Experience one of Africa's wildest parks
Beautiful tents overlooking the dry river bed
Enjoy dining in many different locations in the heart of the bush
All guides hold FGASA guiding level 1 qualification, recognising their high standards of safari guiding
Best time to Visit
Good time to visit
Average time to visit
Tanzania is a large country, with a varied climate. Generally, the long rains run from March to May - the temperature is warm and the humidity is high. June to October is the long dry season, typically considered the best months for game-viewing as the wildlife is more concentrated around water sources and the grass is grazed and trampled down. Selous and southern Tanzania is typically hot and humid from December to May, without a dry period to break up the rains, so travel is not recommended during the British winter months.
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Jongomero is a small luxury tented camp in the remote and little visited Ruaha National Park, in Tanzania. With just eight tented suites, Jongomero is perfect for those seeking the true African wilderness experience without compromising on comfort.
A visit to Ruaha National Park is essential for anyone seeking a true wilderness experience. Covering a conservation area of 10,300 square kilometres in the south west of Tanzania, Ruaha sprawls within and along the Great Rift Valley, covering a unique transition zone where the eastern and southern species of both fauna and flora meet against a dramatic topographical backdrop. This is also one of the few Tanzanian parks where sightings of the rarer antelope, such as sable, roan and both lesser and greater kudu, are a probability rather than a possibility.
Located in this magnificent setting is Jongomero Camp, a luxury safari camp set under shady acacia trees on the banks of the Jongomero Sand River. Accommodation at Jongomero comprises eight large and well appointed tents under enormous thatched roofs that also encompass a spacious private verandah. The dining and living areas are both original and very comfortable, offering a great vantage point from which to take in the sights and sounds of the African bush surrounding the camp.
The camp itself is not fenced and animals are free to pass through as they please. Elephants are daily and nightly visitors to the camp, vast herds of buffalo come within close proximity to the camp itself. Lion occasionally pass through and once every so often the tracks of a leopard can be seen winding down the main pathway as they make their way through the camp. The tents are perfectly secure and guests are frequently subjected to the wonderful feeling of huddling in a tent silently, trying to guess the identity of the enormous pachyderm which may wander by in the continuous quest for herbage.
Although without the massive teeming herds common in the North of the country, Ruaha holds an incredible amount and array of animals with an estimated 20,000 elephants in this one park alone. Ruahas' greatest secret lies in its extraordinary diversity of animals, plants and birds. Within the park as a whole there are over 1600 species of tree, twice as many as the great Selous Game Reserve which is also twice the size of Ruaha. There are a recorded 530 different species of birds here, half of all Tanzania's bird species may be glimpsed in this park making it one of the continents premier birding destinations. With the recent doubling of size of this park the bird list can only increase due to the incorporated wetlands and marshes of the South.
Accommodation at Jongomero comprises eight large and well-appointed tented suites, all built on raised wooden platforms and under enormous thatched roofs that also encompass a spacious private veranda. The rooms contain vast king size beds, a writing desk, fan, dressing room and en-suite shower room. All tents are spread out, situated on the edge of the sand river which is often used by a multitude of different animals to make their way to the river system for water.
Jongomero accepts children from six years old but has a limit of two children (aged 6-11) in camp at any one time.
Laptop with internet connection in the mess for guest usage, free of charge. No mobile phone signal or wifi. Fans and electricity in every suite.
Game drives go out twice per day, in the morning and afternoon. All game drives are driven by qualified guides in an open 4X4 landrover with a canopy for shade and no more than six guests per vehicle. For the specialist there are afternoon bird and photography drives. There are daily bush walks through this great wilderness accompanied by an armed guide and a park ranger. and also the chance to go fly-camping; a one or two day expedition on foot through the reserve sleeping in remote camp.
The on-site swimming pool provides a refreshing break in the heat of the day.
Sophie Levey (Staff)
The thing that sticks out for me the most about Jongomero is the staff. The waiters and bar-staff were utterly charming and, despite being on my own, made me feel completely at home. The camp is in a totally remote area of the park, meaning that you won't see another vehicle and you feel thoroughly emerged in the wilderness. There's also a great swimming pool and lots of wildlife activity in the dry river-bed next to the main area so a sofa or sun-bed safari is an absolute must!
Eliza Walker (Staff)
Jongomero is a beautiful tented camp on the banks of a seasonal river, miles from anything else in the remote southern part of the Ruaha. I recently visited Jongomero at the beginning of December when the riverbed was dry and it was beautiful, with lots of elephants wandering along the river bed just in front of the tents. The tents themselves are spacious and very comfortable, with a nice big bathroom with a solar heated shower. They are all set up on wooden decks and beneath enormous thatched roofs that also cover the private deck in front of the tent.
Jongomero is part of the Selous Safari Company so visits here can be incredibly good value when you combine it with one or more of their other camps, Siwandu in the Selous or Ras Kutani on the coast, and enjoy their circuit discounts. The level of service and guiding here is exceptionally high, so is the quality of food, with communal lunches that are great fun and then dinner set up in different locations every night. The camp also has a swimming pool which is a real bonus for a bush camp, especially in the heat of the day when you want to cool off. Due to the altitude of the Ruaha though the nights can get almost chilly which is a very refreshing change from other safari destinations where the heat makes it difficult to sleep.
If I had to say one thing about Jongomero it would be 'elephants'! I have never seen so many in the space of one game drive. The area is absolutely teeming with them and seeing long lines of them going to drink is a real treat. All in all I had fantastic game viewing whilst at Jongomero. The camp is so isolated that you don't run any risk of bumping into other camp's vehicles on game drives and the landscape is so beautiful and varying that it can keep guests almost as entertained as the amazing wildlife viewing does. Whilst people do warn about the tsetse flies the camp do their best to deal with this by burning elephant dung off the back of the vehicles which has a surprisingly nice smell but does a very good job of keeping the tsetses away.
In my opinion the Ruaha is the best kept secret in Southern Tanzania and has the best game viewing and Jongomero is a superb camp so well worth a visit.
This is the most luxurious lodge in Ruaha, and it has the only swimming pool, a welcome feature in this hot climate. Accommodations are in palatial standing tents with private balconies carved into the dense woodland that hems in the seasonal river Jongomero near its confluence with the Great Ruaha. The camp has an isolated location in the western part of the park, and the road back toward the entrance gate is good for elephant and buffalo, whereas game drives south of camp are notable for the untrammeled feel of the bush rather than great volumes of wildlife. The food is superb here, and most meals are served on the wooden deck overlooking the river, though it also has regular bush dinners.
Searching for big cats in Ruaha
Spend your days in Ruaha searching for their resident big cats - lions lounging in the sun on the rocky kopjes, cheetah stalking their prey through the grassy savannah and a leopard lurking in the boughs of a tree.
Walking safaris in Ruaha
There's nothing quite like the exhilaration of a walking safari and Ruaha National Park is a prime spot for exploring on foot.
Location & directions
Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Jongomero is set along the banks of the seasonal Jongomero river, in the Ruaha National Park. Situated in the South-West of Tanzania Ruaha sprawls within and along an ancient arm of the Great Rift Valley.
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