Reviews of Jongomero Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Jongomero Camp review
Jongomero is in a super league of its own and it was a truly wonderful experience to have been there. The accommodation, food, atmosphere and service are fantastic; it's almost as intimate as staying over with friends for a few days.
Molly and Noelle, run it like 'a family', and clearly command affection and respect from their staff, which is lovely to see and we experienced the benefits.
There are so many nice little touches from all the staff - you are being looked after by people passionate about their work (they even sing you a welcome in Swahili) As a guide Molly is just amazing, so knowledgeable, informative and friendly - he is inspirational! If you could only recommend one lodge, it should be this one!
Jongomero Camp review
This is a fabulous camp.
However, the remote location which is a plus point in terms of isolation from other visitors, meant the game drives were a bit repetitive and we did not get to see the plains (and their cheetahs). If we had realised this in advance, we would have booked two separate camps in Ruaha.
Jongomero Camp review
Jongomero camp was perfect. A real private hideaway where we were made to feel very special throughout our entire stay.
The food, rooms and service were all great. The location and view from the pool is also amazing.
The safari was varied and interesting, but the walking safari was the best. The guides were incredible, and knew everything about the area and the biology.
We arrived to Jongomero after Kwihala and we thought our holiday could not get any better...
We had booked 2 nights fly-camp and this ended up being one of the best experience in our lives!! It is difficult to explain the feeling of sleeping in a small camp in the wild with visiting buffalos and elephant in the evening. Once again we were the only 2 guest for 2 nights and we had Molly with us 24/7. Walking in the bush is an experience not to be missed, and we found out it is also addictive. Molly is a fantastic guide and you could listen to him for hours. You can tell he has a huge knowledge and love for wildlife and it is contagious. We never stopped asking questions and he never stopped answering...He also had all his meals with us and he was great company! All the staff at the fly camp was great.
We then spent two nights at the main camp (and we went for another walk and drives in the afternoon). Everything was perfect - this is the reign of Noelle and she does an excellent job at organizing and making sure every guest is happy and looked after.
One day after luch we watched elephants, baboons and impalas from our veranda!
We saw some rare animals like the white tailed mongoose and the honeybadger. We also noticed that worthogs are curios and seemed to let us get closer to them on foot.
In both camps the food and service were excellent.
The location of the main camp is very scenic as it is on a sand river. The whole camp is luxurios but it fits really well with the safari feeling. We loved Molly and Noelle and every minute we spent at Jongomero, in fact we want to go back already!
Our own private world at Jongomero Camp
Detours to avoid towering cumulus had delayed the arrival of our flight at Selous and our friendly lady pilot warned us that we would have to make further detours to avoid the worse of the turbulence on our flight to Ruaha. We eventually arrived at Jongomero airstrip at about 12.30 with only a 10 minute drive to the camp. The greeting at the camp was spectacular – all the staff led by camp manager Molly (otherwise known as Andrew Molinero) and his peripatetic assistant manager Emil (immediately christened Emily to go with Molly) were there in the shade of an enormous baobab tree, as they were every time that we returned to camp after a safari.
In no time at all we were escorted to our tent by a Masai warrior and then back to reception for a drink with Molly before lunch – where we discovered that, for the first 24 hours, we were the only guests! Our first safari with guide Priscus was a good introduction to the varied landscapes to be found in Ruaha. We saw giraffe, hippo, elephant, impala, waterbuck a, dikdik and a lonely jackal and, of course, a huge variety of birds, before returning to camp for a quick shower, more drinks with Molly and Emil and an excellent dinner.
Molly's speciality, apart from expert photography, is walking safaris, but, sadly, there had been sufficient rain to bring the vegetation to life and force the Park Authorities to ban walking safaris because of reduced visibility. We therefore took advantage of the offer of a full day safari next day. We covered an enormous area of the park and saw the first lions of our holiday – a small pride of lionesses relaxing in the sun close to one of the main gates to the park. We also saw, hippo, elephant – including a family with a tiny baby, giraffe, impala, greater kudu, dikdik and banded mongoose. Picnic lunch, complete with table and chairs, was served by the side of a large hippo pool with brightly coloured lizards to entertain us.
Next day, Priscus took us on a morning and evening safari, driving through yet more areas of this huge park. In addition to the game that by now seemed commonplace, Priscus found us a family of bat-eared foxes, a lone hyena – comparatively rare in Jongomero – and two magnificent adult lions sleeping in the sun – the potential threat from which probably explained the absence of a recently seen pride of lionesses and their cubs. We enjoyed coffee and wonderful cake in a dry river bed and then returned to have another look at the lions before returning back over the dry river bed to camp for lunch – except that the river bed was no longer dry! We returned with the good news that the river was running and it duly arrived at Jongomero Camp at about 3 p.m. – with a celebration paddle by Molly and Emil. No more would the baboons keep as amused as they played and quarrelled in the dry river bed below our tent!
Priscus found us our two male lions again on our evening safari, this time stretched luxuriously in a dry river bed just a few feet away from our vehicle. The lions completely ignored our presence, unlike the young male elephant who took exception to our vehicle and made several 'mock' (Priscus said they were!) charges accompanied by full volume trumpeting before Priscus decided that discretion was the better part of valour and drove off with triumphant elephant in hot pursuit! Molly celebrated our final evening by arranging dinner outside by the newly flowing river under a canopy of stars of almost unbelievable brightness – more magic !
Our final safari was something of a bonus as Molly arranged an early pre-breakfast opportunity for Priscus to have one last attempt to find us a leopard before our mid-morning departure to Zanzibar. The bush was definitely quieter than we had experienced in Kenya at this early hour – which explained the reason for the 8 a.m. start for most morning safaris – but this was apparently a good time to find a leopard. Priscus found spoor, but all the promising spots were empty of leopard until suddenly he heard the alarm calls of a troop of baboons – the noise that they would make when threatened by a predator. As we drove under the trees with the baboons above us, something crashed off through the long grass into the dense bush where we couldn't follow – it may have been a jackal, but it was nice to think that it could have been a glimpse of a leopard.
We had a wonderful stay at Jongomero – our hosts Molly and Emil made us very welcome and the staff were friendly and provided excellent service – Priscus was young and enthusiastic with good English and added enormously to our knowledge of Tanzanian wild life – the tents were luxurious – the layout of the camp encouraged a feeling of being alone in the middle of the bush, and visiting elephants around the tent added to that impression. The food was of a very high standard, and we enjoyed eating both in the dining room and outside by the river. The attentions of the tsetse fly in some areas (but not in the camp) were a pain – literally – but we will be better prepared for a further visit to Jongomero and Ruaha.