Ikuka

Reviews of Ikuka

Excellent(97%) From 39 travellers
Excellent
34
Good
5
Average
0
Poor
0
Terrible
0
Below are independent comments from 39 of our travellers who have visited Ikuka, and have kindly agreed to share their thoughts.

They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Mr & MS L from Connecticut
Arrived on: 11-Dec-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Luxurious with a great view - but one downsid

The camp accommodations are absolutely luxurious and the food was excellent. We enjoyed our guide very much and the service and hostess were wonderful.

The only downside to this camp is its location. Although in some ways the location is fantastic (sunrise over the plains from an elevated position), you are on a high escarpment. It's a long 20-minute drive just to get off the escarpment and into the game area - and that 20 minute drive is repeated 4 times a day.

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CC. from Porto Alegre
Arrived on: 14-Nov-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Ikuka review

What can we say about Ikuka?

It was one of the best experiences in our life. Ikuka was better than any dream.

The staff was friendly and helpful. Our guide, Festo, was the best guide that we could ever had. The food at the camp is better than a lot of five starts hotel restaurants.

Everything is perfect at Ikuka. I can remeber any hotel/lodge in the world with a service as good as at Ikuka.

Congratulations to Mark, Jack and Lilly.

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J&B from Wirral
Arrived on: 9-Nov-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent

Fabulous

Ikuka is an excellent camp in a great location – the views are wonderful. When we visited in early November, there had been very little rain – a big (and good) contrast from the Selous where we had come from. Ruaha was hot and dry, but thankfully with few mosquitoes and Tsetse flies. Our request for a room away from the central area was granted with room 6 – the 200m walk was our only exercise during our 4 nights at Ikuka, and was very welcome. Festo, our guide for the 4 days, is truly exceptional. His knowledge of animals, birds, flora and insects is first class, and he is a funny guy so it made for a great few days. Thanks to Festo and his attention to detail – for example positioning the jeep in just the right place to view/photograph animals and birds in the best light. We saw our first ever Leopard, Ostrich and Serval Cat. Elephant and Giraffe were especially plentiful, and we had a number of Lion sightings – all of them up close.

The Camp is beautiful very well appointed – not that we spent much time there other than to eat and sleep! Dinner was a communal affair which we really enjoyed and the food was excellent.

Ikuka really go the extra mile to ensure you have a great stay. On our departure day the zip on my travel bag broke. Jake kindly organised for a the camp tailor to fit a new zip. Thanks both! Also, since our flight was not until 1pm, we were able to go on the morning game drive, and were met at noon by Luca and taken to the air strip via a few animal sightings, complete with a packed lunch for the flight.

Many thanks to Mark, Jake, Lillie and all the wonderful staff at Ikuka – we had a fantastic time. Anyone planning a trip to Ruaha would do well to put Ikuka at the top of their list.

Our only suggestion would be to put WIFI in the rooms – perhaps at the expense of the current WIFI in the communal area only…… just to encourage conversation over working on phones/computers in the communal areas.

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Mr & Mrs H from Scotland
Arrived on: 8-Nov-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Good
Good
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Good
Good
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Luxury lodge

We spent four nights at Ikuka. This is a well organised and run camp and maybe a bit more formal than others we have been to.

All staff were helpful and friendly and I was well looked after when I had to spend a day in bed with a tummy upset.

Our 'room' was the family lodge and was awesome. Huge, open and beautifully furnished and with a plunge pool, it felt very indulgent. The food was of a very high standard. Lunch at separate tables with a communal table in the evenings was a good formula.

We were unfortunate to experience some problems with the vehicle we were in. Three out our first four drives were spoiled by these problems. We took it in good heart on our first breakdown where we had to wait one and a half hours for help to arrive and get it fixed however by the third time we were a bit fed up with it. The manager did apologise and we were given a bottle of bubbly but it did detract from our overall experience of the camp. Perhaps this contributed to our slight disappointment in our wildlife viewing. While we are happy to soak in the landscape and were very interested in the many birds we saw we seemed to be unlucky with few sightings, although we did have a lovely viewing of a leopard in a tree, a large herd of buffalo and many sightings of elephant. The highlight of our drives was at Hippo Lake a beautiful area and well worth the journey.

Although I was aware at the time of booking that Ikuka was a twenty minute drive from the main wildlife area I had not fully appreciated that this adds up to eighty minutes per day. So although the views from camp are amazing they come at a cost. The last part of the drive to camp is particularly steep and bumpy.

Overall we were happy with Ikuka but I would probably book a camp nearer to the main wildlife area if I was returning to Ruaha.

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Mr & Mrs JP from London
Arrived on: 21-Oct-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Faultless stay at Ikuka

A beautiful intimate owner-run camp situated on an escarpment with wonderful views across the plains of Ruaha.
The rooms/tents are high quality, with expansive tented sleeping area (beds are vast and super comfortable) and open seating area. We had our our private plunge pool (no. 6) but it was a little cold so preferred the communal pool.
The food is immaculate - imaginative, fresh, light, delicious flavours and well presented (apparently the menu was re-vamped in July 2019). Dinners are communal and it was nice to swap stories of each days' events with fellow guests.
The game drives were superb and generous (5-6 hours in the morning and another 2.5-3 hours in the evening). The guides are very enthusiastic and knowledgeable. We were lucky to see lions on all 7 of our drives and leopard twice plus plenty of elephants, giraffes, cape buffalo, zebra, kudu, impala, ostrich, and the occasional waterbuck and jackal..
The service from all the staff (esp. Jake, Lilli, Davis) is completely on-point and there is nothing we could fault.
We highly recommend this camp and game park with its stunning landscape and which is more or less devoid of tourists. We hardly saw any other vehicles on all our drives. The only downside are the tetse flies (the ones here are not sleeping sickness carriers) but they do give quite a nip (even biting through clothing!).

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Mr I from Abergavenny
Arrived on: 6-Oct-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Good
Good
Location:
Average
Average
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Average
Average
Facilities:
Average
Average

Ikuka at Ruaha

The location of the camp afforded fantastic views of the valley, however, it was 45 minutes from the airstrip. More importantly, each drive required a 30 minute journey through sparsely populated areas before any sightings could be expected. This extended the already long safari time, especially on the morning drive.

It should be made clear to travellers that they can expect to share game drives with one or even two other couples as the norm with no consideration of shared interests or stage of their stay. We had a bad experience in this regard but when queried with the manager, he was quick to resolve it. Furthermore, there was a huge difference in the two guides we experienced, though both were very knowledgeable, one was very passive, almost disinterested, whereas the other was passionate and engaging.

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Mrs S from france
Arrived on: 23-Sep-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Amazing Ikuka

Fabulous location on top of an escarpment with stunning, far-reaching views from both communal and private spaces. Great, open design means the regular breeze keeps spaces cool. Accommodation was very spacious and comfortable and of a high standard. I would have liked part of the bathroom (sinks and toilet) to be included in the tented area to avoid the constant zipping and unzipping at night when getting ready for bed, but that’s splitting hairs!

Service was great, the staff are very friendly and open, and encouraged to chat and banter with guests which we found charming. As well as the manager Jake, and the owner Mark when he’s on site, The guides took turns to join the communal dinner which was a nice touch, and made for entertaining evenings.

The food was wonderful, fresh and innovative at every meal. Lunch comprised of a chilled soup, a buffet style main with lots of salads, and a light dessert, whilst dinner was a starter, main (which I found a little on the large side) and dessert. Everything was beautifully presented and very tasty. Ikuka also offered us a glass of juice retuning from our morning drive, and an Amarula returning from the afternoon drive...a lovely touch!

Activities were excellent, our guide Festo was brilliant, very friendly, open and extremely knowledgeable. Ruaha has such a variety of landscapes and terrains that there’s always something new to see, and we had excellent game sightings. We also did a walking safari with Mustapha, covering about 7km so we felt we’d had some exercise as well as learning a lot about the flora and fauna (and poop!) of our surroundings. And a fab bush breakfast to finish.

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Mrs J from Taunton
Arrived on: 21-Sep-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Perfect

Great people.

Brilliant rooms: great views, spacious, good facilities, hot water and still feels fresh and new.

Food was imaginative and very well presented.

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Mr & Mrs G from Michigan
Arrived on: 18-Sep-2019 Stayed for: 5 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

High on a hill

We were thrilled to be met at the airstrip by our favorite guide, Festo. He had been our guide 5 years ago at a different camp. We love his vast knowledge and passion for the wildlife, as well as his humor. We headed up the hill to spectacular views from the lodge and our room.

The banda was spacious and had plenty of storage, and the deck offered complete privacy. There was a deep plunge pool, but found it a little too chilly to enjoy. The lighting wasn't bright enough in the evening for reading, but we kept so busy that there really wasn't time to read. While the banda was fully open during the day, at night they zip down a tent around the bed. To use the bathroom at night, one had to unzip the tent opening and navigate a step to reach it.

Food was good and plentiful. Lunch was a buffet of delicious salads and hot entrees. The communal dinner was served plated, and a manager and at least one guide joined the guests each evening. The open bar had a list of interesting craft cocktails available.

Wildlife sightings were memorable! We watched elephants chasing lions, a leopard trapped in a tree with his impala kill by a group of lions waiting on the ground below, lions feasting on zebra, buffalo, and giraffe. Birders would enjoy the sightings of Giant Eagle owls that our guide found several times.

This was our second visit to Ruaha, and we enjoy it because of the lack of crowds and great wildlife.

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T & S from North Carolina
Arrived on: 10-Sep-2019 Stayed for: 4 nights
Overall:
Excellent
Excellent
Location:
Excellent
Excellent
Rooms:
Excellent
Excellent
Service:
Excellent
Excellent
Food:
Excellent
Excellent
Activities:
Excellent
Excellent
Facilities:
Excellent
Excellent

Ikuka - Ruaha National Park - Magnificant

Quite a change from our last camp, Beho Beho, but it only gets better with the variety. High up on a ridge and a more casual atmosphere, Mark, the owner, and staff will greet you and make sure any accessory you didn’t contemplate you might need is at hand. Staff and guides join you which was wonderful. Lilly (Lillian) a true goddess who makes Ikuka conform to the laws of physics and humans, including knowing exactly when we needed a cold Zero Coke! And don't try to carry anything back to your cottage - you are certainly allowed to have it there, just not to carry it by yourself! Staff appear out of nowhere to accompany you.

Our guide, Festo, was a master of his guide craft for large animals and bird life. Respect that knowledge and if you have questions ask him, not your seatmate. Cats abound here and watching a young leopard move from one tree to the next to pull out his stashed kill was astonishing. We spent another morning watching a serval and the next day more leopards. Mongoose everywhere, baboons, vervet monkey, eland, serval, ostrich, buffalo, giraffe, including nursing babies, hyrax, zebra, including nursing babies, hyena, elephant, including nursing babies, black backed jackal, oribi, kudu, tiny dik dik that look like dogs and so many baobab trees (unlike Selous.) Apparently the history of low numbers of elephants allowed the baobab seeds to sprout and grow

A bush walk with Mark and his expertise is a life experience you will never forget. You can tell your friends how exciting it was even if you don’t run into a pack of starving lions; and you will be rewarded with a great bush breakfast at the end.

The food is fantastic in quantities that overwhelm. Lunch is buffet and dinner is sit down with everyone at a long table, inclusive of guests, staff and guides. (Should you prefer to eat any meal in your cottage, you only have to mention it.) We met a family from Britain that was so much fun, so intelligent, witty and diverse we wanted to adopt them!

The accommodations are huge tent - cottages overlooking the hill. The bed areas enclose at night separate from the bathroom/shower areas, patios and sitting room. Hot water bottles warm the beds and tea and coffee arrive at dawn. Taking an early morning or after dinner shower is not for the faint hearted as the breeze blows in off the ridge and makes it a bit if a challenge. “Bush Baby” hot water bottles are handed to you for your morning drives to keep you warm. There is a pool by the bar and dining area and a “loo with a view.”

We never wanted for anything at Ikuka except for more time to stay.

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