Reviews of Jongomero Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Professional but 'corporate' stay
We came to Jongomero following a fly camping experience that was second to none......so the expectation levels were high. That said, the desire for comfort, a shower and space to stretch out was higher!
We were not disappointed by the facilities on offer - a 'real' shower, a flushing toilet and space were very welcome.......the other guests (Tsetse flies) were less welcome, but I guess that's outside Jongo's control!
The rest of the stay was enjoyable with a good walking safari and game drive - the meals were good too.
Some of the elements felt a little stilted or formulaic, however - the chef announcing the dinner menu was a nice touch, but too formal for us. The focus on the 'bottom line' also felt too corporate and less relaxed than we'd have liked - we were charged for sun-downers, for example. Rather than a celebration of the day, it felt like an exercise in accounting. I don't mind paying (we consumed it after all) but don't recall every seeing a wine list or price list anywhere.........maybe I should have altered my expectations.
Jongomero had all the right components, but lacked some hard to define sense of warmth or 'family'.
Best 60th birthday
As the elephant herd came right up to the camp dining room wall to wish me a happy birthday how could I have anything but praise for Jongomero?
Our 4 day stay was packed with sightings by our very knowledgable guide Prosper. He gets my vote as best guide of our 14 day safari. The food was excellent and beautifully presented but I would have liked it to have a bit more African tilt.
The tent was spacious and comfortable and you could view game in or across the riverbed just by sitting on our deck. The park around Jongomero had a different vegetation (larger trees, more water) than the other places we stayed so I was happy to see the difference in animal/bird viewing.
Don't worry about the tsese flies. They don't eat much and hurt less than the ones on the Jersey shore.
Beautiful camp, amazing food!
Much more luxurious than our previous camp, the rooms were amazing, hardly felt like you were in a tent! We had everything we could possibly want including wonderful views down the river. Again all our needs were met, hot water bottles, tetse fly swats, burning elephant dung to ward off flies! They had thought of everything.
The food was quite exceptional, we were seriously impressed with it, the chef is a genius!
Lovely pool where we were able to watch elephants and baboons on the opposite bank!
The guiding was good, but not excellent, our guide was very knowledgeable but sometimes seemed reluctant to give us more information about something we had seen. That said, we had some fantastic game drives, it is extraordinarily beautiful around Jongomero and the feeling that you are so far from anyone else and not seeing a single other car was really special.
We were very well looked after here.
TRYING TOO HARD - CLINICAL
It is hard to separate lodges from locations, as although much more game here than Sand Rivers I would not recommend the lodge. The hosts are very 'professional'. The manner the chef announces dinner is very grand and serious. Its their way, but not for us. The lunches here were better than Sand Rivers, dinners OK.
Tsetse flies do spoil some of the drives, smoke blows across photos from burning elephant dung, and also affects eyes, especially when you stop. Although they vehicles go off roads, compared to other more central lodges in Ruaha we saw more animals in the Kwahala camp, that may be why the camps are placed there?
Zipped tents - good accommodation -
Expert Africa comments
These travellers visited Jongomero very early in the season (following the rainy season) when Tsetse fly numbers are slightly higher. The team at Jongomero did all they could to limit the fly's influence on game drives and we're sorry if the smoke interfered with photo opportunities. With management we feel that it is perhaps better to be very professional, than not professional enough. I’m sure that as the season goes on the managers will settle into their roll a bit more, creating a more relaxed atmosphere in camp.
Hotel in the Bush
I would not normally stay in such a luxurious camp as Jongomero provides. I prefer a more 'wilderness experience' .Although very remote with no possibility of seeing other vehicles , Jongomero is more like a professional hotel in the bush than a true bush camp where the main focus is firmly on the quality of the wilderness experience that comes from superlative and flexible guiding.
My main reason this time for combining a stay at Jongomero with my favourite camp of all time in Kwihala, was because last October my daughter and I enjoyed an amazing whole day out to the western part of Ruaha in the vicinity of Jongomero and beyond.
The different scenery , varied habitats, plants and wildlife , especially the upper reaches of the Ruaha River ,the miombo woodlands and above all the Makindi Springs area, , convinced me to stay at the only camp in this part of the park.
It was most unfortunate therefore that the long rains had been particularly heavy this year ,such that the very areas I wanted to visit were still unreachable and to cap it all uncontrolled bush fires nearer camp prevented us accessing the roads that were otherwise driveable .
But all of this was clearly out of the control of Jongomero camp.
It is very true that the camp is well run ,if a little formal .The 'tents' are very large and luxurious ,well positioned with hot water available pretty much all the time and the food consistent with city-style fine dining -to the extent of sugar work on the crème caramel -in the bush!
While there was communal dining at lunchtimes,guests dined separately at breakfast and dinner. This limited time to exchange stories and adventures among guests and staff, which for me is an essential safari experience that I missed. . Pre-dinner drinks (not included) were taken in the bar area and not around a convivial fire -such a shame.
As a solo traveller however Chris ,Sam or Theo ensured I had good company at dinner. A nice touch.
When I discovered the first game drive didn't start until 8am instead of 6 or 6.30am, the reason given was that there were not many animals about that early so I didn't pursue the matter ,which I regretted .
While there was opportunity to linger and watch interesting wildlife ,nevertheless the morning game drives were always back by 12 noon on the dot . I knew not to expect the same level of wildlife in this area or so early in the season but even so the game was sparse. However the butterfly ,flowers and birdlife and scenery were really very good .I enjoyed sitting on my veranda before breakfast and watching the sun rise behind my tent and touch and warm the trees on the opposite side of the dry river bed .
My guide Theo ,who I was lucky enough to have to myself on 3 occasions ,proved very responsive and indulged my request to spend time to make a confident identification. Indeed when the game drives proved a little thin and frankly a bit monotonous he was amenable to my suggestion of having a birding session for an hour or so in camp .We sat on a sand bar with binoculars and book, enjoying what flew past and on the look out for elusive green pigeon. We invented a sitting safari to make the most of what was on offer.
On reflection I think that Jongomero would appeal especially to couples or small groups who value the time to spend together in luxury ,as much as, if not more than the wildlife itself .
Jongomero Camp review
Generally this camp was excellent, but unfortunately the guide was not quite as good as he could have beeenRead more about the whole safari
Jongomero excellent camp
We found the tetsi flies rather aggravating in this area, the level of accomadation was excellent as was Siwandu..Read more about the whole safari
Great location, nice camp and staff
Jongomero is well located away from other camps and enjoys some quiet isolation. It's (dry) riverside location assures an ongoing parade of various animals as they use the open area of the riverbed.
The camps straddles the line between elegance, luxury and rustic quite well, but it all depends on the perspective. For the more adventurous there is fly camping, which in our opinion and experience was the best part of being there! Best to do at least 2 nights in the fly camp for the best experience.
The couple managing the place, Chris and Sam are very nice, friendly and easy going. The walks we did in conjunction with fly camping were pleasant and informative, covering a nice variety of terrain. One of the highlights for us was our assigned guide for the duration of our stay, Theo who drove us on all game drives. He is a great guy, friendly and knowledgeable, a good judge of character able to relate to his guests in a way most suitable to their personalities and preferences.
Jongomero Camp review
Leonard our Guide, was fantastic!Read more about the whole safari
Jongomero Camp exceeded all expectations, we were sad to leave! Staying here really does feel as though you have Ruaha National Park to yourselves.
The friendliness of all the staff here is very welcoming, the tents are huge, well equipped and with great views and the food is excellent both in quality and variety. Special thanks go to the camp manager's Sam and Chris, particularly for those small touches personalised to us for our honeymoon and also to our guide Theo who was extremely knowledgeable and had a great sense of humour.
Visiting at the beginning of July the camp wasn't quite full and we had the benefit of private safari drives every time which was a nice touch as the managers could have easily chosen to pair up couples into one vehicle.