Reviews of Jongomero Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Jongomero Camp review
This was our second year in Jongomero which had a new manager Brian. However everything seemed as lovely as ever with very few changes and very good staff. Our tent No 4 was beautiful with some of the most comfortable beds we have experienced on safari. The food was as excellent as ever, we all sat together for the lunches and at separate tables(sometimes in the sand river) for dinner.
We did game drives twice a day sometimes alone or sometimes with one other couple, with our excellent driver Frank. Although it is harder to find game here, Frank made sure we saw almost as much game as in our first camp in the Selous, and a good variety of birds (the birdsong in camp is lovely). The thing that stands out are the Elephants, the large numbers of them in the beautiful woodland and drinking in the sand river. We missed the resident elephant family, Mother, Teresa and Benedict but the male elephant Bob still travelled through camp, drinking at the pool, causing some excitement.
We also saw quite a number of lions, and we could tell from the roars and footprints that there had been a lion visit during our last night in camp. The only drawback is the camp's sand paths which make walking in sandals uncomfortable - we should have had better walking shoes.
Jongomero Camp review
Perched overlooking the Jongomero river, the camp is in an idyllic spot where elephants freely roam throughout the camp and where a Masai guide with a gun is non-negotiable to get to your room -- here you are really truly in the heart of the bush. Although lacking the Siwandu lake and the water ecosystem that it nurtures, Jongomero does have the Ruaha river which teams with hippos, crocs, baboons, elephants, and giraffe.
Bryan and his team also run a tight ship -- the camp also logistically and chronologically works very well. The service and commitment to guest happiness was impeccable -- for example, when they realized they did not stock my favorite Irish Whiskey (Jameson) -- they literally got a shipment flown in from Dar expecially for me the next day: WOW!!
The hot water under the duvet in your bed waiting for you upon arrival at your tent was FANTASTIC....as it gets chilly in evening and morning during the dry season. The caliber of the guides at Jongo was superior than Siwandu: better Englsih and more engaging/knowledgable.
The food at Jongomero was the opposite of Siwandu: these guys got it right: grilled meats, salads, whole grains....definitely healthy eating: very impressive.
Beautiful and spacious rooms with fantastic furnishings made from old dhow wood.. New manager, Bryan, is working very hard to ensure that guests have a wonderful experience.
Game viewing was average, and way more skittish than what we experienced at the other end of Ruaha (Mwagusi River area). Roads available for game viewing were a bit limited, hence routes were often repeated. Elephants very vehicle-shy as were impala.
Very well run.
Delightful staff providing outstanding service. The food is of a high standard and drinks prices are fair and reasonable.
The room and the changing area/bathroom are both very spacious (Put many a 5* hotel to shame) and the tent walls are all a mosquito-proof netting so the entire area is bug free overnight. There is a spacious veranda overlooking the seasonal river where you get a wide variety of visiting animals if you keep your eyes open.
Guiding good quality. There is a big difference between the habitat close to the camp and further away so well worth doing the all-day safari to see the difference.
Ruaha has lots of flies that instinctively follow moving objects so the technique of burning elephant dung in containers on the rear of vehicles really helps minimise the nuisance - you really notice if it goes out!
One item to note is that we understand the manager and deputy may be leaving in April to start their own walking safari venture - their successors will have a high standard to aim for.
it has a lovely atmosphere and very quiet and special feel next to the river. The safari trips are tricky as the vegetation is very thick and u drive a lot to see a little. Two families at the camp were quite bored I would say not a camp for kids at all.
The staff were exceptional and ur guide so lovely. You may wish to know that Molly who runs the camp is leaving and that will be a blow to the set up
We were disappointed that walking with Molly was off as the vegetation was too thick. In fact in this area hardly ever does walking at this time of year
3 days was enough here but we did really enjoy it
Superb camp in remote Ruaha
Jongomero is a superb camp in a remote corner of already remote Ruaha - there are no other camps nearby, so you really feel as though you have the world to yourself. The camp itself is stunning, set on the banks of the Jongomero river (which was dry when I was there): the tents, on raised platforms and with thatched roofs, are huge and extremely comfortable; the balcony, with a luxurious day bed, was the perfect spot to start the day with a cup of tea watching the sky light up.
The food was excellent; I especially enjoyed lunches, which always featured lots of fresh salads. A real highlight are the people: not just Noelle and Molly, the camp's exuberant managers, and Kim, my delightful guide, but every single person providing exceptional service - there is a real sense of commitment and continuity there. Do go on a walking safari with Molly if you can (I never thought I would say this about a safari holiday, but learning about termite mounds was a highlight).
Overall, one of the best safari lodges I have stayed at in Africa.
Luxury wilderness at Jongomero
Jongomero is a kind of paradise: remote by design and beautifully crafted into the surrounding river bed and bush it's impossible not be captivated by the place. The accommodation is stunning and that word runs through every aspect of this magical spot. 60km from the nearest camp and separated by the small mountains that run through the Ruaha National Park, it feels here that you're privileged to experience a piece of Africa as rare as it is special. Never have we been so happy to get a morning wake up call, never have we been so satisfied at being a few steps removed from the outside world. Just perfect.
But paradise isn't just about the place, it's about the people and Molly, Noel and their team offer all the easy company and charm you could want to bring the experience alive. Indeed their infectious enthusiasm for Jongomero and the surrounding bush is exactly that - infectious. And they work tirelessly to ensure every aspect of your time with them builds towards an experience you'll never forget. I wont go into the little details and surprises, suffice to say that you wont ever want to leave.
A couple of specifics worthy of note though. Firstly, the menus that Noel works with the catering team to develop are inspired. We loved every meal and left wishing we could take the recipes with us (not that we'd have the expertise to deliver them with anything like the panache of the outstanding chefs). Secondly, Molly is a font of knowledge and, at the risk of repeating every review on Trip Advisor and probably Expert Africa too, a walking safari with him is a must - he'll unearth a whole world of detail, richness and colour in the bush that you otherwise wouldn't know existed.
My wife and I have travelled pretty extensively over the last decade and in just two and half days, Jongomero acquired a very special place among our travelling memories. The place can't help but get under your skin and you can't help but be delighted when it has.
Jongomero Camp review
The tents were well equipped. Food was excellent, served to individual tables in different locations each night.
Our guides (Kim and Modest) were very good and the games drives well organised and well driven. The drives started at 8.00 am. We appreciated the anti tsetse fly device. Amongst other animals we saw a honey badger, lion cubs on a kill, kudu, ostriches, hippo, jackal, a little owl, and many elephants digging in the sand river. There were lions, elephant and hyenas in the camp at night.
Molly and Noelle were very good and informative hosts, and we enjoyed the 'showing of the book'.
Great place for safari away from crowds
One thing we wanted from our safari was to feel out in the wild and away from everything. We chose to go somewhere without many other camps around, so that we weren't surrounded by lots of other jeeps. Jongomero was perfect for this, it did mean a slightly longer plane journey from Dar-es-Salaam but I think it was worth it. Most days we only ever came across one other jeep which meant it didn't feel too touristy...
The camp was really nice especially the decor of the main lodge and the staff were great in terms of service, but also very interesting and fun people who made the experience all the more enjoyable. There was a lovely feel to the place.
The nights were quite cold, but the extra touch of hot water bottles in the beds meant it was fine to get a good nights sleep.
Camp is very well run - tents are spacious and comfortable with great views. Food excellent - location rather remote so you feel you have Ruaha to yourself - which is both good and bad - as animals are not so used to the vehicles and tend to run away and there is not the bush telegraph between giudes to share sightings of animals.
Guiding was OK but we did repeat the route twice and heard the same information several times.
Expert Africa comments
We sent this feedback through to Jongomero who commented that they usually try to vary the routes driven as much as possible, but due to a larger than usual amount of rain in the area prior to this traveller's visit, some of the roads were unusable, meaning their choices were less varied than usual.