Enjoy breakfast under the trees at Jongomero.

Jongomero | Ruaha National Park Luxury Tanzania Safari Lodge

Jongomero is situated in the most isolated southern sector of Tanzania‘s Ruaha National Park, along the banks of a seasonal river. Here, explore untouched and diverse landscapes during game drives, walking safaris or fly camping for a true African wilderness experience.

The place

We fly through the clouds, looking over the baobab-studded valleys, dramatic gorges and mountain ranges of the Rift Valley before we approach the Great Ruaha River at low altitude, which heralds our descent into the dusty, red Jongomero airstrip.We’re in the remote southern sector of Ruaha, Tanzania’s largest national park, a semi-desert environment of scorched yellows, browns and reds during dry season, with lush greens seen only along the riverbed. Our pilot tells us that the park is in a unique transition zone where the eastern and southern species of both fauna and flora meet. The landscapes and wildlife are diverse: one of Africa’s greatest populations of elephant, 560 species of birds, the elusive wild dog, several rare antelope and four of the Big Five (excluding rhino).It takes very little time to reach the banks of the Jongomero River, a seasonal offshoot of the Great Ruaha, along which eight colossal tented suites are dotted under the shade of magnificent acacia trees – our home for the next few days.

We fly through the clouds, looking over the baobab-studded valleys, dramatic gorges and mountain ranges of the Rift Valley before we approach the Great Ruaha River at low altitude, which heralds our descent into the dusty, red Jongomero airstrip.

We’re in the remote southern sector of Ruaha, Tanzania’s largest national park, a semi-desert environment of scorched yellows, browns and reds during dry season, with lush greens seen only along the riverbed. Our pilot tells us that the park is in a unique transition zone where the eastern and southern species of both fauna and flora meet. The landscapes and wildlife are diverse: one of Africa’s greatest populations of elephant, 560 species of birds, the elusive wild dog, several rare antelope and four of the Big Five (excluding rhino).

It takes very little time to reach the banks of the Jongomero River, a seasonal offshoot of the Great Ruaha, along which eight colossal tented suites are dotted under the shade of magnificent acacia trees – our home for the next few days.

The room

A quick tour of the lodge shows us the open bar, lounge and restaurant, which is shaded by a high, thatched roof and filled with plush sofas and striking furniture made from reclaimed dhow wood. We find our bags waiting in our massive tented suite – open-fronted to views of the river before us and with a large verandah that serves as our private viewing platform.Though the wide Emperor bed, made of dhow wood, looks incredibly appealing after our long journey, the sound of repeated thuds draws us out to our verandah. We can hardly believe our eyes when the source of the noise is immediately revealed: three giant tuskers are at a marula tree on the far bank of the river, trying to get the fruit to come tumbling down by charging it repeatedly. With such a forceful attack, the tree quickly yields its sweet treasure, much to elephants’ delight.Once they’ve filled their bellies, these giant pachyderms wander off – leaving us completely dumbfounded at our luck to witness this incredible spectacle on our very first day!As we sit on the verandah time loses its meaning. We listen to the particular silence of the African wild, punctuated only by birdsong, as the sheer expanse and remoteness of this tranquil location begins to sink in.

A quick tour of the lodge shows us the open bar, lounge and restaurant, which is shaded by a high, thatched roof and filled with plush sofas and striking furniture made from reclaimed dhow wood. We find our bags waiting in our massive tented suite – open-fronted to views of the river before us and with a large verandah that serves as our private viewing platform.

Though the wide Emperor bed, made of dhow wood, looks incredibly appealing after our long journey, the sound of repeated thuds draws us out to our verandah. We can hardly believe our eyes when the source of the noise is immediately revealed: three giant tuskers are at a marula tree on the far bank of the river, trying to get the fruit to come tumbling down by charging it repeatedly. With such a forceful attack, the tree quickly yields its sweet treasure, much to elephants’ delight.

Once they’ve filled their bellies, these giant pachyderms wander off – leaving us completely dumbfounded at our luck to witness this incredible spectacle on our very first day!

As we sit on the verandah time loses its meaning. We listen to the particular silence of the African wild, punctuated only by birdsong, as the sheer expanse and remoteness of this tranquil location begins to sink in.

What sets it apart

Jongomero is wonderfully far away from civilisation – the kind of exclusivity that’s priceless. Despite its off-the-beaten-track location, there’s no compromise on the quality of dining and service, both of which are exemplary.For us, the highlight was walking safaris and fly-camping expeditions, where we explored the diverse landscape of the Ruaha National Park. From iconic baobab and marula trees to acacia woodlands, dry scrub and open grasslands, we discovered how the flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem are connected, and how they thrive when left as nature intended.

Jongomero is wonderfully far away from civilisation – the kind of exclusivity that’s priceless. Despite its off-the-beaten-track location, there’s no compromise on the quality of dining and service, both of which are exemplary.

For us, the highlight was walking safaris and fly-camping expeditions, where we explored the diverse landscape of the Ruaha National Park. From iconic baobab and marula trees to acacia woodlands, dry scrub and open grasslands, we discovered how the flora and fauna of this unique ecosystem are connected, and how they thrive when left as nature intended.

At a glance

  • Exclusive safari lodge with swimming pool, shop and eight tented suites in the remote southern sector of Ruaha National Park.
  • Private vehicles available (additional cost) and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, fly camping (additional cost) and swimming.
  • Children aged six and older are welcome, but only two children between six and eleven are allowed in camp at any one time.

  • Exclusive safari lodge with swimming pool, shop and eight tented suites in the remote southern sector of Ruaha National Park.
  • Private vehicles available (additional cost) and flexible schedules.
  • Game drives, walking safaris, fly camping (additional cost) and swimming.
  • Children aged six and older are welcome, but only two children between six and eleven are allowed in camp at any one time.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

Crowding is never an issue in the southern parks, so you only really need to consider climatic factors when planning your safari. At this time, warm, sunny days give way to comfortably cool evenings. After the long rains, June is very lush, although the vegetation becomes sparser as the dry season continues. This means it’s easier to see and photograph game, and makes this the best time to be in Ruaha and the Selous. If you’d like to see the Great Wildebeest Migration crossing the Grumeti River, combine your southern Tanzania safari with a stop in the Serengeti now too.

These months provide a welcome window between rains, and begin with the savannah at its greenest. It soon begins to dry up, causing game to concentrate at the few places that retain water, making viewing great! In southern Tanzania, the great rivers of Ruaha National Park and the Selous Game Reserve become the focal points for condensed wildlife spotting. Arriving migratory birds (such as the white storks in Ruaha) lifts birding to a new level. If you’d like to pair a visit here now with something particularly special, pop over to the southern Serengeti, where you’ll be able to witness the wildebeest calving season.

These months are the rainiest in southern Tanzania, just as they are in the north of the country. Heavy showers and higher temperatures deter most visitors, although if you really want to have Ruaha or the Selous to yourself, this is the time to go. During the wet seasons you can watch immense tropical storms, and vegetation miraculously springing back to life after each dry season. These are some of the most beautiful times of year to be here, with flowers blooming and young animals being born. Just bring a raincoat!

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