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“Beyond our expectations” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Jongomero Camp

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Jongomero Camp
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Ruaha National Park, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Petworth, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
36 reviews 36 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
27 helpful votes 27 helpful votes
“Beyond our expectations”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 9, 2013

We stayed at Jongomero after four nights at the Sands River in Selous Game Reserve. We had had such a wonderful experience at Sands River that we didn't expect it to be matched at Jongomero - but it was. Molly and Noelle were excellent hosts - but will sadly be leaving shortly. We were lucky enough to be staying whilst the new manager, Brian, was on a visit. He seemed extremely competent, as well as very friendly, and we felt sure that Jongomero will be in good hands when he takes over. We had an excellent guide in Kim who - as mentioned in other reviews - is extremely knowledgeable about the wildlife, both birds and animals, and the flora and fauna in general. He is also and enthusiastic and interesting person to talk to about almost any subject and helped to get a much better understanding of the country and its people.
One tip. At this time of year the wildlife was not prolific near the camp so we would recommend the all day game drive - which travelled further from the camp than possible during a morning or evening drive - in order to see more animals. We were fortunate enough to see two large herds of elephants mingling together in the same location.
A really spendid place.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyndsey F, Public Relations Manager at Jongomero Camp, responded to this review, March 19, 2013
Dear 504229Richard

Thank you for your review of Jongomero - its a wonderful camp for all the seasons of Ruaha dry, wet and green season - they offer a huge variety of different flora, fauna and game to see - which brings guests back time and time again. In the green season we recommend offering all day game drives - having the flexiblity to do this ensures all our guests get to see the best Ruaha has to offer.

Fantastic that you met Brian, and as much as we are sorry to say goodbye to Moli & Noelle, Brian's lifetime of guiding experience and his true passion for the bush will ensure Jongomero is passed on to exceedingly good hands!

Karibu tena
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88 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
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  • French first
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English first
Toronto, Canada
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 10 cities Reviews in 10 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed January 29, 2013

Wow am I ever glad that we booked our stay here! I had to book through a travel agent as the camp itself does not do bookings with the public. No matter, Selous Safari company recommended a travel company and I was very happy with the process.

We arrived with another honeymooning couple and were picked up by our guide Kim. When we arrived, there was a whole welcoming committee. Emiel was the camp manager when we arrived, he is quite a character. Very welcoming and friendly, always ready to tell a great story!

Our Tent
Can I even call it a tent? It was so luxurious, large and beautiful. Had all the amenities that you would need. Absolutely beautiful and because it sits near the riverbed, we saw elephants every day we were there. The bed is absolutely HUGE, you could get lost in it. We really appreciated the hot water bottles put into our bed night, as it does get quite chilly. Bring some warm pj's and dress in layers as it can get quite cold in the mornings and evenings.

Kim, Our Guide
He is a fabulous guide. I really can't say enough about him and still recall many fond memories. You can really tell that he loves his job and is passionate about the animals here. He takes such delight in watching them that his enthousiasm is contagious. Kim is extremely knowledgeable and makes sure you are always comfortable. We had mentioned in passing that we would love to see wild dog, and Kim took us all over the place, stopping to clear paths (elephants kept knocking down the trees) and really looked everywhere! Alas, we didn't get to see them at our stay at Jongo, but we weren't disappointed as we know that Kim tried and treked all over the place, that's nature for you! We saw so many other animals, and Kim made sure to talk about their different traits as he knew we were interested in learning more about the animals. We loved taking pictures - probably too many, but he was always very patient with us and let us stay as long as we wanted so we could get the perfect picture.

Meals
I think i gained 10 pounds on this trip there was so much food. You will want for nothing. There was a plethora of food in the morning, everything very fresh, with made to order breakfasts. I loved that with Emiel the lunches were at one big table where everyone could share their experiences of the morning game drive. It was nice to get to know the other guests and get their take on the animals and experiences. Emiel was very good at keeping the conversation going, so much so, we never wanted to leave the table! Actually, Emiel and Kim were gracious enough to accept our invitation to eat dinner with us on our last night, as we felt like we had truely made new friends and did not want to leave these kind souls!

Dinner was equally delicious, always a 3 course meal plus the extra snacks during our pre-dinner drink time. All of the staff were extremely accomodating, and were very friendly as we like to ask a lot of questions and really get to know the people serving us. They answered all of our questions and really gave us a feel of what it is like to work for the Selous company. We even tried to learn a little bit of Swahili and the staff were delighted and encouraged us by teaching us new words - Sisemi kiswahili! lol

I can't say enough about our stay here, it really was a trip of a lifetime. We never saw another vehicle the whole time we were there and this really made our trip authentic. The personal touches and surprises that the Jongomero staff gave us were really over the top. You will not be disappointed if you book a trip here. We look back upon our African trip with many fond memories and we HAVE to get back here one day!

  • Stayed August 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyndsey F, Public Relations Manager at Jongomero Camp, responded to this review, February 15, 2013
Dear princess_lacontessa

Thank you for taking the time to review Jongomero - so lovely to read your reviews of both Jongomero and the sister camp of Siwandu because they are so detailed and it shows just hoe much our camps meant to you - as they do to us!

For future travellers I just want to bring up the first point princess_lacontessa made about Selous Safari Company not taking direct international bookings - we have this business model to help our guests, not to hinder them. It allows our reservations team to be as efficent and streamlined as possible and get back to queries and bookings as soon as possible; as tour operators / travel agents know our properties very well and therefore can develop the perfect itinerary for you because they have the knowledge and experience of not only our camps but also Tanzania. Also if we are asked for a referral, we always try and suggest a tour operator in your country so you do not have the lag in correspondence as we are based in Dar es Salaam so may not be on your time zone.

Many thanks again for your review - we have of course passed it on to all the staff - especially Emiel & Kim - who you got on so well with. Please come back and see us again soon

Karibu tena (I hope they taught you that phrase!)
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London, United Kingdom
Senior Contributor
27 reviews 27 reviews
26 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 27, 2012

We stayed at Jongomero Camp for three nights after spending four at the sister Selous Safari Camp in the Selous Game Reserve. We thought that the Selous would be really difficult to beat, but from the moment we arrived at Jongomero we realised that it was going to be an amazing experience of the wild African bush. It all started when, on our arrival at the camp, we were greeted by a female elephant, 'Mother' and her two 'little' ones, ‘Theresa’ and ‘Benedict’ as they passed through on their way to the river bed, and the magic continued throughout our three-day stay.

The camp is beautifully-designed, with a huge cathedral-sized reception area that includes an atmospheric bar and restaurant, filled with local artworks. A pool that overlooks the river bed and spacious tented rooms with thatched roofs built on raised wooden decking. The bed was huge and very comfortable, built out of massive chunks of wood that originated from old dhows in Dar es Salaam, and the bathroom area is huge, with a shower designed for two. The tented accommodation really allows you to experience the wildlife at all hours – watching elephants strolling majestically along the dry river bed from the decked terrace or listening to the lions roaring at night. I am not an accomplished enough writer to put into words how fantastic this is... all I can suggest is that you experience it for yourself!

What really makes Jongomero special though, is the people who run it. Between them, Molly and Noelle ensure that all of the guests are looked after in every possible way. On our arrival, Molly provided us with a very detailed and entertaining introduction to the camp, the activities and the local wildlife, and he continued to captivate us with his stories from the bush throughout our stay, during mealtimes, at the bar and during the walking safaris. He has a wealth of knowledge about the African bush, and his ability to pass on this information in an entertaining and interesting way, without ‘dumbing-down’ is a rare skill. Noelle also does a great job of looking after all the guests and she is obviously very good at organising the staff. Molly and Noelle are a great team and their departure from Jongomero at the end of this season will no doubt be a sad loss for the camp. They will be a tough act to follow.

As for the activities, both the game drives and the walking safaris were amazing experiences. We were lucky enough to have Molly as our driving guide as well as the walking safari guide, and his tracking skills led us to the most incredible sighting we could have imagined: a pride of 11 lions perched on a felled tree out over the river, taking it in turns to feed on a dead hippo and playing tug of war with huge crocodiles that were busily feeding at the other end. At the height of the action, the male lion pulled one of the crocs clean out of the water and tossed it like a rag doll! Molly confidently stated that it was the best lion sighting he had ever experienced, so we truly felt very privileged, particularly as it was only our little group at Jongomero who were there. This is the real benefit of this location: it is so remote that you never see another vehicle, and any sightings you make feel like genuine discoveries.

The walking safaris were also fantastic – getting close-up and personal with elephants on foot was a memorable experience, if a little nerve-wracking! But the real enjoyment on the walk was to hear Molly explain how the wildlife interact with their habitat in the bush. His detailed explanation of what goes on inside a termite mound was genuinely absorbing, and his demonstration of how elephants re-structure the forest and increase plant diversity was equally fascinating.

When we would return to the camp we would always be met by smiling staff with refreshing cold towels and a drink. The service throughout all of the meals was excellent, and I should also mention the food, which was excellent, with a different theme each day. Particularly considering how remote the location is, this was really impressive. I also found that the food was very healthy, with lots of fresh fruit and salads. The chef clearly made a real effort to please the guests.

At the end of our stay we were very sad to be leaving, but happy to have had such an incredible experience of the ‘real Tanzania’.

Room Tip: As far as I know, all the tents are equally good!
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  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyndsey F, Public Relations Manager at Jongomero Camp, responded to this review, October 31, 2012
Dear Alex

What an amazing review - thank you SO much! We were delighted to hear you had an amazing time with us and as you mention Jongomero makes a wonderful contrast to our sister bush camp - Siwandu; different landscapes, climates, animals and two very different camps - both wonderful but special in their own way!

Thank you for your comments about the accommodation - the camp has been designed not only for comfort but also to enjoy the bush at all hours of the day and with the nearest camp 70kms away its wonderful to get those unique game viewing experiences - not surrounded by vehicles but just you and the animals.

Thank you for your lovely photos - I especially like your bush breakfast!

Se you again soon hopefully
Karibu tena
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Vancouver, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 17, 2012

- I couldn't think of a better camp than Jongomero to remember as our last stop.
- Molly and Noelle are very friendly, very high energy high volume hosts... it did rub a few people the wrong way as they can dominate a conversation, but I thought they were great. I think this is their last season there anyways.
- Our guide Frank was really really nice, and wanted to make sure we saw lots of things. There is a bigger challenge at Jongomero in that there isn't other drivers they can check in with when something is spotted. Other than the one other vehicle from the camp, we didn't see any other cars from other camps the entire time, and we saw the rangers once. Jongomero definitely feels like it's own little world. Having Frank tell us legendary stories and family stories about the animals and surroundings was such a treat.
- The meals were all spectacular, although the first night alone in the dark eating dinner in the riverbed was very freaky and intimidating.
- Highlights are the Marketplace where we saw hundreds of elephants, at one time, you couldn't turn in any direction without seeing a group of elephants. Having a male elephant walk over to the camp and start drinking from the pool while we were in it is something I will never forget. And not being able to leave for the airport because a Mother elephant and her 2 babies were between us and the jeep was the perfect ending to our safaris!
- The guys at Tanzania Odyssey were amazing at setting up this whole trip for us

  • Stayed September 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyndsey F, Public Relations Manager at Jongomero Camp, responded to this review, October 31, 2012
Dear Dave

Thank you for giving our camps another review! We truly appreciate guests taking the time and effort to comment on our service as well offering us videos and photos and your amazing video of the elephant drinking from our pool is simply wonderful!

Thank you again and we look forward to hosting you again soon at our camps
Karibu tena
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Marbella
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
33 hotel reviews
Reviews in 29 cities Reviews in 29 cities
40 helpful votes 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 22, 2012

It was nearly a year ago since we spent the most amazing time in Jongomero. The memories are still vivid and we haven't forgotten the amazing team there led by Emile. I can imagine this is probably as wild as it gets for a luxury camp, but we just couldn't get over how attentive the service was and the quality of the food. Of course the close encounters with elephants and lions was one of the most incredible and humbling experiences one can witness. Can't wait to go back.

  • Stayed October 2011, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 3
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyndsey F, Public Relations Manager at Jongomero Camp, responded to this review, August 23, 2012
Dear BJM20

Thank you for your lovely review of Jongomero - its wonderful to hear a guest remember us so fondly when they visited us over a year ago - Ruaha and our other camps have a unique ability for this and really create the most amazing memories to keep and share for many years. Please come back and see us again!
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Dublin, Ireland
1 review
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 16, 2012

Having done all the organising, the planning, the paying and the packing it was time to set off to Jongomero, Selous and Ras Kutani Camps in Tanzania which are all part of the Selous Safari company. I had been looking forward to the trip for weeks and I had spoken to everyone who had ever been on a safari, googled images of the destination, googled the animals, what to wear at night and even bought a copy of Vogue to see what fashions to wear in front of the lions! I was FINALLY on my way. My boyfriend Richard and I were in for the biggest treat of our lives.

Landing into Tanzania was something else; I have never seen such beauty and the green lush trees and vegetation had me speechless. I have ALWAYS wanted to come to Africa, my late Mother always spoke of its beauty and the simplicity of the country and therefore it was always my dream to make it to African soil someday in her honour. I am blessed to say that my stay in the Selous was only what dreams are made of. The camps, the scenery, the beauty of the people and the animals are stunning. You feel like Robinson Crusoe and Indiana Jones mixed together! Richard and I had a tent fit for a king, folded toilet rolls and little notes on your pillow at night are all part of the charm. I knew the camps were going to be luxurious but what surprised me was the genuine old school feel and old camp feel that they embrace too! I loved the old bedspreads, the steel washand basins and the oil paraffin lamps to take you to your tent at night. The charm IS the place. When we arrived in our fist camp Jungamero we were greeted by what only can be described as the two coolest people on the planet – Noelle and Molly! I have interviewed some of the biggest names in Showbiz over the years but Depp, Pitt, Pacino and De Niro don’t come close to these two daredevils. The couple Noelle and Molly are a sheer delight to be around. They MADE our trip at Jongo and really informed us, guided us, drank with us and celebrated my 34th birthday with us too! Its kudos to the pair who work so hard and make the camp work so well because of their passion, love, commitment and drive to keep the interest in safari alive and ensuring always that we were having a great time!
Safari is something you’ll probably only ever experience once in your life but if you’re lucky you’ll get to do it again and again. My first introduction to Safari was unbelievable and Selous made it so special. Everyone knows it so expensive to do it, yet although it cleared my bank balance, I wouldn’t have changed it for the world! It was my most memorable holiday of my lifetime and I would recommend it in a heartbeat. Not only is there the animals you see the Lions, Elephants, the breath-taking views and the delicious food and I mean 5 star Waldorf Astoria Cuisine! It’s the fun, the atmosphere the stories around the campfire and the knowledge you experience after a week or ten days on the road camping. It’s really romantic too and you can even discover a hunter/gatherer side to yourself and your partner you never saw before. I am hooked. Not only do you taste all aspects of Tanzanian life on safari you really can connect with other people too, like the English retired couple we met from Oxford, a true lady and gent and really up for fun and laughter in the nightime! I have to say my time at both camps and finally my ‘relaxation’ time at Ras Kutani are undeniably special. Not only the memories but the staff and the people we met there on our journey. I would recommend the Selous camps to anyone who would listen and say that it really is worth it. Not only for the beauty but the experience. It is a destination like no other, simply magic!


Lisa Cannon, Ireland.

Room Tip: All the Rooms are the same so don't worry everyone will have the same room as you and they are a...
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  • Stayed June 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lyndsey F, Public Relations Manager at Jongomero Camp, responded to this review, July 27, 2012
Dear LisaC

Thank you SO much for writing such a glowing review of not only Jongomero Camp, but all three of Selous Safari Company properties. You and Richard sound like you had a trip of a lifetime - some lovely memories to take home with you - we hope you come back and see us soon!
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Victoria Falls, Zimbabwe
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 27 cities Reviews in 27 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 13, 2012

Wild Africa at her best. A MUST for any intrepid traveller. Out guides Frank and Theo were superb and the camp is run with passion, flair and efficiency by Molly and Noelle.

Stayed July 2012, traveled with family
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, Public Relations Manager at Jongomero Camp, responded to this review, July 16, 2012
Dear Malcom A

Wow what a review - thank you so much for taking the time to comment on TripAdvisor for us - its wonderful to hear feedback and especially your comments on our guides and camp managers.

We look forward to hosting you again!
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Additional Information about Jongomero Camp

Address: Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Iringa Region > Ruaha National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 10 Specialty Lodging in Ruaha National Park
Number of rooms: 8
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
For anyone seeking a true African wilderness experience, a visit to Ruaha National Park is essential. One of Tanzanias' wildest parks, Ruaha can only be described as a true unspoiled natural wilderness. Superbly isolated right in the heart of the Ruaha National Park lies Jongomero camp on the banks of a seasonal sand river which bears the same name. Blending in beautifully with its surroundings the camp is tucked away among some shady riverine vegetation not far from permanent water therefore attracting a large amount of animals into the camp area. Being the only camp situated in this area of the park ensures unmatched privacy and a true wilderness experience. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Jongomero Camp Hotel Ruaha National Park

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