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“Stunning”
Review of Jongomero

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Jongomero
Certificate of Excellence
london
Level Contributor
66 reviews
61 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 142 helpful votes
“Stunning”
Reviewed September 28, 2011

We had a fantastic 4 days here, it made a perfect contrast to Selous where we had just come from. Ruaha is beautiful with so much contrast in scenery from dry riverbed to forest to lush green areas around the remaining streams. We were made very welcome by Noelle, Molly and all the fantastic staff. Our room was lovely, we watched elephants in the riverbed from the verandah. The food is seriously delicious, loved the apricot fudge as a snack on the morning game drives!
We were very lucky to have Molly as our guide, he is fantastic, his knowledge is astounding but its the way he delivers it with humour and impressions that makes it quite something else. If he ever gets tired of the bush, which I doubt, he would be amazing on TV/nature films. We did a walk with him which I would highly recommend, very memorable.
We loved it here and would love to return in the green season to see how different it can look.
A wonderful place with great staff!

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank lilacrose
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
Level Contributor
31 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 30 helpful votes
Reviewed August 6, 2011

We spent 4 nights in Ruaha, and split between 2 camps, with Jongomero the more luxurious of the two.
We opted to drive between the two camps and were transferred at Ruaha Junction. It was actually quite a long drive and there were not too many sighting, so I would recommend to fly instead.
The camp was very lovely, and we were lucky enough to be the only guests there (a big group just left the day before), so it was a very personalised experience. The managers were very friendly and they hosted lunch by the river bed (dry season), and sunset nibblies and drinks. Breakfast and dinner we had in the dinning area on our own.
Although for whatever wildlife reasons there were not too many sightings during our stay, we thoroughly enjoyed it and were totally chilled out....
We've also stayed at their other properties previously - Selous Safari Camp and Ras Kutani, and they were both above expectations, and makes a nice 'Southern Circuit' combo. Ras Kutani even treated my husband and I to a private dinner by the beach and a b'day cake for my b'day! But that's another story...
If we are to head back to Ruaha, we would definitely stay in Jongomero again...

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank alphaleo01
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Grand Falls Windsor, Canada
Level Contributor
88 reviews
33 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 78 helpful votes
Reviewed August 2, 2011

Living up to expectations in every way, Jongomero is an oasis in Ruaha National Park. Several hours drive on rough road away from the nearest village, this beautiful camp provides all one might wish for in a private upscale safari in Tanzania. Our decision to choose Jongomero in the southern part of this beautiful country away from the usual tourist destinations was indeed the right one.

My husband and I arrived tired yet excited to begin the first leg of our African adventure. We had flown Coastal Aviation from Dar es Salaam to Ruaha, a very comfortable flight which treated us to magnificent views as we flew over the African landscape. Noelle, the co-manager and her staff, greeted us with a traditional Swahili welcome song as well as our first sundowner and warm towels. A delightful beginning to what was to become a very special experience.

The bandas were beautifully decorated, spacious and oh so comfortable! The king size bed along with large shower and toilet facilities were a welcome sight at the end of each day in the bush. A large verandah with comfortable chairs and lounge bed opened onto the banks of the seasonal river bed. We especially enjoyed the hot tea and biscuits delivered early each morning to help us greet the day.

Each evening when we returned to our tent following dinner, we were accompanied by our Massai escort. Because the camp is unfenced and animals roam freely, guests cannot walk about at night unescorted. However the Massai are well trained and equipped to deal with the unexpected. We felt perfectly safe. In our absence the bed had been turned down and hot water bottles placed under the covers. In the evenings temperatures can drop to 10 degrees Celsius at night. We’re used to a cooler climate and actually prefer sleeping when it’s cool so didn’t need the bottles … but our new Aussie friends did! Each night was filled with the sounds of animals as they made their way through camp. On our first night we were entertained with lions roaring close by … wow!

The food at Jongomero was among the best we had in Tanzania, always fresh, delicious and varied. The staff was obviously well trained and everyone provided excellent service, both respectful and efficient. We had read lots about Molly, Noelle’s co-manager, and his exceptional guiding skills, humour and story telling gifts. He was fly camping with other guests much of the time we were there but we did get to spend enough time with him to know that he is a major factor in Jongomero’s success. Noelle’s friendly, gracious and welcoming personality completes the management team. They make a dynamic duo.

Each day our guide Anton, a quiet and knowledgeable man, went out of his way to ensure we saw as much as possible. I was disappointed not to have seen a leopard but happy that we did see dozens of giraffe, hundreds of beautiful impala as well as elephant, lion, jackal, dik diks, warthog, crocs, hippo, waterbuck, kudu, baboon and many, many more. I was also amazed at the number of species of beautiful birds.

On our first morning while driving in the bush, an elephant and her baby walked across the road in front of us about 30 metres away. She stopped, looked at us and gently pushed her baby behind her. Her ears went out horizontally from her body, she tucked her trunk in the attack position and faced the Rover. Anton stopped the vehicle as she started towards us. I was terrified. Anton just smiled, told us not to worry and waited. Mother slowed her pace with baby following a short distance behind and then stopped. We stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity. Then, having decided we weren’t predators and baby wasn’t in any danger, she continued on her way across the road into the bush. Anton understood elephant behavior and knew exactly what to do … I should have trusted his judgment. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

On another occasion we found ourselves in the middle of a herd of over 1000 … yes, you read right! … over 1000 buffalo. Again Anton stopped and waited while hundreds of them gathered around in a semi-circle, staring with tails wagging. I had read they were the most dangerous of all the animals in the bush and my heart was in my mouth as we waited. After several minutes a couple of buffalo moved away, and with herd mentality, the rest followed. Anton knew exactly what to expect again. It was yet another exciting and heart throbbing experience in Ruaha.

I can write much more about romantic dinners by candlelight in the dry river bed, stories and laughter as guests gathered during dinner as well as the magic of an African sun setting slowly against the backdrop of a million shining stars. It was an amazing and unforgettable safari.

As I write this I also realize I haven’t mentioned anything negative about Jongomero and honestly can’t think of anything I would change. My husband and I were both enthralled with the camp and our experiences. The only thing I can say is that I wish we had stayed longer. Jongomero is a fabulous place in the middle of beautiful Ruaha which more than met our expectations. I highly recommend it.

Bravo Noelle and Molly! Thank you so very much!

Room Tip: Ask for a tent near the lounge/pool.
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  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank HomedicMunes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Level Contributor
61 reviews
35 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
Reviewed February 21, 2011

A wonderful camp far away from it all- this is the sister camp to Selous safari camp and just as there, the manager (Emil) guide (Modest) and all the staff could not have done more to ensure we had a great stay. We also met the owner of the camps during our stay and it was easy to see that he was absolutely part of the team. I think this is where owner managed camps win out over the conglomerates- long may they continue.

The tents are wonderful- roomy, with locally made wooden furniture- the biggest bed Ive ever slept in- and the added bonus of a mesh side facing the sand river so you wake up to the sights and sounds of the African dawn.

We had two particularly enjoyable trips- an all day outing to the northern area of the park with great lion and elephant sightings- Modest did a fantastic job- and a very memorable sundowner where an errant hippo joined the party- great hilarity from the guides and us as Emil stood his ground and waved a napkin at him to send him on his way.
And lastly the food - which I think even had a slight edge over the Selous Safari camp - the best we have had in 10 years of safariing.

  • Stayed February 2011, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Parslow
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Stoke on Trent
Level Contributor
24 reviews
18 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed January 30, 2011

We visited Jongomero in July 2007 and vowed to return. Often when one goes back somewhere one has loved it disappoints but not Jongomero - it is simply one of the most special places on earth. Molly and Noelle are wonderful hosts and Molly's knowledge of the wildlife (mamals, reptiles, insects and plants) is awesome. Nothing is a problem and our party posed some but they always found a solution. Our guide Kimaro has to be one of the best in Africa (we have been on a number of safaris). We has him as our guide in 2007 and requested him again although we did have one trip with Molly (who had been our guide in the Selous in 2007) - how lucky we were - two of the best guides ever.
We arrived on Christmas day and Jongomero is just as special as we remembered but much greener this time. We has the full Christmas dinner in the evening - even crackers!
The food was, as ever, fantastic, the company great and the whole experience (as last time) wonderful.
We will return - Jongomero is our favourite place on earth.

  • Stayed December 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank PSmallwood
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
boston
Level Contributor
209 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 205 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2010

Jongomero camp is in the Ruaha area (middle of tanzania)
This is a permanent tent camp with pools and private individual tents on large platforms overlooking the river (albeit without water due to the time we went)
1. Rooms are lovely and whilst a "tent" are spacious and open to the air with screens all around. The floors and furniture are crafty and made from old boats and gorgeous. Beds are oversized and good quality bedding. bathrooms are ensuite and have hot water (when sunny) by about 9-10am but due to the warmth the cool shower is preferred!
2. Food is the best we had while in Tanzania- high quality gourmet and well portioned. Service also the best- no need to ask for anything- just think about it and they read your mind. Snacks at the bar area are included. However, drinks were not included- this was a drawback for us and no other resorts did this, and I would have preferred it just was included- We are not 'drinkers" but house wine/ or soft drinks- i think for that price should just be included. Dining is both with guests and also alone for romantic dinners under candlelight in river bed.
3. Activities include the lounge area- also beautiful and comfy. Wildlife literally at the doorstep requiring (no joking) escorts to avoid hippos and elephants always within view
Walking safari is a nice break from the trucks and a must- for the entertainment alone with Molly the manager a well as the wildlife Ruaha is secluded- the game viewing is not the Serengeti where wildlife is around every corner- this is for those who really want to appreciate what Tanzania has to offer-both game, vastness and seclusion with luxury. Guides are high quality and seasoned

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
1 Thank marikim
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Level Contributor
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed September 8, 2010

Jongomero is a wonderful camp. Flawless services, tasty food and friendly staff. If, however, you are interested in seeing many animals and see them in action, Ruaha is not the place to go. (I went to Ruaha after having visited Lake Manyara, Norongoro, Serengeti and Selous---in any of those places, you're more likely to see animals). But, as far as the camp is concerned, it was top rate. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Jazaki
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Jongomero

Property: Jongomero
Address: Jongomero, Ruaha National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Iringa Region > Ruaha National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #3 of 12 Specialty Lodging in Ruaha National Park
Hotel Class:4.5 star — Jongomero 4.5*
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 Tanzania's 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 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. The camp is made up of 8 stunning suites, spaced out along the Jongomero sandriver. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Jongomero Camp Hotel Ruaha National Park

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