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  • Linda Shepro

Wild Africa- Ruaha And Selous, Tanzania

Updated: Jan 28


Ruaha, in southern Tanzania is the country’s largest national park, surprising to most African travelers who would pin that distinction on the more widely recognized Serengeti. This 20,000+ square kilometer national park has an ecosystem that is home to 10% of the world’s lion population. The scenery in Ruaha is spectacular with rivers, lakes, dry river beds, large Baobab trees, hills and small mountains; all supporting a permanent hunting ground for these lions. Leopard, cheetah and the rare African wild dog are all predators witnessed in astounding abundance. Large herds of buffalo, impala, elephant, giraffe and wildebeest all roam this remote wilderness and provide visitors an experience not unlike what it might have been to see the unloading of Noah’s Ark!

Ruaha receives annually roughly the same number of guests as the Serengeti gets in one day. This exceptionally low volume tourism truly makes you feel like you have a slice of wild Africa all to yourself. While few visitors, the accommodations are on par with the luxury found throughout Tanzania. Latitude recommends the following camps for your safari experience in Ruaha.

First, Jongomero- It echoes the elegance and luxury that you will find throughout the Selous Safari Co.’s collection of camps. They’ve combined the beauty and unique off the beaten path setting with some of the largest tents, private viewing decks and superb attention to detail. Each of the eight tents in Jongomero was built on a platform, very privately situated with a view down the Great Ruaha River. Appointed with luxurious oversized king beds, large showers, lounge space and warm lighting; all lending to the utmost in comfort and African bush style. Common areas feature a swimming pool, bar, library with reading area and computer with internet access for guests (no cellular coverage). Jongomero is served by 27 staff, 5 of whom are expert driver guides accompanying guests in private 4 passenger open safari vehicles. This vast area of Ruaha is very private- you won’t see another vehicle and the closest camp is several kilometers away. Many large prides of lion have made this area their home, making for exceptional predator viewing.

Second property is in northern Ruaha- Kwihala camp. Owned and operated by Asilia, Kwahala has 6 pioneer-style tents with ensuite bathrooms, safari-bucket showers and flushing toilets. The staff is warm and spirited, making guests feel perfectly at home. Activities include game drives, walking safaris and night drives taking in the abundance of wildlife found in this area of the park. Sightings of several leopard, wild dog and massive prides of lion are all not uncommon for guests.

Also in northern Ruaha is, Kigelia camp, operated by Nomad Tanzania. Kigelia, meaning Sausage Tree, is the setting for this intimate traditional bush-camp. With just six tents this camp has a warm and welcoming atmosphere and eclectic mix of guests, who will no doubt share great bond in their few days at camp. Set in one of the most wildlife rich sections of the national park, days are spent game viewing from custom-built open air vehicles, on foot, or at camp taking in the

wonderful birdlife.

New to Ruaha and opened in September 2017, is Jaboli Ridge. Operated by Asilia, Jaboli Ridge wi features 10 elegant and sophisticated suites built into the rocky boulders set around the property. Guests can enjoy leisure time in the infinity pool and spa. Located close to the Mwagusi River, an excellent area for game viewing, offering clients both luxury and wild africa.

For travelers looking for off the beaten path and wild Africa, Ruaha is the place for you. With 10% of the world’s lion population, the promise of seeing the rare African wild dog, a limited number of camps and a vast wilderness to enjoy, Ruaha promises a rewarding and memorable safari experience.

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