Best places to stay on safari in Ruaha

Best Places To Stay On Safari In Ruaha


Authentic, untamed and untouched; Ruaha National Park is a hidden gem nestled towards the South of Tanzania. The remote location of Ruaha means that there are fewer visitors in the park than Selous which contributes to a highly personal and intimate safari experience. This consequently means that vehicle density is extremely low and game drives in this wilderness offer unique and personal sightings all to yourself. It would be a great choice to combine both Ruaha and Selous in a Southern Parks safari, but Ruaha also has enough game for you to visit by itself.

Ruaha is Tanzania's largest national park and is a wild and remote area which boasts huge elephant and buffalo herds as well as a very dense predator concentration. It is a traditional dry season reserve where game viewing does get easier as the dry season progresses. The recent television series showcased on Netflix called Our Planet featured the park in the grips of a drought. The camera crew captured a hunting sequence between lions and buffalo that captivated world-wide audiences. The crew behind the sequence of shots proceeded to stay in one of our recommended camps called Ikuka.

One drawback about Ruaha is that night drives are not offered and many lodges have stopped walking safaris due to the dense elephant population, however this should not put you off a wild and authentic safari experience.

The accommodation options in Ruaha vary from rustic to extremely luxurious and of course the prices will reflect this. There are camps which are extremely affordable and great value for money with some offers running all year round, which may also include camps in the Selous. Although the design of the camps may differ, almost every camp provides a raw and wild experience which is the perfect way to spend a safari.

There are numerous different lodges within Ruaha and below we have listed our favourites:

Ikuka Camp

Ikuka, in Ruaha really stands out from the others in the park as it only has 6 bandas and sits perched on an incredible escarpment with the best views of Ruaha National Park. Behind all great lodges are great people;  Mark who was born and brought up in the Ruaha area and is the chap behind all the guiding and walking safaris. Expect an intimate, relaxed and luxurious safari here with great views and top guiding.

Kichaka Camp

Set up by Andrew ‘Moli’ Molinaro and Noelle Herzog, Kichaka Expeditions is one of the newest and exciting camps to open in Tanzania for years. Set up to focus on walking safaris within Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania taking either private or small group bookings of no more than six guests at any one time, ensuring complete exclusivity in the wilderness.

Jabali Ridge

A small and luxurious lodge with eight suites in a fantastic location; Jabali Ridge really stands out as a beautiful lodge in an ideal spot for viewing the amazing Ruaha wildlife. 

Jongomero Camp

Jongomero is an absolutely exceptional safari camp.  It is one of our favourites in the whole of Tanzania, which is not a compliment we hand out lightly.  It is the most luxurious camp in the park as well as offering fantastic service, the most remote location and guiding so good it borders on genius.  Jongomero really is a firm favourite and one we highly recommend.
 

Mdonya Old River Camp

Mdonya is without doubt the best value camp in Ruaha National Park.  It has that same charm and character of its famous sister camp in the Selous, Lake Manze Tented Camp.  Mdonya may be basic and simple but this is what Ruaha is all about.  It is a fierce and wild park and Mdonya is in a very wild area within.  With its great location you can rely on quality game viewing and you don’t necessarily need to spend that extra cash if luxury is not your priority.  Mdonya and has always delivered and we have a lot of faith in this little camp.
 

Mwagusi Safari Camp

A fantastic camp situated in the remote wilderness of the Ruaha National Park.  It has a formidable reputation as a true safari camp that offers its guests a very authentic experience.  It offers a ‘rustic luxury’ that gives you everything you need in a true Tanzanian style.  Run by the inimitable Chris Fox, who has spent his entire life in the park; it’s real safari, in a great park with awesome guides. It helps that the food and service are also brilliant.
 

Kigelia

Kigelia is the least commercial product in Ruaha and offers a unique product.  Owned and run by Nomad, this eco focused camp blends in extremely well with its environment, aided by very good guides and a great camp character.  Although it is rather basic in design, the high quality is obvious throughout your stay. It is a top choice for a Ruaha safari. 

Kilimatonge

A totally private camp situated in the remote wilderness of the Ruaha National Park. It moves between two locations on the Mdonya river, in the shadow of the Kilimatonge Hill. This Camp offers a truly wild safari, it's fairly basic but no other camp, save for Kichaka, offers such a feeling of wilderness and a style of safari that is reminiscent of the early colonial explorers.
 

Kwihala Camp

Kwihala Camp has a found a really great happy medium.  It has achieved a true, raw, wilderness which compliments an extremely polished service and comfortable accommodation.  It does give you a real experience in the Tanzanian bush which makes the camp a very special place to go and stay.


Ruaha River Lodge

The Ruaha River Lodge is the cheapest accommodation in Ruaha National Park, which actually offers a good value stay.  The setting is exceptional, right on the banks of the Ruaha river and the backdrop with the rolling hills is great.  The only drawback is that the lodge is quite big and isn’t and build out of brick and stone. But that aside, it offers a great location and exceptional value. We do believe that a little extra money to stay at Mdonya Old River Camp is worth the upgrade for a better all-round experience.
 


More information about Ruaha Safari – Best Places To Stay In Ruaha Safari

AT A GLANCE

  • Lion, Buffalo, Elephant, Leopard, Rhino, Wild Dog and Cheetah. This park has 5 out of our Big 7 icon
  • Open sided vehicles icon
  • Walking safaris icon
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