I was invited by Selous Safari Company to experience the ultimate Tanzanian Bush & Beach safari circuit. A combination of an adventurous safari that included the Ruaha National Park, Nyerere National Park (formerly known as the Selous Game Reserve) and Fanjove Private Island in the Songo Songo Archipelago, just off the coast of Tanzania.
JONGOMERU “Probably the most authentic safari I’ve ever been on!”
An authentic safari experience – secluded, unspoilt, away from the crowds. It’s just you, the wildlife and the ancient baobabs that dot the landscape.
My first destination was JONGOMERU, a hidden gem is tucked away in a remote corner of the Ruaha National Park. Ruaha is the largest national park in Tanzania, with only a handful of camps. The south of Tanzania is underrated and deserves more time in the spotlight!
The staff welcomed us with open arms, like long-lost family members. Onesmo was always ready with a cold drink while Wilson effortlessly planned our days – from hearty bush breakfasts to refreshing drinks stops. The food was incredible – hard to believe that you can conjure up quality meals like this in the middle of nowhere! Chef Juma’s fish curry is legendary and had everyone asking for the recipe!
The camp looks out onto the seasonal Jongomero River (which flows mainly after the rains in November and December). At the entrance to the camp stands a giant 1,800 year old baobab tree – baobabs are a symbol of life and prosperity, a fitting symbol for this park.
There’s nothing better than dining in this dry riverbed, warming yourself by the fire and listening to stories of life in this remote outpost. I was told that on occasion, the approaching waters have rudely interrupted the evening’s dinner plans!
Our ranger Giovanni expertly guided us as we traversed the winding roads of the park. His enthusiasm and passion for the bush was evident right from the get-go. Ruaha is a birder’s paradise with many migrant species visiting during the green season. We even discovered the “brake-bird” – the brakes on our vehicle would squeak every now and then, perplexing everyone as we tried to identify this peculiar bird call!
Ruaha is home to about 10% of Africa’s lion population – we were unlucky not to see them during our stay, due to the thick bush, but we heard the familiar call one evening as we were heading back to our tents.
The tents are built on raised wooden platforms, under enormous thatched roofs. The bathrooms are spacious featuring a walk-in shower, double vanity and plenty of space to unpack your suitcase. The king-size beds are large enough to get lost in! You’re at altitude here so the nights are chilly – it’s comforting to climb into bed and discover the hot water bottle that was thoughtfully placed there for you.
Jongomero has recently opened the exciting Private Bush Manor which is a 2 bedroom unit perfect for families or two couples travelling together. There’s a large interactive kitchen where you can watch as the chefs expertly prepare your meals. A private safari vehicle and ranger means your days are completely flexible, and your ranger will happily tailor each day to suit your needs.
- The newly built Private Bush Manor is great for families or groups of friends travelling together. Two bedrooms, private chef and ranger. Very attractive price point.
- Interesting game drives with enthusiastic ranger Giovanni. Private game drive vehicle with every booking.
- They’re developing a new hot springs concept about 1 hour from camp, where guests on longer stays could spend the day being pampered and spoilt.
- Combine it with the Serengeti – direct flights from Seronera twice a week – tick off the big stuff, then come here to slip into a lower gear.
The diverse landscape is punctuated by ancient baobabs and rolling mountain ranges. This is a haven for elephants, buffalo, lion and other wildlife. The birding is fantastic!
SIWANDU CAMP “To combine land and water for your safari, this is the place to be.”
I felt really close to nature, the animals came really close to camp. One night I woke up to a hippo grazing right next to my tent!
Spread out along the shore of Lake Nzerakera, with views of the BehoBeho mountains, SIWANDA CAMP is an immersive destination where you can soak up the sights and sounds of Africa. Stay in spacious and stylish safari tents. Explore the breathtaking landscape by foot on a morning game walk, by 4×4 vehicles with an expert driver guide and on the water with boat cruises on both the river and on the lake. Nyerere National Park (formerly the Selous Game Reserve) is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is home to diverse wildlife, with more than half of Tanzania’s elephant population, over 40,000 hippos, the largest population of lion on the continent and well known for the wild dog sightings.
- It reminded me of the Lower Zambezi – it’s a place of incredible beauty and diversity.
- Enjoy an afternoon boat cruise on Lake Nzerakera and view the huge crocodiles sunning themselves on the riverbank and listen to the cacophony of feathered creatures on Bird Island.
- Being at Siwanda is as relaxed as you’ll ever be.
A bushbaby chattering in the trees and a hyena calling from behind the kitchen area nearby. This is Africa!
FANJOVE “Perfect for couples and honeymooners wanting some privacy.”
White, powdery beaches. Dhow cruises while sipping from fresh coconuts. A whole island to yourselves….
FANJOVE PRIVATE ISLAND is the smallest of six islands in the Songo Songo Archipelago, just off the coast of Tanzania.This beautiful, barefoot-freedom tropical island is surrounded by shimmering blue water with white sandy beaches, shaded with palm trees. There are ten discreet, eco-chic private beach villas made from all natural, traditional materials, designed to leave as little footprint possible.
Ten discreet, eco-friendly private beach villas are set along the sandy shore in complete harmony with the environment. Solar power, traditional building methods, natural materials – sustainable wood, palm leaves and thatch. Simple, stylish and comfortable.
You share Fanjove only with the abundant resident marine life. Intact coral reef spans for miles; the prolific wildlife includes spinner dolphin, green turtles and humpback whales.
- It’s a private island with only one lodge – you don’t get more exclusive than that. Walk around the island in 45 mins.
- Access is only by boat – it’s quite a grand way to arrive!
- The food is incredible – from the posh 5 course dinners to the relaxed beach barbeques. Chef Edmund spent some time training in Paris.
- Fabulous snorkelling – we saw stingrays, puffer fish, crocodile fish, lionfish – with names like that, it’s almost like being on safari!
Secluded and exclusive. Fanjove, where time has no pull
Have questions about a Bush & Beach safari to Tanzania? Email me Ilze: firstname.lastname@example.org