Located in the Ruaha National Park in southern Tanzania, Kigelia Camp is set in a secluded grove of Kigelia or ‘Sausage Trees’ high on the banks of the Ifuguru sand river, a 14km game drive north from the airstrip. The camp is a seasonal camp offering a tailor-made private experience, giving guests the opportunity to connect with the soul of Africa. Opened in 2008, Kigelia manages to combine the simplicity of a temporary tented camp with the style you would expect from a permanent camp. The area has an utterly unique ecosystem as it is situated where southern Africa meets eastern Africa, with an unusual overlap of animals and plants found nowhere else.
Kigelia camp is a discreet and luxurious seasonal camp open from the beginning of June to the end of March. The camp operates in a socially and environmentally responsible way, placing a minimal footprint on this precious area of natural beauty. Kigelia Camp is a really pleasant traditional safari camp which offers an intimate and carefully tailored service to its guests.
In 2008 the Usangu Game Reserve merged with Ruaha National Park becoming, at 20 200 km2, one of the largest national parks in Tanzania. Only a handful of camps are located within the gates of this park, so it has the reputation of being Tanzania’s best-kept game viewing secret.
The Great Ruaha River, from which the park gets its name, is by far its most dominant geographical feature. The ecosystem in the national park represents a transition zone between the miombo woodlands common in Zambia, and the more open savannah typical of northern Tanzania and Kenya. With the unique location of the Ruaha intersecting so many diverse habitats, notable unusual sightings include wild dog, sable antelope, roan antelope, Lichtenstein’s hartebeest and lesser kudus. Ruaha is home to the largest population of elephants in East Africa, with over 10 000 elephants roaming the park each year, as well as healthy populations of lion and buffalo.
Kigelia Camp offers 6 luxurious walk-in tents, each with an en-suite bathroom, with flushing toilets and refreshing open-air showers. The tents are well furnished with locally-crafted pale wood furniture lending an understated yet rustic feel. Each room has its own private veranda allowing guests to enjoy the tranquillity of the bush in their own privacy.
Children over the age of 8 are welcome.
Wake-up calls are provided with freshly-brewed tea or coffee delivered to your tent just in time for your early morning game drive. Upon your return a bush breakfast can be enjoyed underneath a baobab tree. Typically breakfast and lunch are served in the main mess tent, however due to Kigelia being a small intimate camp, dining literally becomes a moveable feast. All meals are prepared using fresh ingredients, and offering plenty of choice, with a good selection of international wines. Vegetarian options are available on request.
Enjoy sundowners on the banks of the Ifuguru River, followed by dinner under a vast canopy of stars beside a crackling fire, and then let the sounds of the night accompanying you to your tent and soothe you into sleep.
Safari activities at Kigelia Camp focus on game drives. Drive times are flexible, depending on guests’ interests and preferences. Guests have a choice of embarking on a full-day game drive and enjoying lunch in the middle of the bush, or a half-day drive returning to the camp for lunch and escaping the heat of the day before setting out again in the late afternoon. Closer to home, you could see some fascinating sights from the comfort of your own tent, with game frequently wandering through the camp and elephants often coming to feed on the vegetation and tap the dry riverbed for water.
Kigelia Camp does outreach work with the villagers of Idodi and Tungamalenga, where guests can learn about programs that are empowering and enriching these communities.