Tanzania, Ruaha, & Jabali Ridge

I have been to Africa many many times and to East Africa at least forty times. I have now found the best lodge ever; really! Now you must remember that nothing is cheap in East Africa because of the difficulty in building, locating materials, training staff, and solving a myriad of logistical problems. You can’t just open a store or hotel or restaurant and call for supplies – it is not easy to do a good job and very difficult to do a wonderful job. The usual safari route, and perhaps the best one for game viewing, is the northern route. This will start in Arusha and then to Tarangire, the Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, and the Serengeti. Some itineraries will spend time in Lake Manyara NP as well; especially photographic outings.

You will occasionally hear the names of other locations; perhaps Ruaha and the Selous. The Lovely Frances and I had the chance to visit these two locations in the southern part of Tanzania last month and we learned a great deal. For instance the Selous has really rough roads and locomotion is done at a snail’s pace. There are tsetse flies all over the place in the Selous, or at least when and where we were, they were also. The Selous id a huge Game reserve, not at National Park. Perhaps TZ will gazette it as a park and improve the travel. We were in one spot and did not see the whole reserve so what we saw is limited and my observations also limited. We had a great boat ride on the Rufiji River as the sun went down; lions, crocodiles, civet, leopard, and lots of birds made that outing very memorable. However it was Ruaha and the Jabali Ridge Lodge that really made the trip! Ruaha is a national park and the roads are pretty good. The scenery varies from great flat expanses of baobab forest to red rock cliffs.

Below are a few images from Ruaha and the Jabali Ridge camp. The lead in picture shows Joseph and Fran with Mustapha (and a trainee game spotter) on a game drive. The staff is very good; both indoor and outdoor people were knowledgable and well taught. For instance, I feel that Mustapha could work/teach/drive anywhere in Africa.

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The vistas from the camp, anywhere in the camp, are wonderful. Great views of Africa as you always imagined it would be.
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In between birding bouts and game drives a quick nap on the mosquito-free porch might re-energize you.
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The reception area, lounge, and dining tables are on a complex of decks and patios that just might entice you to stop and rest. The wi-fi access is limited to the rooms so  that conversation and human interactions can take place untethered by electronics while in the communal area.
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I like books and have a rather significant library of nature books. However, Jabali Ridge has a library full of good books, new books, and important general science writings from the past decade. It is an enviable place to browse and read; and like the entire site it is built and outfitted with care and style. 
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The pool is high in the kopje providing lots of sunshine and great vistas.
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The decks and  werwalkways were built by skilled carpenters and craftsmen after being desinged by a thoughful architect. The decks and stairways reminded me of the woodworking done within the Sydney Opera House. There are no 2×6 slabs of wood for the decks, rather each small piece is fitted into a kind of parquet arrangement. I was impressed.

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