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Jennie M

Spectacular!

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 09 Sept 2019
What an absolute beaut of a lodge! We have been on many safaris however this was our first time in the Ruaha. It won’t be our last...

Wildlife/game drives: we stayed 4 nights and did game drives morning and evening every day, with a walking safari one morning and a full day drive another day. We saw countless elephants, giraffes and antelope - all in notably large groups - a large pride of 14 lions and a smaller one of 5, as well as 4 leopards (including a mating pair!) which we were delighted with. The wild dogs eluded us once again - the park is well-known for its large numbers of these endangered animals however we were told that they had not been seen in the vicinity for several months when we arrived and many of them were thought to have left the park. The last sighting was apparently over by Jongomero. No matter - the elephants and leopards more than made up for this minor disappointment and you can’t predict mother nature! Our guide was Luka who was a really lovely guy - in common with his camp colleagues, he had a quick wit and a curious mind, and we had wonderful chats with him over bush breakfasts and lunches. Thank you, Luka! He also had the useful talent of always being in the right place at the right time for interesting sightings!

Rooms: we had room no. 2, which is closest to the main lodge and has a view of fhe sunrise. There are only a few rooms on this side of the hill so it feels very private and secluded. We did not hear a peep from the main lodge despite it being very close by. Rooms feature beautiful gauzy curtains that billow romantically in the evening breeze, and frame the open-sided rooms on all sides (there is a zip-up mosquito net ‘wall’ to protect you from nocturnal visitors). Beds are blissfully comfortable and frankly enormous - i can report it takes exactly 3.5 log-rolls to reach your partner on the other side! Bathroom are also enormous and open-air which we loved, with wonderful shampoo/conditioner/body lotion etc all made in Zanzibar. Probably the thing i will remember most though, is sitting on our deck before a game drive with delicious coffee in hand, with the sounds of the dawn chorus as the red sun slowly fills the sky. Heaven!

Food: The food is inventive, expertly executed and downright delicious - easily the best meals we’ve ever had on safari! We implored chef Peter to write a cookbook and the good news is that he is already working on it. We especially enjoyed the fact that there were healthy options including delicious, creative and filling salads at lunchtime. Desserts were also excellent and presented beautifully. Breakfast is usually packed and taken out in the bush, while lunch is served at individual tables at the lodge. Dinner is usually communal however you can ask for private dining on your deck if you wish, as we did one night. Communal dinners are hosted by a member of lodge staff and a guide, and are great fun. Ikuka seems to attract a real mixture of people but everyone we met seemed thoroughly delighted to be there, which is a great sign.

Staff: despite all of the above, it’s the people that really makes this lodge special. The team here is truly commendable - personalised yet efficient service, served up with great humour, warmth, energy and enthusiasm. We spent a great deal of time talking to various members of staff, and they all seemed genuinely happy to work there. Owner Mark (who we were delighted to meet on our last evening) has selected a great team and seems to look after them well which shows in their work. Special thanks to Luka, Lili, Jake, Peter, Mustafa and Saloum! We hope the Ikuka team won the football match!!

We can’t wait to come back some day! For more photos, do check out my instagram - @safarisandstuff
Date of stay: August 2019
5.0 of 5 bubblesValue
5.0 of 5 bubblesCleanliness
5.0 of 5 bubblesService
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ikuka_safari_camp, General Manager at Ikuka Safari Camp, responded to this review
Responded 12 Sept 2019
Thank you so much for taking the time to write is this lovely review and for sharing your experience on here with others! Your photos are truly amazing :) We hope you will come back for the Wild Dogs! We really enjoyed having you to stay and look forward to staying in touch. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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      94 - 99 of 181 reviews
      Reviewed 13 August 2019

      Stayed mid July for 4 nights and could not fault anything. Extremely comfortable accommodation and outstanding food. Staff went out of their way to make out stay enjoyable and comfortable. Would love to return.

      Date of stay: July 2019
      1  Thank RJH771
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      ikuka_safari_camp, General Manager at Ikuka Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2019

      So lovely to read you had a great time with us; thank you for sharing your experience on here with us and others! We look forward to staying in touch and hope that you can return soon. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 12 August 2019

      Our family (4 of us - children 22 and 20) stayed at Ikuka for 4 nights. It is simply a magical place to stay. The place, the wildlife, the friendliness and helpfulness of all the staff are amazing - nothing was too much trouble.

      The wildlife viewing is excellent with relatively few trucks so it all felt unspoilt - whilst the trade off vs the Serengeti is fewer animals but many less people - we still saw too many elephant to count and we saw numerous lions, giraffe, zebra, hippos and Geoffrey also tracked down two leopards which was the highlight as we had not seen them on previous safaris. Most trips it was just our family and Geoffrey and occasionally joined by another couple. Geoffrey was brilliant - informative and friendly and absolutely committed to making sure we had a wonderful safari

      The accommodation is fabulous - the "rooms" are huge, the views are sensational and they are all well separated to give a real feeling of peace - we were in two separate lodges and were lucky to get both with plunge pools (albeit most don't). The main area is a beautiful place to spend time and we all enjoyed the food immensely - my daughter is a vegetarian and they always cooked something excellent for her as well as the main meal.

      4 days was a good amount of time. One tip - make sure you have plenty of cash (preferably US$) as you can only give tips in cash.

      All in all it was a thoroughly memorable holiday and I simply cannot recommend Ikuka enough

      Date of stay: July 2019
      Thank Peter H
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      ikuka_safari_camp, General Manager at Ikuka Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 13 August 2019

      Thank you very much for this lovely review and for sharing your experience with others on here. It means so much to us all that you enjoyed your time with us and in the beautiful Ruaha with all those amazing wildlife sightings! Our chefs cater to most dietary requests and we are so pleased your daughter enjoyed the vegetarian options. We look forward to staying in touch and to welcoming you again to Ikuka. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 6 August 2019

      We travelled as a family with three daughters aged 16, 18 and 20 to Ikuka for three nights in July. This followed a four night stay in Selous. This was our first safari experience and we were not sure what to expect but it exceeded any vague expectations we had. I am very grateful to the travel agent who suggested these two parks as our original plans were to visit the Serengeti which I understand is brilliant but a much more touristy experience. On many of our safari outings we didn't see another jeep and never more than a maximum of a couple - it felt like a true wilderness experience and our fabulous guide Geoffry appeared to have xray vision as he navigated the tracks, chatted and educated us and still managed to track and spot animals long before we could - especially the leopard under the bush!

      The jeeps were completely open which was great as you felt a lot more up close and personal with the animals - it could also be slightly scary but the guides are very familiar with the animals and their moods so there is really nothing to fear. On every game drive we saw plenty of animals and always a great variety from lions, elephants, giraffes, impala, warthogs and many others. We also took an early morning walking safari with Mark and another guide which was the only time guns were carried as a precaution - again there was nothing to be afraid of as they are so experienced. We came across impala and elephants close up but also learned a lot about the habitat and ecology of the area - just walking about the national park and watching the sun rise was a gorgeous experience. There were a few flies but not big ones and once we sprayed ourselves with the insect repellant Mark had brought along they didn't bother us. Amazingly, during the 7 nights in Selous and Ruaha I was never bitten by a mosquito and didn't really see any, so all the insect repellent we had brought with us was unnecessary and the camp provided it anyway should we have needed it.

      We had chosen Ikuka because of the far reaching views and they were spectacular! Our daughters had the family banda which was new and came with a private plunge pool and was enormous and pure luxury. Our banda next door was smaller but with equally as amazing views and extremely well appointed. Shampoo, conditioner, lotion, lovely outdoor/indoor shower, a massive bed, lounge area and balcony made us feel so comfortable and created an incredibly peaceful and relaxing haven to enjoy between safari drives.

      The main reception area of the 'camp' which housed the restaurant, bar and communal pool was gorgeous and relaxing. Breakfast and lunch were eaten privately with your family or group and for dinner there was the option to dine with the other guests and some of the guides which I think all guests opted to do each evening. I felt this was a really good mix of family time and social time. The food and service were five star and all the staff extremely friendly and welcoming. We are not naturally early risers and the staff were very flexible when we opted most mornings for breakfast at camp and a slightly later start than some of the other guests.

      Overall, we feel very privileged to have stayed at Ikuka and will always treasure the wonderful memories we made at this special lodge. Hopefully, one day we will return to once again enjoy the five star service, safaris, friendship and tranquility.

      Date of stay: July 2019
        • Value
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      4  Thank Sarah H
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      ikuka_safari_camp, General Manager at Ikuka Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 8 August 2019

      Thank you very much for your review and for recommending us to others. We are so pleased to read that you enjoyed every aspect of your stay with your family and Geoffrey really enjoyed sharing his knowledge of the bush and Ruaha with you and your children. It is great to read that you have memories to cherish forever, that is what we aim for and it means so much to us as well! We really enjoyed having you all in camp and look forward to staying in touch. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

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      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 5 August 2019

      Ikuka exceeded all our expectations (we stayed in the Honda Honda lodge for a family of 4) from the moment we drove into the camp. The accommodation was stunning, the food delicious and the team who run the camp were great in every way.

      There are so many small details that have been thought of that make all the difference and it's difficult to think of any improvements they could make that would improve the stay.

      We had an amazing guide (Geoffrey) who never stopped answering the thousands of questions our kids threw at him and clearly had an expert knowledge of Ruaha and more importantly and absolute love of the wildlife.

      I cannot recommend this safari experience highly enough.

      Date of stay: July 2019
      • Trip type: Travelled with family
        • Sleep Quality
        • Cleanliness
        • Service
      1  Thank benpusey
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      ikuka_safari_camp, General Manager at Ikuka Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 5 August 2019

      Thank you very much for your review and for recommending us to others. We are so pleased to read that you enjoyed every aspect of your stay with your family and Geoffrey really enjoyed sharing his knowledge of the bush and Ruaha with you and your children. We really enjoyed having you all in camp and look forward to staying in touch. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

      Report response as inappropriate
      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
      Reviewed 4 August 2019

      We loved our stay at Ikuka Ruaha. It was our first time to this park, and it is a truly special place. Our guide, Habibou, was brilliant and had a great manner in sharing his expertise. We were particularly delighted to see such a healthy elephant population! Lots of lions too. While our walking safari with Mark gave a whole new perspective, full of fascinating information. The wildlife and the park environment - so many beautiful baobabs - overall is amazing. Then there's the lodge - just wow! It is beautifully designed, luxurious but authentic, and with such a warm atmosphere. The views from the ridge are mesmerising. It is the warm and welcoming Ikuka team which really elevates this lodge - without exception, the team is friendly, helpful and go out of their way to anticipate your every need. Even doing special vegetables for our bush brekkies, all the food was superb : ) We were truly spoilt - and it being our honeymoon, we are even more grateful for how they looked after us. Having stayed at a lot of lodges in Southern Africa, I have no hesitation in saying this is one of the best and we hope to return. Thank you all for a fabulous four days, and we hope to see you again!

      Room tip: They are all beautiful : )
      Date of stay: June 2019
      • Trip type: Travelled as a couple
        • Value
        • Sleep Quality
        • Service
      1  Thank OrmusOwl
      This review is the subjective opinion of a Tripadvisor member and not of Tripadvisor LLC. Tripadvisor performs checks on reviews as part of our industry-leading trust & safety standards. Read our transparency report to learn more.
      ikuka_safari_camp, General Manager at Ikuka Safari Camp, responded to this reviewResponded 5 August 2019

      Thank you very much for this lovely review and for sharing your experience with others on here. It means so much to us all that you enjoyed your time with us and in the beautiful Ruaha. What an honour for us that we are one of the best! We look forward to staying in touch and to welcoming you again to Ikuka. We wish you a happy & healthy future together. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

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      This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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