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jcderman
Enfield, United Kingdom

The only place to stay in Ruaha...

5.0 of 5 bubblesReviewed 28 Aug 2020via mobile
As someone has been on a fair few safaris across sub-Saharan Africa, the top camps and lodges seamlessly showcase you the wonders of the park you are in yet subtly enhance it at the same time. Ikuka is one of those places and definitely ranks in my opinion as on of Tanzania's very best safari outfitters.

There are so many reasons why Ikuka is a must visit, some of which you just have to go and find out for yourself, but my top 3 would be the below:

Location - having stayed at most of the other camps in Ruaha National Park, Ikuka has by far the best view. Set on an escarpment overlooking the Mwagusi River Valley (the prime game viewing area in the park), every room and the main area are treated to sweeping panoramas of mountains, savanna and meandering rivers. Picture postcard stuff. Ruaha itself is a gem of a park. Far away from the overcrowded northern safari circuit, a journey here is a rekindling of the safari days of old. With a good guide (see below), it is very easily possible to go on a game drive and not see another soul (especially outside July/August high season) and the scenery and game viewing does not disappoint.

Staff - You can tell from the moment you arrive that the owners want a laid back homely feel (you are on holiday after all!) that avoids the stuffy hospitality-course taught formality that so many luxury safari camps exhibit these days. Mark, owner/walking guide, has assembled a friendly bunch, who go about their business with ease and are wholly encouraged to chat and engage, yet knew when to leave me alone to enjoy my book (complete with gin and tonic) around the pool. Housekeeping was spot on, as were the chefs who had a healthy yet wholesome menu on point each day.

Activities - the migrants birds at this time of year were exceptional (Ruaha has over 580 species in all) as well as seeing lots of young impala, zebras and other mammals bouncing around. The rivers were high and the bush was extremely lush, a great contrast to the dusty bare summer months of previous visits. Signs of predators were always around, and I did see lions twice during my stay. My excellent guide, Festo, informed me that the greener season had been bringing better sightings of smaller predators such as serval,caracal and wild dogs whilst the drier months leopard and lions moved in and were seen daily. Having done the odd walking safari on my previous visits at other camps, I was looking forward to doing one with Mark - something that friends of mine whom had stayed said was a highlight. However, unfortunately on this occasion the rains had been such that the grass was too long and safety had to come first - something that I was nevertheless pleased the camp took as a priority.

All in all the combination of stunning views, endearing staff amidst one of East Africa's truly wild national parks, I can't recommend a stay here enough. Looking forward to going back sooner rather than later!
Date of stay: February 2020
Trip type: Travelled solo
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IKUKA SAFARI CAMP, General Manager at Ikuka Safari Camp, responded to this review
Responded 31 Aug 2020
Thank you for your lovely and detailed review and for sharing your experience on here with others; we truly appreciate it! We are so pleased that with all your experience of traveling in Africa that you rate us highly in all aspects and found Ruaha to be such a special place. We look forward to welcoming our guests back again soon. With best wishes from your Ikuka family.
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of Tripadvisor LLC.
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Reviewed 28 August 2020 via mobile

I had the amazing opportunity to stay at this lodge last year. Outstanding views across the park and I loved the open rooms! The staff make you feel at home, Habibu was a fantastic guide and Lily and Jake were great hosts - always around for a drink and a chat!

Certainly one of the best lodges I've stayed at and would return in a heart beat!

Date of stay: September 2019
Trip type: Travelled solo
Thank LeonieUG
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 31 August 2020

Thank you so much for your review and for sharing with others on here. We truly appreciate it and glad you felt at home and we can't wait to welcome our guests back again soon. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

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Reviewed 22 March 2020 via mobile

We spent 4 wonderful nights at Ikuka. The most beautiful lodge with outstanding rooms, views to die for and most important of all the most welcoming, friendly and kind people. Habib - our guide - was magnificent in every way. Such huge knowledge, patience, enthusiasm and all accompanied with an enormous sense of humour. We loved finding some truly wonderful birds - the boys so beautifully “dressed to impress”!! The variety of terrain, vegetation, birds and animals was mind boggling. We feel incredibly lucky to have spent some time at Ikuka, no hesitation in giving 10/10!

Date of stay: February 2020
Trip type: Travelled as a couple
Thank falamains
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 27 March 2020

Thank you very much for your simply wonderful review and for sharing your experience with others on here, we truly appreciate it! We are so pleased to read that you enjoyed the camp, Ruaha and meeting our lovely team and that you got to see some handsome birds! We look forward to staying in touch. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

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Reviewed 16 March 2020

My family and I had an amazing stay at Ikuka - we felt completely taken care of at the lodge, it is truly world class hospitality in a remote location. The safari was magical - our guide Festo did a fantastic job giving us a great experience. Not only would I recommend it to anyone, but I would go back again myself!

Date of stay: February 2020
    • Location
    • Sleep Quality
    • Service
Thank 540alexandrae
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 18 March 2020

Thank you for your lovely review and for sharing your experience on here with others; we are delighted to read that you and your family had a wonderful stay. We look forward to staying in touch. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

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Reviewed 2 March 2020

We went as a family of six to Ikuka on a dream safari. The physical location and facilities of Ikuka are spectacular. What makes it even better are the staff. Everything runs like clockwork. Food is amazing. Lilly makes you feel at home. Festor as a guide was knowledgable, patient, and taught us a great deal of the game and birds. I cannot imagine a better experience. We were there February 2020 and the brilliant green folliage due to the rain added to the experience while still allowing us to experience an abundance of game. I recommend Ikuka and its staff to all!

Room tip: All the rooms overlook the escarpment. Not a bad choice to be had!
Date of stay: February 2020
    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Service
Thank edeQ9161XH
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 March 2020

Thank you very much for sharing your experience on here with others and for recommending us, we truly appreciate it! We are so pleased to read that you and your family enjoyed your stay in the camp and appreciated the beauty of Ruaha in the green season! We look forward to staying in touch, best wishes from the Ikuka family.

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Reviewed 25 February 2020

With their 7 lodges, the Ikuka safari camp has all to be your exclusive base camp for your multiple safari explorations in the Ruaha National Park.

So many superlatives to express our stay for our second part of our honeymoon here, this place will be forever in our memories as our African love nest 😉

The staff deserves absolutely a 5star as they are at your services all the time, with a special thank you to Habib, our ranger and Annie, at the bar who is the most kind and smiley person we ever met.

Our expectations on the food quality were so overachieved. Not to forget they are in the middle of now-where, the chefs meals option are make every day fresh and are so delicious. Our absolute favorite was lunch as their “tapas” formula with original salad combinations and meat/fish dish is every time a savory welcome back after you spend your morning safari ride. And not forgetting the breads & cakes made by Mary - my husband was a big fan !

The resort offers two safari rides a day, but if you feel to relax at the resort certainly the breath taking views can keep you company there. The pool is located just in front of this amazing panorama.

We stayed in lodge number 6, the most far out on the property … I suppose the hotel wanted to give us as much privacy for our honeymoon. Very beautiful decorated with a huge mosquito tent inside, gives you the feeling that you're truly sleeping in the nature. One little comment: you can't use a hair dryer in the property, it was not an issue for us but maybe some of the ladies reading this review like to know about this upfront.

Again absolute recommendation for any travelers looking for an exclusive safari experience in Ruaha National Park. We hope to return one day for our wedding anniversary !

Date of stay: February 2020
    • Location
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
1  Thank Cindy8888
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 27 February 2020

Thank you for this lovely review, we are delighted to read it and want to wish you congratulations again on your marriage to each other; thank you for choosing Ikuka to spend your honeymoon! We are so pleased to read that you enjoyed every aspect of your stay and meeting our lovely staff and also great to read that we will always be known as your African Love Nest! How wonderful. Best wishes from the Ikuka family.

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