Mwagusi Safari Camp (The rock hyrax and me)

 RUAHA, TANZANIA SPECIAL 

Mwagusi Safari Camp (The rock hyrax and me)

Tribes’ director, Amanda Marks, explored Ruaha for 2 weeks in June 2018.  Staying at or inspecting all of the lodges and camps, game driving in the east, west and centre, and talking to the camp owners, managers and guides.

The small, grey rock hyrax looked daggers at me. He’d popped up about 2 feet from my head as I sat on the chair on my verandah.
‘This is my place,’ he said. ‘What are you doing here?’
No, really, there was no doubt about what he meant. His face said it all. He stared at me for about 20 seconds, willing me to leave (hyraxes don’t blink!), but when he realised that I patently wasn’t going to move, he left with a hrumpf.

As a welcome to a safari camp, I have to say that was one of the best I’ve had. And to add to the experience, the location could not have been better. My room was on the elevated rocky edge of the Mwagusi River, and it was stunning. However, I should probably mention that there was not a drop of water to be seen – this was June, and the dry season in Ruaha National Park was well and truly underway (the Mwagusi is a sand river from about April to November).

Mwagusi was the second camp to be built, many years ago, in this beautiful and remote park, and the owner, Chris Fox, walked the length of the Mwagusi to choose his spot. He chose well. I could have very happily sat all day long in my supremely comfortable hideaway watching the comings and goings in the dry riverbed. Hyraxes, mongooses, hamerkops and many other bird species (there are 575 in Ruaha) are commonly spotted here, but leopards like it here too.

As it was, I went out each day with my guide Geoffrey (pronounced Joffry please, not Jeffry!) who is one of the most experienced guides in the park having worked here for about 15 years. His guiding was excellent, and we saw a diverse range of wildlife from elephants to lions, the ubiquitous impalas to warthogs and zebras, and we even saw a honey badger make a dash for the undergrowth one morning.

I loved the bush breakfast we had at the confluence of the dry Mwagusi and the still-flowing Great Ruaha, and in fact all the meals I had at the camp were very good – perhaps not as fancy as some of the other more expensive properties I stayed at, but still tasty, varied and well-presented.

Mwagusi is one of those places which has an individual character and quite a bit of soul. It’s not part of a chain or larger hotel group, it’s a one-off.

A bit like the rock hyrax, I can see why you’d quickly get to feel that this was your place despite the other guests – I’d have stayed longer if I could.

 RUAHA, TANZANIA SPECIAL 

You can read Amanda’s various blogs from this journey if you’d like to know more, and she’s always happy to chat about Ruaha if you’re considering a safari here. Visit our Tanzania specialist site to find out more about a safari in Tanzania.

Other Ruaha blogs by Amanda include: