Mwagusi: The Lowdown

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Mwagusi was the camp the made us first fall in love with the Ruaha, and for this it will always hold a special place in our hearts. Like the park itself it’s a wild and unusual sort of spot, well suited to bush lovers, adventurers and anyone who’s happy to muck in and come along for the ride.

What’s Mwagusi really like?

Mwagusi is located on a sand river- occasionally there’s water in it, but more often than not it’s used as a convenient “motorway” for the animals, elephant in particular. When we were staying there were four-legged visitors to camp at all hours of the day and night. The main mess has a high thatched roof, a long low wall and great views out over the sand. Everything here feels natural- with polished and painted stone floors, curving walls and gnarled wood. You’ll see beautiful bronzes, animal skulls and all sorts of treasures found from the bush decorating the lodge. Wholesome, though not gourmet, meals are eaten together with other guests, discussing the day’s excitements, and often there are lantern-lit dinners in the river bed. From the main mess, guests walk through the sand to thirteen stone and thatch bandas, all decorated in a similar style, with polished floors, walls made from reed and stone, and natural feel. There’s a small sitting area in front, and behind the “bedroom” portion of your banda is enclosed in a tent. To the rear are the bathrooms, enclosed within reed walls, and with flushing loos and solar showers (be careful as these can be piping hot at the end of a very sunny day!) In all we’d say this is a charming, old fashioned and good fun, best suited to those with a laid-back attitude, a sense of adventure and a focus on the wildlife.

What can I do at Mwagusi?

Activities at Mwagusi focus on game drives in rugged old landrovers and land cruisers- this is one of the most prolific game-viewing areas in the Ruaha National Park. Unusually for Tanzania, Mwagusi tends to have a separate driver and guide in each vehicle. This policy certainly worked well when we there, providing some unforgettable big-cat viewing. Walks are also on offer from Mwagusi- you can either do a short walk around the camp in the early mornings to appreciate some of the local birdlife, or a more serious walking safari with your guide and a national park ranger. Please let us know if you would like to do this as the ranger needs to be pre-booked (costs for this can be paid for locally).

Giving back at Mwagusi: Owner Chris Fox and his family have grown up in this part of Tanzania and have played a key role in creating employment and encouraging tourism in the Ruaha. They’ve set up an NGO to support orphans and victims of HIV-AIDs in the Mufindi area of Tanzania, helping to fund orphanages, schools, and clinics. You can donate to the Trust (just ask us for details) or, if you have space in your luggage to bring out much-needed donations, Mwagusi also participates in the Pack for a Purpose scheme.

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