Flying into Ruaha, has to be one of the most memorable experiences I have had when flying from any destination on safari. Departing from the green and incredibly lush landscape that was Selous, we flew towards north west to Ruaha. The landscape below changing dramatically. It was no longer green and lush but very brown, hot and dry. Baobab trees began to dot the landscape below, until small forests of these majestic trees appeared. Landing onto the dusty runway of Ruaha, I was met by Godliness who scooped me up and relieved me of my bag whilst offering me a very cold and much needed flask of water.
Ruaha is hot. The warm air whipped me in the face as we travelled along the roads towards Jabali Ridge. Jabali Ridge is tucked amongst a collection of rocks just above one of Ruaha’s many rivers. On our way, we passed buffalos and impala trying to escape the midday heat. The odd giraffe was spotted, winding its blue tongue around the last morsels of tiny green leaves.
We finally arrived at Jabali Ridge. What a place. The rooms are tucked snuggly into the crevices of large oval boulders. Jabali actually means ‘as strong as a rock’ in Swahili, so the naming of this property is very appropriate. The rooms are wonderful, with lots of space – not too large that you will lose yourself, but definitely not to small as to feel you have been hard done by – it is just perfect. The views from this camp are incredible as well. As for the food – well, you will have to stay at Jabali to discover how utterly delicious everything is (and also very healthy!).
4pm comes around very quickly. Having had a few moments to digest my delicious lunch and become acquainted with my room (with enormous bed!). I met my guide back at the main area and helped myself to some delicious pomegranate juice (all fresh of course). We then climbed aboard our vehicle and set out into the wilderness to see what sights and sounds we could find. The light in Ruaha is something I have never experienced anywhere before. It is absolutely stunning, especially between 4.30 until sundowners. The light is incredibly warm and everything it touches becomes golden. The landscape is stunning with its stillness of Baobabs, but with the setting sun and the golden light it emits, this place becomes something out of your dreams.
Returning after dark back to Jabali Ridge, we hopped of our vehicle and took the warm towel willingly to abate the dust that had probably formed a layer on most of us. We walked up the short slope to a scene I can only describe as being something out of a movie set. The Jabali rocks were adorned with warm glowing lanterns, looking down onto a mobile bar, a roaring fire and a white linen table ready and waiting for supper. It was, again, utterly dreamy.
A few mean cocktails made by a superb barman from Jabali (I would definitely advise the passion fruit cocktail – wow it was tasty!), whilst sitting around a warming fire, simply bliss. We then made our way the short distance to supper. The food was again superb and the staff that work at Jabali are just wonderful. Supper was made even more special by the presence of the local genet cat called Sparky, who was not only beautiful but extremely happy with the presence of the Jabali guests – probably hoping something will be left over for him!
Jabali Ridge is a wonderful place to stay, the location, the food, the people and the wildlife opportunities here are second to none, The Luxury Safari Company are very impressed with what it has to offer. If you are staying here and would like to try something different, we would 100% recommend a walking safari – you are closer to the game and may witness some wonderful things you will normally miss when on a game drive…!