Nearly five years ago, an idea was first discussed to build a camp in the Usangu Wetland, situated deep in the remote southern corner of Ruaha National Park. Subsequently, Asilia (who own and run the new camp), have performed multiple reconnaissance missions to gather information about the area’s seasonality, water levels, wildlife numbers and potential camp locations. More importantly, Asilia wanted to ensure that the camp in this location could work together with local conservation efforts to discourage poaching, uplift local communities, and assist in providing meaningful scientific data whilst contributing to the protection of this critical wetland area. And so Usangu Expedition Camp was built and is located in this unspoiled and wildlife-rich Wetlands and is planning to open its doors on the 1st June 2022.
At the heart of the Usangu Wetlands lies the Ihefu Swamp, a permanent wetland ecosystem expanding and contracting as the seasons change throughout the year. Bordering Ihefu are the seasonal wetland flats, a highly productive landscape in terms of wildlife density, offering scope for game drives and walking safaris through the dry months or exploration by canoe and swamp boats during the wetter ones. The surrounding wet grasslands offer a wide field of view and provide excellent walking opportunities during the dry season. Emerging from the wetlands, the vegetation changes again toward a dense canopy of miombo woodlands. On the northern banks of the wetlands, just beyond the reaches of the seasonal high-water mark, Usangu Expedition Camp sits among the woodland shade offering the perfect launch pad from where you can enjoy the multitude of activities available across this largely unexplored 6,000 kmsq wilderness.
The expeditionary nature of this location allows for a diverse activity offering, featuring walking safaris, game drives, night drives, canoeing and boating. The Tails Camp offers an overnight experience in the bush with phenomenal views of the African night sky from the interior of your star cube tent. Situated alongside Usangu Expedition Camp is the Douglas Bell Eco Research Station, from where all conservation research for the area is coordinated. This close working relationship allows for deeper immersion into Usangu, providing you with an opportunity to truly engage and connect with the area.
Predators found in Usangu include lion, cheetah, leopard and wild dog and the area is home to large herds of plains game including Masai giraffe, plains zebra, eland, topi, roan and sable antelope, greater and lesser kudu, Defassa waterbuck, hartebeest and many more. Birding is extraordinary in Usangu, with a mixture of habitats where a diverse range of birdlife thrives.
Camera traps play a vital role in monitoring and understanding the movements of wildlife, but also provide you with the opportunity to place your own camera traps and analyse the images they collect. Images can be compared against those within the predator identification hub to determine if a new predator has been spotted, or log details against an existing specimen. Telemetry tracking of collared wildlife allows for time in the field with a researcher and a deeper understanding of the importance of the work being performed. Back in camp, you can visit the Douglas Bell Eco Research Station to learn about other projects underway of have a researcher join you to discuss a project around the campfire.
For those looking to further enhance this unique experience, there are customised conservation activities tailored to specific interests. So do let us know if you would like to adapt and include something special to add on to your safari and we can help with some additional information.
With only four tented and two vehicles, Usangu Expeditions Camp offers a high level of flexibility within the itinerary and provide you with the ability to tailor your experience to reflect what interest you the most. All activities, apart from collaring, are included daily, allowing you the complete freedom of movement to make a last-minute decision to walk rather than drive or soak in the hot springs instead of going boating.