Kokoko Camp – An exclusive adventure in Ruaha

By John Baumann | 06 December 2023


Nestled under the trees on the banks of the Mwagusi Sand River, Kokoko Camp offers an exclusive escape from the modern safari experience. A return to the basics, with an emphasis on the experience gained, the connection to the wilderness, and the sense of exploration this camp provides.

The open landscape of Ruaha National Park

Iconic baobab trees are a key feature of the Ruaha landscape.

Ruaha National Park

Ruaha National Park is a vast wilderness in the southwest of Tanzania. One of the largest national parks in East Africa, it hosts only a handful of camps and lodges, making it the ideal destination for a safari enthusiast looking for a sense of exclusivity, without compromising on the wildlife experience. With a recorded 80 animal species and a checklist of over 550 bird species, the game viewing potential in Ruaha is amongst the most rewarding to be found across East Africa. Game drives, walking safaris, night drives, and hot-air balloon safaris provide a variety of experiences for exploration of this unique wilderness area.

Ruaha National Park is thought to hold 10% of the world's remaining wild lion population.

Predators in Ruaha National Park include lion, leopard and cheetah, as well as the rare and elusive African wild dog.

Kokoko Camp

Kokoko Camp, opening in July 2024, will comprise of just three tents catering to a maximum of six people, in a camp that can only be booked on an exclusive-use basis. Hosted by one of Asilia’s top safari guides, the emphasis here is firmly on the experience gained. The accommodation is pared-back and relatively simple in its style and design, aiming to fulfil its function rather than provide a focal point of the experience. That said, the retractable weather cover will likely prove to be a highlight, allowing guests to appreciate the splendour of the African night sky from the comfort of their bed. The camp is run by a small but attentive team of staff, cooking meals over the open fire and ensuring that no detail is overlooked. The quality of service and personal attention from our staff continues to shine at the highest standards, despite the more rustic nature of Kokoko.

The weather cover on guest tents allows for star gazing on clear nights.

A retractable awning provides shelter from the sun and rain when needed, and views of the starry sky from the comfort of your bed on clear nights. 

The Mwagusi River offers a dry, sandy river-bed throughout the dry season during which Kokoko Camp operates. When the rains arrive in November, the camp closes for the remainder of the season as the river begins to flow again, and sometimes even comes down in flood. Despite its dry appearance, there is still water to be found by those who know how to access it. Herds of elephant descend into the river-bed, digging into the soft sand with trunk and tusk until water begins to seep into the holes they have created. A variety of plains game wait their turn for access to these new watering holes, while predators watch from the banks plotting an ambush. Breakfast and lunch are usually enjoyed in the cool shade under the trees in camp but, come evening, the dry river-bed creates a spectacular dining opportunity. Tables and chairs surrounded by lanterns, and an enormous bonfire for company, cloaked under the stars of Ruaha, creates the setting for a unique and memorable dining experience. 

The dry Mwagusi river-bed makes for a special dining location.

Lantern lit dining in the dry sandy bed of the Mwagusi River.

Your Exclusive Safari

The exclusive-use nature of Kokoko Camp, combined with one of Asilia’s best safari guides, allows for an experience tailored around your specific interests. You and your party are the only guests in camp, and everything revolves around the safari experience you wish to achieve. Walking safaris venture along the banks of the dry river-bed in search of wildlife, through baobab forests, or up rocky kopjes from which to appreciate the expansive views across the park. For an even better vantage point, book a hot-air balloon safari to glide effortlessly over the Great Ruaha River and the plains and forests below. Game drives allow for exploration further afield, into the far reaches of the park as you search for a specific bird or animal species you might long have hoped to see. As evening approaches, a tough decision needs to be made – do you relax by the fire and watch dinner be prepared over the open coals to then be enjoyed in the dry river-bed surrounded by lanterns, or do you enjoy a short dinner before venturing out into the darkness for a night drive in search of Ruaha’s nocturnal inhabitants?

A walking safari offers the opportunity to forge a deeper connection with the nature of Ruaha.

The opportunity to explore on foot introduces an exciting and unique perspective to the safari experience.

Without the distraction of high-end luxury accommodation, one’s attention is firmly focussed on the immersive nature of the experience. A return to the authentic wilderness-driven safari where your personal connection with your surroundings brings you closer to the nature of Ruaha, closer to its wildlife, and closer to the true essence of safari. This is Kokoko Camp.

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