Usangu — A Family Of Elephants Gather In The Long Grasses
Camps & Lodges

Usangu Expedition Camp

Ruaha National Park, Tanzania

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On the 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 to enjoy the multitude of activities available across this largely unexplored 6,000km2 wilderness.

About usangu Expedition camp

Boating and canoeing through the waterways amongst an array of birdlife, walking the wide open grasslands during the dry season months, or sleeping under the enormous canopy of the African night sky, Usangu Expedition Camp offers a safari experience like none other.

The neighbouring Douglas Bell Eco Research Station offers the opportunity to engage with research projects and develop a deeper understanding of the work being performed in the area. From the placing of camera traps and the identification of predators against the research database to tracking lions with telemetry and contributing to global research. Late afternoon presents the perfect time to explore the surrounding area on foot before enjoying the sunset over the Usangu Wetlands.

  • Calendar

    Open: 1 June to 30 November
    Closed: December to May

  • Airplane

    Closest airstrip: Jongomero, 2-hour drive from camp

  • 1 Families

    Families: children aged 12 and older

Usangu — Researchers Devote Their Days To Mapping The Territory And Monitoring Wildlife Biodiversity
Usangu — Make A Gypsum Cast Of An Animal Track To Bring Home As A Souvenir.

Accommodation at Usangu Expedition Camp

Take a look around

  • Usangu Expedition Camp Website7

    Usangu Exterior

  • Usangu Expedition Camp Website8

    Usangu Bedroom

  • Usangu Expedition Camp Website16

    Usangu Bedroom Deck

  • Usangu Expedition Camp Website17

    Usangu Bedroom

  • Usangu — You Have The Flexibility To Explore Any (Accessible) Area Of The Usangu Wetlands

    Usangu — You Have The Flexibility To Explore Any (Accessible) Area Of The Usangu Wetlands

  • Usangu — Witness The Amanzing Night Sky And Milky Way From Your Tent

    Usangu — Witness The Amazing Night Sky And Milky Way From Your Tent

  • Usangu — Water Lillies Grow On The Flood Plains And Wetlands

    Usangu — Water Lillies Grow On The Flood Plains And Wetlands

  • Usangu — Usangu Research Station, Where All Conservation Research For The Region Is Coordinated

    Usangu — Usangu Research Station, Where All Conservation Research For The Region Is Coordinated

  • Usangu — Usangu Offers Five Biozones. Off Roading Is Allowed So You Can Explore As Much As You Like.

    Usangu — Usangu Offers Five Biozones. Off Roading Is Allowed So You Can Explore As Much As You Like.

  • Usangu — Usangu Is A Seasonal Wetland And Combines Riverine Areas With A Swamp Lake

    Usangu — Usangu Is A Seasonal Wetland And Combines Riverine Areas With A Swamp Lake

  • Usangu — Two Giraffes Scout For Food Amoungst The Acacia Trees

    Usangu — Two Giraffes Scout For Food Amoungst The Acacia Trees

  • Usangu — Trail Camping Twin Set Up For Cube Tents

    Usangu — Trail Camping Twin Set Up For Cube Tents

  • Usangu — The Wetlands Plains Combination Make For The Perfect Bird Sanctuary

    Usangu — The Wetlands Plains Combination Make For The Perfect Bird Sanctuary

  • Usangu — Still Of The Morning, Before The Flowers Open Up To The Sun

    Usangu — Still Of The Morning, Before The Flowers Open Up To The Sun

  • Usangu — Roan Antelope

    Usangu — Roan Antelope

  • Usangu — Researchers Devote Their Days To Mapping The Territory And Monitoring Wildlife Biodiversity

    Usangu — Researchers Devote Their Days To Mapping The Territory And Monitoring Wildlife Biodiversity

  • Usangu — Private Vehicle And Guide

    Usangu — Private Vehicle And Guide

  • Usangu — Lion Stretches Out After A Nap

    Usangu — Lion Stretches Out After A Nap

  • Usangu — Lilac Breasted Roller In Flight

    Usangu — Lilac Breasted Roller In Flight

  • Usangu — Light Aircraft Flying Over Usangu Plains

    Usangu — Light Aircraft Flying Over Usangu Plains

  • Usangu — Join The Researcher On A Half Day Tracking

    Usangu — Join The Researcher On A Half Day Tracking

  • Usangu — Hippos Frequent The Wetlands

    Usangu — Hippos Frequent The Wetlands

  • Usangu — Enjoy An Ice Cold Beer After A Day Of Research In The Bush

    Usangu — Enjoy An Ice Cold Beer After A Day Of Research In The Bush

  • Usangu — Crocodile Popping Up Above Water

    Usangu — Crocodile Popping Up Above Water

  • Usangu — Common Giant Sable Roam The Area

    Usangu — Common Giant Sable Roam The Area

  • Usangu — Close Up Of A Beautiful Leopard

    Usangu — Close Up Of A Beautiful Leopard

  • Usangu — Chat To Our Friendly Guides On Your Next Safari Game Drive

    Usangu — Chat To Our Friendly Guides On Your Next Safari Game Drive

  • Usangu — Bush Drinks Station Set Up

    Usangu — Bush Drinks Station Set Up

  • Usangu — Bush Breakfast Set Up On The Bonnet Of A Safari Vehicle

    Usangu — Bush Breakfast Set Up On The Bonnet Of A Safari Vehicle

  • Usangu — Breakfast At Camp Before A Busy Day

    Usangu — Breakfast At Camp Before A Busy Day

  • Usangu — Beautiful Sunset Over The Plains

    Usangu — Beautiful Sunset Over The Plains

  • Usangu — Asilia Has Friendly And Well Trained Staff To Always Assit You Throughout Your Stay

    Usangu — Asilia Has Friendly And Well Trained Staff To Always Assist You Throughout Your Stay

  • Usangu — Areal View Of Usangu Plains

    Usangu — Aerial View Of Usangu Plains

  • Usangu — Agama Lizzard

    Usangu — Agama Lizzard

  • Usangu — Afternoon Tea At Camp

    Usangu — Afternoon Tea At Camp

  • Usangu — A Variety Of Wildlife Populate The Area Including Monkeys

    Usangu — A Variety Of Wildlife Populate The Area Including Monkeys

  • Usangu — A Herd Of Elephant Trumpeting

    Usangu — A Herd Of Elephant Trumpeting

  • Usangu — A Giraffe With A Bird Feeding From Its Mouth

    Usangu — A Giraffe With A Bird Feeding From Its Mouth

  • Usangu — A Family Of Elephants Gather In The Long Grasses

    Usangu — A Family Of Elephants Gather In The Long Grasses

  • Usangu — Make A Gypsum Cast Of An Animal Track To Bring Home As A Souvenir.

    Usangu — Make A Gypsum Cast Of An Animal Track To Bring Home As A Souvenir.

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Accommodation

Accommodation & Amenities

Usangu Expedition Camp has been carefully positioned as close to the high-water mark as possible, whilst still maximising the shade offered by the surrounding miombo woodlands. With just 4 guest tents, the camp offers an exclusive experience into this largely unexplored wetland. Simple in its design, the focus sits firmly on the exploratory nature of the experience with meals cooked on the open fire and enjoyed under the African stars.  

  • Tents

    4 tents

  • 3 En Suite Bathrooms

    En-suite bathrooms

  • 24 Flushing Toilets

    Flushing toilets

  • 13 Shower 2

    Hot-water plumbed showers

  • Noun Mosquito Net 26540

    Mosquito net

  • 6 In Room Safe

    In-room lockable box

  • 7 Wifi 2

    WiFi (in research centre)

  • 26 Solar&Generatorpower 2

    Solar and generator power

  • Battery Charging Facilities

    Battery-charging facilities

accommodation

Rooms

The four guest tents at Usangu Expedition Camp are simple yet comfortable, positioned on raised wooden decking with views towards the wetlands and a shaded veranda on which to relax. En suite bathrooms feature flushing toilets and plumbed showers.  

Usangu Expedition Camp Website7
Usangu Expedition Camp Website8

LOCATION

Location of Usangu Expedition Camp

The Usangu Wetland features a permanent water source in its centre, the Ihefu Swamp, surrounded by grassy marshlands and floodplains. During the dry season, only the Ihefu Swamp offers water but, as the rainy season develops, the wetland expands to cover an enormous area. On the outer limits of the wet season high-water mark, the miombo forest thrives and provides the perfectly shaded location for Usangu Expedition Camp. 

The Usangu Wetland is an essential feature to the Ruaha-Rungwa ecosystem, with major implications for ecosystems thousands of kilometres away from the wetland itself. Its features are unique and under the proper conditions and health, the biodiversity of species is undeniably a treasure trove. Herds of roan and sable roam the vast wetland, and wild dogs run wide along rivers.

Hundreds of ostrich congregate in a way that is not often seen in other places in Africa. Thousands of migratory bird species pass through the wetland as well as unidentified amphibians, still waiting to be discovered.

Usangu — Areal View Of Usangu Plains
Usangu — Usangu Is A Seasonal Wetland And Combines Riverine Areas With A Swamp Lake

Experiences

A safari like no other

Ruaha’s wildlife is renowned throughout East Africa and we aim to provide the best opportunities — from game drives to walking safaris — for all kinds of animal sightings. Explore this little-known area within Ruaha: go boating through the waterways, walk the wide-open grasslands, and sleep under the enormous canopy of the African night sky.

Usangu — Private Vehicle And Guide
Usangu — Trail Camping Twin Set Up For Cube Tents

Experience

A typical day on safari at Usangu Expedition Camp

Usangu Expedition Camp offers a wide variety of activities, allowing for your days to be tailored around your preferred interests. Each group in camp has a private vehicle and guide, allowing for complete flexibility within daily structure. Early mornings are typically best for game drives and walking safaris while the temperatures are slightly cooler, and wildlife is more active. Mid-afternoons are the perfect time to relax under the trees with a book or, or the more active, visit the Douglas Bell Eco Research Station for a first-hand explanation about the conservation work and research being conducted in the wetlands. Afternoons offer the opportunity for boating safaris or spending time in the field with a researcher.

Participate in research activities such as the positioning of camera traps, image analysis for predator identification and tracking collared lions using telemetry.

Breakfast is often a picnic to allow for an early start from camp, but lunch can either be enjoyed in camp under the cool shade, or a picnic can be provided for those who wish to stay out longer. Whether you are in the main camp or a star cube in the Trails Camp, dinner is prepared on the open fire in a communal setting.

Usangu — Usangu Offers Five Biozones. Off Roading Is Allowed So You Can Explore As Much As You Like.
Usangu Expedition Camp Website10

Experiences

Game drives

The best times to depart on a game drive are early morning and late afternoon to avoid the midday heat when animals are less active. With your private vehicle and guide, you have the flexibility to explore any (accessible) area of the Usangu wetlands. Usangu has five biozones and offers many different habitat types that are waiting to be explored. Our up-cycled Land Rovers have been re-built from the ground up and are powered by green alcohol fuel (ethanol). This five-seater, safari vehicle offers unobstructed views — built for comfort, bush driving and remarkable off-road capability.

Usangu Expedition Camp Website12
Usangu — Chat To Our Friendly Guides On Your Next Safari Game Drive

Experiences

Walking safaris

Walking safaris give you the opportunity to immerse yourself in nature, away from the noise of the land cruiser and closer to the ground to observe the smaller and less obvious parts of the African wilderness. This is a completely different way to experience the bush, encouraging your senses to engage as you spot tiny but fascinating creatures you’d never see from the vehicle.  

Usangu — Common Giant Sable Roam The Area
Usangu — Two Giraffes Scout For Food Amoungst The Acacia Trees

Experiences

Night drives

See a different side of Usangu with a night drive. It’s a special opportunity to spot shy, nocturnal animals and the those that prey on them. With the aid of your knowledgeable guide, keep your eyes out for leopard, genet, serval, honey badger, civet and African wildcats on the hunt; as well as bush babies, mongoose, bat-eared fox, nightjars and owls going about their business. Don’t forget to take a moment to a gaze up at the breath-taking night sky. 

Usangu — Witness The Amanzing Night Sky And Milky Way From Your Tent
Usangu — Beautiful Sunset Over The Plains

Experiences

Boating safaris

The wetland area and the intricate waterways that swell and contract throughout the season create a variety of conditions for boating. Our swamp boat is designed for these marsh-like conditions, offering the opportunity to explore the wetland narrow waterways year-round. Elephant are regularly seen along the shallows, and the birdlife is fantastic.

Usangu — Usangu Is A Seasonal Wetland And Combines Riverine Areas With A Swamp Lake

Experiences

Trails Camp

This is one of the most exciting activities Asilia has to offer and is perfect for those who want an intimate safari experience. Set out on a walking safari in the afternoon and spend a night fly camping in a remote part of the conservancy. We’ll cook dinner over a campfire under the stars and the sounds of the bush will lull you to sleep. We return to the main camp the next morning. 

Usangu — Trail Camping Twin Set Up For Cube Tents
19. Kwihala Camp Walking Safari Ruaha National Park Escarpment Elephants Walking Safari Paul Joynson Hicks MR

Experience

Camera Traps

The placement of camera traps in close proximity to frequently used game trails provide useful information about wildlife numbers and the movements of game. On arrival, you will receive a camera trap to place near camp for the duration of your stay. On your last afternoon in camp, retrieve the images to see what your camera has captured.

Usangu — Close Up Of A Beautiful Leopard
Ruaha

Experience

Douglas Bell Eco Research Station

The Douglas Bell Eco Research Station is the central hub for all research and conservation efforts taking place in the Usangu Wetland. Situated alongside Usangu Expedition Camp, it provides guests with the opportunity to engage with researchers and develop a deeper understanding of the important work being performed in the region. The experiences on offer will vary slightly depending on which researchers are on the ground at any given time. However, a research coordinator is always present ensuring quality research immersion for visiting guests at all times.

Usangu — Usangu Research Station, Where All Conservation Research For The Region Is Coordinated
Leopard.jpg

Experience

Predator Identification

If your camera trap has caught any inquisitive predators, or if you have captured any good images on your camera during your stay, you can upload these images to the Predator ID Hub at the station to compare against the existing database. Researchers will work with you to analyse identifying features and determine if this is a new specimen or an existing. This tracking of information helps to plot territories and allows you to actively contribute to the ongoing research.

Lion 2668639 1920
19. Cheetah Portrait Mara Bush Houses HR Resized006

Experience

Telemetry Tracking

Join the researcher on a half-day tracking of collared animals using radio telemetry to track and locate them. Start the day by reviewing the latest locations of the animals of the days before and join the researcher in a vehicle to learn how radio-collaring and telemetry works, and how to locate the collared animals. Collared species differ over time depending on advancing research but usually focus on key species in the area such as lion, wild dog (yet to be collared), roan, and sable antelope.

Usangu Expedition Camp Website4
Usangu — Make A Gypsum Cast Of An Animal Track To Bring Home As A Souvenir.

Experience

Family safaris

We welcome families with children over 12 years old. If the camp is booked on an exclusive use basis, younger children can be accommodated, but participation in walking activities and canoeing will not be permitted.

Usangu — You Have The Flexibility To Explore Any (Accessible) Area Of The Usangu Wetlands
Family Safari (1)

WILDLIFE

Ruaha wildlife

  • Lion

    Ruaha National Park Lioness With Cub Down Eric Frank MR
  • Leopard

    George Turner Ruaha 22
  • Lesser kudu

    Lesser Kudu
  • Greater kudu

    Greater Kudu Shutterstock 166220447
  • Elephant

    Ruaha 24
  • Giraffe

    Giraffe-Ruaha-National-Park-Marius-Swart-LR-copy.jpg
  • Buffalo

    Buffalos Serengeti Safari
  • Wild dog

    18. Jabali Wild Dogs
  • Roan antelope

    Usangu — Roan Antelope
  • Sable

    Usangu — Common Giant Sable Roam The Area

When to go

What to expect during the year

Usangu is open from June to November, when it’s hot and dry. During this time, the Usangu wetlands recede, and the surrounding grasslands dry out into wide open spaces ideal for walking. The rains that fall from November until April transform the landscape, making it green and lush but also creating logistical problems as the road networks become water-logged and the rising floodplains limit land-based activities.

  • June

    Why travel at this time

    The long rains have now passed, and the park is lush and green. The waters are still high, making it an excellent time for canoeing.

    Climate

    June marks the start of the dry season however temperatures are still comfortable at this early stage in the season. The average high is 26°C/79°F, with a low of 13°C/55°F.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 25°C / 77°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 109mm / 4.3in

  • July - September

    Why travel at this time

    The wetlands and floodplains recede during this driest time of the year, making it an excellent environment for walking. This is the best time for game viewing as wildlife is attracted to the permanent water source.

    Climate

    There’s no rainfall in the dry season with temperatures rising to an average high of 26°C/79°C in July, up to 28°C/82°F in September. The average lows are 13°C/55°F to 15°C/59°F.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 12°C / 54°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 25°C / 77°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 42mm / 1.7in

  • October - November

    Why travel at this time

    October is the peak of the dry season, delivering excellent game viewing and walking conditions. The rains usually arrive in November, bringing respite from the heat and starting the transformation as Usangu returns to a wetland.

    Climate

    October is hot and dry, with increasing humidity as the rains approach. November continues to be hot, but the arrival of afternoon showers and thunderstorms offer some relief to the parched landscape. The temperature hits a maximum average of 30°C/86°F in October and November, dropping to an average low of 17°C/63°F.

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 13°C / 55°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 27°C / 81°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: 99mm / 3.9in

Rates

When would you like to go?

Usangu is open from June to November, when it’s hot and dry. During this time, the Usangu wetlands recede, and the surrounding grasslands dry out into wide-open spaces ideal for walking. The rains that fall from November until April transform the landscape, making it green and lush but also creating logistical problems as the road networks become water-logged and the rising floodplains limit land-based activities.

Below, choose your travel dates for an estimated accommodation cost per person sharing, or scroll down for a table of high and low season rates.

Dates in grey indicate 'not available'

Estimated accommodation cost per person sharing*

US$ 0

for two adults sharing

Enquire Now

Additional information

  • Rate includes

    Full board accommodation, all house drinks (except champagne), game drives, night drives, guided walks, Trails Camp, multi-day walking (must be booked in advance), canoeing, boating, transfers to/from Jongomero Airstrip and to/from Usangu Expedition Camp, TDL. Access to the Douglas Bell Eco Research Station: Predator ID Research, interaction with researchers and explanations of projects, telemetry tracking of GPS collared key species.

  • Rate excludes

    All park, camping and activity fees, transfers other than to/from nearest airstrip or Usangu Expedition Camp, flying doctors/medical evacuation insurance, flights & airport taxes, gratuities, items of personal nature, additional lunch (picnic or in house) $25pp

  • Budget factors

    Special offers may apply. Contact us for the best available rates. Last minute offers and long-stay rates may apply.

Rates and Seasonality

  • High season: 01 Jun 2022 - 30 Nov 2022 Rate: US$700

    What to expect

    • Dry season, high concentration of animals around water, great for cats

    • Plenty of elephants and big herds of buffaloes

    • Leopards become more arboreal as the grass thins

    • Min Temp Range

      Low Temp: 17°C / 63°F

    • Max Temp Range

      High Temp: 28°C / 82°F

    • Rainy Seasons

      Rainfall: none

  • Closed: 01 Dec 2022 - 31 May 2023 Rate: US$0

    Seasonal closure

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