Our favourite lodges in Tanzania’s Northern Circuit – and why
Claire Jooste takes us on a journey through the finest camps and luxury safari lodges in Tanzania’s fabulous north region
The ethos at Legendary Lodge is to make guests feel completely at home. It is one of the few luxury safari lodges in Tanzania, set on a coffee plantation in Arusha, this former hunting lodge has been converted into a chic bolthole and designed as a base for bookending a safari. The enormous suites are found dotted around the property and sing with dark wood and white linen, while staff have permanent smiles on their faces – the team even include a personal butler for all guests. Food at the lodge is also exceptional, with everything freshly made onsite – judging by the taste and presentation, the chef takes great pride in every dish that he produces.
Little Chem Chem
Little Chem Chem, located in its own private concession between Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Park, consists of six tents, including a family tent. All three lodges in the Chem Chem portfolio embrace the ethos of a ‘slow safari’, which means that there are no set schedules and guests are encouraged to relax and take the experience at a leisurely pace. Expect to see large herds of elephants at the watering hole (each of which has been named by the company’s conservation project), big and small cats, from leopard and lion to civet, and the chance of a rare sighting of a white giraffe. The food is fresh and delicious, service is personalised, and the conservation efforts of the company shine through on your safari – not to mention the massages in the spa tent, which are exceptional. Activities include morning and evening game drives, heading down to the lake to see flocks of flamingos and pelicans and sundowners on the scenic grass plains.
At Lemala Nanyukie, another one of the luxury safari lodges in Tanzania, the rooms are something else! Beautiful and spacious, with crisp white linen on the beds, they feature indoor and outdoor showers, a large bathtub, mini kitchenette and fresh wooden furnishings, as well as a private deck with sunken outdoor sala and private plunge pool. I highly enjoyed my game drives here (both morning and evening) as we enjoyed several big cat sightings and experienced different parts of the national park, including the area surrounding Lemala and then the wider Central Serengeti the following day. There is a lot of animal action around the lodge too, from buffalo herds to lionesses with their cubs.
Singita Sabora is latest Singita lodge to have undergone a refurbishment – spectacular doesn’t cover it. As expected, the facilities, food and wine were world class, with rooms to match – expect tented suites complete with air-conditioning, a kitchenette, a workspace, indoor and outdoor showers, a large bath and an outdoor seating area, where private lunches can be arranged. I saw 32 different lions on a morning game drive, including two well-fed, fat bellied cats that had climbed a tree to escape the midday heat. The lions were particularly healthy and content as the migration was in full swing, meaning plentiful wildebeest, antelope and zebra to feast on. On my final night I was treated to an authentic Tanzanian spread for dinner, followed by a fireside whiskey to toast to the amazing wildlife sightings and the beauty of the region.
Nomad Serengeti Safari Camp
A mobile camp, Nomad Serengeti moves three times a year between the Southern, Central/ Western and Northern Serengeti. I stayed at the latter location and was completely blown away by the fact this awesome lodge can be taken down and resurrected in a new location within just five to six days. The camp comprises six tents, including a two-bedroom family tent, with flushing loos and bucket showers, while dining consists of homely, African-inspired dishes served family-style, which allows guests to share stories from the day. During my stay, the rains came bucketing down! Seen as a blessing in this region, rain means fresh grass shoots, wildebeest and great sightings…Water is life, after all! When the rains had subsided, we headed out on safari and saw plains filled with thousands of wildebeest, some hungry lions and a special sighting of a black rhino, some way off in the distance.