As the "eco tourism" business picks up speed, the idea of a community-focused and sustainable lodge experience is clearly a step above the rest. That it pulls it off shouldn't be a surprise - the foundation that runs it focuses on strict training and apprenticeships to meet rigorous standards.
We were fortunate enough to be there for the unveiling of their pizza oven - and perhaps with the exception of Blue Heron, it was the best pizza we've had in Arusha.
The location is a bit of the beaten path, but it offers a great views of Meru, a feeling of immersion in nature, and a great concept to boot. The rooms are just the right size, have nice showers, and even a fireplace.
That said, there were a few key improvements:
- dinner one night was half an egg over rice with the previous night's curry sauce and tomato soup. It seemed like an accident, as we had great chicken curry the night before and a huge meal of kebabs, chicken, and pizza the following day for lunch. A simple explanation would have helped.
- they "arrange" transport, but at a listed price of $50 each way, that's the cost of a night there. While the road is rough, they need to find a better solution, perhaps by building it into the price of operations.
- the "full board" didn't include drinks - of any kind. Water, wine, and beer were all charged to the bill. None of this was mentioned, and they freely offered "would you like anything to drink" very courteously, but just be forewarned. Furthermore, without a selection of anything (e.g. one red, one beer), they were significantly overcharging on each.
Bottom line: recommended, but just know what's in the package.