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“A Transcendent Experience in the Bush” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Ndarakwai Ranch Camp

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Ndarakwai Ranch Camp
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Ndarakwai Camp, P.O. Box 49, Moshi SLP 49 ARS, Tanzania   |  
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Ranked #1 of 30 Specialty Lodging in Moshi
1 review
“A Transcendent Experience in the Bush”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 11, 2013 via mobile

While drinking a Stoney Tangawizi (a delicious East African ginger beer) and eating homemade curried peanuts, watching the sunset and a team of zebras from the incredible treehouse at Ndarakwai, I truly realized what a special experience it was. I've traveled a lot and never have I felt so connected to a camp, lodge, resort, hotel, etc. as I did to Ndarakwai. All the staff were so personable and knowledgeable. I was fortunate to go on a game drive with owner Peter Jones, an Englishman who grew up partly in Afghanistan where his father was working as a photographer and anthropologist. He's a real-life Indiana Jones and has led safaris for over 20 years. Peter's own son Eric is equally as knowledgable and specializes in the 300 different bird species at the camp. I really enjoyed getting to know them during my week there. We saw all kinds of wildlife and visited the Maasai village nearby. I'm a professional photographer and relished in the opportunity to take some of the best photos of my life. Since the camp is privately-owned land, there is a lot more freedom to roam than at the national parks, including the night game drives, which are prohibited elsewhere.

As for accommodations, the luxury safari tents are a unique experience. They're as big and lavish as any hotel suite, but I really enjoyed leaving open the canvas window flaps to wake up to gorgeous jungle views. And the food was incredible. I'm vegan and they accommodated me for each meal, most of which comes from ingredients in the camp's nearby organic farm. The bread is homemade in big brick ovens and so delicious. At night, we shared our leftovers with a mischievous species of monkey called bushbabies.

There is much more I could say but I fear I may fall into a nostalgic reverie. I hope to make it back in the next few years. And I can't recommend this place more to anyone fortunate enough to be able to go sooner.

  • Stayed March 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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131 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (22)
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Any
English first
Paris, France
1 review
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

My name is Henry Asch, I'm 16 years old, and I visited Ndarakwai with my family.

I spent at total 4 days, three nights at Ndarakwai Camp, and a total 7 days with its owner, Peter Jones. Peter took us on walking and driving safaris on his 12,000 acre property at Ndarakwai, Ndutu in the Serengeti, and inside the Ngorongoro Crater. His knowledge of the natural area is, as one of his local friends put it, "second only to Leakey," as he has participated in archeological excavations and protected the environment in Tanzania for over 20 years. You won't find a better guide.

Ndarakwai Camp itself is extremely comfortable, but without compromising the natural surroundings and your view of them. All indoor facilities in the camp are underneath permanent hand-made canopies. There is WIFI in the reception area, along with sockets to charge your devices. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are served under a separate canopy along with a bar and fireplaces.

The rooms themselves are each under an individual canopy and are sealed off from bugs or animals, however, during our stay we saw monkeys walking right across our balcony. These monkeys are friendly, and I even fed some "bush babies" banana by hand. There is running water, a shower, plumbing, and kingsized beds in every tent, each of which is named by the Swahili word for different types of animals. The service staff comes to each room every day, and is very friendly.

From the camp we could drive not 10 minutes and see elephants, giraffe, zebra, baboon, and wildebeest on the plains or in the hills.

If I HAD to give one criticism, I would say that the wifi is a bit slow... However, you will never be bored enough to use it.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

This was an amazing trip! It was rustic and earthy yet at the same time modern and classy. The camp itself is in its own little forest area reminding you that you are in Africa (there are monkeys living right there!) yet the tents and dining areas are clean, comfortable, and classic. You feel almost as if you are in one of those old movies where the Brittish gentry are going to Africa on holiday! The service and food is excellent and it is evident that every detail was thought through and organized. The ranch around the camp is beautiful, giving you a huge assortment of animals to see including giraffes, zebras, monkey, gazelle, warthog, and a huge variety of birds and reptiles. It was truly amazing, and they were not more than a two miles from our tents! My only regret is that we couldn't stay longer. I will be sure to return either on vacation or when I am in college (I am 14).

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Maysville
Contributor
12 reviews 12 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

We had no idea what to expect when we got off the plane at Kilimanjaro airport in the evening hours. We were met by Eric Jones and a driver from the ranch. After our drive to the ranch, which was filled with great information from Eric, we were shown to our tenst and a lovely light dinner was provided.

The tent was delightful (we stayed in Simba). Our bed was quite comfortable, the bathroom much less rustic than what I expected, and there was plenty of space for us to unpack all our things to repack for our Kili climb.

We did a walking safari with Thomas, a Masai guide, which was fantastic, had a "sundowner" in the treehouse and a delicious dinner. Our entire stay was fabulous, though too short! The staff are friendly, informative and helpful. The night skies were beautiful and I felt as if we were alone on the planet.

Highly reccommend!!!

  • Stayed January 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ndarakwai, Manager at Ndarakwai Ranch Camp, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
Thank you so much for your review, we are glad you enjoyed your trip! It was great chatting to you and i hope you all made it up the mountain! Regards, Eric
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Paris, France
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed April 3, 2013

My two teenaged children, my husband and I just spent several nights at Ndarakwai Ranch. Our expectations were very high for this trip! There is something magical about being able to go out on safari by foot, and with knowledgable guides who made us feel 100% safe. The game sightings were spectacular and every day there was a big surprise. One day, it was being greeted by two tame elephants, who owner Peter Jones adopted as yearling orphans, and who actually seem to like being with people. Another day, after several stimulating hours learning about the flora and fauna, by car and by foot, we arrived at the "tree house," where we were told we'd have a birds' eye view of the plane. The beautiful view was expected by then, but a full bar with refreshing drinks and snacks had been set up in the tree house as well, appearing like a welcome mirage. The bedroom tents, with full bathroom, were comfortable and thoughtfully decorated with local crafts. I sat on the porch to draw, and watched while twenty or thirty monkeys swung by in the trees, not five meters from where I sat. The food, mostly homegrown, was delicious, and the service staff made us feel pampered. To top it all off, Ndarakwai is self-sustaining and completely natural ecosystem. It is no wonder that the game is so plentiful. The lodge is small, and we felt like it was all there just for us. We can't wait to return.

  • Stayed March 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ndarakwai, Manager at Ndarakwai Ranch Camp, responded to this review, April 9, 2013
It was so great meeting you and your family! i enjoyed the time we spent together, and am so jealous i didn't get to go on safari with you guys! Hope all is well at home and i hope to see you again in the not too distant future! Eric
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Lansing, Michigan
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 18 cities Reviews in 18 cities
25 helpful votes 25 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2013

We stayed here just prior to beginning our Kilimanjaro summit trek and safari. I had no idea we would get to view such a wonderful assortment of wildlife - giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, warthogs, etc - to say nothing of the wonderful little bush-baby which came up to get banana slices while we ate dinner at the open-air dining room. The large, private tent-cabin with shower, bathroom, vanity/mirror, and comfortable beds worked out great. Heard monkeys at night. Highly recommend.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Swiss Cosmopolitain
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 10, 2013

I spent 6 days here while my husband was climbing Kilimanjaro. An absolutely perfect place to relax! Taking bush-walks, going for night game drives - both not possible in the National Parks - provided wonderful glimpses of life in a very special, well preserved habitat.
The staff is wonderful: Accommodating but discreet, they do everything possible to make your stay a unique experience. The food is just sublime.
What really distinguishes Ndarakwai Ranch from other lodges/tented camps in Tanzania is its attention to details, especially in those that help preserve its unique environment.

Room Tip: The "Simba"-Tent provides a wonderful view onto a forest clearing. Early in the mornings a...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled solo
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Ndarakwai, Manager at Ndarakwai Ranch Camp, responded to this review, April 7, 2013
Thank you very much for your review. It was great meeting you, and i enjoyed our chats about all the birds. Hope you are both well! Regards, Eric
Report response as inappropriate
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ndarakwai Ranch Camp

Address: Ndarakwai Camp, P.O. Box 49, Moshi SLP 49 ARS, Tanzania
Phone Number:
Location: Tanzania > Kilimanjaro Region > Moshi
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 30 Specialty Lodging in Moshi
Number of rooms: 15
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Started in 1994, Ndarakwai is a unique success story of land and wildlife rehabilitation, the first of its kind in Tanzania. With about 70 mammal species and over 350 bird species in a combination of high long grass plains, classic Acacia savannah, Commiphora thickets, and riparian habitats, a stay at Ndarakwai is a great addition to any safari itinerary. Ndarakwai Camp, with 14 large comfortable and individually decorated tents, is set at 4200 feet in the midst of an 11,000 acre privately-owned ranch in Siha District, West Kilimanjaro. Ndarakwai offers a high degree of personalized service, attention to detail, great food, as well as a wide variety of excellent wildlife related activities, cultural experiences, and excursions. What really sets us apart from National parks is our ability to offer half and full day walks with an experienced guide, as well as night game drives. These are two things you are not able to do in the parks. If it is birding on foot, or searching for nocturnal animals by spotlight, Ndarakwai is for you! Ndarakwai strives to be the best in luxury tented camping while maintaining the principles of responsible environmental stewardship. Extensive use of solar power (for electricity and hot water), the use of clay ovens for cooking, preference for local produce, combined with 11,000 protected acres of bush and woodland give confidence the camp is being established as carbon neutral. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ndarakwai Ranch Camp Hotel Moshi

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