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“the perfect antidote for a break from Dar”

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Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp
Dar es Salaam, Tanzania
1 review
“the perfect antidote for a break from Dar”
Reviewed January 20, 2011

My wife had stayed before with some friends, so she thought it would be the perfect mini break for some rest and relaxation, and also to see the wonderful Udzungwa Falls, and to climb to the top to see across the savannah. We were greeted by Derek the manager, who guided us to the hut at our leisure, everything was done at the pace that suited us. It was a great change to be engaged as we arrived and it allowed us to meet the staff who were intent on looking after us and making our stay as pleasurable as possible. The hut was big and airy, and we were placed at the top of the camp, literally on the border of the rainforest, where the landscape changed very dramatically. The rooms and washrooms were all spotlessly clean, and perfect after a days driving through Mikumi National Park.
After all the power outages in Dar, the fact that the beer was kept ice-cold all the time was fantastic, and that you are not aware of any problem whatsoever, not that there were any during our stay, due to the relaxed but efficient nature of the management and staff of the camp. The food was delicious and varied every day, and consideration was offered to us by Simon and Swego asking if what was on the menu was ok with us. Service a lot of the restaurants in the bigger cities would do well to learn.
I am definitely going back, it was a wonderful weekend away in the most beautiful and tranquil of settings, and relaxing even with the thought of an inquisitive elephant wanting to trundle though the camp. Thank you.

  • Stayed January 2011, traveled as a couple
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Thank juliangh12169
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Morogoro, Tanzania
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed November 30, 2010

We got off the daladala from Morogoro just as it was getting dark, and chanced on there being room for us at Hondo Hondo... which, we were told, there always is, as accommodation is mostly tents (spacious, with mattress and sheets), apart from lovely authenic-feeling bandas (mud-and-thatch huts) just at the edge of the forest (ask for number 3 - you might not have to spend a penny to see Udzungwas many animals). Bandas have box nets and double beds, and are delightfully cool at night.

The Hondo is a little patch of paradise. Wonderful location within walking distance of the park headquarters, with great wilderness feel as you settle in for the night listening to the Hondo Hondos for which the place is named (Hornbill birds), bushbabies and hyrax. The food is fantastic thanks to the gem of a cook, Paul - best food we got during our two months in Tanzania. Manager Jock, and the rest of the staff, are very helpful, whether to find the best ways to enjoy your trip (we had nothing planned at all when we came) or sorting out life's little problems (like there not being an ATM in Mang'ula, which got to be a problem when we stayed twice as long as planned). Not to mention the obvious jaw-dropping surprise it is to come to a campsite in the forest in the middle of nowhere, and find a pool (albeit a fold-together one), cold imported beer, real butter (Blue Band is banned) and actual Tanzanian coffee - even the possibility to get online. For the romance of it, dinner outside with a storm light followed by an evening by the camp fire is as good as anything, and a surprisingly interesting experience was the free of charge mini bug safari you get when they put up the bug trap - there are some weird things out there, though none - we are assured - will seriously hurt you.

The conclusion is, if you are going to the Udzungwas, treat yourself to a stay here. Although you can get guesthouses in Mang'ula marginally cheaper, the 30 bucks per night for two people in a tent or banda (unless you have your own tent, then it's 5) that the Hondo charges is excellent value for money. Enjoy!

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank Nesneve
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Dar es Salaam
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
Reviewed November 28, 2010

Just spent the weekend at Hondo Hondo, Udzungwa Forest Camp. Opted for the mud hut which was surprisingly very comfortable with sturdy bed, clean sheets, blankets and pillows. Despite being very hot outside the mud hut kept an even temperature inside which allowed me to sleep in. The people that run this place are experts on animals, trees and flowers and were able to suggest brilliant places to go. The highlight was hiking up to the largest water fall in Tanzania, Sanje Falls. After a 2 hour trek seeing monkeys along the way we were greeted by amazing plunge pools in pristine condition. After a swim we had a picnic lunch, organised by the lodge, before trekking down to the base and having another swim in yet another amazing pool. Forgot to mention the great cooked breakfast and service. You can choose what you would like to eat here and what time you want to eat it. I have lived in Tanzania for almost two years and this is a great escape from Dar es Salaam for the weekend and I even saw two shooting stars.

  • Stayed November 2010, traveled with friends
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1 Thank Globalnomad71
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
berlin
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed November 6, 2010

remember where you want to go: if you want to see udzungwa national park, it actually is in the middle of nowhere. so don't have to high expectations. if you don't forget this, you will love this place :)

it is set within a really rich and beautiful landscape. it's really the middle of nowhere, we shared the whole campsite with only one other couple - a fantastic feeling of remoteness. also: there are monkeys and elephants in the park and well the park is here! so you really feel in the middle of nature there.

the staff is really nice and helpful! the manager, derek, a very nice Scottish guy who fell in love with the place (and a woman in the next village, now the mother to his child), picked us up from a 5 hour delayed trainride and believe me: when it is half an hour past midnight and you get out of a train in the darkness and there nothing around - thats when you are truly thankful for european reliability! also, derek has the typical calmness and peace of a well-traveled person and when he sits to talk you through what you want to do next, his relaxation is transferred to you... well, there is no better host to a backpackers soul. the other staff was also very friendly and seemed happy - although a lack of english (their side) and suaheli (our side) minimized conversations. i wish we would have spent some more time there (we only had a day). i'm sure we would have had more contact with them and would have liked to visit the village...

there is no bathroom in your room but you have to cross the whole campsite to get to one of two toilets. however: remember where you are and be happy that there is reliable running water (self-plugged into the river in the mountain). maybe bring a torch to find the way to the bathroom at night.

rooms are very basic, there is no wardrobe or table (don't even think of decoration) but there is a clean bed with an intact mosquito net (i first thought the pores in the net were a bit to big but i didn't get a single bite there).

there is not really anything you could call a restaurant, but when we got up, we found a table set on the grass. there is a kitchen out there (like a camp-kitchen, just a stove and a sink under a roof). we could pick how we would like our eggs (and they came as we liked them) and whether we want bacon or sausage. there were baked beans and toast and fresh fruit, even a tiny bit of butter and some jam. so: don't expect a buffet or a huge variety - but if you don't do it, you might be surprised how good the mango tastes...

so: 5 stars for friendliness and making a lot from very basic possibilities. but only 4 because it actually is quite basic. i'd love to come back any day!

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
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1 Thank xxenaberlin
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
HondoHondo, Owner at Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp, responded to this review, May 24, 2011
Hello xxenaberlin

Thank you for your kind words - we are very happy you enjoyed your stay so much and for giving us 5 stars for friendliness! I wanted to let you know that since your visit (November 2010) we have made a lot of changes to Hondo Hondo and things are quite different now. There are now 6 luxury ensutie rooms, with their own private stone and bamboo open air bathrooms with solar heated hot water showers, and all comfortably furnished with coconut wood furniture, 24hour hydro generated electricity and solar lighting.

The simple but comfortable thatched huts you stayed in are still there but we now have 5 of them, and they have a shared bathroom right enarby on the hill so you do not have to walk all the way to the other bathrooms any more but only out of your door and it is just there. The rooms have more furniture now- tables and chairs, and decor on the walls - and all in all are now extremely comfortable. We have also build a restaurant/dining area, and a dedicated breakfast banda on the hill with an amazing view of the valley; and we have two fully stocked bars at different ends of the lodge grounds.

if you liked it before, you will love it now - please do come back and let us know what you think of our latest additions!

All the best
Hannah
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Barcelona, Spain
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 30, 2010

We arrived in Mang'ula covered in oil after a tiring 9 hour journey by local transport from Dar Es Salaam - our rucksacks had been stored next to a spare wheel! After that arriving at Hondo Hondo was like arriving in paradise. We sat down with Derek the manager, cracked open a couple of beers and surveyed the scene...

Hondo Hondo is situated in a lush green pasture right next to the forest. The main road passes by the bottom of the pasture but there isn't really much traffic to speak of and the seating area and accommodation is far enough away from the road to not cause an issue, in fact it was amazingly tranquil.

Derek and the rest of the Hondo Hondo staff were incredibly friendly and made us both feel extremely welcome. The reason for us being in Mang'ula was to trek Mwanihana trail (3 days). We had researched the trek before arriving but there were still quite a few unknowns. Derek filled us in and helped us organise the trek (guide/ranger/cook/porters etc). In fact much to my surprise, with his help we were able to leave the next day. We went with one of the cooks from Hondo Hondo, Emanual. Emanual organised all the food for our trek and really looked after us while we were away - cooked us pepper steak one night! Oh and he never stopped smiling - a great guy!.

The facilities at Hondo Hondo were great, very clean showers and hot water. We opted to stay in a hut and found it to be very comfortable.

Food at the Hondo Hondo was great and the dining area on the lawn is a very romantic setting, with a log fire to boot. At dinner they came round and asked us what we would like for breakfast - they had all the ingredients for a full english breakfast including black pudding! I think if we had stayed longer I would have tried it.

I would love to have stayed longer but unfortunately after the trek we had to move on.

My only slight criticism is that they should ensure all services are priced. For laundry we were told that we should negotiate with the girl who washed our clothes. She simply replied that we whould pay whatever we felt was right but when pushed she said 10,000 shillings ($7) - not so much but given that we just paid porters 10,000 for each day on our trek this seemed a bit steep for a couple of hours work. I am used to bartering but in this situation I would have been happy if there was a fixed price the laundry.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank nrasul
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
1 review
Reviewed September 27, 2010

The camp is set against the inspiring Udzungwa range. The ensuite tent was very comfortable with the best bed we have slept on in Tanzania! The hearty breakfast is a forerunner of the delicious lunch and dinner. Local produce is used through the camp's extensive contact with local people. A highlight of our stay was a performance by the local villagers who performed with drums , whistle , flute and their voice in an inventive and lively performance. The staff were friendly and helpful. The site is convenient for Sanje falls. Great for monkeys and birds.

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Francis186338
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
london
1 review
Reviewed September 16, 2010

The en-suite tents were very comfortable and both food and service were good. In the morning whilst enjoying a full breakfast we saw 14 red colobus in a tree on the edge of camp. You can see three species of hornbill from the camp whilst relaxing with a sunset drink. Just sitting outside the room you can see several raptors including the crowned eagle - later, in the park, we saw one of these that had ripped an arm of monkey!

  • Stayed September 2010, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
Thank roy011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp

Property: Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp
Address: Main Road | Mangula, Kilombero Valley, Udzungwa Mountains National Park 34514, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Iringa Region > Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Pets Allowed ( Dog / Pet Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 1 Specialty Lodging in Udzungwa Mountains National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:3 star — Hondo Hondo Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp 3*
Number of rooms: 11
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Hondo Hondo (Udzungwa Forest Tented Camp) is on the border of the Udzungwa Mountains National Park. We offer comfortable accommodation in well equipped en-suite tented rooms in our atmospheric grounds. For those on a budget, there are traditional thatched huts or a campsite. Our restaurant serves good quality meals catering to all tastes, and ice-cold drinks are available from the comfortable bar. The lodge grounds are often visited by troops of colobus monkeys and up to 86 species on birds have been identified onsite. A great base from which to explore the Udzungwa Mountains National Park and the little visited Kilombero Valley. ... more   less 
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