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“Tanzanian warmth and simplicity”

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Songota Falls Lodge
Ranked #2 of 126 Arusha B&B and Inns
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 7, 2013

My son and I found this a delightful place to begin our Tanzanian adventure. Located in a lovely tropical garden high above busy Arusha, Songota Falls is a world of its own. We feel we experienced a little glimpse of the heart of Tanzania in ways we never could have had we stayed in a luxury hotel. Joyce has created a beautiful oasis with simple, round one-room cottages and delicious food, served under a thatched roof overlooking the lush valley below. She is a friendly, gracious hostess who is dedicated to helping her visitors make the most of their stay. In addition to dinner, she even cooked lunch for us when we arrived earlier than expected. Her son, who is quite knowledgeable about both plants and animals, took us on a hike down a precipitous path to a waterfall below, allowing us to see something of the life of the village, with women and children carrying great bundles of firewood on their heads up the steep path as we went down, others herding goats, elsewhere children excited to practice their English. He also showed us the resident bush baby at night.

The morning that we left for our safari, a choir from the local Lutheran Church, women all dressed in flowing red, white and blue dresses with matching shirts for the men, was filming a music video at the property and preparing to carry generators all the way down to the waterfalls. While we didn't see the conclusion of this, we experienced beautiful Swaheli singing and dancing in the road in front of Songota Falls..

If you want a luxury hotel, this isn't it. If you want to experience the best of Tanzania with simplicity, gourmet food and friendly hostessing, this is a wonderful place to stay. This was our first experience of Tanzania and we will always remember it.

I don't understand the review regarding security. We had no security concerns whatsoever.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank NellieN57
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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99 - 105 of 224 reviews

Reviewed June 23, 2013

Having been in arusha during their national elections when emotions generally run very high. I assure one and all that at no time did i feel any threat to my safety and we travelled to town at night as well. I feel the review by "security threat in area " is a grossly unfair characterization of the area and people who live in it

  • Stayed: October 2012
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Thank klrkev
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 21, 2013

Staying with Joyce at Songota Falls Lodge was one of the highlights of my three week stay in Tanzania, even though I stayed only two nights. I'm a single woman who was traveling alone. I had never been to Tanzania before and didn't know anyone at all in Tanzania. From the moment I was picked up at the airport (which Joyce arranged for me) until the moment I left for my safari, I knew I was safe and in good hands. Joyce lives on the lodge grounds and was always available to meet my every need. Even when she had many other guests, she was very focused on making sure I had everything I needed and wanted. She even arranged for a local women's group to come to sing for all the guests. (I don't think that happens all the time, so if you'd like Joyce to arrange that for you she can do so in exchange for a donation to the women's group.) When I arrived she had food waiting for me. During my stay she served me some of the best fruit I ever tasted. Her cooking is excellent also. Songota Falls Lodge is a walled and gated lodge located in a residential neighborhood, so driving to town with Joyce the next day gave me a glimpse of the life of actual Tanzanian's, not the artificial environment of staying in a crowded tourist area. The neighborhood seemed like a wealthier area than other neighborhoods I saw in Arusha. Although Joyce is very humble, I found out she is an amazing community activist. She has helped bring a reliable water supply to her neighborhood, facilitated the building of the area's only health clinic, and has made many other contributions to the area and to specific individuals and families. In addition, she seems to know everyone in Arusha! When I mentioned that I'm a psychologist and want to bring my students to Tanzania, she and a friend arranged for me to meet with the director of the area's only mental health clinic! And if all that isn't enough, her son is a artist who sells his work for much less money than you can find anywhere else. And one of her friends is an exporter of Tanzanian artwork and other unique items. One day the friend came to exhibit her items to me and the other guests. The quality of those items was similar to the best I saw during my entire trip, but with lower prices. I was so happy with my brief stay at Songota Falls Lodge that I am arranging a trip to Tanzania for alumni and students of the university where I teach. We will be starting and ending our tour at Songota Falls Lodge. I've thought about staying there for our entire trip, but we will be traveling to areas that are far from Arusha. Unfortunately it's just not practical to stay in any one place for more than a few days. I know, though, that no trip to Arusha is complete without a stay with Joyce at Songota Falls Lodge.

  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled solo
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Thank Suzanne E
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 20, 2013

I recently stayed at the Songota Falls Lodge on a trip to Tanzania, where my group did a Kilimanjaro climb and a safari afterwards. Joyce, the owner, made us feel like Songota was home from day one. The night we got in, she cooked us soup (even though we arrived at 10pm), made sure all of the blankets were sprayed to prevent mosquitoes, and warmed up the water in anticipation of us showering. The lodge is located on the side of a hill, so you dine with an amazing view, in a quiet area away from the town. Every meal was homemade, delicious, and plentiful. Joyce never hesitated to bring you hot water and tea if you were sitting out lounging, and always offered her laptop so that we could send out emails and use the internet if we needed to. When we came back from the Kili climb, Joyce had remembered that I wanted to get manicure and a massage afterwards and had the nail specialist and masseuse waiting at the lodge the day we returned, so we didn't even need to take a cab into Arusha. She also offered laundry services (handwashed), made us pork barbeque for dinner (cooked for hours over charcoal), and gave us extra blankets when nights were cold. Throughout our trip, we traveled and camped at several campsites during the Kili climb and the safari, but I always thought of Songota as home.

  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank shiehm91
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 19, 2013

I reserved a room for my wife and myself. When I arrived, the surrounding community threat outweighed the security measures of Songota Falls. Due to assessing the environment as unsafe, I cancelled my reservation. I paid some compensation for expenses Joyce incurred. I looked forward to experiencing the positive reviews on Trip Advisor, but the safety of my wife and myself outweighed any risks I was willing to take.

Room Tip: Please take into consideration the safety of the surrounding community verses the security measures...
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank robert t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 14, 2013

Went to Tanzania for a couple weeks and used Songota as a launching pad for our safari/Kili climb. Being outside of Arusha was a godsend (quiet, relaxing, etc.), and Joyce (the proprietor of Songota) is seriously awesome: great cook, accommodated every request (e.g. adapter, extra blankets), even got the water heater started early in anticipation of our arrival from the mountain so we could take some much-needed showers. I don't know when I'll be back in Tanzania, but I know where I'll stay.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Ryan K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed June 9, 2013

Songota Falls Lodge is a hidden gem located in a pocket along the mountainside. It is a fantastic getaway from the city and is a great place to rest and recuperate throughout the trip. We stayed there after our flight into Arusha, Kili climb, and safari trek. Joyce, the owner, goes out of her way to make sure that each client feels like the lodge is their home. I never once felt unsafe and the rooms were always clean and ready for us when we arrived back from our safari or climb. It was a great and relaxing find away from the city and I would love to stay again during my next visit to Arusha.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank 118BrianP
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Songota Falls Lodge

Address: 1134, Arusha, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Arusha
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #2 of 126 B&Bs / Inns in Arusha
Price Range: $45 - $110 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 5

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