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.
- 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