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“Unforgettable Experience in the African Bush!”

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Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Atlanta, Georgia
Level Contributor
70 reviews
46 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 54 helpful votes
“Unforgettable Experience in the African Bush!”
Reviewed September 6, 2010

We spent two days and nights at Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp at the end of August 2010. This is a small (7 tents, I believe) lovely tented camp on the shores of Lake Eyasi, near Ngorongoro in northern Tanzania. Although we were there during the dry season, the camp's location makes you feel as if you're in an oasis. A spring runs nearby and the water is drawn into the camp and "feeds" the swimming pool and fish ponds. The camp is nestled in and surrounded by lovely sub-tropical vegetation. The vegetation and birdsong actually reminded us of a place we'd visited in Hawaii called Kona Village Resort. Nani and Chris Schmeling, two of the owners of Kisima Ngeda, are very mindful of the environment and are actively involved in conservation efforts. They are raising their two boys here. Nani is from Argentina; Chris is from Germany. Chris spent a lot of time growing up in Tanzania, as his father lived and worked there. Chris and Nani couldn't have been more accommodating or more friendly, greeting us every morning at breakfast and every evening at dinner to discuss the day's activities, and talk about the people and the land, which they obviously love. Probably the highlight of our 10-day safari in Africa was the visit to a nearby tribe of Hadzabes, who are nomadic hunter-gatherers. They do not read or write. They speak in a dialect that contains the "click" sound. A small group of them live near Kisima Ngeda, in a clearing in the bush. We visited the Hadzabes early in the morning, before the daily hunt. The Hadzabes are an ancient group of bushmen who live much like they have for thousands of years, in the African bush. At their temporary clearing in the bush, a group of Hadzabe men and boys, perhaps 6 total, sat around one fire, eating dik-dik, a small antelope-like animal they had killed the night before. A group of women and infants sat 30 feet away around another fire, the women making beaded jewelry, the infants and toddlers nearby. After a half-hour of eating the dik-dik, the men and boys smoked some marijuana (which we were told later had been purchased at a market and was supposed to give them "hope" for the morning hunt). Our guide, my wife, and I then followed three of the Hadzabe boys (aged 9 and 10) into the bush for the hunt. Keep in mind, the boys were dressed only in shorts and sandals, They were carrying only a bow and arrow and a knife or two. The land is semi-arid, quite rocky, full of thorny bushes. Not the kind of land you would suspect someone could survive in. Remarkably, the Hadzabe survive and have done so for thousands of years. After a few minutes, the boys came upon a hare they had killed the day before. The arrow was still embedded in the hare. One of the boys took the arrow out, another boy went to find dung to make a fire, and the third boy started the fire by rubbing sticks together. Within minutes there was a fire. They skinned the hare, put the hare onto the fire and had a barbecue. They offered us the liver. We politely declined. The meal lasted about 20 minutes. When they were finished eating, the boys put dirt on the fire and then went foraging for roots, from which they get water to drink. Following this, we returned to the clearing, purchased some jewelry, and said our goodbyes. Nani told us later that this very group of Hadzabe were the subject of a story in the December 2009 issue of National Geographic. So, if you have that issue, you will see the same people we met. Back to Kisima Ngeda: we were driven on our last evening to an area of the bush from which we could view a beautiful African sunset. The accommodations at the camp are very comfortable, though not as luxurious as some of the other camps we have seen in Africa. But that's not a drawback, at all. The experience with the Hadzabe -- which is something we will never forget -- and the warmth and knowledge that Chris and Nani displayed, made this a truly unforgettable experience. We highly recommend this place. You won't be disappointed!

  • Stayed August 2010, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank Balsher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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English first
Brisbane, Australia
1 review
Reviewed July 20, 2010

Of all the places we stayed at during an extensive East Africa holiday, Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp was our favourite. After many days on safari, it was the perfect place to enjoy the freedom of going for a walk and interacting with the local community. We walked to the Saturday markets at Barazani, the next village - about 50 minutes each way, but after so many hours driving we really enjoyed that. As we were here during the Soccer World Cup, we watched some games at the local kiosk, then walked home by torch light to our tent – and felt totally safe! We also visited the Hadzabe, which is a MUST.
As it turned out, we arrived just after a major upgrade which has turned the place from ‘rustic’ into stylish and elegant whilst retaining its natural charm and unpretentiousness. The rooms/tents are gorgeous, with a beautiful view straight from your bed across the lake. The shore line seems quite far out but this is deceiving as you can see from the lookout on top of The Rock - the lake is huge. Up here is also the place to watch the sunset, and if you are lucky and your timing is right, watch the moon rise whilst being served your favourite drink. The bathrooms are really cool. The restaurant and bar are so romantic, with a camp fire outside, and the food delicious! We even managed to swim in the pool and work on our tan. Friends had recommended the place to us and we were glad that we had followed their advice and stayed for 3 nights. Highly recommended.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank cooolchange
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Malaysia
Level Contributor
142 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 324 helpful votes
Reviewed July 10, 2010

Some of us had just come down from the Kilimanjaro climb the previous day. Another half of our group who was joining us had their flight delayed for 24 hours..and had lost luggage, so you can imagine the state we were in. However, nothing was going to stop us from enjoying ourselves...a game drive on the in Tarangire, then a long drive to Lake Eyasi on dusty roads...and Wallah!...there it was.

By the time we reached this place, it was just about sunset. All our luggage was promptly taken down from our vehicles by very attentive staff and we were ushered to an open area just outside the main building. They already had a fire going with chairs all round it. Fantastic surroundings, the lake, the sunset, the (strong) breeze, the rustling of palm leaves..and the host (I hope I got the name right), Nani was at hand to welcome us, as she would other guests, brief us about the surroundings...just simply a good chat. We were equally captivated by the surroundings, the campfire and our host. We were made to feel at home at an instant. Towels and drinks were dispensed at the campfire and we almost didn't want to leave for our tents.

After god knows how long, we finally decided to go to our permanent tents. The host was at hand to sort out which luggae goes where with the staff and we were taken to our tents and had things explained to us. The tents were fantastic. We were told that the emphasis at present was to see how things can be improved (not much to improve really) and upkept rather than expanding the place. The setting was glorious.

We were 'warned' and told not to be perturbed by the sound of 'rain" at night - which is actually the sound of rustling palm leaves making one think it was raining. Dinner was great and our host was again around. In the better commercial hotels, guests are greeted and chatted with as well, but believe me, our host here was not pretentious and made all the guests feel absolutely comfortable.

Since we had to get up early the next morning, we got a wake up call and tea/coffee and biscuits brought to our tents at 5.15am! We were off for an excursion and back for breakfast - which was again great. The day scene looking out into the lake was fab as well.- lots of birds.

Only regret: we did not incorporate a programme which allowed us to stay longer. If we are back this way..we will definitely come back.

To the owners..kudos!

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
2 Thank FootyboyMalaysia
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Surrey, Canada
Level Contributor
323 reviews
62 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 242 helpful votes
Reviewed July 9, 2010

We spent one night here as part of our 10 day safari. Our hosts, Chris and Nani have created a beautiful oasis. The tents are clean and comfortable with hot water and electricity and the grounds are quiet and peaceful with fish ponds and a nice pool to cool off after a dusty game drive.

In June it is dry season and the lake shore has receeded far out about 2 km. I'm told that in the wet season the lakeshore comes right up to the edge of the property. Also in June there are very few insects because of the strong breeze blowing through.

The staff are unseen until you need something and then they magically appear and are extremely attentive to your needs. The food is very good and well presented. A short 10 minute hike leads you to a cliff overlooking the camp and a magnificent view of the sunset over Lake Eyasi.

We chose this camp mainly for the visits to the Datoga and Hadzape tribes. An experience not to be missed.

I would highly recommend a stay here.

  • Stayed June 2010, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank lightningboy
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Guangzhou, China
Level Contributor
20 reviews
14 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 9 helpful votes
Reviewed March 8, 2010

This permanent tented camp is off the beaten path, but a real gem. We stayed only one night, but I would like to have stayed one more. They have their own farm and cows. The food is all fresh and beautifully prepared. The tents are lovely and look out on the lake. The service was wonderful and the setting idyllic. If you have time in your safari to take a day or two to relax, try this place out.

Stayed February 2010, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
Thank Agent428
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashua, New Hampshire
Level Contributor
14 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed October 13, 2009

After being greeted by the owner, you are taken to your own spectacular tent with all the amenities. The food was great. Wish I could have stayed longer. Enjoyed watching the abundant wildlife and views of the lake from the porch on my tent. Cozy bar and interesting library. Climb up the rocks for a great sunset view and a glimpse of the resident striped hyenas! Kudos to the owners. They have created a place with great Karma.

  • Stayed September 2009, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank jdleclerc
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wyoming
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed March 28, 2009

Great hospitality, beautiful place, excellent food. We ended up here sort of by mistake. We thought we were going to view wildlife and walk and see wildlife--as we had done in the past--and we were on safari. Turns out it was completely different than we expected. "Walking" is with the bushmen who are hunting for food. Nani and Chris are excellent hosts. The pool is a lifesaver on hot days. We walked on the beach, went running through the villages, and read our books on the porch of our "tent". I probably would not have included this place had I been the one planning my vacation (a travel agent planned the trip), but it was beautiful, a nice break from driving all day on safari, and a worthwhile stop although down a VERY LONG bumpy road. Go for at least 2 nights--better for 3--to get the real experience.

  • Stayed March 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank gidyup1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp

Property: Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp
Address: Lake Eyasi, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #13 of 37 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Number of rooms: 7
Also Known As:
Kisima Ngeda Tented Camp Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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