I’m writing this while sitting on our terrace in front of our tent at the Shu’Mata Camp, looking at the vastness of northern Tanzania. Below: Zebras, passing by. Around us: just silence. Heavenly!
|Destination||Tanzania, Northern National Parks (Arusha, Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Lake Manyara) and Zanzibar|
|How and when I got there||Flights with Turkish Airlines from Cologne via Istanbul and Zanzibar to Kilimanjaro Airport; return flight from Zanzibar via Kilimanjaro and Istanbul to Cologne; January – February 2019|
|Where I stayed||Lake Duluti Lodge (near Arusha, https://www.lakedulutilodge.com/)
Highview Hotel (Karatu, http://www.highviewhotel.com/)
Meru View Lodge (close to southern Arusha Nat. Park Gate, http://www.meru-view-lodge.com/meru/en/)
Shu’Mata Camp (2 hours north of Moshi/Asursha, http://www.shumatacamp.de/index.php)
Hatari Lodge (close to nothern Arusha Nat. Park Gate, http://www.hatarilodge.de/en/contact.php)
Le Parlour Apartments (Boma La Ngombe, close to JRO airport, no own website)
Melia Zanzibar Hotel (Kiwengwa, Zanzibar, https://www.melia.com/en/hotels/tanzania/zanzibar/melia-zanzibar/index.html)
Dhow Palace Hotel (Stone Town, Zanzibar, http://www.dhowpalace-hotel.com/)
|Restaurants||we tried only the Restaurants of the above mentioned hotels / lodges. And we liked best:
Hatari Lodge, Shu’Mata Camp and Lake Duluti Lodge: outstanding!
Meru View Lodge and Melia Zanzibar: very good
|Things to do||Game drives in the National Parks – the obvious thing
Hiking at Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru: not exactly the relaxing type of vacation
Walking Safaris and relaxing (e.g. at the Hatari Lodge or a tented camp like Shu’Mata): more solitude to “feel Africa”
|Recommendations in a nutshell||see the post regarding “things to consider for travelling in Tanzania”!
Use a renowned travel agency for organising the safari trip (like Chamaeleon)
get some rest between the bumpy rides
Further Reading: Lonely Planet Tanzania Travel Guide
On the way to Shu’Mata
Our first five days of safari behind us, we spent a night at the Meru View Lodge. It was supposed to be the ideal location: just on the southern side of the Arusha National Park. On the next morning, we were supposed to be picked up by the Hatari lodge team, and Hatari is located next to the nothern gate of the Arusha National Park. Only about 20 km in between both lodges. Well, I should have talked to somebody who knows…we could not just pass through the National Park on our way to Hatari and Shu’Mata, but they would have charged us the usual daily fee. Thus, we were picked up by Mokili, our guide for the next three days, at Meru View, and drove a decent detour via Boma Ng’ombe and Sanya Juu. Well…at least we had a great view of the Kilimanjaro on our way:
At Ngare Nanyuki we went offroad in northern direction. There were dirt roads, but sometimes barely visible. Without the fabulous Mokili, we would have been completely lost quite soon.
A lot of Landscape
The landscape turned more and more into a steppe, almost a desert occasionally. And with Mount Meru in the back:
Plants and Animals on the way
Low shrubs, few bushes, and some really interesting plants. Like this one: ants force the plant to produce the round gall, and the ants live in there. So, the plant is in fact a huge anthill:
And the occasional animal – like this strange bird, a secretary bird (Sagittarius)
And here’s one of my favorite pictures featuring a Giraffe (thanks to Julian Bott for providing this and many other of the Tanzania pictures!):
And a running example:
The Shu’Mata Camp
The Shu’Mata Camp belongs to the Hatari Lodge, and I’m going to write about Hatari on day seven and eight. Shu’Mata means “heaven” in Swahili, and the name is program. A program which comes with a certain price, but worth every cent of it. Just have a look at the main tent:
We had booked three nights at Hatari: two nights at the lodge and 1 night at the Shu’Mata Camp. Usually, you will spend your first nights at the lodge and the last one at the camp, but due to lots of reservations, we could only get it the other way round. Which turned out to be very nice, because on our arrival day, we had the entire camp of ourselves. Which means: all of THIS:
The sitting area, with an oriental touch:
For the dining area, calabasses have been repurposed to serve as lamp parts:
The Camp itself is almost in the middle of nowhere, which makes it a great place to calm down and enjoy the nature. They try to run the Camp as sustainable as possible by using solar energy and a strict water management.
Located on a hill…
…there’s a great view from each of the six tents of the camp over the plain up to the Kilimanjaro on one side, the Mount Meru on the other, and to the northern parts of Tanzania.
Our five-star “Tent”
This is the view from our tent terrace, which actually looks like this:
There are six tents (if I counted correctly), each is equipped with two king size beds and can accomodate 4 people. Howeer, I think that they usually have just 2 persons in each tent.
The “tent” itself is something between a tent and a luxury suite. There’s the nice terrace in front, including two deck chairs, a safari style coffee and water table. And on the other side of the sleeping room an open bathroom – interesting! First I was a bit worried about smaller animals (like spiders), but there were none.
With a little bit of luck, zebras walk by or gazelles. We even met four giraffes, gathering under the shade of a tree:
After a great lunch, we spent the afternoon lazily hanging around our tent, enjoyed the view over the steppe below. Checking the plain for any meandering animals with the magnifying glass. Taking pictures.Watching the very popular bird bath next to the terrace of our tent:
Looking down to the Massai villages below.
And doing nothing. Perfect!
In the late afternoon, we were invited for a walking safari, which turned out just as a short walk up the hill to the summit. Our Massai guide explained a lot about the different plants on the way and their pharmaceutical effects.
And we spotted one of the “tiny big five”, an antlion:
Sunset view of Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru: The perfect end of the day
Finally, on the summit of the small hill came the best part of the day: we experienced one of the most impressive sunsets ever.
On the summit, you’ll have the complete 360 degree panorama. In southern direction, there’s the Kilimanjaro on the left and the Mount Meru on the right side. Spectacular!
And the crew serves the cocktails…unfortunately, the sunset near the equator is really fast – just a few minutes, and the sun is gone.
We went back to the Camp for an equally spectacular dinner (and just for ourselves!) and went to bed (tent, respectively) early
Of course, after appreciating the perfect dark sky with billions of stars:
Sleeping in a tent needs getting used to. Due to a pretty strong wind in the night and the noise of the tarpaulin, the sleep was a light, and I woke up early. Fortunately, as the sunrise was VERY spectacular: moon and stars over Kilimanjaro:
Greetings from Shu’Mata!
See more of our Tanzania Safari and Zanzibar Beach Trip here:
And find more information about Travelling in Tanzania here:
*According to a German Court decision, all texts containing links to commercial pages (e.g. links to Tripadvisor, Airline, hotel or restaurant websites) have to be identified as “commercial” (in German “Anzeige”). As my texts do contain links like that, I therefore identify each post and page containing a link as “Anzeige”. However (and referring to the “About Me” page) I would like to point out that I do NOT post any sponsored content in my texts; I pay for all my trips myself.