When planning your Journey To Africa Safari, we usually like using lodges where we have overnighted, spent time with the manager or owner, enjoyed a meal or coffee / tea with some cookies and pastry, seen what they offer for activities or entertainment + more – we want to be able to tell you about the lodge first hand.
Owned and operated by Renate and Udo Marahens, the lodge is located in Karatu Region about 20 minutes away from Ngorongoro Crater gate. This lovely lodge was first visited on our research Safari in year 2000. It was in its early stages of operation. Renate and Udo had recently opened Plantation Lodge after having successful managed Rhino Lodge also in Karatu. Our last visit was in October 2009 – we can not wait to go back to Plantation Lodge.
My relationship with the Marahens goes a long way back when living in Arusha. They were coffee farmers in the 80s and they would come to get supplies from Tanganyika Farmer’s Association, a company where my father worked. They had been based in the Karatu Region long before Tanzanian tourism started taking off with more lodges and better infrastructure.
Why Plantation Lodge?
Plantation Lodge offers excellent food with most of the produce grown locally in their garden near the lodge. Spend time in the large well decorated wine cellar with a glass of wine, beer and other drinks from all over the world but mostly from Southern Africa. Enjoy their coffee locally roasted in Karatu- one of the best coffee producing regions in my opinion. Lunch can be enjoyed outside in the beautiful gardens and dinner in served in the large dining area or enjoy a private dinner outside in the patio.
The lodge grounds are amazing. The lush garden with Arabica coffee bushes overlooking the Ngorongoro Highlands or the nearby farms, a large avocado tree that produces avocados the size of a football – American football, the eucalyptus and jacaranda trees providing lovely shade during the hot days, an array of beautiful flowers from iris to bougainvillea and frangipani well maintained by gardeners with green thumbs. Enjoy the orchestra of many bird species serenading you when you are outside enjoying your coffee, taking notes on your Safari or inside the lounge area having fresh baked cakes or sipping tea as the windows are always open.
Talking about coffee, ask them to take you on a tour of the local coffee farm and see the very beginning steps of how your favorite cup of coffee gets produced.
The rooms are spacious [even the non-suite], tastefully simplistically decorated with flowers and personal touches and with balconies where you can enjoy the beautiful garden and the views out in the horizon. They also have a family suite with two rooms and a Garden House which has four rooms, perfect for large families or a large group with its own dining area.
They have a pool which can be used during the daytime. During the cool season [April to August], you would have to be brave to dip in the cool pool but during the hot months [September to March], a cool dip may be just the perfect way to end a dusty Safari day or enjoy an afternoon siesta with a good book and enjoy the bird sounds and trees rustling.
As I have mentioned before in my food post, Safari is hard work. Lots of delicious eating you know. Well, you need a massage afterward. In comes the fabulous masseuse Sumaya. Her touch is heavenly. You can choose from a full body massage to foot massage. Book her when you first check-in. You will come out refreshed.
Karibu on a Journey To Africa Safari and enjoy a night, two or more at Plantation Lodge. We definitely have a blast staying here.
Some photos courtesy of Plantation Lodge.