Meru House – Safari Diary 2014

When I was in Arusha, my friend Tati of Tanzania Women’s Maasai Art told me I must visit Meru House as an option for Journey To Africa clients spending a night or two in Arusha. Tati used to run Oliver’s Camp when it was a really rustic camp with my friend and professional guide Paul Oliver from 1990s to early 2000. She has good taste. The camps she has run [in Tanzania and Botswana] were well run, simple yet elegant and it continues in her work with Maasai bead jewelry.

Tati and I went to have lunch with Sandra Decussrow of Meru House. The minute I entered the gates, it felt so inviting. It is afterall a home converted into a cozy lodge. You have to drive through a coffee plantation to get to the boutique inn and once you enter, you are welcomed by the lovely garden.

meru_house_lounge

The inviting living room

meru_house_dining_pool

The outdoor area

meru_house_blue_room

Cozy bedrooms. This one is the loft room perfect for couples.

 

meru_bath

Bathroom details

When you enter the house, you can see the inviting living room with a fire-place on the left and the inside dining room that seats about 10 people family style on the right. The large beautiful door in the front leads you to the outdoor dining / coffee + tea area / resting spot in large couches overlooking the gardens and the lap pool.

Each room is well decorated with all the comforts of home. A lovely bathroom and a comfy bed in a pleasing palate. A family would really benefit from having two rooms close by with a connecting bathroom. The kids room still retains Sandra’s sons book collection. The views from the large windows are of the garden, the lap pool or the coffee plantation.

meru_coffee

Delicious Tanzanian Coffee grown in their own plantations

The food! Delicious. I was there for lunch and we had a delicious butternut squash soup to warm us up on a cold day and a lovely garden salad. To finish off, coffee from their own Msumbi farm.

meru_sandra

Me, Sandra and my friend Tati

Meru House is a great cozy place to overnight for a night or two on arrival into Tanzania before you head out on Safari or after a Mt. Kilimanjaro climb.

logo
Life worth Exploring. ™
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari.

Get in Touch //
Email us – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Toll Free – 1.877.558.6288
Outside of US – 1.713.592.6228
Form – Request Information

 

Advertisements

Safari Diary – Olakira Mara Camp [Lodge Review]

I know why we continue to send clients to Olakira Camp, one of our favorite camps in Serengeti.  It is because they have maintained their excellent standards but also continue to improve.  From finding lovely locations, great guiding to camp details, Olakira Camp is luxury tented lodging at its finest.

IMG_6439

Sunrise over Olakira Camp.

Olakira Camp, a Asilia Africa camp, moves every year between Northern and Southern Serengeti to be close to the every moving, never predictable but oh so awesome Wildebeest and Zebra Migration. When in Northern Serengeti, they find the best spot and for the past few years, they have made their home for 6 months near Mara River. Its meandering river gives you a glinting reflection.

teatime

Teatime at the lounge area.

The warm staff with Kenneth as their current manager have made Olakira Camp extra special.

This story really sticks out in my memory. My Olakira Camp resident guide Reuben and I were on my evening game drive and had plans on enjoying a sundowner [watching the sunset while enjoying a drink of choice] when we spotted  the 20+ lion pride. I did not want to move. The little ones were too captivating.  The Olakira Camp kitchen crew came to where we were parked and handed us delicious, freshly roasted, warm cashews and peanuts. They were ready to pass over the wine as well. Now that is service. The nuts, oh so yummy! Watching lions never felt better.

And Reuben managed to get me the sunset shot … I was still enjoying my cashews and peanuts.

IMG_6408

Sunset before heading to Olakira Camp for dinner.

Each of the well spaced 10 luxury tented rooms are spacious with three sections. There is also a family room here as children over 6 years of age are warmly welcomed. We like having children on Safari. The twin bed room has a door to the main bedroom.

tent

Spacious, comfortable with lots of attention to details. Just splendid!

There is a lounge area in the front where you can enjoy a good book, have your tea in the morning and watch the sunrise before you head out for your early morning game drive and bush breakfast.

view

View from the bed when enjoying a bit of rest before my evening game drive.

The bedroom area has a desk for your diary or letter writing. Here they have some good information on the ethics behind Olakira Camp and other Asilia Africa camps. Lots of conservation effort by Asilia Africa, one of the main reason we support their camps. Luckily, they are excellent as well.

“Look deep into nature and then you will understand everything better”.

The comfy bed. The staff adding some personality to the bed.  The side tables with comforting gadgets like a whistle, blow horn [hopefully you will not need to use it] and torch.  Drinking water is also provided.

everlane

With the open canvas, you can hear the wildebeest grunting in the distance and the many birds that sing for you through out the day.

details

Look which animal is on my bed to give me company.

turn_down

Cozy room at night after dinner.

The private bathroom has flush toilets and bucket-shower nook.  About 5 gallons [about 20 liters] are provided which was very comfortable with my long hair. When you know what will not have endless water, you do tend to shower quite quickly. Makes you realize you don’t need too much water for a good shower.

Tips on how to take a shower are //  turn on the shower, get wet, turn off, soap and shampoo, scrub, turn on, wash it off, enjoy the last bit of hot water. If you need more, yell loudly, the staff will bring more.  No worries! It has happened to all of us.

bath

Flush toilet – check! Running water – yup.

shower

The bucket shower. You realize you can shower quite quickly when you have limited water.

Good food, wine and drinks with good company.

At the end of the day, you start off with some snacks by the camp fire where you start getting to know other people if you are interested in chatting.

olakira_dining

Dining area where you eat family style. Some good stories to be enjoyed here.

Then head to the dining area. Being on Safari makes you hungry and good food is part of the experience.

On my Safari, I met with a couple from Switzerland who have been to Africa 10 times [South Africa, Zimbabwe, Botswana, Namibia to name a few – lucky them] and this was their first Tanzanian Safari. They loved being in Tanzania and were very complimentary of Olakira Camp. That says a lot coming some a couple who have been to quite a few luxury lodges in Africa.

“A day in Africa is a lifetime of memories”

logo
Make memories on your Journey To Africa Safari
when staying at Olakira Camp.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us – 1.877.558.6288 / 713.592.6228

Safari Diary – Lamai Serengeti [Lodge Review]

When you are game driving close to Lamai Serengeti, you have to squint a bit to see the rooms peaking up from the Kogakuria Kopje. Each of the rooms and the main areas are carefully set not to be too obtrusive when you are game driving on the ground. As you climb up the kopje towards the main area, you are welcomed in the circle by a fresh cold drink.

You are in bush chic Lamai Serengeti.
Nick and Janna, the current managers of Lamai Serengeti were gracious hosts and showed my around this earthy + serene property.

lounge_view

Part of the lovely lounge at Lamai Serengeti overlooking the Serengeti. Cozy comfortable seating.

lounge_inside

Cozy comfy lounge. Enjoy a warm fire during cooler months.

dining_view

Life on Safari is delicious! And the views.

The main area of Lamai Serengeti is spacious, serene with neutral toned furniture and splashes of color from pillows. You want to sit and just stare at the expansive view with your cold drink in hand. Need to check your email after your game drive, wi-fi is available at the library near the lounge. Take a drink from the well stocked bar.Food at Lamai Serengeti is excellent.

After all,  Life on Safari is delicious. 

hole_door

That’s a nice boulder  – Shrek. The entrance to your spacious room. Notice the window near the door. That is where your morning coffee / tea and snack will be placed.

The 8 rooms are all well spaced out.
Each of the main rooms have king beds or can be converted to two twins. A day bed can become a triple if necessary. If you are a family with 2-3 younger kids, they have a very comfortable family room. The kids room has two twin beds bordering the master room. If you need two separate rooms, they will put you in two rooms close together. Kids over 6-year-old are warmly welcomed.

Need your own space in Serengeti? Hamna shida [no problem]. Lamai Serengeti has 4 rooms that can cater up to 8-10 people. You will have your own pool, personal chef and butler and separate entrance. Honeymooner on Safari? Your room will be high up on the kopje where you will have the ultimate privacy – just be sure you are ready the conquer the kopjes.

room_view

The large rooms made with local material. Neutral with color accents keeps the rooms soothing.

outside

Mosquito nets surround the whole room.

With all the room at Lamai Serengeti, you can close in the whole room with mosquito netting and keep the bugs at bay. Especially great at night when you can have visible views of the outside without bugs bothering you.  Use the day-bed for to enjoy a good book read or pen a letter home with postcards available on the desk. We will mail the card for you as well.

A must do is enjoy the outside deck.  Sit, admire, ponder, relax and pinch yourself – you are in Serengeti.

view

The amazing views from the rooms. All the rooms face towards the Serengeti. With a binoculars in hand, you can game view from the comfort of your own room.

You will not bump into each other in this large bathroom. Using concrete, wood and local materials, this chic bathroom is sure to impress. Flush toilet, hot and cold showers, running sink water and all with amazing views of Serengeti.  Brushing never felt this pleasing.

bathroom

There is a door for privacy to this large spacious bathroom.

bathroom_one

Enjoy your views while brushing your teeth.

Be ready to enjoy walking Safari with our guides in the surrounding kopjes all the way to the bottom. This always get your heart racing and gives you a different perspective on Safari.

Oh and they have a pool with a view of Serengeti. Now how is that for possible siesta afternoon.

pool

Take a siesta by the pool on warmer days.

Happiness is being on Safari!  And enjoying great service, amazing surrounding and all the creature comforts from a great lodge only enhances your experience.

Make memories on your Safari when staying at Lamai Serengeti.

Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call – 1.877.558.6288

Safari Diary 2014 – Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge [Lodge Review]

As you turn from the main tarmac road connecting Tarangire National Park and Ngorongoro Crater, past the beautiful sunflower field and the corn/ maize farms, towards Ngorongoro Highland on the slightly bumpy road toward Rhotia Valley, you are welcomed with refreshments by managers Evelyn and Arjan and their dog.

enterance

Karibu Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge on a Journey To Africa Safari.

Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge.

Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge.

Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge has a wonderful soul. A portion of the proceeds fund the Children’s Home that is about a 10 minutes walk from the lodge. The Children’s Home takes care of about 40 kids, orphaned or some whose parents can’t afford to take care of them. They have made the home stand on its own by setting up a bakery. They produce enough bread to feed themselves and sell the surplus in Karatu. A win-win situation.  The children who played with us [my two kids were with me] greeted us as they were coming from school and spoke great English which they have picked up from volunteers as well as school.

children's home

Rhotia Valley Children’s Home.

home

Fun playing with the kids at Rhotia Valley Children’s home. From swings, football to talking about becoming pilots. Dream Big!!

About the lodge //

Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge is a rustic yet comfortable lodge. Each of the 15 rooms are comfortably sized with double beds or two double beds for our family of four. Hot water bottles were tucked in at night to keep you warm in the cold June nights.

In the bathroom,  they will explain why there is bucket near the shower – it is to collect the initial cold water before the hot water comes through. Keep the cold water bucket – they will use it to water their organic farm where they
grow a lot of their vegetables and herbs. Water heating and lights in the room are controlled by both solar power [9 -7 pm] and generators during the peak shower hours of [7-9 pm]. Drinking water that is provided will be plastic bottles or water purified via biofilter.

inside_tent

Comfortable inside of the room. You can see the hot water bottles on top of the bed that will be filled up when you come back to your room after dinner.

farming_organic

The organic farm where they grow most of their vegetables and herbs.

The food at night was delicious as well as the packed lunch. From the dining room, you can see the hustle bustle of the open kitchen and the charcoal fire that is preparing good food.

The views // Two sides //
From the fire-light front lounge deck and some of the rooms, you get the greenery from the farmlands of fertile Karatu Region. Corn or maize as Tanzanians call it, beans, sunflower … the list goes on. From the side facing the Ngorongoro Highlands, you have the greenery from the thick forest. Either way, you are in for some great views and amazing sounds of the birds in the morning.

Rhotia Valley is a wonderful place to spend a few days on Safari.

views_1

You can see the children’s home in the distance. Rhotia Valley does a wonderful job supporting the kids of the Children’s Home.

view_farm

Room view from the south side of the lodge.

tent_view

Room view looking at Ngorongoro Highlands.

lounge

The beautiful lounge area where you can enjoy your drink before dinner and enjoy the fire place. The dining area is right behind the lounge. At night, they close the canvas in the back to keep the cold wind out.

deck

The lovely deck. Lunch is sometimes taken from here.

Safari Diary 2014 – Gibbs Farm [Lodge Review]

Our first night stop on our Tanzania Safari was the beautiful Gibbs Farm in Karatu Region close to Ngorongoro Crater gate. You pass through schools and homes of people in Karatu to get to the gate. Then you turn into Gibbs Farm and are welcomed by amazing lush vegetation. A garden with hundreds of species of plants.  Truly a green feast to your tired eyes.

You are welcomed with a rhubarb drink before you are escorted to your lovely cottage.  Each of the currently 17 cottages are beautiful decorated with soothing colors. Little touches like slippers are provided to wear inside the room. There is a fireplace in each of the rooms as Gibbs Farm is located high in the Ngorongoro Highlands and it can get cold here in the mornings and evenings. The bathroom also shares the fireplace. Each of the bathrooms have 1 indoor shower, 1 bathtub and 1 outdoor shower for the hotter days and bath shampoo + wash +lotion are provided. A change from the Safari lodges where water is scarce but at Gibbs Farm, water comes from a bore hole.

A Farm-to-Table concept.
90% of the food at Gibbs Farm comes from the farm right near the lodge. In fact, we woke up early to see the cow getting milked and the chickens laying eggs.

The lodge has a well curated art gallery where every 6 weeks they feature a new artist. Their in-house artists offers activities like making recycled paper – a fun break from Safari activities.  And they have a Maasai healer who comes to your cottage to give you a personal massage. Start slow with Lengare. He is a strong Maasai.

We will definitely recommend Gibbs Farm to you.

The lush plants and trees hidding each cottage from view.

The lush plants and trees hidding each cottage from view. A welcoming sight.

The cosy rooms each with their own fireplace.

The cozy rooms each with their own fireplace.  This was a family room but they have double rooms as well.

The bathroom with 3 options on how to clean after a Safari. Indoor shower, outdoor shower or tub. Choices!

The bathroom with 3 options on how to clean after a Safari. Indoor shower, outdoor shower [surrounded by all the greenery] or tub. Choices!

The lush view from the room. Enjoy your morning coffee from here.

The lush view from the room. Enjoy your morning coffee from here.

The morning mist from the main lounge area. The coffee plantation is hidden in the mist.

The morning mist from the main lounge area. The coffee plantation is hidden in the mist.

Art Gallery in the main lounge area. They offer shipping to your home.

Art Gallery in the main lounge area. They offer shipping to your home.

The cow heading to the barn after getting milked. A morning activity to enjoy.

The cow heading to the barn after getting milked. A morning activity to enjoy.

An assortment of breakfast jams. Majority made at Gibbs Farm from their own produce.

An assortment of breakfast jams. Majority made at Gibbs Farm from their own produce.

The dining room with large windows  and beautiful fireplace.

The dining room with large windows and beautiful fireplace.

Make memories on Safari with Journey To Africa.
Get in touch //
Email – Safari@JourneyToAfrica.com
Call us – 1.877.558.6288