The Western Kilimanjaro region is fairly new to the northern safari circuit of Tanzania. It is not therefore frequented by hordes of safari makers. Little information exists; there is no National Park here and the area is contained in a private concession; a type of private park. It is a very special area and borders on Kenya's Amoboseli Park.I would strongly recommend this area for a few days if you find yourself planning a safari in Tanzania and truly want, unique, off the beaten track and an 'out of African experience'.
Many destinations offer these qualities but Western Kilimanjaro truly delivers all these qualities.I visited this private concession this weekend; we left Arusha, my driver and I, heading toward Kilimanjaro. An hour out of Arusha we turned left and spent another ninety minutes on a very rough road.
It was slow going as the 4 x 4 rattled slowly along the track; all the while I was wondering if all this would be worth the effort. I was unsure of what to expect but had heard good reports about this new area and so looked forward to a pleasant experience.My heart sank as we entered the camp. The tents were under local thatch and it all looked very basic; the luxury I was looking forward to, I feared, was greatly exaggerated. I was surrounded by African bush and the camp looked non existent.
However, the camp is truly built into the surroundings; the en-suite tents and the entire camp is truly luxurious; but hidden.No other cars were at the camp [we were the only guests this weekend] and with no other camps in the area we were literally off the beaten track; just myself, the driver and the staff of the camp. We arrived in time for lunch and the food was superb five course meals in elegant surroundings. As there were no other guests my driver/guide who was also Maasai joined me for each meal.
This turned out to be fortunate as I got to know all the staff very quickly.The rest of the day I spent relaxing around the camp drinking in the surroundings. Relaxing and getting to know the local Maasai. The following day Philemon [the driver] and I were joined by the camp guide and he showed us the surrounding area and where to find the animals. Seeing herds of elephant against the backdrop of Kilimanjaro was a highlight of many years spent in East and Southern Africa. We then drove to a big white stone that signposted the Kenyan ? Tanzanian border and we stopped for photographs.
After this we drove across the border and around the Kenyan Amboseli National Park.That evening as the sun waned we drove to the top of a large hill just outside the camp. We watched the sun begin to set then the clouds cleared around Kilimanjaro and the snows were turned pink with the setting sun, and bellow the acacia trees were silhouetted as the dusk seemed to rise from the ground upward. Then as I though it gets no better than this the Maasai from the lodge came dancing and singing up the hill ? they brought champagne as this was to be my last evening. We toasted a most enjoyable stay and the staff and Philemon sang Maasai songs and danced into the early evening.
If ever I was in Africa proper it was this evening. Not a tourist or car in sight, Kilimanjaro and local Maasai, words cannot express the emotions of that evening; you cannot have a more African experience than to spend some time in this luxury, eco friendly camp.If you come to Tanzania, I recommend this area, this camp. Forget everything else your African experience should start in the Western Kilimanjaro on the Tanzania ? Kenya border..
For a more information on the Western Kilimanjaro and the camp visited contact us through http://www.betheladventure.co.uk or http://www.
aardvark-expeditions.com Using responsible tourism to change lives.
By: Ian Williamson