GUIDE ON NDARAKWAI RANCH CAMP IN WEST KILIMANJARO
Ndarakwai offers a unique opportunity to visit an increasingly popular type of Tanzanian ranch vacations. It is primarily a wildlife conservation project, partly funded by the profits of the fantastic African safari hybrid camp situated in acacia woodland overlooked by the surreal sky island that is the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, the shining mountain, as it appears to float over the southern Amboseli Plains in Northeast Tanzania, part of the Kilimanjaro Conservancy NGO project. Ndarakwai is a private ranch over more than 11,000 acres, rescued in 1995 by Peter Jones from poaching and overgrazing which had decimated its wildlife, and since developed as an experimental eco-friendly and self-sustaining base for western tours of Kilimanjaro and the seasonal elephant migration routes. It is now an emergent wildlife haven where you can observe more than 70 mammals, and a bird-lovers’ paradise, where over 350 bird species have been recorded. As a private concession area, it offers guided walks and night drives which permit greater intimacy than is possible in a national park across the Kenyan border in Amboseli National Park – all part of the same ecosystem. Amongst its non-profit community projects, it operates an anti-poaching team and a school meals program and welcomes volunteer workers and researchers. Accessed by air to Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airports, and an overland drive through Maasai homelands, it is an ideal place for AfricanMecca guests to relax and acclimatize before and after attempting to trek to the summit of Mount Kilimanjaro, or simply to drink in the marvelous ambience of an incredible and much-loved landscape. You can also fly from Arusha to West Kilimanjaro, and connect to/from Serengeti and Zanzibar if you prefer point to point air convenience and ease of accessibility.
Accommodation At Ndarakwai Ranch Camp15 huge, thatched roof, self-contained tented canvas lodge with integral modern bathroom facilities and solar hot water, affording surprising comfort and convenience in this remote location which was once fought over by German and Allied forces. There are canvas-covered verandahs from which to watch the wild animals that wander freely about the ranch, amongst which reedbuck, gerenuk, lesser kudu, gazelle and zebra are frequent visitors, whilst loftier eland, mighty elephants and graceful giraffes can often be seen. Even lions and cheetahs are occasionally spotted on an AfricanMecca trip to west Kilimanjaro (view map) though the area in this part of Tanzania is not a prime cat destination. Rhinos are non-existent. Service is unfailingly thoughtful, helpful and friendly, including the provision of hot water bottles in comfortable beds on chilly nights. Although winds may flutter the walls and unfamiliar wildlife sounds, such as barking hyenas and snuffling warthogs may command your attention, you will soon find yourself shedding your civilized apprehensions and appreciating a new fellowship with the natural world in this idyllic setting. Ndarakwai Camp boarders are requested to use water and electricity sparingly. There are no hairdryers and everything possible is carefully recycled in accordance with ecological responsibility. Wi-Fi and battery charging are available at reception. The whole area is well-designed around a central, open-sided mess tent and all paths are hung with magical lanterns to ensure your safety in the evenings, when you might care to wander to the camp entrance where vervet monkeys, common sights on a wilderness tour in Africa, can often be seen playing as twilight falls (read more on where else to stay in western Kilimanjaro on your East African safari).
Safari At Ndarakwai Ranch CampA Ndarakwai Camp Ranch tour is centered around two intimate activities, namely off-road game drives and guided walks. Off-road game drives are not allowed in national parks so drive safari in west Kilimanjaro is highly advantageous. These allow you to approach more closely to the animals you want to photograph or simply see eye to eye. Big game, such as elephant, buffalo, giraffe and eland, not to mention lion, are safest observed from a custom built jeep, driven by an experienced guide. The jeep is open-sided for optimum views but canopied for shade and protection from overhead assault, especially by mischievous monkeys trying to pocket any food item. Night- time drives are also recommended as nocturnal animals can be illuminated by a subtle spotlight. You will probably see scaly aardvark, mongoose, and possibly a leopard you would not like to meet on foot on your Tanzania hiking safari. Game walks close to the camp afford amazing insight into the local flora and fauna, especially the smaller mammals and the glorious avian jewels: sunbirds, lovebirds, weavers, rollers, bee-eaters and other multi-colored inhabitants of light woodlands. On the grassland, enormous, flat-footed ostriches pace while bright barbets posture on old termite mounds. On your AfricanMecca itinerary for west Kilimanjaro, there are also opportunities to visit an authentic Maasai village to take part in their dances, rituals and ceremonies, and perhaps to purchase cloths, perfumes, and jewelry made by the talented women who spearhead cultural development programs, where friendly interest and even help are very welcome from sympathetic visitors who choose to take their unforgettable holiday visits in Africa.
Dining At Ndarakwai Ranch CampMost of the food at Ndarakwai Ranch is locally sourced, or home-grown if otherwise unavailable. The aim is to encourage local community initiatives whilst making certain of the freshness and purity of supplies. As you will often find on an adventure tour in Tanzania, dishes are a generous and tasty mixture of local and international cuisine. The chefs are always on the lookout for new menu suggestions from guests, and are delighted to try out your favorite dishes. Special dietary needs will always be taken into consideration and needs to be requested prior to arrival via your AfricanMecca tour planner. The open-sided mess tent allows you to keep warm by the two large fireplaces and watch the wildlife while you eat; especially the semi-tame nocturnal that often establish themselves close to human habitation. They provide a delightful facet to personable travel in Africa. There are huge-eyed bush-babies that will come to grab banana slices with their tiny fingers in the evening, and also a beautiful, cat-like genet that simply loves cheese. Or you can take advantage of a treetop bar and observation deck for sundowners with a view of both Kilimanjaro and distant Mount Meru, both stand-alone volcanic cones on an otherwise flat savannah plain. In the early evening, wildlife herds approach this oasis area in search of refreshing water before retiring. A few predators wait for them, so do not go out without an attentive Maasai guard.
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Loretta and I had a great time on our honeymoon. Simiton, your safari guide in Tanzania was awesome! He was very professional, very accommodating and very knowledgeable. We are already talking about our next trip to Africa!
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First off, we had the most amazing time ever and wanted to thank you very much. Tanzania proved without a doubt to meet all of our expectations. Every detail was thought of on our trip by AfricanMecca and were are all flawless.
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We have returned from our African adventure and would like to thank you very much for your part in making this such a wonderful experience. We were lucky enough to time the Great Migration from the Serengeti, which was amazing.
Denise Paterson - Belmont, Australia
Jambo Raza, It was a wonderful experience in Tanzania. Rogers, our guide was superb; knowledgeable, helpful and very friendly. We were treated very well by all your ground team and everything ran smoothly. I enjoyed it all.
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AfricanMecca's professionalism and care understands that what distinguishes Africa is its authenticity, the land, people and wildlife who do not share our world of fashion and fanfare that distinguish so many travel companies today.
Cyril Christo & Marie Wilkinson, Conservation Photographers, Authors & Wildlife Documentary Producers - USA
AfricanMecca Safaris created a remarkable honeymoon tailored to our interests and desires. The quality of service and delivery of experience was unsurpassed. I highly recommend AfricanMecca Safaris to honeymooners, families, or any traveler.
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I booked my safari holiday through AfricanMecca. They were the most helpful company I have ever dealt with and I work within the travel industry. I had the most amazing time. The holiday went as clockwork with no hitches anywhere.
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SAFARI TRIP IDEA FOR NDARAKWAI RANCH CAMP IN WEST MOUNT KILIMANJARO TANZANIA
When staying at Ndarakwai Ranch Camp on the western side of Kilimanjaro, we recommend combining it with your Northern Tanzania safari to Tarangire, Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti (wildebeest migration). End your trip with a Swahili cultural tour and beach holiday in Zanzibar.
You may optionally extend out to offbeat parks in Southern and Western Tanzania such as Selous, Ruaha or Katavi ending with a chimpanzee trekking safari at Gombe or Mahale by the relaxing Lake Tanganyika.
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