GUIDE ON SHU’MATA CAMP IN WEST KILIMANJARO
Shu’mata means “Paradise” in Maa, the Maasai language. This extravagantly flamboyant luxury camp perches on a small hill overlooking the Maasai steppe: arid, featureless grassland from which rises a single three-headed volcanic monolith, the world-famous “Shining Mountain”; Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Known as “South Amboseli” more recently, the savannah on the Tanzanian side of the Kenyan border leads to the western foothills of Mount Kilimanjaro which can be seen by moonlight, on a Shu’mata Camp nature tour, or in the early dawn, early afternoon and evening on clear skies, as a glistening disembodied sky island floating above a web of cloud that swathes it for the rest of the day. The plains, stretching forever beneath an endless sky, are populated by herds of elephant, zebra, wildebeest, giraffe and oddly warthog with its stealthy but highly elusive predators crossing over from the Kenyan border, sharing their grazing with the goats and cattle of the Maasai people, whose land this is. Varied birdlife is also present from ostriches to ravens, eagles, buzzards, sunbirds and more. Shu’mata occupies an exclusive private concession which means it can offer unique, dynamic Tanzania active vacation options which are not permitted or available in most national parks, such as guided walks including treks to Shira Plateau, night-time game drives and off-road tours west of of Kilimanjaro and co-existence of local Maasai villages within the area for authentic impromptu village visits rather than the norms of commercial Maasai village tours offered in parts of Tanzania. The proprietors of the camp, who own a sister lodge, Hatari, in Arusha National Park in northern Tanzania, are deeply committed to conservation and the eradication of poverty through their Momella Foundation which provides community programs on education, sustainable agriculture, sanitation and eco-friendly living. The camp is reached from Arusha or Kilimanjaro Airport by a delightful overland drive through the Maasai home ranges. AfricanMecca guests can also directly fly to and from Serengeti or Zanzibar to West Kilimanjaro Airstrip which is very close to the camp. An unadulterated relaxing way to start or even end your wildlife safari in Tanzania.
Accommodation At Shu’mata CampThis is AfricanMecca’s favored camp for authentic west Kilimanjaro safaris, and rightly so! Set up in the style made famous by the novelist, Ernest Hemingway, who took every self-indulgent luxury with him on an Africa expedition safari, the tented accommodations are a stylistic fusion of Colonial, Arab and Maasai concepts of boutique comfort and beauty. 5 sumptuous and spacious tents, such as Coleridge might have envisaged for Kubla Khan in Xanadu, open onto private verandahs with wilderness outlooks onto limitless arid plains extending like D.G.Rossetti’s endless sea to the far horizon. It is indeed a poets’ fantasy: a dream camp in an alien world. Shu’mata is a wild place, freely roamed by oryx, eland and gazelle, policed by Maasai warriors in their scarlet cloaks, and it is no place to venture out alone. Colonial furnishings out of the Hollywood film “Hatari”, hanging shelves, trunks, bright ethnic cloths, blankets, mats, and tapestries conjure an atmosphere of sybaritic delights, extended by a paradoxical bathroom, all mod cons in Maasai red and brown, featuring cattle horns and offering “all the perfumes of Arabia”, in this case, complimentary African Arbor Oils insect repellant, made by ladies of the local village, in a 1920s setting of enamel wash basins, toilet with water ewers and outdoor showers to enjoy under the stars. Hundertwasser is quoted as the artistic inspiration for the geometric Shumata swirls and twists of primary colors that combine to liberate your mind from every day patterns into a truly memorable and unique African cultural holiday experience complimented by the Tanzanian Maasai ambience.
Safari At Shu’mata CampA favorite safari is taken in a shared open sided 4-WD vehicle with shade roof, to photograph herds of various ungulates, zebras, antelopes and other grassland denizens such as ostriches and elephants. The area is famed for its vistas, rather than its density of wildlife, but in South Amboseli in Tanzania, Shu’mata Camp sponsors Lion Guardians working on the Kenyan border where the big cats can be tracked. Round the evening campfire, Maasai guardians will explain how your visit enables them to protect these magnificent icons of tours in Africa. Visit a Maasai boma, or take a guided walk close to Shumata, where you may see man-high termite mounds visited by mongooses, find medicinal herbs, disturb psychedelic lizards and outlandish insects, observe zebra battles or courtships, and watch swaying files of elephants tramping sturdily along. You may even spot some old Amboseli tuskers with heavy burdens of ivory. Insect repellant and sun lotions are recommended on your AfricanMecca game driving trip to the western plains of Mount Kilimanjaro. Finish the day with a sundowner drink in the wild, before heading back to camp for dinner. As the sun sets, casting a pale pink mantle over the mirage-like presence of snow-capped Kilimanjaro, twinkling stars appear with dramatic suddenness. Your return drive in the dark may reveal a bush-baby in the undergrowth, or the green eyes of an mysterious leopard by the track, a good reason for never venturing out alone at night when you safari travel in Africa (read more on when is the best time to visit West Kilimanjaro).
Dining At Shu’mata CampDining at Shu’mata is literally a moveable feast. Meals are served in the fabulous mess tent, or at picnic spots around the camp, by the campfire, or out on a trip to the Kilimanjaro foothills (view map of the mountain). A private day tour of South Amboseli plains (west Kili) on the Tanzanian side involves a thoughtful picnic lunch. Meals in camp also vary from full silver service with international cuisine served on original china, to traditional Tanzanian safari fare such as Potjies, braised dishes cooked over a campfire in a cast iron, three-legged cauldron or the favored “nyama choma” barbeques. Special dietary needs should be notified in advance via your AfricanMecca trip planner. The day starts with a wake-up call at a pre-arranged time, when chai tea or kahawa coffee and fresh muffins are brought to your tent. Watch sunrise over Kilimanjaro before breakfast in the fabulous mess tent. Early birds may join a game-viewing drive, returning in time for lunch, whilst later risers can enjoy a gentle stroll with a ranger guide to discover the wildlife not far from the camp. Lunch is after noon in the mess tent, or outdoors. As usual, when you leisurely travel in Africa, mid afternoon tea with cake is served with enthusiasm. Dinner is presented stylishly in the Arabian Swahili Corner, with roof opulently swathed in rich fabrics and floor cushions, or in the chandeliered Baroque room. All meals are served inclusive of appropriate beverages and there is a fine stock of wines and spirits. Maasai guards are available from dawn till dusk to room accompany you to and from your meals (read more on where else to stay in West Kilimanjaro Tanzania).
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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!
Loretta and Danny Haag - California, United States
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.
Marcy Burton & Ryan Kerr - Ontario, Canada
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.
Alan Winner, Minnesota, United States
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.
Noorin & Jason Nelson - Maryland, United States
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.
Shelley Roberts - Hemel Hempstead, United Kingdom
EAST AFRICA SAFARI BOOKING TRIP IDEA FOR SHU’MATA CAMP IN WEST MOUNT KILIMANJARO TANZANIA
When staying at Shu’mata 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 Nyerere (Selous), Ruaha or Katavi ending with a chimpanzee trekking safari at Gombe or Mahale by the relaxing Lake Tanganyika.
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