We are not in a habit to send feedback about an establishment to guidebooks, but after returning from a trip to Tanzania; found a gem that we didn’t find listed in your guide.
It is in a remote location: Kipili, on the shores of Lake Tanganyika. Its called Lakeshore Lodge and Campsite and is run by a wonderful South African couple, Louise and Chris Horsfall. Their website is: http://safaritourtanzania.com
The location couldn’t be more amazing. They are right along the water, and not infrequently guests get to listen to hippos as they eat dinner set out on lovely tables that line the beach. The water is refreshing and the swimming great. There are beautiful mango trees and gardens and wonderful hikes and walks around the lodge. They helped us not only arrange, but transported us to Mahale National Park to see the chimpanzee colonies, arranged for us to visit some local villages, and provided kayaks and snorkling gear for water adventures. We had previously spent a week in Zanzibar and in retrospect can’t see a reason why one would go when Lake Tanganyika is just as beautiful and a so much more pleasant venue for someone who is looking for a wonderful beach holiday away from the crowds and intensity of a resort location. There are plenty of things to do around the lodge including scuba diving, going on sunset cruises, renting mountain bikes or quad bikes….. They have a great collection of books, board games, and card games that are perfect for a relaxing day at Lake Tanganyka. they also offer safari tours to Katavi National Park, though we did not go there
Rooms: The rooms are comfortable, clean, and luxorious. We stayed in their chalets that open right onto the beach, and we slept with the door open. The shower is very nice, bathroom exceedingly clean and they have done a fantastic job fine tuning the rooms and administrating to every detail be it to the shampoo and soap dispensers, issues of privacy, decorations using local items, and the service. The rooms are immaculately clearn, outlets all work, their laundry service prompt and free of charge. Privacy is also of the upmost concern, and the night is so quiet that all you can hear is the sound of the frogs and lake.
The food is not only exceptional, all locally produced, and as close to an “African gourmet” style as one can imagine. We hear that in the off season their locally groomed chefs are employed to watch the food network to fine tune their inspiration. Meals being served either under the stars or (weather permitting) on an enclosed patio. They also have a fully stocked bar.
The service was impeccable. This was made all the more incredible since the owners hire only locals from the village and personally train them. The staff is not only very friendly but we felt like they were concerned about our every comfort. The two owners, Chris and Louise, are lovely people. They are warm and friendly, would to our great pleasure occasionally join us for meals (as they do all guests when feasible) and great people to converse with. They have done an incredible job creating this lodge.
Ethics: One thing that we looked for, especially traveling to a third world country as poor as Tanzania, were resorts that were non-exploitive and supportive of their community. This place definetely met our requirements. They only hire people from the nearby village and they have trained their staff on everything from hospitality and construction anhd hamdyman skills. Also, much of their purchases of food and goods pump money into the village’s economy. They essentially are a training center for the locals and we noticed had not only a fantastic relationship with the local villagers, but also provided much assistance to the villagers themselves. From what we can tell use the highest employment standards, for example providing health care for their staff in a country where health care is beyond the reach of so many.
Bottomline: This place is warm, friendly, beautiful, stunning, and luxorious. This is a must stay place for anyone, couples or families, that is traveling in Tanzania. The only draw back is that they are in a very remote section of the country, though they were extremely helpful researching transportation for us. Frankly, the remoteness was one of the draws and made this place all the more exotic.