Lakeshore Lodge and Campsite, Kipili

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.

Aryeh

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Lake Shore Lodge & Camp Site, Lake Tanganyika

The following details about Lake Shore Lodge & Camp Site are provided by the owner-manager Chris Horsfall

LOCATION – Near Kipili Village, On The Shores Of Lake Tanganyika, South Tanzania, GPS (South 07.43427, East 030.59054)

CONTACT DETAILS – email: info@safaritourtanzania.com, website: www.safaritourtanzania, phones: +255 76 3993 166, +255 756 930 290, +255 752 540 792

An owner-managed business in remote Africa, on the banks of Lake Tanganyika, offering world class service and accommodations with a huge array of activities on offer.   Built on 55 acre farm, with 400 metres of private beach, with organic vegetable garden and orchard.

ACCESS OPTIONS:

  • Daily bus service from Mpanda, Sumbawanga and Mbeya, right up to closest large village called Katongolo, where vehicle pick up can be arranged by management.
  • MV Liemba – The National ferry, which operates every other week, leaving Kigoma on Wednesday afternoons, arrival in Kipili Thursday evenings, boat transfers to the lodge by prior arrangement with management
  • Road – from Mbeya or Kigoma, currently all roads are being surfaced, so access is getting easier by the week, to be completed by end of 2013
  • Flights – by Charter into Kipili village, contact management for Company details.
  • Vehicle Transfer – from Katavi National Park
  • Speed boat transfer – from Mahale Mountains National Park

ACCOMMODATION OPTIONS :

Camping  – ($12 per day)  Choose one of 5 pristine camp sites, each placed under 80-year old Mango trees, with spotless ablutions, hot and cold running water, fire places for cooking and individual benches for eating

Lawn Bandas – ($85 per person per day, full board).   Well appointed spacious rooms, with twin queen-sized beds, under a huge mosquito net.  Comfortably spaced on a lovely lawn overlooking the lake, with very close by ablutions.

Luxury Beach Chalet – ( $ 295 per person per day)  “African Zen”, luxurious rooms, with own private beaches, hammocks and Zen Gardens, perched right at the water’s edge.  Enjoy 400 meters of sandy beach with crystal clear water on the door step.

Meals in Organic Restaurant: Breakfast $7, Lunch $10, Dinner $15.  Meals are done on an 8-day rotational menu, using home-grown fresh vegetables and herbs grown on the property.  Meals are international cuisine and normally 3-courses, all made to order so prior bookings required.

ACTIVITIES:

KATAVI NATIONAL PARK

Day trips are possible in fully-equipped Safari vehicles

MAHALE MOUNTAINS NATIONAL PARK

3-day trips can be arranged via speedboat, including fly camping along the way, an absolute MUST for adventure seekers!!

Scuba Diving   $70 per person per dive, all equipment and boat hire included, (packages available), only PADI Qualified divers

Kayaking – ½ day $25, full day, $60 with picnic lunch

Snorkeling – ½ day $30, full day $70 with picnic lunch

Quad Biking – ½ day$90, full day $185 with picnic lunch

Mountain Biking – ½ day $15, full day $40, with picnic lunch

Daily Birding boat trips and booze cruise – $20 per person

Fishing, waterskiing & Boat Hire

  • Beach Hopper – 34 foot Sea Spirit speedboat with twin 150 hp outboards ($80 per hour, excluding fuel)
  • Adelina – 26 foot Yamaha hull, with twin 75 hp outboards, ($40 per hour, excluding fuel)
  • Crazy Christina – 19 foot Yamaha hull with single 60 hp outboard, ($20 per hour, excluding fuel)

VEHICLE TRANSFERS:

  • Kipili to Katongolo – for daily bus access from Sumbawanga $20
  • Kipili to Sumbawanga – $285
  • Kipili to Katavi National Park-  $310
  • Kipili to Mbeya – $635

Transport around Kigoma and Lake Tanganyika

The trouble with the MV Leimba on Lake Tankanyika is that it runs to its own schedule which nobody knows except the Captain. So if you want to pick it up from Kasanga you have to go there which is a 5/6 hour bus journey from Sumbawanga leaving at miday and arriving at dusk. So where to stay if one discovers that the boat is not running…. there is a nice lodge called Leimba lodge, about 5 kms before Kasanga, run by Mrs McGoo (something like that) and her son Franky at 20,000 Tzshs per night. Then unfortunately if one wants to go to Kigoma there is no alternative but to go back to Sumbawanga (6 hours) and on to Mpanda which is around 7 hours however the Chinese are currently constructing a new road which should be ready in a year or so. Mpanda is a one horse town and the bus to Kigoma only goes twice a week; I arrived Monday afternoon and the next bus was Thursday. There is an internet cafe and 5 churches and the Super City Hotel at 12,000 Tzshs per night.

Guy