When you travel fairly frequently you often become numb to the impersonal and superficial treatment by hotel and resort staff. So when you come across a place that shatters that numbness, it’s a reminder of what a GREAT travel experience can actually be. Such was our experience at Chaka Camps in Ndutu.
We were greeted upon landing at the Ndutu airstrip by Godson, our dedicated driver and amazing safari guide. He wheeled us to the camp, a short distance away, where we were given such a warm and welcoming greeting by the entire Chaka team. Eric, the camp manager, walked us through camp rules (all designed to ensure our comfort and safety) and operation. And before you know it we were off on the first of four days of bush driving searching for game.
The camp is laid out very smartly with each tent providing a gorgeous view over lake Ndutu, which is often dry in early March but this year due to the almost incessant rainy season was quite full...and beautiful. The main camp tents which serve as the mess hall (or restaurant if you prefer) and social lounge are centered in the camp and offer an ideal communal area for guests and staff to interact. Lanoy will ensure you’re comfortable and will charm you with her wonderful smile and genuine interest in you and your journey. The rest of the staff will also greet you and share their English with you.
The tents and particularly the beds are unbelievably comfortable. Seriously, a king sized bed in the middle of the bush?!?! You also have a double sink wash room which has a rack for hanging up clothes and storage, a private commode room with flushing toilet, and a private shower that Nuro ensures is filled with wonderfully hot water. This dear readers is glamping at its finest.
Meals at the camp were delicious and combined western foods with local Masai and other African fare. They feed you very well and unless you have the most ravenous of appetites you will never leave the table hungry.
Game drives for us started around 8/830 depending on weather and lasted until sometime between 5:00 - 6:00p with either a return to the camp for a hot lunch or a picnic lunch amongst the acacia trees and overlooking some splendid view. You can request shorter trips in the morning or afternoon if you prefer but everyone at the camp felt as we did that maximizing our time in the bush was the ticket.
We had two days of rain while we were there and fortunately, because we were trekking in Rwanda afterwards, we had rain gear and extra layers of clothing which we were so grateful. So I’d recommend packing a rain jacket and a light fleece. The guide will provide a great rain jacket if you need it as well as a blanket to cover up with. Otherwise some lightweight hiking pants and shirts along with comfortable shoes (hiking preferred but sandals or tennis shoes could work) and a good hat is all you’ll need.
I cannot say enough about the entire staff at Chaka but want to throw out special thanks to Nuro for always ensuring we had a perfect temperature shower (and being a great human being), to Barrack who greeted us with his brilliant smile and nice conversation every single day, to the chef (whose name I shamefully forget) who gave me a special tour of the camp kitchen, and of course to Eric and Lanoy to ensure we were completely taken care of in every regard. And of course to our amazingly talented guide Godson whose skill as a driver, knowledge (and teaching) of bush and animal behavior, and inconceivably sharp eyes made our experience 10x better than we had ever dreamed.
If all that wasn’t enough to make you shed a tear upon departure day, when the whole camp congregates to sing for you to thank you for your stay and wish you a pleasant journey, your heart will be truly touched by their spirit and genuine warmth. Asante sana, my dear friends.
So if you want a truly unforgettable safari experience book with Chaka Camp. Your faith in hospitality will be restored and you will be so happy you did.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC