Twiga Lodge has four rooms in the tudor style main house.
Twiga Lodge: Our full report
Twiga, the Swahili name for giraffe, is more evocative of an English country home than an African lodge. After driving on dirt roads through the outskirts of Arusha, guests enter through gates onto a property of sloping lawns, a grand two-storey Tudor style house and a matching cottage nestled at the bottom of the grounds.
Twiga Lodge was once a family home. In 2009 it was bought by Erika and Paul Sweet who, after numerous safaris in Africa, followed their dreams and left their home in Wiltshire, England to settle in Tanzania. This fairly adventurous couple love to welcome visitors into their home, getting to know their guests over afternoon tea on the verandah, sundowner drinks atop the viewing platform and over breakfast and dinner around their farm style table. Twiga Lodge's décor reflects Erika and Paul's passion for Africa and is packed with memorabilia of their own safaris on the continent. It's filled with an eclectic mix of fabrics, artwork, fascinating books and photographs.
The thatched two-storey main house at Twiga Lodge has four bedrooms of varying sizes. The room downstairs and the room at the end of the balcony are doubles. Of the other two upstairs rooms, one has bunk beds and the other a single bed on the lower level and fairly steep wooden steps leading up to an attic space fitted with a double bed, making them ideal for family groups. Each attic has sloping ceilings (guests have to mind their heads) and charming cottage style windows. The bedrooms all have en-suite bathrooms with a bath. An additional shared bathroom leading off from the dining room in the main house is fitted with a shower. Two more double rooms in the cottage at the bottom of the grounds make up a total of six bedrooms. The rooms in the cottage, which is also Paul and Erika's home, are typically used when the rooms at the main house are already all occupied. All of the rooms at Twiga Lodge are furnished with locally made furniture and have mosquito nets over the beds, stand alone fans and small safes.
A balcony and a verandah run the length of the house and around one side. Cushioned chairs surrounding coffee tables make up a selection of comfortable sitting areas overlooking the grounds. The first room you enter in the main house is the dining room. This is where all other rooms and stairs lead off from, including a partially open kitchen which helps create a cosy farmhouse atmosphere. At the top of the stairs is a sizeable lounge furnished with sofas, a stereo and a TV which is kept hidden away in a cupboard when it's not in use. Doors lead out from here onto the balcony and each of the three upstairs rooms. Bookshelves throughout the home are well stacked with Paul and Erika's books and guests are welcome to read any of these whilst staying at Twiga, although they can't be taken away or swapped.
The grounds are dotted with flower beds and stately trees, including one with wooden steps nailed into the trunk for young climbers. There's also a hammock swing, a trampoline, badminton net and a wonderful two-level tower with seating and views over the neighbouring Arusha Park. It's the perfect spot for sundowners overlooking browsing wildlife such as the giraffe the lodge is named for, and the nearby Mount Meru. If you want to unwind after a long flight or safari, Erika who is a trained physio, offers various massage treatments.
For guests staying more than one night Twiga Lodge can organise activities such as guided walks to the nearby village and shambas (farm plots), or to a commercial forest where a variety of the colourful bougainvillea plants are grown. For the more adventurous, walks through the woodlands on the slopes of Mount Meru, where you might catch a glimpse of the beautiful Colobus monkey, can also be arranged. Longer day trips to a local orphanage, a waterfall, canoeing and into the Arusha park are also possible.
Our ViewAs soon as we entered Twiga Lodge we felt refreshed and relaxed. Upon meeting the very hospitable Paul and Erika we felt like old friends welcomed home. Combine these feelings with country-style cottage accommodation in a great location and you get what we think is a great pre or post accommodation to any safari in northern Tanzania.
Ideal length of stay: Twiga Lodge works well as an overnight stop before or after a safari around northern Tanzania, or for a two night stay for travellers with more time.
Directions: Twiga Lodge is situated approximately a 40 minute transfer from Kilimanjaro Airport which makes it a good option for an overnight stop before or after and international flight. The lodge is approximately a 60 minute transfer from the domestic Arusha Airport, depending on traffic through the town.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Half Board
Food quality: Sadly, on our visit to Twiga in May 2011 we didn't have time to stay longer than for a cup of coffee. However, we understand that the lodge serves international style meals and that breakfast and a three-course dinner are eaten around a communal dining table. Lunch can be served on the verandah or balcony and typically consists of a choice of salads, a light dish such as a quiche or pizza, and a desert.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Drinks included: Drinks incur an additional charge at Twiga Lodge. A bottle of water or a soft drink are around US$1, a beer is about US$2 and a bottle of wine is between US$10-30.
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Twiga Lodge.
Notes: Twiga Lodge is a great option for families with young children. However, it should be noted that there is no special equipment such as cots available and that the family sized rooms do have steep stairs into the attic spaces.
Power supply: Mains Electricity
Communications: There is a cell phone signal at Twiga Lodge and a laptop for internet use at no additional charge.
TV & radio: The lounge at Twiga has a TV which is usually shut away in a cabinet but can be used to view sporting events or for general viewing on request.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Erika, one of Twiga's owners, is medically trained and there is a hospital in the nearby town of Arusha.
Dangerous animals: Low Risk
Security measures: Twiga Lodge is fenced in and there are security guards on duty each night. The rooms all have a small safe for guests to lock up any valuables.
Fire safety: There are numerous fire extinguishers strategically dotted around the lodge.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge
Accepted payment on location: Visa and MasterCard are both accepted at Twiga Lodge but incur a 5% surcharge. Payment can also be made in cash using Tanzanian shillings, US dollars, pounds sterling and euro.