Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp

Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp: Our full report

Rooms
9 tents
Open
All year

Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp is often also called “Lake Natron Tented Camp", and sometimes known as “Lake Natron Moivaro Camp" – but should not be confused with the nearby Lake Natron Camp. It sits at the foot of the Great Rift Valley and only a few kilometers away from Lake Natron itself.Lake Natron Tented Camp has been carefully sited in a grove of acacia trees which provide the rare treat of shade in this arid landscape. This makes the camp feel like an oasis of cool amidst the surrounding dust and heat. Add to that some lovely views across Lake Natron and to the surrounding hills and the active volcano, Oldoinyo Lengai. It's a lovely spot.

This Moivaro Tented Camp sits on land owned by the local Engero Sero village – and a percentage of the cost of your room goes directly into a fund for schools and other community projects. The camp also makes a concerted effort to employ as many of its staff as possible from the local area. The result is an atmosphere which is welcoming and friendly – you do feel like you are contributing something by staying here.

Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp is a simple camp, and makes no pretences to be otherwise. Though it is also comfortable – no mean feat in this dry and dusty area.

Sandy paths run through the camp between the tents and the main areas. A gardener waters these paths and the green gardens frequently to help keep dust levels down. This struck us when we first visited, and we immediately asked the camp's manager about the sustainability of this use of water in such an arid place. He replied that that although water seems scarce in this area, Lake Natron is surrounded by mountains – from which the water flows in various permanent natural springs. Lake Natron Camp's water supply is piped by them from one of these springs, about 1.5km away, and he assured us that it has no negative impacts on the local supply.

The central bar and restaurant area is an open-sided stone and thatch banda (traditional-style building) with a high thatch roof and polished stone floor. The room is simply decorated and furnished – with wooden tables and chairs set with white table cloths. To one side is a wooden bar, stocked with a simple variety of beers, wines and spirits. In front of the banda are a number of directors' chairs and a fire place. In the evenings this is a lovely place to sit and on clear evenings the stars are fantastic.

The nine rustic canvas tents at Lake Natron Camp are gradually being upgraded, and so when we saw them in 2008, their standards were variable. However all share similar features and ultimately the same style. They are relatively spacious, with stone floors and a solid wooden door. The small outdoor veranda acts as a lounge, with two directors' chairs and a table.

Inside each tent has a comfortable four-poster bed with a huge, wooden frame. Mosquito nets hang from these frames, and there's a table with a can of mosquito spray and two candles. The tent has one main overhead light, but no bedside lights, and there are two luggage shelves for your bags. These tent don't have fans, so can get quite hot, especially in the warmer months of November through to March.

At the back of each tent, through a curtain, is the en-suite bathroom. The décor here is quite garish but the bathroom is perfectly functional. It is open-planned and has flush-toilet, a washbasin and a cold shower. No toiletries are provided except for a few small bars of Lux soap.

The activities from Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp focus mainly on seeing the landscape. Lovely walks out to the shores of the lake can be arranged – from here you can look back at Oldoinyo Lengai and the views are spectacular. You can also arrange to walk to the Engero Sero Falls and back – which takes around three hours. Your Maasai guide takes you up through a valley, beside a stream, and at the top is a small waterfall with a lovely natural pool for swimming.

You might also want to visit the local village, where you can spend half or a full day learning about traditional Maasai life, including seeing into a traditional home.

Our view

Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp is a simple camp, and though the service is friendly it isn't hugely efficient. The real draw to this camp is its location – in an area that is blisteringly hot throughout the year, the shade offered by the trees is very welcome.

Visiting in mid-2008, we felt that the entire camp could do with upgrading as it all looks quite tired, but it is comfortable enough for a few nights and a good base to explore the area.

Geographics

Location: Lake Natron, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: Stay here two nights to have enough time to do a walk out to the shores of Lake Natron and up to the Engero Sero Falls. If you wanted to climb Oldoinyo Lengai as well then you would need three nights at Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp.

Directions: The only way to reach Lake Natron is to drive – there is no airstrip here. The drive takes around 3½ hours from the turn off near Lake Manyara. Form Arusha the drive would take around 5 hours.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we last visited, in July 2008, the food at Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp was simple but perfectly adequate. Although we found the food to be overcooked generally, it was relatively tasty and in this remote environment we wouldn't have expected much more. The food was always served to the table.

Breakfast consisted of fruit, toast and the eggs of your choice. There is a tea and coffee station which you can help yourself to as well as fruit juice on the tables.

Lunch is a two course meal; when we were there we had a beef-burger and chips with a cabbage and onion salad, followed by fruit salad and custard.

For dinner we had three courses. The first course was a spicy tomato soup, followed by beef stew and vegetables. The stew was very tasty even though the beef was a quite tough. Desert was then a chocolate mousse.

This is a simple camp in a remote location and the food reflects this, but it is adequate and hearty enough to provide fuel for all the walking you will do during your stay.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are not included, when we were last at Moivaro Lake Natron Camp, in June 2008, it was $3 for a beer and $2 for a soft drink.

Further dining info: There is no room service.

Special interests

Photography holidays: The scenery here is spectacular; volcanic mountains shoot straight up from flat plains, whilst in the middle glistens Lake Natron. Get up early for some fantastic shots. Also a great location for photographing traditional Maasai, though expect to pay for the privilege.

See more ideas for Photography holidays in Tanzania

Children

Attitude towards children: Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp welcomes children of all ages.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.

Equipment: There are high chairs and cots available.

Notes: Lake Natron is very hot and arid spot – younger children might find the conditions too harsh for their comfort.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Communications: Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp have internet access - 15 minutes on the costs $5.

TV & radio: There is no TV or radio here.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a small dispensary in the nearby village and a basic first aid kit on site. There is a nearby airstrip for flying doctors but the nearest doctor is at Mto wa Mbu which is a 3½ hour drive away.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: Askaris are around the property at night

Fire safety: There are no fire extinguishers here, but there is a good water supply and hoses that can reach all corners of the lodge.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: Full Laundry Service - Extra Charge

Money: There are no currency exchange facilities here.

Accepted payment on location: Moivaro Lake Natron Tented Camp can accept cash in US dollars, Dollars, Euros and Tanzanian shillings. They can also accept travellers' cheques, however there is a 10% charge for this.