Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary

Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary: Our full report

Traveller's rating
Good (80%) From 2 reviews
Children
Fine for all ages.
Open
All year

Near the turning to Arusha National Park, and immediately opposite Rivertrees, Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary has been welcoming visitors since 1959, before independence. It's an old-fashioned lodge with plenty of atmosphere, set in beautiful, mature gardens.

Among verdant lawns and huge trees, including some enormous candelabras, there are 17 en-suite rooms in a collection of simple painted buildings and log cabins, all with green mabati (corruagated iron) roofs. The owners have not invested sufficiently in the lodge in recent years, but have now taken over its management and are expected to improve the overall level of service and facilities.

Although they are all individual in style, each features iron frame beds, white linen and polished, red cement floors with rugs and grass mats. Rooms have clothes storage, and there's space in most of them for an extra bed. Each room has its own small veranda, but meals and fireside night-caps take place in main house.

The simple, tiled bathrooms, around 2.5m (9ft) square, incorporate flush toilets, a small shower cubicle screened by a plastic curtain, a single basin and mirror. Good towels are provided, as are shower gel and shampoo.

Two of the rooms are in a separate cottage (the Andreas Von Nagy Cotttage>, and sold as suites (Mount Meru Suite and Mount Kilimanjaro Suite). They can also interconnect and would be suitable for a family. Each suite has a kingsize bed and there are twin beds in a room between the two suites. The suites also feature fireplaces, armchairs and larger bathrooms than the standard rooms.

There's a terrace by the bar-lounge-reception overlooking the lawns and lake. The cosy bar and dining room/restaurant are welcoming on chilly evenings.

We haven’t had a chance to stay at Mount Meru Game Lodge since the owners took over the management at the beginning of 2016. When we last visited in November 2015, we were given to understand it needs some considerable investment in wiring, plumbing and roofing. Superficially, however, the lodge is faded but comfortable enough.

Out in the grounds, the sanctuary allows for close up viewing of plains game, including four resident zebra, two ostriches and a waterbuck, and also water birds - especially at the daily afternoon feeding, when saddle-billed storks, yellow-billed storks and egrets among others abound. Terrific sightings of habituated blue monkeys and striking black and white colobus are virtually guaranteed from your room.

Up-close animal experiences make this a good place for families to begin or end their safari and the welcome shade of the terrace's mango trees is equally attractive if you're simply looking to sit and chill.

Our view

This is a charming old place, with great staff and food, that needs some serious attention to really flourish again. If the owners are prepared to put in the necessary investment, it could become a very attractive first or last night for safari travellers on a more modest budget in northern Tanzania

Geographics

Location: Arusha, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: 1 night, though it might be pleasant to stay longer.

Directions: Usa River, about 20 minutes drive east of Arusha town.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Staff: Former managers Intimate Places Tanzania relinquished the management of the lodge back to its owners in December 2015.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: Mount Meru Game Lodge has a good repuation for its food, especially curries. A kids' menu is available.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: Drinks are extra, and available in the cosy bar.

Further dining info: Dinner is often served on the outdoor, covered dining terrace, above a lawn with a firepit. There's a also a private dining area, under a candelbra tree, above the Usa River that runs through the property.

Children

Attitude towards children: Children are welcome

Equipment: There was limited special equipment available when we visited, but the owners are expected to improve the overall level of service and facilities.

Notes: Children would need some supervision.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There's a backup generator.

Communications: The cellphone signal is good and there is free WiFi.

TV & radio: There is a TV in the bar.

Water supply: Other

Water supply notes: Water is sourced from a natural spring. Guests are provided with bottled drinking water.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: They have a first-aid kit and clinics and hospitals are available nearby in Usa River and Arusha.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: Askaris patrol the grounds.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are installed near all the rooms.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Laundry service is available at extra cost.

Money: A limited amount of foreign exchange can be transacted.

Accepted payment on location: MasterCard, Visa and Amex credit cards are all accepted, with a 5% charge.