Kirurumu Manyara Lodge: Our full report
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge (formerly Kirurumu Tented Lodge) is a simple but comfortable property which is often ...... used as a base from which to explore both Lake Manyara National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater with a guide. It has a spectacular location right on the edge of the escarpment of the Great Rift Valley, with picturesque views back across Lake Manyara.
The bush around the lodge has been left in its original state, so instead of manicured gardens there is native vegetation, which in turn attracts a lot of birdlife; birdsong is ever-present at Kirurumu. Many of the endemic plants have been labelled along the winding stone paths that lead between the main areas and the rooms – we really liked this touch.
Dotted across 13 acres of land, each of the 30 tented rooms at Kirurumu Manyara Lodge sits on a raised wooden deck and has a spacious bedroom, en-suite bathroom and private veranda. These rooms are simply styled and have large beds, plain but attractive furniture and makuti mats on the polished stone floors. (Click here for more info on the tented rooms at Kirurumu...)
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge also has three suites which are similar in style to the standard tented rooms, but are larger and more like tented cabins as they feel more permanent. With two bedrooms in each, they work very well for families. (Click here for more info on the suites at Kirurumu…)
The main buildings of Kirurumu Manyara Lodge are dotted in amongst the surrounding bush, connected by winding stone pathways. Simply designed, open-sided buildings, they are comfortable and modestly decorated with traditional-coloured fabrics for the soft furnishings, and a simple rustic charm. What they lack in style they make up for in their prime location and superb views.
On arrival you walk into the reception – a thatched building with russet-red stone floors. A few seats and some large potted plants furnish the wide open hallway that leads to a small shop, where you will find a good selection of general souvenirs alongside some toiletries.
Close by, but tucked into the surrounding bush, the dining room is a spacious, open-sided building under high thatch, and feels cool and comfortable. Individual tables in a variety of sizes are set with checkered maasai style tablecloths.
The best feature of Kirurumu Manyara Lodge is its bar area, which has wonderful views over the Great Rift Valley and Lake Manyara. This canvas-and-stone building is scattered with lounging chairs and has a small library. Canvas flaps roll up to create a totally open front overlooking a broad wooden deck on which you'll find directors' chairs from which to admire the breathtaking views.
Our guests staying at Kirurumu Manyara Lodge will usually be accompanied by one of our private guides who is driving them on a safari though northern Tanzania's wildlife areas. Thus activities from the lodge are usually up to you and your guide, but typically they will focus on full-day safaris with a picnic lunch. The obvious choice of destinations is either to spend the day in Lake Manyara National Park, which is about 20 minutes' drive away; or to head a further to the Ngorongoro Crater, approximately 90 minutes' drive away.
If you stay at Kirurumu for three or more nights you can easily visit both areas. Village walks and traditional lunches can be arranged at Mto Wa Mbu, a village beside Lake Manyara National Park. The lodge can also organise short botanical walks in the local area with Maasai guides. For guests who want a more relaxing option, 30 and 60 minute massages are offered for around US$30 and US$40 respectively.
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge is comfortable, friendly and unpretentious. When we were last there in February 2018, the lodge seemed to function well and the staff were available to answer any questions. It may not be the most inspiring lodge, but it's a relatively economical place to stay, and a good base to visit either Lake Manyara or Ngorongoro. The best thing about Kirurumu are undoubtedly the mesmerising views from the bar – which are simply amazing; it is worth staying here for these alone.
- Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- Spend two nights here if you just want to visit Lake Manyara National Park. Stay longer if you prefer not to move on a daily basis, but then spend one of your days on safari to the Ngorongoro Crater.
- Kirurumu Manyara Lodge is approximately a two-hour drive from Arusha, 20-minutes from Lake Manyara National Park and one hour from the gate of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After leaving the tarmac road, the last 6km to the lodge is along a bumpy track past small villages and shambas (farms).
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- The food at Kirurumu Manyara Lodge is mostly standard international- style cuisine – it's perfectly adequate. The menu is varied and the timings can be flexible around your daily activities.
In the morning, a buffet breakfast is usually served between 7.00 and 9.00am, with a variety of cereals and fresh fruit. A cooked breakfast including bacon, sausages, tomatoes and your choice of cooked eggs can be ordered.
For lunch, you can either head out with a picnic, or come back to the lodge to eat. At the lodge, a three-course lunch is usually served between 12.30 and 2pm.
Dinner is also a set three-course meal, usually served between 7.00 and 9.00pm. For the most part, the cuisine is international style, the lodge occasionally hosts a traditional Swahili night where guests can try a selection of local dishes.
- Attitude towards children
- Kirurumu Manyara Lodge will happily welcome children of all ages.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Kirurumu does not have any age restrictions.
- Special activities & services
- There are no special activities for children.
- There is no special equipment for children.
- We would recommend Kirurumu Manyara Lodge for children. It is friendly, relaxed and has two larger suites which are a good size for families. Alternatively, there is also a very generously sized family tent with two en-suite bathrooms. Parents should be aware that there is a steep cliff at the front of the lodge, which is not fenced. Although unlikely, there is also the chance that wildlife might pass through the lodge grounds, so children should be under their parent's supervision throughout their stay.
- Power supply notes
- There is 24-hour electricity and there are plugs in the room for charging electrical equipment.
- There is free WiFi in the reception area. There are plans to extend wifi connection to the bar area.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV here.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Two bottles of water are provided per person per day. If guests need more than that it can be purchased from the bar.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Kirurumu Manyara Lodge has a first-aid kit on site and staff have first aid training. There is a doctor at a hotel situated only 15 minutes away and a small clinic in a nearby town. For more serious cases, the lodge has access to the flying doctors service.
- Dangerous animals
- Moderate Risk
- Security measures
- There are Maasai guards around the lodge during the day and at night time.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers outside the bedrooms and also in the main areas.
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is available at an extra charge – from about US$1.50 per item of clothing.
- There is a safe in the reception where valuables can be stored on request.
- Accepted payment on location
- You can settle your bill in cash in Tanzanian shillings, US dollars and euros. You can also pay using Visa or MasterCard (Amex is not accepted), but there is a minimum spend of US$50 and a 7% surcharge.
Room types at Kirurumu Manyara Lodge
Kirurumu Manyara Lodge has three suites of stone and cream-coloured canvas which work really well for a family or for couples wanting more space. Built relatively recently, these are cool and spacious.
Split between two levels, each suite can sleep up to four people.
One is made up of a combination of two en-suite rooms, which at times are sold as separate rooms if the camp is full. On the top floor is the master bedroom which has canvas walls and cream tiled floors. Downstairs is a second, smaller double room.
The other two suites at Kirurumu, have a large bedroom upstairs with a smaller room and large shared bathroom downstairs. Note that these stairs are quite steep and tight, so if you feel that this might be a problem, but are keen to stay in a suite, please let us know at the time of booking and we can request the suite with wider stairs.
The en-suite bathrooms in Kirurumu's suites are behind a moulded stone wall with a curtain covering the entrance. They are spacious with white walls and cream tiles. Each bathroom has a hot-and-cold shower, a sink and a flush toilet. Some complementary toiletries are also provided.
As in the tented rooms, there is no air conditioning or fans in the suites, but tiled floors and the rooms' locations on the edge of the rift valley escarpment ensure that they keep cool.
Each suite also has a spacious veranda with comfortable wooden furniture and shady parasols from where to take in the spectacular views.
Raised up on wooden decks about a metre off the ground, the tented rooms at Kirurumu Manyara Lodge are spacious, clean and comfortable. A few steps lead up to a wide wooden veranda where there are cushioned wood lounging chairs.
From the veranda, wide canvas tent flaps zip open and lead into the bedroom, which feels cool and fresh. Makuti mats (made from palm fronds) are dotted across the russet-red stone floors which are polished to a high shine.
Each room has large double, twin or three single wooden or wrought-iron beds made by local craftsmen, with wooden side tables. Subtly patterned linen and the use of traditional Maasai blankets (shukas) add style and character. There is also a writing desk. Drinking water is provided, and there is 24-hour electricity for charging batteries. The rooms don't have fans or air conditioning, but these are not really necessary since the temperature is naturally quite comfortable here due to the altitude, and it gets quite cool in the evenings.
Moulded adobe walls divide the bedroom from the en-suite bathroom, which is similarly subdivided into three separate sections, with a sink, a flush toilet and a hot-and-cold shower. All are perfectly clean and functional.
Other lodges in Lake Manyara National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.