Vuma Hills: Our full report
Just 6km from the entrance of Mikumi National Park, Vuma Hills is in a peaceful location, high up in the ...... hills overlooking the park. The camp was completely renovated in 2015.
Vuma Hills is part of the Foxes collection, and offers more of a bush experience than its sister camp, Stanley’s Kopje.
The 16 tented rooms at Vuma Hills are set in a densely forested area on the south-west side of Mikumi National Park. The surrounding area has been left as natural as possible, which creates a wild feeling within the camp, but means that the views from each room are quite restricted.
The rooms are built on large wooden decks that are raised from the ground on stilts, with thatched roofs providing shade and shelter for the safari-style tents that hang beneath. There is a veranda in front of each tent, which has a couple of directors’ chairs and a small wooden table.
We popped into the lodge briefly in June 2016 and were impressed by the refurbishments recently carried out by the Foxes team. These included extending the size of each platform; installing brand-new, spacious tents, adding new and improved bathrooms; and of course refurbishing all of the soft furnishings. The new tents feel private, clean and homely.
The tents have been simply but tastefully decorated with dark wooden floors, a matching bureau and lockable trunk. The double or twin beds (depending on which room you have) all have crisp white linen and a safari-print blanket. The same fabric is used to cover the two daybeds that are just inside the entrance of the tents.
At the back of each tent, the en-suite bathroom is separated from the rest of the room by a wooden partition that doubles as a wardrobe. Shielding a shower and a separate flush toilet is a white-painted stone wall featuring images of a lion and an acacia tree. Between the two are a mirror and a clay-pot basin.
A stone path leads from each tented room to the small swimming pool, where a few sunloungers offer a good spot to relax after a day’s game viewing.
Near the pool there is a cosy, open-sided bar and restaurant area, with the best views from anywhere in Vuma Hills. From the large deck you can have a drink and watch the sun go down over the park before having dinner.
Vuma Hills also has a roaring log fire where guests congregate after dinner: it’s at night that Vuma Hills really comes to life. In the pas, the camp had a real problem with baboons coming into camp at night and eating waste food. Taking matters into her own hands, Sabine the manager started disposing of any left-over food in the evenings. This not only solved the problem of the baboons, but in turn attracted a range of nocturnal animals; now bushbabies, porcupines, honey badgers, civets, genets and marsh mongooses are just some of the visitors that frequent the camp after dark. This is rare for Tanzania, making Vuma Hills one of the best places to see these night-time species.
Although guests often arrive at Mikumi with their own private vehicle and guide, activities at Vuma Hills focus on shared game drives in 4WD vehicles with the camps experienced guides. Mikumi is home to many different mammal species, and you’re likely to see a range of plains game, including roan antelope, wildebeest, impala, zebra, giraffe, buffalo and warthog. Sightings of predators, however, are less reliable.
The camp can also offer walking safaris, when the grass isn’t too short; visits to a local Masaai village; and day excursions to Udzungwa Mountains National Park.
The tents at Vuma Hills are very comfortable, nicely furnished and great value, and the camp offers more of a ‘bush’ experience than others in the area. It’s possibly also the best place in Tanzania to see certain nocturnal animals (albeit only because food is left out for them), but the game viewing in Mikumi is not good enough to make it a stand-alone destination, so guests will be better off combining this with another wildlife area.
- Mikumi & Udzungwa Mountains, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- 2-3 nights
- Vuma Hills is a about a 6 hour drive from Dar es Salaam, alternatively it’s possible to fly to Mikumi airstrip which is 7Km away.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- On our last visit to Vuma Hills, in June 2016, we did not get a chance to try the food, but from speaking to the manager we did get a feel for mealtimes and what to expect.
Breakfast is served 7.00–10.00am and consists of a selection of pastries, fruit and toast, followed by a full English breakfast that is cooked to order.
A buffet lunch, served 1.00–2.30pm, tends to feature a selection of light options such as quiche or chilli con carne with freshly made bread.
The three-course dinner, served from 7.30pm to around 10.00pm, consists of a plated starter, a buffet main course and a plated dessert.
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor Dining
- Drinks included
- Drinks cost extra at Vuma hills. Soda costs about $2, beer $4, a glass of wine $3 or $18 for a bottle.
- Attitude towards children
- Vuma Hills accepts children of all ages.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Special activities & services
- Vuma Hills can offer a child-minding service and there are plenty of board games to play in the main area.
- Cots and Highchairs are available.
- Power supply notes
- Each tent has UK-style 3-pin plugs, which can be used in the morning, and evening when the generator is turned on.
- There is no WiFi here.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- Bottled water is provided for drinking.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There are first-aid kits in the main area and on all the safari vehicles. Several of the staff are also trained in first aid.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Askaris (guards) are on hand to escort guests at night.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers and buckets of sand outside all of the tents.
- Disabled access
- In Place
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is included.
- There are electronic safes in each tent and you can exchange small denominations of cash in the main area.
- Accepted payment on location
- Cash payments may be made in US dollars, GB pounds, euros and Tanzanian shillings. Vuma Hills also accepts Mastercard and Visa with a 5% surcharge, but they cannot accept Amex.
Other lodges in Mikumi & Udzungwa Mountains
Alternative places to stay in this same area.