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Mwiba Lodge
Mwiba Lodge
Mwiba Lodge
Mwiba Lodge
Mwiba Lodge
Mwiba Lodge
Mwiba Lodge

Mwiba Lodge: Our full report

Mwiba Lodge is located on Mwiba Wildlife Reserve which was privatised in 2009 for the benefit of the wildlife ...

... and sustainable tourism. It is arguably the most luxurious lodge in the greater southern Serengeti migration area. The reserve’s private status means that the rigid rules of the national park do not apply here. From January – March it is possible for guests to drive over to the Ndutu area and view the migration herds and slowly, but surely, the wildlife is becoming less skittish.

Just north of the Lake Eyasi Escarpment, Mwiba Wildlife Reserve encompasses 240 km² of protected land. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area lies to the east and Maswa Game Reserve to the west. The location makes Mwiba Lodge wonderfully remote; this is the place to come if you really want to escape.

The pace at Mwiba is unhurried and guests are encouraged to set their own schedules, and spend time just relaxing at the lodge as well as out on activities. Lodge staff are very discreet in their attentive service, and while nothing is ever too much trouble, and someone is always on hand, we did not find the personal butler service to be at all intrusive when we stayed here in 2018.

Accommodation consists of 10 tented suites laid out in a semi-circular formation and connected by wooden walkways. There are five tented suites either side of the main area. Suites 1 to 5 overlook a network of waterholes, and suites 6 to 10 overlook the rocky valley below. The suite interiors are all identical in size and style, and the wooden walkways between two pairs of tents can be connected to create two interconnected family units.

The décor in the suites is impressive. Traditional African artifacts, such as local beadwork work, wooden carvings and animal hides, contrast with natural materials and stylish, modern furniture, such as copper light shades and mirrored tables.

In each tent, the large, very comfortable super king-bed is draped in mosquito netting, with crisp white sheets, multiple cushions and tan suede. The bed can be split to make a twin room. An Evening Breeze cooling system, which is operated by remote control – so you needn’t even leave the bed – helps keep you cool in the hotter months. In addition, there is an efficient air conditioning system in the room, as well as a free-standing fan, so it’s perfectly designed if you struggle in the heat.

Numerous plug socket and USB points are dotted around the room and other useful guest amenities are provided, including plug adaptors, umbrellas, insect repellent and ear plugs. There is a telephone system for contacting the managers’ office or other guest tents.

The thoughtful design continues through to the en-suite bathroom. You’ll find a flush toilet behind a separate door, twin wash basins, a large dressing table and mirror, and antique style free-standing bath tub, as well as a powerful shower and another open-air one outside the tent. Fluffy towels, bath robes and slippers are provided, along with high quality Africology toiletries.

At the other end of the room is a seating area, with a couple of armchairs and a sofa, which can be made up as an additional bed for young children. Antique anatomical charts of local fauna adorn the wall, and coffee table books are laid artfully on the chunky wooden table. There is also a mini bar, tea and coffee station and various bottles of wine, sherry and port.

A large, private, shaded deck area runs along the outside of the suite. Here you’ll find a table and directors’ chairs – you can order dinner on your deck – and two cream leather recliners.

The contemporary African décor extends throughout the lodge’s central area with cream seating, wooden and bronze tables, tan suede stools, basket work and stone carvings. An impressively large stone fireplace is the focal point of the room, with a well stocked bar to one side.

A striking feature of the main area is the beautiful swimming pool area, surrounded by stepped wooden decking, large bean bags and stylish recliners, with the infinity pool seemingly spilling down on to the rocky landscape below. Tucked behind a boulder is a secluded, heated plunge pool, overlooking stunning vistas. If you’re lucky you may see elephants drinking from the Arugusinyai River below.

Near the pool area is the lodge’s wine cellar, carved into the ground, with the stock kept nicely cool by the natural rock. A little further along is the cosy library, which also has a fireplace for cooler evenings, and a good selection of coffee table books, novels and field guides.

Next to the main lodge building is the spa and fitness gym which is open from 7am-7pm. The gym is located in a light and airy elevated room, with multiple long mirrors on one side, and floor-to-ceiling windows on the other, looking out over the surrounding bush. There’s a multistation here, including a treadmill and bike, alongside a wide range of free weights, swiss balls and yoga mats. You can connect your device to the sound system and there’s fridge stocked with complementary energy drinks.

Next to the fitness studio is the lodge’s tranquil spa, the perfect way to unwind after a bumpy game drive. A range of therapies and treatments is on offer, including facials, manicures and reflexology and massages start from $50 for 45 minutes.

Activities at Mwiba are varied, with an emphasis on tailored schedules to suit each guest. Typically you go out first thing in the morning, return for lunch and a siesta and then head out on another activity in the afternoon. Activities include game drives, walking safaris, cultural visits and night drives. It is even possible to organize scenic helicopter flights (with prior arrangement and at additional cost). Each group of guests staying at Mwiba is assigned their own guide, spotter and vehicle, giving you privacy and allowing flexibility on the pace of your game drive, which works particularly well for families.

The lodge is rightly proud of its close connection with its local community, in particular two tribes – the Hadza or Hadzabe, and the Datoga. The nomadic Hadza tribe are indigenous to the area and are one of the last genuine hunter gatherer societies in the world. Lodge guests are given the opportunity to walk with them and while a meeting with them is never guaranteed, the walking guide at the lodge usually has a rough idea where one of the Hadza groups is located. Guests head out first thing on a bush walk, usually lasting most of the morning, and learn about the environment, from the medicinal uses of plants, to animal scat. At some point during the morning, some Hadza folk may join the guests for a part of the walk. This was the case on our walk in 2018, when Hadza people seemingly appeared from nowhere. They showed us how they locate and harvest honeycomb, staying with us for around an hour, and then ran off back into the bush. We continued our walk, which culminated in the most amazing bush breakfast served in a tree house. After some initial doubt before Mwiba’s walking experience, we now feel quite sure that it is both genuine and ethical. However, please do talk to Expert Africa’s specialists for more information if you are interested.

The more sedentary Datoga tribe are located a short drive from the lodge, and it is possible to arrange a visit to one of their villages, where you will be warmly invited into the home of an elder, to learn about their way of life through a translator-guide. Again, we felt this experience was genuine and the Datoga did seem happy for us to be there. It is a good idea to bring some small change with you as they usually have some handicrafts for sale. While there is no pressure to buy anything, it felt nice to us to give something back.


Our view

Mwiba is a very special experience and the service and facilities are first-class. The lodge is wonderfully peaceful and luxurious, and the staff will bend over backwards to ensure your wishes are met: nothing is too much trouble. The location is secluded, with beautiful landscapes and fantastic wildlife, and we were highly impressed with the quality of guiding.

This is most definitely not a lodge if you’re on a budget, or one for hardcore safari purists, but it is ideal if you want to relax and enjoy the natural surroundings, and take part in the activities on the private concession.

Jessica Plumb

Jessica Plumb

Country manager: Tanzania

Geographics

Location
Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania
Ideal length of stay
At least three nights.
Directions
Fly into Mwiba Airstrip (50 minutes from Arusha Airport) followed by a 15-minute drive to Mwiba Lodge. Ndutu Airstrip is a 2-hour game drive to Mwiba Lodge, and the Ngorongoro Crater is a 3-hour drive to the lodge.
Accessible by
Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis
Full Board & Activities
Food quality
As we expected, we found the food at Mwiba to be very high-quality, varied and beautifully presented. Dining locations change daily.

The breakfast buffet is typically served from 6.00am until 9.00am and consists of plenty of fruit, fresh bread, cereals, cold meats and hot items cooked to order.

Lunch is typically served at the lodge, but you can also choose to have it out in the bush if you’d rather be out all day. During our stay we ate peri peri prawns, pork spare ribs, vegetable parcels and risotto arancini, served with a selection of mixed salads and freshly baked bread. Dessert was a choice of raspberry panna cotta with cream anglaise or delicious homemade mint ice cream

Dinner is three courses and à la carte, with two or three options for each course. During our stay in 2018 we started with a celeriac and fennel salad, followed by minute steak and fresh vegetables, with an opera cake to finish. On another evening we had zucchini soup to start, followed by tandoori chicken and a rich chocolate mousse.

The lodge can cater for children and most dietary requests by prior arrangement.
Dining style
Individual Tables
Dining locations
Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Further dining info, including room service
Possible with prior arrangement.
Drinks included
Included.

Children

Attitude towards children
Children of all ages welcome.
Property’s age restrictions
There are no age restrictions at Mwiba Lodge.
Special activities & services
There are plans to implement a kids club / formal activities in 2019.
Equipment
No special equipment at present.
Generally recommended for children
Mwiba Lodge welcomes children of all ages, and has plans to implement a kids' club in the near future. However, we do feel that this luxurious lodge has an adult atmosphere and would be better suited to older children.
Notes
Children should be fully supervised at all times, due to dangerous wildlife present. Parents should also be aware that the raised decking around the tented rooms is quite high above the ground.

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Mwiba Lodge

Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Mwiba Lodge have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.

Buffalo

100% success

Cheetah

100% success

Eland

100% success

Elephant

100% success

Giraffe

100% success

Hippo

100% success

Lion

100% success

Oryx

100% success

Roan antelope

100% success

Spotted Hyena

100% success

Wildebeest

100% success

Zebra

100% success

Aardvark

0% success

Black Rhino

0% success

Leopard

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Striped Hyena

0% success

Wild dog

0% success

Communications

Power supply notes
The camp has 24-hour electricity and there is a back-up generator.
There are USB sockets along with 2- and 3-pin plugs in the rooms for charging batteries and electronics.
Communications
Excellent fibre optic WiFi is found in the tented suites and throughout the lodge, although guests are encouraged to browse and chat in their own rooms. There are telephones in the rooms for internal and international calls.
TV & radio
There is no TV.
Water supply
Borehole
Water supply notes
All bathrooms are fully plumbed in, with hot and cold running water.

Filtered drinking water provided.

Health & safety

Medical care
There is a first-aid kit on site and a number of staff are first aid trained. The lodge is connected to the Flying Doctors Service for medical emergencies.
Dangerous animals
High Risk
Security measures
There are askaris (local guards) patrolling throughout the day and night. Guests are always accompanied after dark.
Fire safety
There are fire extinguishers by suites and central areas.

Activities

  • 4WD Safari

    4WD Safari

  • Birdwatching

    Birdwatching

  • Cultural excursion

    Cultural excursion

  • Fly-camping

    Fly-camping

  • Guided walking safari

    Guided walking safari

  • Helicopter

    Helicopter

  • Night drive

    Night drive

Extras

Disabled access
On Request
Laundry facilities
Laundry service is included. Machine washed and dried, usually a 24 hour service.
Money
There are electronic safes in all tented suites. There is no currency exchange.
Accepted payment on location
Travellers can pay for any extras with cash or card. All major cards are accepted, including Amex, although there is a 5% surcharge.

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