Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge is a simple camp…
Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge: Our full report
Kirurumu Tarangire Lodge – opened in 2011 and previously known as Tamarind Camp – is a simple but fairly comfortable tented camp located by the village of Mswakini, just outside the gates of Tarangire National Park.
When we last visited, in November 2015, the communal areas of Kirurumu Tarangire had recently been enlarged and updated. The previous dining room, a small open-sided mess tent, could feel quite cramped, but the new dining room is a larger, more permanent, concrete-and-thatch structure raised off the ground, with a lot more space.
Another tent of similar size is used for the lounge and bar. Here you’ll find homely Persian rugs covering the canvas floor, chunky wooden tables and a few sofas – an ideal place to relax, perhaps with one of the books from their small library. Snacks and drinks are served around the campfire in the evening.
The 10 tented rooms at Kirurumu Tarangire are connected by sandy paths through the scrub. They are identical in design: simple and rustic, but perfectly comfortable. There are five on each side of the central areas of the camp, and all of them face Tarangire National Park, across a stretch of seasonal marsh separating the park, 300 metres away, from the camp. The marsh draws wildlife, especially buffalo and elephants through much of the year.
Of the 10 tents, 8 can be set up as doubles or twins, and 2 are usually used as triples, with the option of adding an extra bed to make them quads.
Each tent is set on a stone plinth, with canvas walls and a thatched roof. With their glazed French doors at the front they have quite a permanent feel. Each has a deck at the front, with directors’ chairs. Inside, the tents are spacious, and the red polished floors keep the rooms relatively cool in the heat of the day. There is minimal furniture: steel-framed four-poster bed under mosquito netting, a bedside table, and a small writing desk where you’ll find a torch, a limited supply of free bottled water, and insect repellent. Overall, these tented rooms have the quality and style of a mid-range town hotel. You don’t choose this camp for its design flair.
The bathroom sits at the back of each tent and although it’s a separate area, there’s no door or partition. It features twin wash basins, a plumbed-in shower and a flush toilet – both of which are curtained off for privacy – and in the two triple rooms, a large lockable cupboard in which to store valuables. The toiletries provided consist of basic bars of soap, and shampoo.
One thing which we found quite unusual was the proximity of Kirurumu Tarangire to the local village well in Mswakini – it’s located less than five minutes’ drive from the lodge entrance and driving past this straight into a lodge with plentiful quantities of running water felt a little uncomfortable. However, the camp is continually improving their relationship with the village: US$15 per person per night is contributed to a fund to help improve Mswakini and village visits, which cost US$20 per group, are also possible.
You can do botanical and livestock boma walks, with camp staff at no formal cost (in other words for the price of a tip), but the camp has no vehicles or driver-guides of its own. Guests staying here always arrive with their own transport and guide.
Our viewKirurumu Tarangire Lodge works well as a relatively inexpensive base from which to visit the north side of Tarangire National Park, but bear in mind that this is the busiest part of the park – especially during the prime game-viewing months of the dry season.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend staying here for two nights while exploring Tarangire National Park.
Directions: Tarangire National Park is about two hours’ drive from Arusha.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we last visited Kirurumu Tarangire we didn’t have a chance to sample the food, but the manager told us guests can expect the following:
Breakfast is a buffet selection of cereals and fruit, and you can also order a cooked breakfast.
Lunch and dinner are both three-course meals with a soup or salad to start. That said, the majority of guests take a packed lunch so they can spend the whole day exploring Tarangire National Park. There is a choice of main courses for dinner with one option always being vegetarian.
Before dinner, guests usually gather around the firepit which looks onto the seasonal marsh.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks cost extra.
Further dining info: Room service is possible at Kirurumu Tarangire, but there are no phones in the tents so you would need to arrange this in advance.
Attitude towards children: Kirurumu welcomes children of any age.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Kirurumu Tarangire.
Special activities & services: There is a short botanical walk and a bird walk around the property, which children can join.
Equipment: Kirurumu Tarangire has child-sized chairs and tables for dining, but no high chairs or baby cots.
Generally recommended for children: Kirurumu is a wild, unfenced camp and its proximity to the village means that the animals here can be a little more aggressive than usual because the villagers sometimes attack them. Given that there are few special activities or facilities for children, we recommend it only for children over the age of eight.
Communications: There is a computer in reception that guests can use to access the internet. There is no charge for this, but it uses a modem so can be very slow. There is a limited WiFi hotspot around reception.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: Drinking water is provided in half-litre plastic bottles at the rate of one per day per guests. Extra supplies are usually charged to guests.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Kirurumu Tarangire has a basic first-aid kit on site, and the manager is first-aid trained. But for serious health problems guests would be driven to Arusha.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Askaris – mostly Maasai men from the nearby village – patrol the grounds and escort guests to and from their rooms after dark.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers around the tents, roughly one for every two tents. They do fire-training a couple of times a year.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: There is a laundry service, which costs a little extra. Clothes are hand-washed and dried in the sun, and ironed when the generator is on.
Money: Guests in the triple rooms can lock valuables in the lockable cupboards. Otherwise, you can hand valuables in at reception for safe keeping.
Accepted payment on location: Kirurumu Tarangire accepts payments in cash only. They usually accept British pounds, US dollars, euros and Tanzanian shillings.