Lemala Mpingo Ridge: Our full report
Opened in July 2018, Lemala Mpingo Ridge is one of Tarangire National Park’s newer camps.It is set on a high ridge with elevated views across the valley below from every aspect of the camp. Impressive rooms, infinity swimming pool, attention to detail, excellent service and delicious meals make this a luxurious base from which to explore.
Spread along the hillside overlooking the national park, Lemala Mpingo Ridge has 15 suites, of which one is a two-bedroom family suite. Half sit on the eastern side of the ridge, with views of the sunrise, and the other half face west – towards the sunset. In size and style, though, all are identical. Despite the canvas walls, the suites feel very solid, and are markedly different from a traditional safari tent. Contemporary design, with neutral tones, blends with traditional fabrics, beaded wall hangings, woven rugs and wicker lightshades, to create an elegant and stylish feel that retains a sense of connection to the natural surroundings.
The suites are very spacious, and certainly have the “wow” factor. The central super-king-size or twin beds are draped in billowing cream fabric, tied back to the four posts during the day. There’s a useful dressing area behind the bed and a lounge furnished with an armchair and cosy sofa. Amenities include a fan, minibar, and tea and coffee facilities. The equally large en-suite bathroom, with a hairdryer and complimentary toiletries provided, comes with twin rough-hewn stone basins, a rain shower and a free-standing bathtub with views over the park. A door leads to an outdoor shower, which is wonderfully refreshing after a long game drive.
Each room has a large private deck with a small table and chairs, an inspired sunken sofa and a second free-standing bath – perfect for an indulgent soak!
The main areas of Mpingo Ridge feature the same contemporary style with a natural feel as the rooms, A large lounge, filled with natural light, features a beautiful exposed stone wall at one and is laid out with a variety of seating areas. The well-stocked bar is a friendly gathering place for sundowner drinks and snacks. Meals can be enjoyed in the dining room or on the large curved deck. The location and large windows make the most of the memorable views. End the evening with a nightcap around the campfire below the main deck.
A short walk down from the central area is a T-shaped infinity pool, which is a great spot for a swim during the heat of the day. This is surrounded by a number of loungers, and conveniently also has its own toilet and shower.
There’s also a souvenir shop stocked with a variety of items more unique than those found in most curious shops such as beaded belts, locally made jewelry, interesting bags and wonderful pictures.
Nestled between the boulders in an elevated position is a small spa, set up with a couple of therapy tables and a private outside bathroom and shower. A variety of massage treatments are available, lasting 30 to 60 minutes.
Activities at Mpingo Ridge focus on game drives in the surrounding Tarangire valley, away from the busier northern sections of the park. Tarangire is known for its elephants, and on our most recent visit in September 2019 we saw several large herds and have wonderful memories of watching their interaction. You can expect to see a good number of predators here, with several prides of lions in the park, numerous leopard and cheetah, which can occasionally be seen hunting on the open plains. Morning or afternoon walks are also available, led by a walking guide from camp and accompanied by a park ranger. Night drives are a further option, at an extra cost, giving you a chance to discover the park's lesser-known, nocturnal species such as civets and genets. While it may be possible to arrange walking safaris and night drives at the lodge, these are best booked in advance.
This beautiful camp is the sister property of two high-quality lodges in the Serengeti, Lemala Kuria Hills and Lemala Nanyukie, both of which combine nicely with Lemala Mpingo Ridge as part of a luxurious circuit of northern Tanzania.
We love the wonderful views from the lofty location of Lemala Mpingo Ridge. It is a well thought out, modern take on safari style, with a good level of luxury, and excellent service to match. Its setting does mean it is about a fifteen-minute drive down to the higher density game drive areas flanking the Tarangire River, but there’s often a range of wildlife to see on route. This camp will really suit travellers looking for a smart lodge with comfortable accommodation and a high-quality experience, inside Tarangire National Park.
- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- Stay for at least two nights as Tarangire National Park is worth it - or stay three nights for time to enjoy the service and pampering from the lodge.
- Lemala Mpingo Ridge is around a 45-minute drive from Kuro Airstrip, or around a three- to four-hour drive from Arusha.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- Lemala Mpingo Ridge serves a mixture of international and local cuisine. On our latest visit in September 2019 we found the meals to be of a very high quality and that this matched the style of the lodge very well.
Mealtimes are fairly flexible, and breakfast and lunch hampers can easily be arranged.
When breakfast is enjoyed in camp there is usually a buffet selection of fresh fruit, cereals, cold meats, fresh bread and pastries. Choose a fresh juice or smoothie to drink, or perhaps make your own Bucks Fizz or Bloody Mary from the provided ingredients! The chef prepares eggs to order and offers a daily special such as eggs benedict served on an English muffin with hollandaise sauce. Individual pots of tea or filter coffee are served to your table.
Lunch is often a picnic box enjoyed whilst on a game drive, but if eaten in camp it typically consists of something fresh and light, often served with salad, and followed by a simple dessert such as a sorbet.
Dinner is usually a set menu with two choices for each of the three courses. On one visit we started with pea and mint soup accompanied by naan bread and an aubergine dip. For the main course we ate pork wrapped in crispy bacon, served with creamy mashed potato and a butternut squash purée; this was followed by a decadent chocolate mousse with whipped cream. On our latest visit we were served fresh bread rolls with a white bean dip followed by creamy potato and cauliflower soup. The main course choices were beef fillet, potato rosti, green beans, roast tomato and salsa verde (superb!) or chicken breast flavoured by thyme and served with sweet potato. Dessert options were home-made strawberry ice cream or mango sorbet.
- Attitude towards children
- Lemala Mpingo Ridge welcomes children of all ages, although it is better suited for older children.
- Property’s age restrictions
- There are no age restrictions on children staying here, but children under 12 years may not take part in walking safaris.
- Special activities & services
- There is to be a kids club called Lemala Clubs, with an interactive set of activities for children aged up to 11 years old. Activities include making wooden Maasai bows and arrows and looking for wildlife footprints. There is no child-minding service.
- The family suite is made up of two rooms linked by a partially enclosed verandah. The sofa in each standard room can be adapted into a bed for one child sharing with parents.
There is no child specific equipment such as cots or high chairs.
- Generally recommended for children
- With a large family room, swimming pool and a great kids' club, Lemala Mpingo Ridge could be a good choice for families. However, as it is quite a sophisticated camp with a relatively adult atmosphere and open-sided decks, we would suggest that it is better suited to families with older children.
- The camp is unfenced so children need to be under parental supervision at all times.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Lemala Mpingo Ridge
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Lemala Mpingo Ridge 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.
- Power supply notes
- There is a back-up generator to ensure 24-hour power.
Hairdryers are supplied.
Each room has a selection of USB points and universal plug adaptors.
There are plug points by the bed which can be used for CPAP machines.
- Free Wi-Fi in rooms only.
- TV & radio
- There is no TV at Lemala Mpingo Ridge.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- All rooms have plumbed hot and cold water and flushing toilets.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- Staff are first-aid trained, and there is a large hospital in Arusha, a drive of about 3 to 4 hours. A flying doctor service is used in the event of medical emergencies.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- There is 24-hour security in place at Lemala Mpingo Ridge. Guests are escorted between their rooms and the communal area after dark.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are in place throughout the property.
Guided walking safari
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A complimentary laundry service is available. Clothes are machine washed and sun dried.
- There are key-locked safes in all rooms.
- Accepted payment on location
- All major currencies are accepted, including US dollars, GB pounds and euros. Visa and Mastercard are accepted with a 3% surcharge.
Other lodges in Tarangire National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.