Situated in a beautiful wildlife management area between the Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara, Chem Chem Lodge is a luxurious tented establishment that boasts spectacular views over the Rift Valley escarpment, spacious and stylish accommodation, superb facilities and a varied range of activities.
Chem Chem’s vintage safari style is complemented by an open-air feel and a gorgeous setting overlooking plains, palm trees and the sparkling lake. The private concession offers everything from walks or runs with Maasai warriors, to day trips to Lake Manyara, game drives, tracking and cultural experiences, making for a delightful blend between adventure and culture. The Amani Spa offers a pampering range of treatments, while private dining, a swimming pool and a supremely comfortable campfire area complete the luxury safari experience.
The Burunge Wildlife Management Area is a 620 square kilometre private concession wedged between the Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara. This picturesque wilderness area is home to healthy populations of buffalo, giraffe, impala and zebra; while cheetah, leopard, elephant and lion can also be stumbled upon. More than 200 species of birds call the concession home, and the streams cascading down from the Rift Valley escarpment are particularly verdant habitats, creating lush forests and wetlands. The stunning Lake Burunge is an important habitat for migrating water birds, which arrive here in their thousands.
Due to the private nature of the concession, activities such as night drives, walks and off-road driving are permitted, greatly enhancing the variety of a safari here. Burunge is roughly 18km from Tarangire’s main gate, and less than 10km from the southern boundary of Lake Manyara, meaning that it is the perfect base for explorations of these two popular national parks.
Average temperatures are consistent throughout the year and it is very rarely hot enough to be uncomfortable, although it is almost always cold in the early mornings and evenings.The dry season runs from June to September, with another short dry season from January to February. The wet seasons consist of a period of 'long rains', which occur from March to May, and a period of 'short rains' occurring from October to November.
Opened in 2011 by Swiss/French couple Fabia Baush and Nicolas Negre, Chem Chem has been built in a vintage safari style with a tasteful contemporary twist. Wood, stone and thatch have been used to give the lodge a natural feel, and the main area is filled with sumptuous leather sofas, tree-trunk tables and various African artefacts.
An open-air design showcases beautiful views of the plains and escarpment, whether from the comfy lounge or the elegant dining area. The campfire is surrounded by cushioned benches, allowing guests to enjoy comfortable pre-dinner drinks under the stars.
The lodge also houses a full-service gourmet restaurant, bar and library, while an attractive swimming pool is privately tucked away amongst trees. An ‘Eagle’s Nest’ viewing tower boasts spectacular views over the surrounds and is a superb vantage point for game viewing.
Chem Chem’s eight tented suites are immensely spacious, private and stylish. Comforts include a luxury en-suite bathroom with a large oval bath, indoor and outdoor showers, along with yoga mats, dressing rooms, dressing gowns and slippers. The deck area features lovely views of the lake and comfortable outdoor furniture. There is also a family suite for guests with children 10 years and older.
Chem Chem offers a number of memorable experiences that make for a fascinatingly varied stay. Waking up in the morning, you can go for a walk or run with a Maasai warrior, who will reveal some of the secrets of this remarkable tribe. Guests can also opt for a bush walk that culminates in a delicious breakfast underneath a 3 000 year old baobab tree, embark on a hot air ballooning trip or track animals with an expert guide.
The natural wonders of Lake Manyara and Tarangire can be explored on day trips that include picnics and wonderful game viewing in an open 4x4. To get closer to the area’s people, take a cultural tour with Mama Lekshoni – the youngest wife of one of the main Maasai chiefs, or visit one of the local schools supported by Chem Chem’s LiveWildlife Foundation. Families are catered for with a well-rounded family safari that mixes culture and wildlife in equal measures.
Those looking for some pampering can make use of the Amani Spa, which offers a decadent range of treatments that are bound to soothe away any stress you may have.