Getting off the beaten track in one of the greatest safari destinations need not mean missing out on the best wildlife experiences. On the contrary – you’ll likely get to enjoy encounters and activities not offered in the publicly managed National Parks in addition to the usual bells and whistles of safari life.
So what exactly is a private wildlife concession? This refers to an area that has been made available to a private company to manage, usually for a lease period for which they are responsible for certain aspects of that area. This may include a lodge, wildlife management, any local villages and other factors. While that sounds like a whole lot of extra work to some, for wildlife enthusiasts and luxury lodge operators, this allows the opportunity to promote travel to an area without the rigmarole and regulations imposed by the public parks which are designed for the masses. What that means to the visitor, is you’ll get different rules on private concessions allowing you to explore the wilderness on foot with rangers, on horse-back, at night on game drives or even by air in helicopters. Private concessions are strictly managed to ensure minimal impact on the natural environment, offer a wider range of things to do and are most often run by people and companies that feel a great responsibility to the natural environment and communities in which they operate.
Tanzania has some fabulous concession areas on the northern safari circuit, one of our favourites is Chem Chem and its sister camp, Little Chem Chem. The Chem Chem Private Concession refers to a 20,000ha tract of private land within the Burunge Wildlife Management Area between the Tarangire National Park in the east and Lake Manyara in the west. This piece of land forms part of a crucial wildlife migration corridor and enables the animals to move freely from the Tarangire National Park to the Lake Manyara National Park. Chem Chem started the concept of what is known as a slow safari. This involves taking in all the aspects of the safari experience – most of which are removed from the safari vehicle. Walk the wilds with a Masai guide to fully see, feel, touch and smell all the aspects of the wilderness. Picnic under an ancient Baobab tree and watch nature unfold before you or marvel at the mass of birdlife with sundowners at Lake Manyara. Cultural tours are also a favourite with visits to the local villages and Masai Manyatta’s. Accommodation at Chem Chem Lodge is provided in eight spacious tented suites with one family suite that is suitable for families with children over the age of eight; and the guest area includes a pool and a spa facility. Little Chem Chem is home to just six vintage tents and offers a smaller, more intimate safari setting. While accommodation is in tents, you’ll not be camping in these luxurious abodes, all complete with en-suite bathrooms, electricity, spacious lounging areas and comfortable beds to ensure a good nights rest.
To truly escape you’ll be hard pressed to beat the luxury offered at Mwiba Lodge. With sophisticated architecture and precision placement, you’ll think you’ve arrived in the middle of nowhere before you start to make out the lodge between the massive boulders and trees all overlooking a rocky gorge on the Arugusinyai River. The lodge is located on a private 55,000ha reserve nestled on the edge of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area giving it direct access to the fantastic game viewing that has made the Serengeti so famous. As a private reserve, they’re able to offer both day and night game drives to explore the region in addition to guided nature walks and local community visits. The lodge is intimate with only eight tented suites, but there’s nothing crowded about their placement so there’s ample privacy to enjoy the views. Each tented suite comes complete with a bathtub to soak away any travel stresses, as well as both an indoor and outdoor shower. The camp is also family friendly to children of all ages and has two sets of tents that can be interconnected to form family suites. Whether you’re here to see the masses of wildebeest calve or enjoy the famed leopard exploration walk, you’ll have the greatest adventure along the way in blissful comfort and indulgent luxury.
We recommend combining these two majestic wildlife concessions with a couple of nights at the Lemala Ngorongoro Camp on the Ngorongoro Crater to make the most of the superb wildlife experiences in the area. For further information on these camps please call us on 020 7843 3500 or email our Africa experts here