Kikoti Safari Camp is situated in the heart of the Maasai plains in the Tarangire area. Kikoti means “meeting place” in the Maasai language. Kikoti is a meeting place of people, cultures and wildlife. A lone bush elephant stately lumbers through the camp, watched by buffalo, drinking at the water hole, passing through on the migration route. A Maasai warrior, armed with bow and arrows, escorts you to your room in the evening, looking out across the Simanjiro plains as the African sun sets over the horizon, the air alive with noise and life.
Kikoti is six kilometers from Tarangire National Park and three hours drive from Arusha. Kikoti is also reachable by charter plane, arriving at Kuru, with a shorter drive to the camp. Being located outside the camp offers certain advantages; the chance to enjoy nature walks led by Maasai rangers or night game drives.
Kikoti lies on the migration route for the plains game and offers a diverse array of wildlife to see from the safety of the camp during the beginning of the dry season in July and towards the end in November.
Kikoti’s rooms are beautiful raised luxury bandas, with magnificent views of the hills, looking down into the national park. In total, there are 8 double rooms and 10 twin rooms, built from natural materials in tune with their environment, with a design that echoes safari tents from years gone by.
These simple and elegant rooms are decorated in warm caramel and creams, with stylish en-suite bathrooms. There are touches of local craftsmanship everywhere, the woven rugs, the bed frames made from snot apple wood and African ebony, found outside Tarangire National Park and the thatched roofs, recalling the safari tents of years gone by. The beds are wonderfully comfortable, perfect to sink into after a long day’s safari. Alternatively, you can sit out on your private verandah, in one of the wicker chairs and watch the world pass by. Wildebeest, water buffalo, hyenas and zebra have been known to wander underneath the rooms, providing a close up wildlife experience. Water is tanked in on a weekly basis as there is no natural supply by the camp, but hot water is available and the lights run from solar power.
The restaurant offers great home cooked meals by local chefs using tasty local produce, freshly baked bread, fruits and vegetables in season. A breakfast buffet is served between 6:30am – 9:00am, with breakfast boxes provided for early morning game drives. Packed lunches can also be arranged but for the guests in camp, lunch is served between 12:30pm – 2:30pm. Dinner is served between 7:30pm and 9:00pm and is the ideal opportunity to swap bush tales with other guests. Special dietary requirements can easily be accommodated although advance notice is preferred.
After dinner, guests are treated to an insight into Maasai culture as the Maasai staff prepare for their performance. Dressed in their traditional costumes, the red tartan ‘shuka,’ beaded jewelry and hunting knives, tribal songs are sung about life in the wilderness, followed by traditional dancing and jumping, said to be a sign of manhood and strength in young men. There can be a friendly competitiveness here to see who can jump the highest and guests are encouraged to join in!
The lounge bar is the perfect place to relax with its homely and comfortable sofas glowing in burnt sienna and dusky reds, and floor cushions. The bar itself is made from local woods, with animals carved out of African ebony and jacaranda wood. There is a wide selection of South African wines, Tanzanian beers, whiskies, spirits, soft drinks and sodas, and the bartender is more than happy to make you a cocktail.
Take refuge from the midday heat, drink tea and coffee, and watch the birds jostle for rice at the feeding table, the bright Superb Starlings with their dazzling plumage. At night, the lamps are lit, providing a warm glow, where you can sit around the bonfire and trade stories of your day’s adventure.
Night Drives: At night, Kikoti takes on an otherworldly feel, lit by moonlight and thousands of stars bright and clear in the African sky. As Kikoti is outside national park grounds, night game drives are permitted, allowing you to see some of the hidden secrets of the surroundings. The camp has 2 open night drive vehicles, with experienced spotters and drivers to show you some of the lesser seen sights.
Nature Walks: Learn how to track animals and recognize their habitats on a nature walk with one of our experienced guides. Find termite mounds, snake holes, animal prints and learn about the useful and medicinal properties of local plants, including the extraordinary baobab tree.
Nasira Rock: A short drive away from the camp the Nasira rock, an ancient rock formation made from limestone, carved with hidden Maasai paintings. It’s an easy hike to the top, with stunningly beautiful views of the bush and plains below, the ideal place for a sundowner. As the sun sinks, the sky becomes a brilliant blue, with soft pink clouds, lit up by the warm yellows, oranges and golds of the African sun.
A share of the profits of Kikoti goes towards the African Nature Conservation Trust, a non-profit organization. As well as building a school and a clinic for the local community, the Trust’s goals are to maintain and conserve the extraordinary ecosystem in Tarangire-Manyara, part of one of the world’s most outstanding habitats, according to the World Wildlife Fund.
Through the African Nature Conservation Trust, Kikoti helps to address problems such as habitat degradation, wildlife population declines, excessive charcoal cutting and increased human-wildlife conflict.