Looking for a place beyond the back of beyond? Want to run away from crowded city life? Almost 10km up on the slope of the majestic Mount Kilimanjaro, Africa’s highest and the world’s highest free-standing mountain, are the luxury bungalows of Kaliwa Lodge. A few minute’s walking distance from the Machame Gate entrance of the Kilimanjaro National Park, this is just the kind of place that startles you with its intrigue and remoteness.
Situated at a height of 1300m, near a town called Moshi in northern Tanzania, the lodge is surrounded by banana trees and other exotic plants. You can fall asleep under the clear star-filled sky, alongside the sound of crickets and laughing calls of bush babies. Chattering black velvet monkeys and the cries of horn bills will make your mornings beautiful. If you are lucky, you might even get woken up in the middle of the night by a roaring lion!
The architects have taken inspiration from Bauhaus, the German art school which combines crafts and fine arts, and beautifully combined it with the lush nature of Mount Kilimanjaro’s rain forest. Well-heeled travellers will find simplicity and peace at the Kaliwa Lodge. Eucalyptus wood furnishings and comfortable rooms enhance the beauty of the resort. The terrace is ideal for events and yoga sessions. Kaliwa Lodge also offers cooking courses for Tanzanian food. Add to this Papa’s Kilimanjaro Whisky Bar which offers over 100 varieties of whiskies from around the world. Isn’t that amazing? The head chef, Sam and his kitchen team, create delicious menus, inspired by local flavours and ingredients.
The sprawling landscape is home to a variety of wildlife, including lions, elephants, wild buffaloes, rhinos, leopards, giraffes and zebras. Kaliwa Lodge offers hiking and other cultural activities. Hiking tours can be customised to the needs of the travellers. Not only this, guests are taken to Arusha National Park, or to the wild side on the slope of Mount Kilimanjaro for a walk or a hike to the coffee plantation nearby. Africa is a great travel destination and offers a variety of cultures, colours, and cuisines. You cannot miss the safari experience here. The safaris focus on the northern circuit that includes Kilimanjaro, Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti. These can last from 4-14 days, depending on interest, time and budget. Don’t worry about pictures, you can experience specialised ‘photographic safaris’ with specially modified 4x4 safari Landcruisers.
The largest mammals on earth, African elephants wander through 37 countries in the region. It is easy to recognise African elephants by their trunks, and their large ears that help them to radiate excess heat. You can find two species of elephants in Africa — the Savanna (or bush) elephant and the forest elephant. It is easy to differentiate between the two as the Savanna elephants are larger than the forest elephants, and their tusks curve outwards, whereas on the forest ones they are smaller, straighter, darker, and point downwards.
Is flying in a hot-air balloon on your bucket list? If yes, then Kaliwa Lodge is your place. A must-have on most to-do lists, the fun and adventure begins early when you opt for a ride. Post the pre-flight drill and the pilot’s instructions on safety and landing positions, the balloons are taken up to 1,000m or more to give guests a spectacular aerial view of the wildlife below. The balloons float in the direction of the wind, and to add to the exhilaration, there is no pre-determined landing spot. Yes, no two flights here are the same and your balloon safari is unique each time.
In A Nilotic ethnic group inhabiting northern, central and southern Kenya, and northern Tanzania, the piercing and stretching of earlobes is common among the Maasai. While women wear beaded ornaments and pierce the top of their ears, boys paint their faces mimicking bird patterns. In a remarkable initiative, the lodge stays connected to local communities by buying fresh vegetables, fruits and other items of daily need from the nearby villages. Even the tours conducted by the lodge are run by local tour operators.
Wallet: $99 USD per person/night including breakfast (Rs 6,900 approx)