Bush Banda at ecolodge Tembo Kijani which is nestled high up in the bush to feel part of Tanzania nature. Photo credit: Sarah Peled.
Sarah Peled wrote this guest post about her ecolodge Tembo Kijani in Tanzania.
Long, white and lonely sand beaches, clear blue sea, the sound of coconut leaves rustling in the air – doesn’t that sound like paradise?
Tanzania has one of the highest populations of elephants in Africa, between 110,000 -150,000 elephants. Photo credit: Sarah Peled.
Tanzania is a great place for experiencing Africa – altogether it has more than 800km of beach and more than a third of Tanzania is conservation area. The coastal area of Tanzania actually offers both and little towns where you can experience the local culture and heritage.
Watching lions, elephants and giraffes wandering through the green bushland of Africa – is this not what you expect to see on a safari?
Giraffes are a common sight in Saadani National Park; the national symbol of Tanzania manages to hide quite well in between the acacia trees. Photo credit: Sarah Peled.
The beaches in this area are still untouched so you can walk for kilometers without meeting anybody except local fishermen. Mangrove systems near river mouths, reefs just off the coast or sandbanks with sea turtles are still part of this coastal area.
Tembo Kijani, which means “Green Elephant” in Kiswahili, is our small family-run ecolodge in the coastal area between Pangani and Saadani National Park. We are devoted to leaving its environment as untouched as possible and supporting the local economy by:
- Not cutting trees;
- Cultivating and conserving the existing bush;
- Running the ecolodge solely on wind and solar;
- Building the bandas (guest units) from locally available and recyclable materials;
- Employing most staff from three local villages and
- Supporting our local village.
Secluded beaches at Tembo Kijani; enjoying long strolls. Photo credit: Sarah Peled.
The four bandas are elevated and have open walls (1.2m and up) to catch the breeze of the ocean and sunlight. We used burlap and Kumba (braided coconut leaves) for the walls, eucalyptus wood for the floor, wooden poles as the skeleton and coconut leaf thatches as the roof. All materials grow in the surroundings and can be recycled if needed.
While sitting quietly on the balcony nestled in the bush, you can catch a glimpse of monkeys, birds, gazelles and other animals and still hear the sound of the Indian Ocean in the background. Enjoying a fruit shake or cocktail at the beachfront bar will give you the opportunity to spot the African Fish Eagle making his rounds looking for some dinner.
Sunset over Saadani National Park at the end of an exciting Safari. Photo credit: Sarah Peled.
Saadani National Park, located between the northern border of Tanzania and Dar es Salaam, is actually the only National Park in East Africa on the coast. The Wami River crosses the park in the south where you can see plenty of hippos and crocodiles on a boat tour. The park itself is mostly bushland, so you won’t spot game with binoculars in the steppe. But you will hear, see and feel the giraffes running just in front of you. Lions, antelopes, elephants, gnus and buffaloes also call the park home.
We offer Saadani National Park safaris which we are guiding ourselves. In the future, we want to offer boat trips to nearby reefs for snorkeling and to the stunning mangrove ecosystem just 3 km north.