- Small, friendly camp
- Adjacent to Tarangire National Park
- Game drives, night walks
- Maasai Community visits
Whistling Thorn is a small, authentic bush camp set in a landscape of African thorn-trees, adjacent to the Kwakuchinja Wildlife Corridor in the Great Rift Valley, Northern Tanzania. The Kwakuchinja Corridor is used by thousands of animals to migrate from Tarangire to Lake Manyara in search of water and grasses meaning there is abundant wildlife to be found here. The camp is located within a private concession area, a short 10-minute drive from the gates of the Tarangire National Park. It is eco-friendly and managed by local Maasai people whose songs and dances are incorporated into camp life; there is a real sense here of immersion in both local culture and nature.
Close to the thatched restaurant area, there are 6 spacious, canvas tents set under permanent grass-thatched ramadas which can accommodate up to 12 guests in total. Each tent has a private veranda, indoor shelving, a writing desk and an en-suite bathroom with flush toilet and shower. Hot water for the ‘talking showers’ is fed by staff manually into a 15-litre tank – a rustic approach which works well! There is electrical lighting in the tents and torches are provided, along with charging points for electrical equipment. The food is good; sourced locally where possible, and served in generous portions. There is a daily camp fire and lovely views over the surrounding flat-topped acacia tree-plains from all areas of the camp. By day, antelope, zebra and elephants can be seen and at night, guests drift off to sleep hearing the sounds of hyenas and lions.
Activities include game drives in the nearby Tarangire National Park, famed for its huge variety of Big Cats and vast number of elephants, visits to local Maasai villages and slower-paced bush walks. Night drives are also possible. Whistling Thorn provides a genuine, ‘off the beaten track’ experience. Guests can enjoy the breath-taking experience of animals roaming through the camp in the knowledge that Maasai warriors are on hand to ensure their safety. The accommodation is basic but comfortable, with friendly and attentive staff. This is a good, reliable choice in its price range and guarantees an authentic and unforgettable stay.
The safari trip was excellent! The stay, the food and the people were all very nice. We were happy to have Ryan and Stanley as our game drive guides they brought us up close to the animals and Ryan gave very good information throughout.
Would definitely recommend to friends who are interested in safaris :)
Also, thanks much for your help, particularly keeping the room for my Brother and his wife they’ve enjoyed the safari very much too!
Woan Chyi L reviewing Cape Town & Kruger Safari on 16 October 2019
We had a fantastic time and all the arrangements worked perfectly.
We were very impressed with the quality and service levels of all 4 locations visited and it was truly a holiday of a lifetime.
Thank you to you and to Lisa for giving us this experience.
Particular highlights for us – really the whole experience, but of particular impact:
Breathtaking scenery at Cathedral Peak Hotel
Rhino Ridge game drives incredible, thanks to guide (we had their head guide, Hala, who’s knowledge, enthusiasm, kindness, interaction, ability to spot wildlife was out of this world)
Luxury of Rhino Ridge (shower, food, views, service)
Immersion in nature, torch lit meal on last night and beach trip at Kosi Forest Lodge
Level of service, quality of food throughout
Catherine F reviewing South Africa Safari, Beach and Wetlands on 04 September 2019
We had a fantastic time. Thank you and it went smoothly in the main except for British Airways!
The trip had the right degree of luxury and relaxation (for me) and adventure (all of us).
A few points:
Driving directions to Umlunghi Lodge were slightly wrong. The driving directions should read at the 4th roundabout take the first exit and turn right over the railway. We loved it there. Anton, Bianca and her son and Harriet were very informative and entertaining. The snake talk and handling, night walks and seeing scorpions and the walk in the bush and "bumping" into a giraffe were really special. The kayak trip to Makuzi pan that the lodge organised was good and Tomaz was very informative and kept a respectful distance from the hippos.3 nights was plenty.
Rhino River Lodge game reserve was incredibly luxurious and we felt very looked after. The lion siting in camp the day we arrived sent an extra frisson of excitement down our spines. It was easy to forget there were predators that could attack us with all that luxury. The staff and guides (Karl) were knowledgeable and invested in their set up. We saw rhinos with baby, cheetahs with young, porcupine, Genet, wildebeast, Impala, Lion with young, buffalo, a puff adder, ostrich, zebra and giraffes. 4 nights was also plenty.
They all served great food but I felt Ghost Mountain Inn topped the lot. The variety was amazing. We arrived at 10.30 but could not get into our room until 2 ish. The service was not so personal I guess because it is larger (far more than 50 rooms). We had been a bit spoilt at Rhino River! My daughter and I had some treatments at the Spa and loved it. We also went on a large boat trip on Jonzi and had a closer encounter with a large bull hippo and also a hike up Ghost Mountain with Patrick who was very informative and passionate about his people and his country. Isaac the other guide there took us on the boat trip and pointed out the sugar cane harvest on the way. he was very informative also.
Lastly, Lalaria Lodge was fabulous and we all piled into the surf of the Indian Ocean. There was hardly anyone on the beach. It was "too cold" according to the landlady. The view from her terrace was of the ocean and whales breaching in the distance. I could have sat there all day. She very kindly provided us with a Scrabble board of her own for us to play. We took a Microlight ride from Ballito over the coastline in the hope of seeing whales and dolphins but no luck. If we had stayed longer we might have gone on a boat trip from Durban. We had a meal at a restaurant called Mozambique which was great fun with vast portions, plenty of carbs and fresh seafood!
The value of the Rand to the Pound was excellent and therefore we felt that we got excellent value which also played a large part!
Katrina P reviewing South Africa Bush & Beach Safari For Families on 02 September 2019