There is excellent walking here (and you might want to camp out under the stars), exploring the diverse habitat which includes riverine forests, open grassland, oxbow lakes and rolling hills. This area is home to a great range of animal and plant life and is also a great birding destination. Night drives can also be arranged to view nocturnal life. Boat trips and canoe rides on the Wami River in Saadani National Park are popular, as are 4x4 safaris. There are 5 villages in Kisampa and guests are encouraged to visit these to meet the locals, maybe to share their daily experiences or to learn a new skill themselves.
Accommodation is in 6 spacious bungalows with views of the bush beyond. All have their own bathroom with bucket shower and composting toilet. There is a veranda where you can sit and relax. Accommodation is best described as rustic simplicity, in keeping with the environment. Meals are generally a fixed menu, using local products and can be enjoyed in the main dining/lounge area or al fresco by the fire pit. Bread is baked on the premises and tasty honey is made on site, by local villagers, one of Kisampa's poverty alleviation initiatives. Kisampa has a library with useful reference books and a gift shop selling local handicrafts.
Open: Kisampa is open from the beginning of June till the end of March.
Location: Kisampa is on a remote hilltop northeast of Dar es Salaam, in a private community conservation sanctuary bordering Saadani National Park. The camp overlooks the Wami River. The nearest airstrip is at Matipwili, just 3kms away, but the camp can also be reached by road from Dar es Salaam, a drive of about 3-4 hours.
Rooms: There are 6 thatched bungalows accommodating a maximum of 14 guests. Each bungalow has a bedroom with a hammock, table and chairs and a private bathroom set in the bush, open to the sky. Hot water is delivered on request for the bush shower. All have private verandas. They have mobile solar lamps and lockable trunks. Two of the bungalows have a small tent nearby which can take 2 single beds, ideal for older children.
Activities: These include fly fishing, bush walks, and bird watching from the viewing platform. Visits to the local villages of Matipwili and Gongo are also encouraged. Guests can help at any of the social development or conservation projects with which the camp is involved. If you have longer than 2-3 days boat trips on the Wami River in Saadani Narional Park can be arranged, as well as game drives in and around the national park. You can go canoeing on the river, too, with up to 2 guests per canoe, with the vessel propelled and steered by the boat captain. Park fees apply when entering Saadani and can be paid locally. Staff can arrange sundowner drinks in special locations.
Facilities: The communal area includes a comfortable seating area with large sofas and a small library of books. Honey made in the local village, and other small crafts can be bought in the small gift shop. There is a free laundry service.
Dining: Meals are eaten communally. Breakfast and lunch are usually served in the open air pavilion, with picnic lunches on days away from camp. Sundowners are enjoyed around the fire. Dinner is eaten under the stars, weather permitting, accompanied by a selection of wines. Ingredients include freshly baked bread and honey made in the local village.
Children: Children of all ages are welcome. There is a minimum age of 6 for boat trips in Saadani National Park. Children need to be supervised at all times as the lodge does not provide child care.
Health: This is a malarial area.
Communication: There is mobile phone coverage.
The owners of Kisampa are deeply involved in community work in the villages of Matipwili and Gongo. All this work is managed by their charity, Tuende Pamoja. Projects include building schools, providing medical facilities and funding education for underprivileged children. They also support small local businesses such as honey production, fish farming and biodiesel production. $10 per person per night is donated from each guest to the community, to be spent on teachers' housing, teaching aids for local schools and other important services. These are our kind of people!
"Just wonderful. A very special place, run by very special people. Very good food in a terrific setting, the open-sided bandas are very comfortable, and it's a real adventure to have your bedroom 'open' to nature. Loved the woodsmoke-scented hot water in the bucket showers, and the lovely setting of the place."