After an amazing experience in the Serengeti, we didn’t think anything could possibly top it. But alas, we hadn’t experienced Entamanu tented camp with kids yet! Oh. My. Gosh. I could have stayed at this camp for a week! Beautiful, just beautiful. Everything was beyond perfect. Again, no hardship experienced during this camping!
Our drive from the Serengeti to Ngornongoro Crater, where the camp is located, was about 4 hours. The main portion was on a modern highway, which was a welcome break after all the bouncy, dirt road driving we had the past three days. Rem, our guide, took us via Lake Manyara National Park, which was also a nice break. Lake Manyara is a small park, mostly jungle, and has a plethora of baboons, hippos, flamingo and elephants. It was fun for me, because Lake Manyara was the very first safari experience I had had 20 years prior with two girlfriends. A little trip down memory lane for this mom. The kids loved it because, well, monkeys. And hippos.
Located on the crater rim, Entamanu Camp is, to be quite honest, one of the most amazing pieces of property I have ever seen. A very well thought out location overlooking the crater. Rem told us properties are speced out for close to a year before the construction begins. Plumbing, weather patterns and animal movement patterns all need to be taken into consideration. And what a fantastic job they did on this location.
I have no idea how Rem knew where he was going, but after several twists and turns and numerous dirt roads along the crater rim, passing lots of Masai villages and Masai warriors herding their family goats, we arrived to a group of smiling employees waiting to greet us. With lavender scented towels of course. Because that’s how we roll. Manager Ben made us feel at home immediately with a welcome drink and a tour of the main area.
A step into the main lobby sourounds you with a modern, yet traditional African feel. Clean lines, soft grays and browns, layered textiles and an open wall on one side of the tent, giving guests fantastic views of the crater. To the left of the lobby were two perfectly appointed sitting rooms – both with fireplaces. To the right of the lobby were two dining rooms for guests – both with fireplaces. It was a lot colder on the crater rim! The altitude of the rim is 7500 feet, so quite a bit cooler than sea level. We definitely wore coats the whole time, but it was by no means uncomfortable. On the contrary, the lobby/living room area fireplaces made everything very comfortable. Super warm and homey, there were several couches and ottomans, layered blankets and woven rugs – I didn’t ask, but have no doubt they were hand woven. Everything from the art hanging from the canvas walls, to the chandeliers and pillows were put together meticulously. The camp was a perfect blend of bold artwork and subtle furnishings. It was all very Out of Africa.
The lobby verandah was perfection. When we first arrived, we spent a couple of hours sitting and looking at the crater and simply relaxing. A huge rainstorm happened nearby and was really fun to watch. The kids wrote in their journals and colored. And just looked at the scenery. No complaining, no moaning about being bored – this is Entamanu tented camp with kids. One of my favorite features was the fact that there was no music. There is nothing I hate more than blasting music in a lodge’s main areas. The only noise involved was rain, quiet talking amongst guests, and birds. Perfect.
Just as I thought things couldn’t get more spectacular, we arrived in our tent. Again, we had the family tent, which consisted of two tents connected in the middle. At Entamanu, the center area of the tent was the bathroom, complete with hot and cold running water and a separate toilet area with a window overlooking the crater.
Thick canvas walls. Windows with both screens and transparent windows that zipped shut to accommodate any weather. An amazing verandah looking into the crater. Large, plush beds with thick blankets. Beautiful chandeliers. And space heaters for nighttime. Everything was cozy and comfy and felt like home. While the family dozed after the long drive, I spent some time on the porch reading and looking at the scenery.
Our first night at Entamanu was stupendous. Relaxing by the fire, talking with manager Ben about the camp and living life near the crater. A fantastic dinner with wine and great conversation. When we were walked back to our camp (same rules applied at this camp as Kuro), we found the beds turned down, space heater on and hot water bottles tucked into our beds for warmth. It was amazing.
The next morning, we were awakened with coffee and hot chocolate as per usual. And then we began out descent into the crater. It’s steep and so much fun. The weather slowly got warmer as we got lower (the bottom of the crater is 2000 feet lower than the rim). The day was really special because guide Rem enlisted a Masai warrior to go with us on our morning drive. Kasika was 27 and an interesting, well spoken young man who really added to our experience immensely.
After the drive, we came home for lunch and a rest, but the best was yet to come! Kasika’s whole village came to visit the camp to bless us with a traditional welcome dance and Masai jumping contest. The rituals of the Masai tribe are very important to them. A Masai jumping contest is how they determine who is the chief of the group. Jumping denotes strength and agility. The village sang and danced and even invited the kids to participate in the jumping contest.
For dinner, the camp outdid themselves and helped us celebrate the American Thanksgiving holiday. We had told them about it the day before and, although they had no turkeys, they presented us with a Guinea Fowl, which was as close as they could get and tasted delicious. Other guests staying at the camp stopped by the say hello and wish us a happy holiday and everyone felt like one big family. Which I think is Entamanu’s goal – to make you feel at home and comfortable with everything and everyone. Although we only stayed 2 nights at Entamanu Camp, we easily could have spent one more night there.
Up the next day? The Serengeti!