Kisampa – bush retreat
Kisampa is set in a pristine, wild area in eastern Tanzania. Its location is a private community conservation sanctuary adjacent to the unique coastal Saadani National Park. Situated on a remote hilltop with a vista of the plains below, Kisampa is more of a bush retreat than a conventional safari lodge and yet it is more of a wildlife experience than a typical ocean-side or rural getaway.
Your experience at Kisampa
The Kisampa owners want this to be a special place where guests can avoid the stress and pressure associated with a fully-packed safari schedule. Kisampa aims to offer a personal journey, an experience full of meaning. Your stay can be a relaxed exploration that will take you into the heart of this amazing little piece of Africa. You can get to know the local community and see how the lodge works with them to preserve the environment and its wildlife for future generations. Because it’s a private sanctuary, you won’t bump into other safari-goers anywhere on Kisampa. This keeps your experience intimate and personal.
The region is filled with ox-bow lakes, riverine forests, open grassland, wild rolling hills and steep ridges that provide breath taking views of the surrounding areas. The diverse habitat makes it a birders paradise. Wildlife is shy but increasing with the protection now provided in the sanctuary.
This is furthermore a birders paradise and Kisampa has a few secluded birding platforms where you can spend the day relaxing and watching some of east Africa’s finest bird life.
The eco-friendly lodge is comfortably rustic in its simplicity, underscoring the intent to leave a minimal human footprint in this pristine area. The camp can accommodate only 14 guests – keeping your experience intimate. There are six thatched bungalows at Kisampa, each with a hand-crafted double bed, hammock (from which you can see endless views of the Kisampa plains) and a table with chairs. Each bungalow has its own private and unique bathroom set into the surrounding bush and open to the stars. A bush shower hangs from a tree branch and steaming hot water is delivered for bathing at your request. There’s also a spacious communal bungalow for relaxing at Kisampa. Feel free to sink into the huge sofas with a drink and peruse the small but well-stocked reference library.
Dining at Kisampa
Guests are well looked after. Food features simple but high-quality lunches of freshly baked bread from the brick oven, hearty soups and salads along with fresh seasonal fruit for desert. Evenings begin with sundowner drinks around an open fire surrounded by the vast open plans. Dinner at Kisampa (weather permitting) is served under the stars, warmed by the nearby crackling fire. Much use is made of local produce, honey from local production, wholesome soups, crisps salads and a fine selection of wines. With proximity to both ocean and bush our meals contain a wide variety of meats, seafood and vegetarian options.
Saadani National Park (a unique space due to its proximity to the coast) is one and a half hours drive from Kisampa. General game is plentiful and, combined with a Wami River Boat Safari and a picnic at the beach or under a tree in the park; it makes for a varied, interesting and enjoyable day trip. Kisampa now offers full day game drives in Saadani National Park for an additional supplement if you want to add a safari element to your stay.
Other activities include long bush walks, beach camping at Sima Beach or bird watching from viewing platform. Finally, Matipwili village lies a few miles away. The people here are only too happy to show you around.
- Bush walks (Kisampa Private Conservation Area is renowned for its diversity of habitat, including grassland, rivers, coastal forest, oxbow lake, river sand banks and coastal savannah)
- Canoeing on the Wami River – Canadian style open fiberglass boats, accommodating 2 guests at a time and a local boat captain. The boat captain will be in charge of the vessel as he “punts” and steers the boat while clients are completely free to enjoy bird life and river scenery. This activity is dependent on Wami River water levels and is not for larger groups.
- Birdlife is diverse and prolific – there are two bird watching platforms overlooking the water for keen bird watchers.
- Village visits to Matipwilli and Gongo on the edge of Saadani National Park.
- Guests can volunteer time on social development or conservation projects.
- Kisampa is a perfect location for private meditation and yoga practices.
- Scenic drives in Kisampa.
- Boat safaris in Saadani National Park by motorised boat seating a maximum of 6 guests. Trips need to be booked in advance, require most of the day and the timings are dependent on the tidal movements and on client numbers as the boats are operated by another local lodge.
Families at Kisampa
Kisampa is exceedingly family-friendly in many ways. The owners enthusiastically welcome children of all ages. Up to three children age under 12 can stay for free if sharing with parents in the large guest bungalows. Children age 13 to 16 are charged 50% if sharing with an adult or another child. Two of the bungalows have a small annexe tent which takes two single beds, ideal for teenage kids to be close to the rest of the family but have a bit more of their own space. The flexible approach to activities which can be orientated around individual party preferences makes it suitable for mixed generation gatherings. But this is a rustic lodge in a remote area so is better suited to adventurous spirits (of all ages) who will be happy with the very ‘open to the bush’ accommodation. Some will relish this and some will not!