Legendary Lodge Arusha
We began our Khashana East African Adventure tour in Tanzania at Legendary Lodge in Arusha. One might be a bit unsettled when turning onto the road leading to Legendary Lodge in Arusha. The drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport to the turnoff takes about an hour, and is lined with bars, bars and more bars, with lots of Tanzanians hanging out, motorcycle ‘taxis’ everywhere, and occasional fires burning (it was evening). The highway through town was the only pavement we saw; dirt roads, dirt yards, and probably many dirt floors, lined the highway. To get to the Lodge, we did a 180 degree turn onto a rutted, dusty dirt road. But the minute we passed through the Lodge’s gates, we could tell we were in a very special (and secluded) place, set back away from the highway.
We were greeted by Natalie, Joseph and the rest of the staff with refreshing cool facecloths and beverages on the steps of the main lodge, and our bags were whisked away to our own private villas which included a mosquito-netted (bigger than?) king-sized bed, a living area with fireplace and breakfast table, and a huge luxurious bathroom with rainshower, freestanding tub, double vanity, makeup table, wardrobe and more. Welcome to Tanzania, Legendary Lodge style!!
We sipped our first traditional aperitifs (gin and tonic – a holdover from English colonial days) and nibbled on garlic, black and chili olives, then sat down to a wonderful late dinner of lake Perch and Malva pudding (regional specialties).
The Lodge is situated on a working coffee plantation; the grounds are lovely, lush and tropical gardens, and the Jacaranda trees were blooming. We awoke to fantastic views of Mount Meru, which had been clouded over when we arrived the night before.
Mount Meru is an active stratovolcano about 40 miles west of Mount Kilimanjaro, standing almost 15,000 feet high. According to Wiki, it is visible from Mt Kilimanjaro on a clear day, and is the ninth or tenth highest mountain in Africa, dependent on definition. Its most recent eruption (a minor one) was in 1910.
We stayed at Legendary Lodge for two nights before our Kili trek (see previous posts for details on that epic adventure!) and for one night after. The rest of our Khashana travel group was there waiting for us on our return from Kili, and we all celebrated our successful climb and our upcoming adventure with another wonderful meal in the Lodge’s restaurant.