The Rhotia Valley Lodge is perched high on top of a hill in rural Tanzania near Karatu, overlooking a beautiful valley. It is just on the border of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area rainforest which means the land is very fertile, and that is why we were surrounded by cornfields & sunflower fields.
TOP 5 REASONS WHY YOU MUST STAY AT THE RHOTIA VALLEY LODGE IN TANZANIA, AFRICA:
1. The Orphanage
I could actually change the name of this to "The 1 Reason Why You Must Stay At The Rhotia Valley Lodge"
...because this above all the other reasons is what made this one night stay the most memorable of our entire trip. The Rhotia Valley Lodge is actually a lodge second, and a childrens orphanage first. And with your stay, you will directly contribute to the wellbeing of local children of the orphanage just next door. If you'd like to learn more about the two Dutch doctors who created this amazing place, read here.
Rhotia Valley Children's Home is our safe and caring home for orphans from the local community. We help children who do not have a family build their future - a promising future! Moreover, we create jobs for the local community, not only at the lodge but also at the bakery, at the dairy farm and at the Coffee Corner, the new training centre.
When you arrive (or prior to arriving) discuss with the management that you'd like to take a tour of the orphanage. They usually do a daily walk at about 5 or 6pm. With the manager, we walked about 5 minutes just over the hill and found ourselves on an open grassy football (aka soccer) pitch. Check out the view! In the background on the hill you can see the Rhotia Valley Tented Lodges.
Within only 5 minutes of arriving, we had made a friend. And from that moment on, he became our shadow.
They walked us through the three homes where children of different age groups slept, ate together, and the young ones took classes (the older children go to the local private school). There are about 40 children in total living at the Rhotia Valley Children's Home.
2. The View From the Tent
Every single one of the tented rooms has an unbelievable view because of they way that they are set up on the edge of the hill. From your balcony you have a breathtaking view of the forest, nearby villages and terraced fields of the local farmers. It was the perfect mix of rustic, yet protected, with a soft sided tent with a hard top. Also, when we were visiting (early June) the nights would get quite cold, so they gave us two hot water bottles which ended up being our savior as we cradled them all night!
Another great thing about this location - the altitude is so high - that mosquitos cannot survive!! With all of the Malaria worries, this was a welcome change!
Here is a little tour of our tent!
3. Farm to Table
Continuing with their mindset of sustainability, we were excited to find that they grow most of their own fruits and vegetables that not only us, but the children from the orphanage eat.
Not only do they grow gorgeous fruits & vegetables, they also have an onsite bakery as well as dairy cows for milk, butter & yogurt. The bakery provides the bread to the Lodge, the Childrens Home and to the schools. The bread is also sold to the local shops and local institutions which all profits directly support the Children's Home.
4. The Lodge
The main lodge at Rhotia Valley is where you eat, drink and relax.. I always think this is the most important part of any safari lodge because this is where complete strangers come together with the common experience of an amazing once in a lifetime safari. After a few serengeti beers you become fast friends with these people, sharing the amazing stories of your game drives.
This is where we had our breakfast, dinner and drinks. And its also where we were lucky enough to have a wonderful chat with the owner of the Lodge & Childrens Home. Speaking with him for only 10 minutes made us start to think about how we could start giving back to our community, and others like this.
5. The Pool
Now i'll admit, we have swam in some amazing pools on this trip (one with zebra's walking by in the background), but there was something about the location of this pool, perched high above the rolling hills and farmland, that made it unbelievable. It was completely silent and we had it all to ourselves (maybe that was because it was quite a cold night and the staff thought we were nuts to take a swim). But there was no way we could pass this pool up, no matter how cold!
Although we stayed at the Rhotia Valley Tented Lodge only one night, it was enough to make an impact on us for a lifetime. If you have any questions, please feel free to write a comment or message me directly!
For our full itinerary of our African Safari & Holiday in Zanzibar, check out the blog post here.