Sophie recently visited our dream property, Chem Chem:

After seeing Omo at Little Chem Chem, we then made our way to Chem Chem lodge, situated on the other side of the road and on another private conservancy – driving through villages with self-constructed houses with young children running after our vehicle – it was a Sunday, so no one was in school.

Chem Chem lodge is just as dreamy as Little Chem Chem – although very close together, these two lodges work incredibly well together as they are very different: Little Chem Chem is made up of lovely luxurious canvas tents, with four poster beds, working loos and fresh running water, main Chem Chem has solid structured accommodation, with vast beds hidden beneath a swath of mosquito nets, inside and outside showers and baths. There is also a pool with phenomenal views of graceful giraffes meandering slowly by in the distance. Landscape wise Chem Chem is siatuated within a palm grove – very different from the almost arid, open plains surrounding Little Chem Chem.

When staying at Chem Chem, it is of utmost importance that you have a massage – the masseuse here is incredible, and you will walk away feeling totally relaxed. Like Little Chem Chem, the food is second to none – for lunch there was corn fritters with avocado, chimchiri and glazed onions, then for pudding was the most delicious honey-soaked pineapple with chilli baobab ice-cream and honeycomb to top it off – what a palate cleanser!

At about 4pm I met Emmanuel and Raposh (our masai guide who would be leading the walking safari). On our walk, not only was it bliss to not be bumped around in a vehicle but great to stretch the legs and also fascinating to listen to Raposh talk about local flora and fauna and medicinal values of certain plants. We came face to face with huge giraffe, herds of running wildebeest, ostrich, zebra and made our way towards Lake Manyara far off in the distance. The earth was dry and cracked and was like walking on crocodile skin, or the surface of Mars. Again, we ended our walk with the delightful Francis waiting with a drink in hand for myself. I tried my hand at lighting a fire Masai style – failing miserably – I think I actually helped create the heat and then Raposh just did the easy part…. Who am I kidding, I wasn’t very good! There is quite an art to it.

I had supper with Kelly, the general manager and was served, again absolutely deliciously prepared gnocci. Climbing into the most sumptuously comfortable double bed with the night time noises of the African bush whirring and lulling me off to sleep.

The next morning, I was woken by Francis delivering a cup of coffee, which I sipped whilst watching zebra and wildebeest grazing peacefully with the cap turtle dove cooing back ground music.

Raposh and Emmanuel were there to greet me in the main entrance to the lodge and off we walked. We ended our walk beneath the most beautiful baobab tree, white linen cloth table laid below and the smells of a cooked breakfast setting off the taste buds…! Years gone by, someone had actually lived within the tree, there was evidence of a second level structure embedded into the walls of the tree inside and a window had even been made, now all that lived inside were a few bats. During breakfast, Emmanuel and I watched a brave lilac breasted roller trying to grab a caterpillar right by our table – it was beaten by a nearby superb starling who had a bit more gal than the roller.

Both Little Chem Chem and Chem Chem are fantastic places to stay for a truly luxurious and spoiling stay. Nothing is too much for the people who run this place, which automatically relaxes you when you arrive. Extremely comfortable with delicious food and stunning vistas of a different area of Tarangire, seeing is believing in these two lodges. Oh, and you have to make sure you meet mongoo the resident rescued mongoose – she even has his own minder 24/7!