Mawe Ninga Camp, opened February 2004, is a charming tented lodge at the heart of Tarangire National Park. Mawe Ninga is a small and natural style tented camp that is locally owned and Tanzanian managed. The real highlight of Mawe Ninga is its authenticity, closeness with nature, friendly staff and serene atmosphere. Don’t expect lavish over the top luxury but rather rustic accommodations, a great ‘bush’ feel, sweeping views of the surrounding woodlands and an all around relaxing and memorable experience.
Mawe Ninga Camp, owned by the same company that runs the well-regarded Olduvai Camp, is an option for those people seeking natural style or rustic accommodations in a small and personalized setting far from the larger tourist lodges including Tarangire Sopa Lodge and Tarangire Safari Lodge. However, the camp may be a little too rustic for some individuals. If you’re keen on spending some time at a small bush camp in Tarangire but require a higher degree of comfort, then a better choice may be Swala Camp, Tarangire Treetops or Kikoti Camp.
Mawe Ninga (Swahili for Dove Rock) is perched high on a hilltop and consists of 12 tents with wooden floors, thatched roofs, ensuite bathrooms consisting of a thunder box (long drop toilet) and bladder shower and private decks with sweeping views of the beautiful Tarangire woodlands. Maasai from surrounding villages are employed at Mawe Ninga providing for a unique atmosphere and interesting conversations around the fire pit each evening. The views are truly spectacular from the fire pit and the sunsets from Mawe Ninga have to rank as one of the best in Tanzania. Click here for a full size picture of the view from the Mawe Ninga fire pit.
At sunset we walked over to have a drink. Chairs were set up on one of the huge boulders with a fire pit in the middle smoking away, clearing the air of mosquitoes and other bugs. While we were sipping our drinks, enjoying a lovely sunset, the Maasai started singing with the most glorious voices that it raised the hair on our arms. When we asked what they were singing about they said....they missed their cows and were singing to them. An extraordinary last night, we dined under the stars, never wanting to leave.
Edie & Richard R. - November 2004 - Palm Beach, FL
Mawe Ninga Camp (altitude of 3,712 feet) is located in the mid to northwest section of Tarangire with grand views out over the woodlands. The distant shores of Lake Burungi can be seen way out to the west and even a glimpse of Lake Manyara is possible to the northwest on a clear day.
Mawe Ninga Camp and Tarangire are usually incorporated into our signature fly in and drive back safaris at the conclusion of your itinerary. It’s certainly a great spot to unwind, relax and enjoy your last couple nights with the elephants of Tarangire. Typically you will be arriving at Mawe Ninga Camp after either a game drive in Ngorongoro Crater or Lake Manyara. It takes approximately 1.5 hours to drive from the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater to the Lake Manyara park gate. The Tarangire park gate is another 1.5 hours past Lake Manyara. From the Tarangire park gate to your accommodations at Mawe Ninga will take approximately 1 hour at a leisurely game drive speed as you head south through Tarangire. Mawe Ninga Camp is approximately 9 miles south of the main Tarangire gate, which is at the northern tip of the park.
Mawe Ninga Camp consists of 12 individual tents built along the ridge of a prominent hill at the heart of Tarangire. Two are honeymoon suites and are slightly more secluded and perched higher for a wider view. There is a mix of double tents (1 queen size bed) and twin tents twins (2 twin beds). The doubles can be converted to triples to accommodate two adults and one child upon request.
The completely sealable tents rest on wooden floors and under thatched roofs. They are built on and between large granite rock formations for extra privacy and a more secure feeling. The ensuite bathroom facilities consist of a thunder box (long drop toilet) and a bladder shower. Please note that there is no running water at Mawe Ninga. The bladder shower is gravity fed and a water filled pitcher with an accompanying bowl takes the place of a sink. In front of each tent is a private wooden veranda complete with two deck chairs and a small table. The views from each veranda are truly spectacular.
The main facilities consist of an open sided dinning deck and a circular fire pit built atop a massive granite kopje where you can meet the local Maasai and enjoy the best sunsets in Tanzania.
Food and Drink
The meals are very good at Mawe Ninga. The cooks as well as the staff rotate back and forth from Olduvai Camp and Mawe Ninga Camp. Breakfast consists of toast, fresh fruit and juices. Orders are separately taken for eggs prepared to your requirements and pancakes. There are two choices with lunch. You can either drive back to the lodge for a hot lunch or have a private picnic lunch while out in the bush. Dinner is very good and consists of three courses. The menu varies daily. Vegetarian and child friendly meals (i.e. pizza) can be prepared upon request. Beer, wine and cocktails are available and are reasonably priced. A drink tab will be run for the duration of your stay and you can simply settle upon departure.
Tarangire is an extremely seasonal park and offers outstanding wildlife viewing in the dry season and fair to good game viewing in the green season. Accordingly, we highly recommend Mawe Ninga Camp during the core of the dry season from July through November. During the greener months of December through June, Mawe Ninga Camp is recommended on longer duration safaris or for those with specialized interests as general wildlife viewing will be fair to good depending on recent amounts of precipitation.
Tarangire National Park measures 1,600 squares miles and is Tanzania’s fifth largest park. The park is named after the Tarangire River that provides the only permanent water for wildlife in the area. The river is a magnet for wildlife during the dry season when massive concentrations of elephant, buffalo, wildebeest and zebra congregate along its banks. During the green season, many of the migratory animals disperse into the surrounding areas of the greater ecosystem. The Tarangire River runs up the center of the park through diverse habitats and varied topography. Gentle rolling hills interspersed with giant baobab trees, open acacia woodlands and seasonal swamps provide a spectacular and picturesque setting.
In addition to the migrating herbivores including elephant, buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, there are numerous resident animals that remain inside Tarangire National Park year round. Resident herbivores that you will likely encounter are banded mongoose, giraffe, bushbuck, rock hyrax, hartebeest, dik dik, impala, waterbuck, warthog and reedbuck. Elephants are both migratory and resident and some do not migrate outside the park during the green season. Some of the rare antelope species that with a little luck you may encounter include lesser kudu, eland, fringe-eared oryx and gerenuk. Primates include olive baboon, vervet monkey and bushbaby. Hippo and black rhino have been poached to local extinction in Tarangire but you will see both of these animals in the Ngorongoro Crater and Serengeti.
Carnivores include lion, leopard, cheetah, hyena and jackal. Lions are abundant in Tarangire and are regularly encountered. It is possible to see large prides during the drier months when they are more stationary by the Tarangire River and swamps. Leopards are also plentiful but they are elusive and difficult to spot because of their superb camouflage. Cheetahs live at low densities in Tarangire and they are rarely seen. It is suspected that there are a couple transient wild dog packs that may occupy Tarangire from time to time as well as the surrounding areas in the Maasai Steppe. The wild dog is critically endangered and has rarely been seen in any of the northern parks of Tanzania since the mid 1990s.
Tarangire boasts one of the most diversified parks in East Africa for birding. The park is especially good for raptors and even the non-birding enthusiast will be astounded by the abundance and diversity of these powerful air borne predators. Raptors regularly seen include the bateleur eagle, tawny eagle, long-crested eagle, martial eagle, fish eagle and spotted eagle owl.
- Private game drives
- Picnic lunches
- Visit to a local school
- Wildlife viewing from lodge