Tarangire Treetops Lodge
Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
We almost needn’t say that living for a while in an African treehouse is a sweetly common dream. But the reality at Tarangire Treetops out-magics armchair revery. Here, like Isak Dinesen, we wake “in the morning, and [think], Here I am, where I ought to be.”
Freshly brewed coffee in hand, we walk out on our treehouse’s broad balcony and revel quietly in a sweeping view across marvelously varietal landscapes: rocky outcrops, graceful hills, and Africa’s golden joy, golden savannah strewn generously with acacias and stately old baobabs, the homeland of just about all of the continent’s endlessly intriguing animals, including 2,500 or so elephants; “An ancient life force,” Peter Matthiessen called them, “delicate and mighty, awesome and enchanted, commanding the silence ordinarily reserved for mountain peaks, great fires, and the sea.”
Tarangire Treetops’ 20 treehouses resemble the treehouses of our youth like a humble Timex resembles a Patek Phillipe. Each is just a tad under 700 square feet, designed in a mixture of modern and traditional materials, and of course each features that revitalizing, viewful veranda, a full bath with double shower, wifi reception, and the unstinting service of the Lodge’s staff. The main lodge is nestled around a millennially wise old baobab tree, and the dining area overlooks a watering hole frequented by Tarangire’s animal citizens. And after a rousing game drive, a splash in the Lodge’s bright blue swimming pool is yet another Tarangire Treetops treat.
Tarangire Treetops is situated in a large private conservation area adjoining Tarangire National park. This is an area with a reputation for embodying the deepest African safari mystique.
Our Safari Director knows Tarangire ardently, and so we’ll get the colourful job descriptions and experience the charisma of Tarangire’s rich wildlife: giraffes (like “rare, long-stemmed, gigantic speckled flowers slowly advancing,” Isak Dinesen wrote), waterbucks, dik dik, Grant’s elegant gazelles, vervet monkeys, ever-busy baboons, along with cheetahs, almost 600 bird species, Taranagire’s exceptionally large elephant population, and, of course, its lions, who make one feel, Isak Dinesen wrote, “that everything else is so trivial—thousands of generations of unrestricted supreme authority….”
Expertly conducted night game drives out of Treetops are especially enticing as we watch the nocturnal take over from the day shift—and look up to a sky “bristling with innumerable stars, as close-packed as the quills on a porcupine,” as Elspeth Huxley remembered. And we’ll pay a respectful visit to our Safari Director’s old friends at a close-by Maasai village, a reminder that —as we often say—we come to Africa to see the animals, but leave in love with the people.