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African Sunrise

A magical place to start our holidays was, without doubt, the African Sunrise Lodge, a hidden and somehow forgotten gem on the edge of the Rift Valley Plateau in Northern Tanzania. The lodge, located in total isolation at the end of seven kilometers long and pretty challenging sandroad, offers a sensational view of the Great Rift Valley.

On entering the lodge, we left the world with all its stress, noise and chaos behind and stepped into a new world, a sanctuary of birds, with Tanzania’s stunning wildlife at the tips of our fingers. We woke up to the most amazing and breathtaking sunrises. On our way back from breakfast, we bumped into a bunch of baboons on their way to work. On evening strolls, we followed in the footsteps of the hyena. By night, we shared stories under a deep dark sky full of twinkling stars while staring into the wild flames of a campfire. We ate the most delicious local dishes and enjoyed reliable Maasai hospitality. We loved the privacy, freedom, peace and harmony that seemed to belong so naturally to this place.

For most of our stay, there were no other guests, which made us joke about it being a “ghost lodge”. The reception, potentially a nice place, was unattended and covered in dust, with the guestbook being the only item there that was still in use. The garden however, was well taken care of. Our cottages had a great view and we definitely felt at home, but they did have their flaws and were pretty basic. The bathrooms had clearly seen better days and seemed subject to their own local definition of cleanliness and things like clean linens had to be asked for explicitly. However, we preferred this service, that always came with a friendly smile or a joke, over that in other lodges, where services are provided without a need to ask, but friendliness only comes at the cost of a dollar.

The African Sunrise Lodge is a warm place, with an amazing panoramic view of the surrounding, semi-arid landscape, and with a lovely evening breeze. It is a place with an ancient soul, where you can feel the original heartbeat of the pristine land. It allows for some nice outings too. One day, we climbed from the plateau down to Mto wa Mbu village. We passed baobab trees and biked through banana plantations all the way to Lake Manyara to see where the fresh fish we were eating that night came from. Another day saw us jumping on the back of a motorbike and driving down to the main road to visit Karatu. Feeling the wind in your hair while crisscrossing amazing landscapes with cattle near the roadside… it is the ultimate sense of freedom.

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