East African safari and lodge specialist, Lemala Camps & Lodges, has opened its first purpose-built villa, the three-suite Hamerkop House by Lemala in Tanzania. Located on the sidelines of the 13th hole fairway of the famous Kilimanjaro Golf and Wildlife Estate (otherwise known as Kiligolf), Hamerkop House is found on the outskirts of Arusha, midway between the city and Kilimanjaro International Airport.
CEO and Director of Operations, Leanne Haigh, says the newly opened three-bedroom Hamerkop House by Lemala villa was a perfect sanctuary for Australian travellers to begin or end a safari in Northern Tanzania. Its unfenced location on Kiligolf is lush and green, offering a more appealing option to the “chaos” of city hotels in Arusha, Haigh told LATTE.
Hamerkop House by Lemala is open year-round. Rooms are about 90 square metres. Each suite has a private lounge/study, inside and outside dining areas, indoor and outdoor bathrooms, a large lounge and manicured gardens. There’s an executive chef in residence and a Maasai house manager. The villa comfortably accommodates six adults and four children.
In Australia earlier this month from her base in Arusha, Haigh said Kiligolf provides a “nice transition into the game park environment, with a little bit of wildlife to whet the appetite of affluent guests”.
Hamerkop House by Lemala offers a “very high-end feel throughout” which the Lemala brand is synonymous for. Thirty minutes drive from Kilimanjaro International Airport, the property offers the exclusivity of a bush airstrip – dubbed Dollys – that’s only five minutes’ drive away. Haigh says the private airstrip is a “game-changer”.
Lemala previously rented villas in the precinct for guests but Haigh said now having her own property enabled her company to be in control rather than relying on a third-party.
Hamerkop House by Lemala can be booked for exclusive use or on a shared basis. (Rates start at around AU$1,000 per night for sole use or AU$200 per person per night.) Options are available for bed and breakfast, half board, full board and all-inclusive. The villa suits couples, families, groups and multi-generational families.
Meanwhile, Lemala will make a concerted push to promote the recently upgraded Lemala Wildwaters Lodge as an add-on to a Tanzanian safari.
Haigh said high-net-worth travellers work hard to get an exclusive luxury safari experience – “small properties, intimate camps, private use of a game vehicle” – only to pair it with a cookie-cutter Zanzibar add-on “where they are plonked on a beach with 10,000 other people.”
“That’s done in an absence of anything else. But people want an R&R component to complement a safari, and so they should. Safaris are hard work: early mornings, bumpy roads. So we are positioning Whitewaters now as an add-on, with direct flights available straight out of the Serengeti,” Haigh said.
Quizzed by LATTE on potential growth opportunities beyond Tanzania and Uganda, Haigh revealed her company was looking at “new stuff”.
“[It] makes perfect sense for us to look at something in Kenya to tie-up East Africa. That’s just a natural progression for us to strengthen our East Africa portfolio.”