What a sight – zebra, giraffe, elephant and wildebeest all at one waterhole near Little Chem Chem!

Little Chem Chem | Burunge Wildlife Management Area Luxury Tanzania Safari Lodge

Discover Tanzania‘s Rift Valley Lakes from Little Chem Chem, which overlooks Lake Burungi on a conservancy that is the last wildlife corridor between Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks. Slow down and enjoy game drives, night drives and walking safaris, or anti-poaching and conservation safaris.

The place

I look out over freshwater Lake Burungi, which is covered with a flamboyance of flamingos. We’re staying in one of just six tented suites at Little Chem Chem during the ‘pink season’, when more than two million flamingos migrate between the Rift Valley Lakes. This visual spectacle is not the only one to make our holiday special – the camp has the spectacular backdrop of the Babati mountain range to the southwest.Turning to the northeast we can see the hills of Tarangire National Park in the distance, which forms a fenceless border to the almost 20,000ha conservancy that surrounds us. If we look east in the morning, we can see the giant baobab trees revealed in the stunning sunrises that have given Little Chem Chem its pet name of ‘Little Sunrise’.

I look out over freshwater Lake Burungi, which is covered with a flamboyance of flamingos. We’re staying in one of just six tented suites at Little Chem Chem during the ‘pink season’, when more than two million flamingos migrate between the Rift Valley Lakes. This visual spectacle is not the only one to make our holiday special – the camp has the spectacular backdrop of the Babati mountain range to the southwest.

Turning to the northeast we can see the hills of Tarangire National Park in the distance, which forms a fenceless border to the almost 20,000ha conservancy that surrounds us. If we look east in the morning, we can see the giant baobab trees revealed in the stunning sunrises that have given Little Chem Chem its pet name of ‘Little Sunrise’.

The room

I’m reclining on our king-sized bed, which is open to the views of the waterhole before me, and keeping a lazy eye out for the elephant that often come to drink, when I hear the sound of someone calling, ‘Mangoo Choo!’ It almost sounds like a sneeze, but it’s the name of the rescued mongoose that belongs to the owners of this family-run establishment, which loves to pop by for visits.According to Manuu, our guide, Little Chem Chem means ‘spring’ in Swahili. It’s not only home to its resident mongoose, but to up to 15 visiting human guests. I’m finding it hard to to leave our vintage tent, as I’m immersed in comfort yet still feel like I’m on safari! Perhaps I’ll laze in the rocking chair next, or outside by the fire pit…The restlessness of my partner, however, tells me that my relaxation time is up, so I quickly freshen up before our afternoon game drive. The total Chem Chem Conservancy – the last remaining wildlife corridor between Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks – is almost 20,000ha, but it’s split between Little Chem Chem and its big sister, Chem Chem Lodge, which is across the road. Our section is a cosy 4,000ha – perfect for a slow afternoon safari.We see elephant and eland grazing, but most amazingly, a white giraffe! Manuu tells us her name is Omo, and that she’s quite famous in these parts.

I’m reclining on our king-sized bed, which is open to the views of the waterhole before me, and keeping a lazy eye out for the elephant that often come to drink, when I hear the sound of someone calling, ‘Mangoo Choo!’ It almost sounds like a sneeze, but it’s the name of the rescued mongoose that belongs to the owners of this family-run establishment, which loves to pop by for visits.

According to Manuu, our guide, Little Chem Chem means ‘spring’ in Swahili. It’s not only home to its resident mongoose, but to up to 15 visiting human guests. I’m finding it hard to to leave our vintage tent, as I’m immersed in comfort yet still feel like I’m on safari! Perhaps I’ll laze in the rocking chair next, or outside by the fire pit…

The restlessness of my partner, however, tells me that my relaxation time is up, so I quickly freshen up before our afternoon game drive. The total Chem Chem Conservancy – the last remaining wildlife corridor between Lake Manyara and Tarangire national parks – is almost 20,000ha, but it’s split between Little Chem Chem and its big sister, Chem Chem Lodge, which is across the road. Our section is a cosy 4,000ha – perfect for a slow afternoon safari.

We see elephant and eland grazing, but most amazingly, a white giraffe! Manuu tells us her name is Omo, and that she’s quite famous in these parts.

What sets it apart

I loved slowing down and simply enjoying being in the wilderness. While larger concessions have their place, they also come with a sensation of busyness, an urgency to always be on the move, which Little Chem Chem doesn’t have.I also enjoyed joining the experienced anti-poaching team when they collected data from the night cameras, and visiting the rangers at their posts. We learnt about Live Wildlife, an initiative to protect the surrounding environment through environmental education and assisting local communities to safeguard wildlife.One of their biggest projects is to ensure that the last remaining wildlife corridor between the Tarangire and Manyara national parks is protected. We discovered that the natural migration and movement of wildlife, especially elephant, is essential to the survival of the region’s entire ecosystem. Learning more about the conservation at the heart of Little Chem Chem made our entire experience so much more authentic, and ultimately unforgettable.

I loved slowing down and simply enjoying being in the wilderness. While larger concessions have their place, they also come with a sensation of busyness, an urgency to always be on the move, which Little Chem Chem doesn’t have.

I also enjoyed joining the experienced anti-poaching team when they collected data from the night cameras, and visiting the rangers at their posts. We learnt about Live Wildlife, an initiative to protect the surrounding environment through environmental education and assisting local communities to safeguard wildlife.

One of their biggest projects is to ensure that the last remaining wildlife corridor between the Tarangire and Manyara national parks is protected. We discovered that the natural migration and movement of wildlife, especially elephant, is essential to the survival of the region’s entire ecosystem. Learning more about the conservation at the heart of Little Chem Chem made our entire experience so much more authentic, and ultimately unforgettable.

At a glance

  • Exclusive, owner-run camp in a private conservancy with five luxury guest tents and one family tent.
  • Private concession, private dining, eight guests per safari vehicle and private vehicles available (additional cost).
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, anti-poaching and conservation safaris, picnics, sundowners, Tarangire National Park day trips, cultural visits, hot-air ballooning (additional cost) and helicopter flights (additional cost).
  • Children from eight are welcome; younger kids may come if the camp is booked exclusively. One family tent and babysitting available. Guest tents can also have an extra bed for kids under 16, and all children under 12 must share a tent with an adult.

  • Exclusive, owner-run camp in a private conservancy with five luxury guest tents and one family tent.
  • Private concession, private dining, eight guests per safari vehicle and private vehicles available (additional cost).
  • Game drives, night drives, walking safaris, anti-poaching and conservation safaris, picnics, sundowners, Tarangire National Park day trips, cultural visits, hot-air ballooning (additional cost) and helicopter flights (additional cost).
  • Children from eight are welcome; younger kids may come if the camp is booked exclusively. One family tent and babysitting available. Guest tents can also have an extra bed for kids under 16, and all children under 12 must share a tent with an adult.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is a wonderful time to visit northern Tanzania, with the vegetation initially lush after the rains, but then dying back, making the wildlife that much easier to see. Temperatures are cooler (although the days are warm and sunny). With the wildebeest herds assembling to make the perilous crossing of the Grumeti River, this is the busiest time of the year here. Tarangire is a great option now, with locally migrating wildlife concentrating along the Tarangire River, or take in the tree-climbing lion and beautiful seasonal waterfalls at Lake Manyara.

The long dry spell between the rains sees the vegetation cycle being repeated: lovely green grass immediately after the rains subsequently starts to wither. As food and water become scarcer, game concentrates around waterholes, making wildlife viewing particularly easy in January. Wildebeest calving in January and February on the southern Serengeti short-grass plains means a glut of kills – it’s the best time for predator action. Away from the Serengeti, this is an ideal opportunity to see resident game in the Ngorongoro Crater and at Lake Manyara, and birders will enjoy spotting migratory species.

These are perhaps not the ideal times to visit northern Tanzania as they represent the two peaks of the wet season – the long rains in April and May; the short rains in November. This does mean however that you’ll be sharing the game reserves and national parks of northern Tanzania with far fewer people, and there’s still plenty to see. During the long rains, the Great Wildebeest Migration moves north in the Serengeti, through Seronera towards the Western Corridor, while in November the herds return from the Masai Mara.

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