Kigongoni Lodge

Kigongoni Lodge is approximately 10km east of Arusha, and is convenient for trips to Arusha, Mount Meru, Mount Kilimanjaro and JRO Airport.  It is set on top of a small hill – Kigongoni is Swahili for ‘Hill’ – and is surrounded by a large fence for security, with good views to the east and south.

The lodge was established as an appendage to a valuable philanthropic work, founded largely by the grandfather of the present owner. The work of Sibusiso Foundation assists local children that have learning difficulties to integrate themselves into the rest of society, and to teach them how to care for themselves and attain as much independence as possible. By early 2012, the Foundation had already helped 2,900 people.

We like  Kigongoni for the following reasons: some of the operation’s proceeds contribute towards a work that we feel is a genuine outlet of selfless altruism, and one that is much needed in the area. The owners have a near year-round presence on site, understand how to take good care of their guests and are actively and directly involved in maintaining standards; and the location is an ideal balance between peaceful isolation from hoi polloi of Arusha and yet reasonable access (some 20 minutes) from its resources.

All this said, those needing a glossed finish and European standards of decor, should rather look at Onsea. Kigongoni suits those who enjoy good standards of hospitality in a somewhat left-natural setting, where management feels no compulsion to obsess about filling cracks in rustic walls or keeping a perfect sheen on exterior walls.

Rooms at Kigongoni

The large lodges with their generously proportioned bathrooms overlook the forest, which has a large monkey population. The lodges at the bottom of the slope may prove a challenge for post-climb visitors.  The beds are comfortable and are supplied with mosquito nets, and there are good views from the verandahs. Some of the bathroom fixtures may be a little careworn, and hot water can be an issue in this rural location, so if a group of climbers who have not bathed for a week anticipate needing to spend ecologically-unfriendly amounts of time in the shower, they should certainly ask their guide to get a message to management (via TK’s office perhaps) to remind the lodge to arrange supplementary heating of the tanks.

Kigongoni’s Restaurant

The restaurant and bar areas are arranged spaciously so as to provide good privacy at most tables, are comfortable and cosy, and serve good food.  The local monkey and squirrel populations are quite inured to the presence of humans, and might try to take food from the table unless chased away.

For those wanting the accessible seclusion of Kigongoni and yet at least one meal of the highest standard of cuisine available within reach of Arusha, the journey to Onsea House’s Machweo Restaurant takes fewer than 10 minutes along non-congested roads. Onsea and Kigongoni have an excellent cooperative relationship and mutual respect for each others’ aims.

Facilities at Kigongoni Lodge

The reception, bar and restaurant are at the summit of the hill, with the pool just beyond. Wi-Fi is available in parts of the lodge and restaurant. The hotel supplements the electricity supply with their own generator. Their left luggage facility includes the chance for a quick shower before continuing to the airport.


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