The Mwiba Wildlife Reserve hosts only a handful of guests at a time, enabling an excellent, soulful safari experience within the greater Serengeti eco-system. A conservation concession dedicated to the imperative balance between wildlife and communities, and how the vast and vivid natural beauty of Tanzania enchants travellers, captivating them with its untouched expanses, diversity of wildlife and vibrant cultures.
As written for Amadi Travel.
A True Wilderness next to the Serengeti National Park
Mwiba Wildlife Reserve was privatised in 2009 for the protection of the wildlife and benefit of sustainable tourism and is home to arguably the most luxurious lodge in the greater southern Serengeti migration area – Mwiba Lodge. Set just north of the Lake Eyasi Escarpment, the reserve borders the Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s western boundary and the very southern part of Serengeti National Park in Northern Tanzania.
The reserve’s private status means that the rigid rules of the national park do not apply, with guests able to explore off-road, enjoy night drives and walk between the migrating herds. This applies to Mwiba Wildlife Reserve and to the adjoining Maswa Game Reserve which guests have access to, and that is home to rolling hills covered in thickets and rocky outcrops interspersed with seasonally dry rivers containing permanent water holes.
Sophistication in a private wilderness with close links to local tribes who invite incredible cultural experiences, Mwiba Lodge brings you walking safaris, picnic breakfasts, game drives, bush cuisine and rejuvenating sundowners. From here you also have access to the calving season of the Great Wildebeest Migration herds. Wonderfully remote, Mwiba Lodge is the perfect place to escape to.
The 10 tented suites are spread out a short walk apart to ensure complete privacy. Each suite comprises a vast double bed, sofa and seating area, outdoor deck, en suite bathroom with a soaking tub and both indoor and outdoor showers. The public areas are sculptured into natural rocks and there is an infinity pool overlooking a well-frequented waterhole. You can literally lie on the pool loungers and watch the wildlife activity below.
Set among massive stone boulders, ancient coral trees and acacias, Mwiba Lodge overlooks a rocky gorge and the Arugusinyai River. The undulating nature of the site within the Mwiba Wildlife Reserve, a 125,000-acre private area west of the Serengeti National Park, delivers a colour-infused landscape, thriving wildlife populations and over thirty freshwater springs.
Mila Tented Camp
Mila Tented Camp is a classic East African tented camp. A short drive from Mwiba Lodge, it is artfully perched above a collection of natural springs among acacia woodlands on a ridge of granite kopjes. It comprises 5 tented rooms and a two-bedroom family tent. Each tent overlooking the waterhole and other wildlife viewing areas. From here explore the diverse wilderness terrains, ranging from uncharted grassy floodplains to woodland, wide savannahs, river systems and water holes – all of which teem with wildlife.
Fly Camp, Sleep Under the Stars
Guests staying in the Mwiba Wildlife Reserve, be it at Mwiba Lodge or Mila Tented Camp, have the option of spending a night under the stars in a truly luxurious fly-camp. The camp is set up in a surprise location that speaks of remoteness, a sense of adventure and perfectly peaceful romance. Here guests are invited to spend the night without modern conveniences, stripped down to the sights and sounds of nature without distraction, guaranteeing one of the most memorable and intimate experiences of their African safari.
Captivating the Essence of the Reserve
Guests at Mwiba Lodge or Mila Tented Camp are allocated a private vehicle and guide, allowing them to design their own safari schedule. Mwiba Wildlife Reserve offers easy access to the adjoining Maswa Game Reserve which has a high density of lion and leopard. There are wide open plains along the southern edge of the Serengeti and traversing rights allow guests to spend time here, and to roam further afield into the Southern Serengeti.
From Mwiba Lodge and Mila Tented Camp, guests can set out on foot with their guide to discover the lesser-known and more intricate details of the Mwiba Wildlife Reserve, and to walk along the Great Rift Valley Escarpment. Night drives offer an experience like no other and introduce you to the nocturnal animals that become active after dark. Scenic helicopter excursions are available on request too, with an aerial perspective of the concession and game a memorable addition to your stay, especially as the wildebeest herds arrive into the area.
The Lodge and Camp are situated on community-owned land with each visitor contributing towards the surrounding community. A visit affords guests the unique opportunity to spend time with two of the four resident tribes in order to gain insight into their daily lives. Working alongside the Hadzabe, D’atoga, Maasai and Sukuma, you are welcomed to participate in an honest and humbling experience unique to the area.
Walk with the Hadzabe, an indigenous hunter-gatherer tribe known to live in perfect symbiosis with their environment, which provides them with all their needs for food, medicine and shelter. Guests may join a morning excursion as they move through the wilderness, foraging for food and following honey-guide birds in search of sweet treats. With one of Mwiba’s guides as an interpreter, the Hadzabe demonstrate their tradition of bow-and-arrow making and share their intriguing folklore and history.
Alternately, visit a D’atoga village. The D’atoga are a warrior tribe with a lifestyle akin to the Masaai and known to be ancient enemies of theirs. The opportunity to visit them is a magical way to learn more about this proud and vibrant community that is as much a part of Mwiba’s landscape as the wildlife. A visit in the late afternoon will treat you to the herders returning home, while you’re likely to be transfixed by the exquisite beaded and copper jewellery with which the women adorn themselves. There is even an opportunity to participate in the rhythmic, joyous dancing of the welcoming D’atoga people.
The Luxury of Letting Go
Mwiba Lodge and Mila Tented Camp are privately owned and managed by Legendary Expeditions who hold a privileged position among safari outfitters and pride themselves on 25 years of experience in some of the finest wildlife reserves in Tanzania. Embracing a safari ethos of being fully committed, connected, real and personal, they invite their guests to savour the luxury of letting go while exploring some of Africa’s most pristine wilderness. As per their reputation, with Legendary Expeditions expect unrivalled excellence, diverse wildlife encounters, sustainable practices, exceptional service and fine accommodation.
Conserving Tanzania’s last Natural Assets
The Friedkin Conservation Fund (FCF) is the not for profit arm of Mwiba Holdings and was established in 1994 to conserve more than 3.4 million acres of Tanzania’s protected land. With the area under pressure from illegal harvesting of natural resources, poaching of ivory and extraction of charcoal – black markets were threatening the existence of East Africa’s last untamed wilderness. The FCF has taken on the responsibility of preserving these areas that are so crucial to the survival of the greater Serengeti ecosystem while protecting the wildlife and ensuring that resident communities benefit from a balanced conservation plan.
What we Love about Mwiba Lodge and Mila Tented Camp
Understated luxury while off the beaten track on pristine protected lands. That here you have a private concession offering an exclusive green season alternative to the often overcrowded Serengeti. An experience within the same ecosystem, rich in wildlife and truly private – with unlimited access to the neighbouring reserves.
The philanthropic vision and dedication to the conservation of land, wildlife and local customs. That your visit supports the Friedkin Conservation Fund. The privilege of immersing yourself in the cultures of Tanzania, whether it’s walking with the Hadzabe, visiting the D’atoga tribe or learning to dance with the Maasai, all creating significant moments and lifelong memories.
The up-close and personal observation of the leopards of Mwiba, witnessing the annual wildebeest calving season between January and March, walking safaris with Mwiba scouts, exploring the bush after dark and spectacular sundowners enjoyed overlooking the expansive reserve.
Sleeping under the stars in the remotely positioned fly-camp. That all bookings receive a private safari vehicle and guide, providing complete exclusivity and allowing you to design your own safari, at your own pace. That children of all ages are welcome with family tents thoughtfully designed to ensure max comfort.
The nearest international airport is Kilimanjaro International Airport in Tanzania, which services many domestic and regional routes, as well as flights from Europe and beyond. Guests are met there and offered a complimentary transfer to the Arusha Airport for their scheduled or private charter flight to Mwiba Airstrip, which is located only a 15 minutes’ drive from the camps.
As recommended by AMADI, a conscious luxury travel brand that designs journeys for like-minded travellers across Africa. Mwiba Lodge, Mila Tented Camp and their Fly Camp offer a selection of purposely operated accommodation amongst Tanzania’s migrating wildebeest herds. Connect with AMADI for additional details and assistance with travel arrangements, and to learn more about the lodge’s incredible green season specials. Let the expedition begin.
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** Read my other articles from AMADI travel as featured in Hamaji Magazine.
** Pics supplied.