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Tarangire National Park
South of Maguga
At Sanctuary Swala, guests barely need to lift a finger to witness some of Africa's most stunning wildlife: Right from the decks of its 12 tented suites, they can spot lions, kudu, impala, and herds of as many as 50 elephants frequenting the watering hole just a few dozen paces away. The tents are so close to the pond that it's not uncommon to hear an elephant's stomach gurgling as she slurps water. Even at night, while the canvas walls protect sleepers from the creatures roaming beyond,(+) More
At Sanctuary Swala, guests barely need to lift a finger to witness some of Africa's most stunning wildlife: Right from the decks of its 12 tented suites, they can spot lions, kudu, impala, and herds of as many as 50 elephants frequenting the watering hole just a few dozen paces away. The tents are so close to the pond that it's not uncommon to hear an elephant's stomach gurgling as she slurps water. Even at night, while the canvas walls protect sleepers from the creatures roaming beyond, they don't shut out the grunts of the hippos or the sound of leopards on the prowl.
This is exactly the point: Sanctuary Swala, one of the few camps within Tanzania's Tarangire National Park, is designed to immerse guests in the experience of wild Africa. The park is famed for its otherworldly landscape of baobab trees and preponderance of elephants, especially between August and October, when the gigantic mammals tend to congregate at watering holes for the dry season. While the camp is located in a secluded section of the park, it is only about 110 miles from Arusha, Tanzania.
In 2009, Sanctuary Swala underwent a $1.5 million renovation, and the result is an inviting, airy communal area with an infinity pool overlooking the watering hole, plus 12 impeccably appointed tented suites. Each suite has a large bedroom with a king-size canopy bed, a sitting area, indoor and outdoor showers, and a deck for surveying the watering hole and the plains beyond. A butler is assigned to each tent and tends to sundowners, tea and biscuits in the morning, or whatever a guest might fancy.
Thankfully, all this luxury comes with its own sustainable pledge: All of the furniture was made from local materials and by local craftsmen, and the thatched roofs were harvested onsite. The camp also helped fund and build a primary school in the nearby village of Mamire that has ballooned from 90 students to nearly 600 in the last few years. Guests often visit the school, receiving hearty welcomes and songs from the schoolchildrenand are invited to donate if they so wish. A $50 donation can provide hot lunches to the children for a monthand makes that gin and tonic at the end of a day of game drives that much sweeter.(-) Close
Set to become one of Tanzania's most iconic retreats, Sanctuary Swala is now fully open following a US$1.5 million rebuild. The camp is located in secluded area of Tarangire National Park, arguably northern Tanzania's most interesting park, famous for the large herds of elephants and spectacular baobab trees.
Twelve tents surround the main dining area, deck and library which are lifted on stilts around an enormous and ancient baobab tree. There is now also a stunning infinity swimming pool overlooking the water hole.
Each of the twelve luxurious canvas pavilions is shaded by tall acacia trees and all are within sight of the well-frequented water hole which regularly draws lions, leopards and resident bull elephants for which Sanctuary Swala is famed. The tents feature a spacious open plan arrangement with comfortable king or twin beds, campaign chairs and plush sofas, as well as en suite bathroom with both indoor and outdoor shower. Each tent has its own personal attendant who will attend to guests' every need.
Exquisitely furnished with traditional materials, the tents at Sanctuary Swala are unashamedly luxurious but still close enough to nature to permit an exciting night under canvas.