Living here for just two days was like stepping into someone’s dream and then making it our own. That does not happen very often.
My husband and I were on Safari for our 25th anniversary. We booked this camp through Bush2Beach with Ingrid Vaes to have a permanent tent experience while trekking in Tanzania for 11 days in June. Isoitk means “rocky place” and, as you pull off the main road, that becomes very apparent. The surrounding area is dry and rocky, at first glance, a bit desolate. But, indeed, it is full of life, very different than many of us would ever experience if we didn’t seize this opportunity.
Isoitok Camp was designed, built and managed day-to-day by Chris Pilley who is a most interesting man. He is from Jersey (for fellow yanks, that is England, not USA) and has lived “down under” (New Zealand & Tazmania). He has climbed mountains and sampled a variety of occupations and cultures. All of his life experiences have come together in developing this creatively beautiful, eco-friendly, permanent tent camp that has a close relationship with the Massai community. Chris is a superb carpenter and the camp is a sensitive showcase for his work and approach to life. The camp has all the comforts one would want with regard
to beds, showers, toilets, and privacy, along with a magical African atmosphere. We enjoyed well planned landscaping and nightly campfires.
The service was personal, low key and excellent. Isoitok staff planned and prepared some very nice romantic touches for us. One evening, we had champagne and snacks on the hillside, timed just right for an African sunset. Another night, we had a romantic dinner for two, surrounded by lanterns hanging in the trees. We voted the food, cooked by Mohammed, as the most delicious of our entire 11 days (this is compared to several upscale lodges) and appreciated the well stocked bar.
I was unsure that we would appreciate the time spent with the Massai community of Esilalei. I first thought of it as an interesting side trip, a break from just trekking. Instead. We met with a guide who introduced us to his village, visited a Boma, and went for a medicine walk up the hillside (see the Isoitok website).
I would say that this was an awakening in terms of awareness and insight to the Massai people. I am so glad we had this experience.
Thank you, Isoitok, for sharing your dream with us!
- Official Description (provided by the hotel):
- Isoitok Camp – Manyara is not just another tented camp, it’s an experience you wished you had longer for! The camp is surrounded by the Maasai community of Esilalei offering draw dropping views overlooking Lake Manyara and the Rift Valley basin. Private, surreal bush experiences await those who visit. 8 deluxe en-suite tents sculptured into the natural surroundings with a night chorus out of "Born Free." ... more less