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Chem Chems, Little and Big

On my most recent visit to Tanzania, I finally managed to visit a place that’s been on Trufflepig’s radar for several years now – Chem Chem, and its smaller but equally charming sibling, Little Chem Chem. Hopes were high and I am glad to say we were not disappointed. The lodge and accompanying tented camp that the owners Fabia and Nicolas have built are fabulous. After years spent visiting safari camps all over Africa, when the time came to build their own, they knew what they liked and what they didn’t, and the result is pleasingly far from run of the mill.

Everything has been well thought out and thought through, and the care and attention to detail is everywhere, from the design of the tents to the communal areas, to the excellent service and fantastic food. It’s hard not to love both camps almost immediately.

The fantastic nature of the two camps belies the deeper story of what’s actually going on at Chem Chem. The concession it occupies was for years a hunting area, and while it technically still is such, Fabia and Nicolas have worked for years to try and make sure nothing ever gets shot here again. The area is a crucial wildlife corridor between Lake Manyara and Tarangire National Parks, which hunting effectively closed off, driving wildlife out of Tarangire into populated areas where they came into inevitable conflict with local communities. Populations plummeted. Years of very hard work have helped to restore this game corridor, and now that the animals know they are safe they have begun to thrive and move back in droves.

This is great news especially for the elephants that dominate this part of Tanzania. It’s also great news for you because you can get the best of both worlds: an experience in Tarangire with the private up-close and personal safari experience that’s only really possible on a private concession. A stay at Chem Chem includes permits for game drives within Tarangire but while the park is excellent is does tend to get somewhat overrun with vehicles at certain times of year. Your guide will collect you from Kuro, Taranrgire’s airstrip and together you can explore the vast southern marsh and stop for a picnic before heading into Chem Chem’s private concession. A beautiful corner of Tanzania you’ll have pretty much to yourself.

Dan Achber’s been all over Africa so many times we’re starting to think he’s migratory, except that he has a hunter’s nose for quality when it comes to lodges. Email him [] to discuss planning your own adventure.

A beautiful corner of Tanzania you’ll have pretty much to yourself. 

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