AT LAST – Utengule Coffee Estate Lodge – 5 June 2021

  • Barry 

Yes we got there at last and not without some challenge – we got to the gate and it was locked with not a person or light in sight – the sign said – Hotel & Camping up ahead – it was not to be

We started reversing and a single motorbike light started approaching from the road end – on the back was a rastafarian dude – looked like ….. ?

A white Bob Marley (yup …?)

he was coming back from work and says – “Hey you dudes wanna camp for the night” (Right on Dude)

“Follow me…”

In the context of the day – this was our Bob Marley day …

so we completed the reversing trick on the narrow single track and went back down the hill then took an unmarked left and were confronted with a security gate, security guard and the inevitable book to complete to enter a secure compound – plus walkie talkie in Swahili

The estate manager welcomed us and then directed us back to the same gate that was locked – by the time we got there a security guard appeared and we were let through and directed to the helicopter field where there was an electricity power point. The power point was busy being invaded by army ants of varying sizes – so we elected to ignore the power point, stretch the battery and moved to camp in the centre of the helicopter landing pad (like a big sports field). We had just started cooking supper on the gas bottle when we both felt like things were crawling on us – and they were. the field was just full of AAs (Aggressive Ants) – so we shifted camp to a corner that was relatively Ant free and finished supper and jumped into bed..

The next day we moved the vehicle closer to the squash/tennis court showers which double as campers showers and prepared for the day.

This is the view down into the valley from the hotel steps above

and the tennis courts with the ant filled helicopter field in the distance

It is sad that the hotel as been mothballed as it certainly looked very comfortable and grand

with all the normal warnings for holiday makers – especially in the hot summer months

.The views from the hotel are worth sharing

This is the website which has lot more info

On checking out the manager showed us around. We will definitely stay here on our return trip as it is under 90km to the Tunduma border and we will most likely stay in one of the compound bungalows which for an extra $5 each (above camping price) and using our own bedding –  we can stay in a house with showers, toilets, kitchen, power and No Ants (hopefully). WE inspected one of these bungalows and were both impressed.

When we were leaving Utengule we saw the sign on the side of the road that we missed the night before in our pursuit of the pothole avoiding truck

From Utengule we started heading North East on the T1 towards Iringa




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