The hills are alive with the sound of music – Oscar Hammerstein JJ
About two weeks ago, I set off for another adventure of the year to a place I call home – Mufindi. It is a district in Iringa region, that is approximately 600 km drive from Dar es Salaam. Iringa being a southern highland region, it is a pleasure to visit, between 1st September – 30th November and 1st December – 28th February. I vacationed there at the end of August, right through the first week of September, just as winter was ending. During our stay, the weather was cold in the early mornings and evening towards the night. However, the days were sunny and glorious with a cool breeze.
I needed a break from the hot Dar es Salaam weather, so visiting Mufindi was a prefect excuse to experience the cold. With that said, I activated my planning mode and orchestrated an awesome weekend getaway to a place called Mufindi Highland Lodge.
The thought of living the farm life, increased my excitement of escaping the city, for a couple of days. Sometimes, the simplicity of waking up to birds chirping and goats grazing outside the cottage is all the therapy needed to rejuvenate.
Mufindi highland lodge also known as the Fox Farm, has 10 beautiful chalets that overlooks magnificent hills and valleys. Early in the morning the view was mostly covered by fog. As the day proceeded, it cleared into picturesque views that most people only see in postcards.
The chalets are comfortable with twin or double beds and en-suite bathrooms. For big groups, the lodge has family chalets offering double-decker beds, shared lounge and balcony. We spent most of our time outside, but, we did utilise the lounge area for some board games sessions and winding down the day.
The honeymoon chalets have similar setting with an added log fire. This type of chalet can also be enjoyed by people who want to celebrate their anniversaries.
Things To Do
If you love the outdoors then you will enjoy the activities that Mufindi Highland Lodge has to offer. Mountain biking, horse riding, fly fishing, birding, kayaking and cultural visit are among the activities to experience. In addition, the lodge has immaculate lawns that accommodate a full-sized tennis court overlooking spectacular views of the hills and valleys.
On the second day of our stay, after relaxing from the long drive, we chose to do the horse riding activity. Before breakfast we took a nice stroll around the farm, just to take in the view and enjoy the environment.
Right after breakfast, around 11 am, we went to the stables and met these beautiful horses that were being prepared just for us. I have a thing for black horses, so I eagerly chose a horse called “Kasuku“. Kasuku actually means Parrot in Swahili. Sadly, “Kasuku the horse“, was being prepared for someone else. So, I was given “Ignace“, a brown-skin horse with long luscious hair.
Ignace, my horse had a mind of his own, he didn’t listen to my command, even when I wanted him to speed up and catch up with everyone. He was more interested in eating grass every few minutes than being in sync with the rest of the group. But, I have to admit, I did feel safe with Ignace because of his steady pace that he had from start to finish.
The path that they chose for us had magnificent views and we got to choose a perfect picnic spot for the next day excursion.
Cultural Visit – Children’s Village
Visiting the children’s village was high on my priority list when it came to experiencing Mufindi. This year I had consciously chosen to play a role in responsible tourism, and supporting any lodge that has a program to better the lives of the community. Mufindi highland lodge has played a major role in the community that surrounds them. They have established different programs with the help of donors partners to enrich the community, and children’s village being one of them.
It was such an honor to walk around and see the amazing work that the lodge has done. They have taken in orphaned children and some abandoned children and sheltered them in a housing community where their basic needs are being met. The children’s village program also covers the children’s tuition from nursery all the way to university.
As wonderful as it is to know the lodge caters for the children, it is also a painful truth that this program is expensive to run, and the phrase “it takes a village” needs to be realized. We all need to come together and help our communities in one way or the other. If you can spread the word by using your talent of writing or photography and sharing to relevant avenues, then visit this place and do just that. However, this program is in desperate need of monetary donations/funding, so head over to https://orphansinthewild.org/the-childrens-village/ to donate if you can or share this link to spread the word.
Trip Cost Break Down
- Transport : We had a van, so we did not incur cost for this.
- Fuel : This completely depends on the vehicle that you have or will rent for this kind of trip. For our van, we paid approximately 400,000 Tshs for a round trip.
- Accommodation : The lodge standard rate is $130 on full board basis per person per night, however, you can get a discount rate if you negotiate.
- Excursion : Mufindi Highland lodge activities are included in the accommodation cost. There is a small charge for horse riding and fishing, this helps to cover equipment replacement.
- Horse Riding : $20
Good To Know
- Road : From Dar to Mafinga town there is tarmac road. From the main road, as you turn to take the road that leads to the lodge, there is about 50 km of rough road. I would advise on getting a 4X4 for this trip.
- Direction : As you reach Iringa, proceed on the mbeya road until you reach Mafinga. At Mafinga, turn left at the Total petrol station which is near a large eucalyptus tree. Continue for 35 km to Sawala village. At Sawala village, there will be a Fox Farm sign, turn left and drive for another 15 km. Through the tea estate follow small fox farm signs until you reach the farm and lodge. If in doubt, simply ask the locals for directions or pay a boda boda guy (motorcyclists) and they will get you there.