Located within a private conservancy on the edge of Tarangire National Park, luxe safari life meets philanthropy in a major way at Little Chem Chem. The Chem Chem Association is the heart of the organization, with projects like female-focused microfinance initiatives and school construction that help support the local community. Plus, their incredible location means unparalleled game viewing right from your tent.
DESTINATION: LITTLE CHEM CHEM
Located between Tarangire National Park and Lake Manyara sits Little Chem Chem, a six-room camp nestled in a migration corridor where you’ll feel like you’re on a game drive while sitting in front of your tent. Animals roam freely within this 20,000-hectare concession, and your tent and Little Chem Chem’s common spaces are prime viewing platforms for taking in nature as it unfolds. Chem Chem has three total properties – though I’d be hard-pressed to pull myself away from Little Chem Chem on a future visit – and its mission is two-fold, reflecting their dual missions of safari and philanthropy. Their goals? Celebrate slow safari life with an incredible location and fantastic guides as your core, and secondly, engage the local community in capacity building and conservation efforts.
Little Chem Chem brings the best of both worlds: an intimate and authentic safari feel with world-class guiding paired with a dose of glam that feels relevant, not overdone. Yes, it’s pure luxury with indoor/outdoor showers, a plush bed, morning coffee wake-up calls, gourmet cuisine, and exceptional service, but it manages to balance its luxuries with a sense of place, which I think is ultimately the key to really resonating with guests.
We stayed in one of six tents on the property, all spaced for intimacy and all with incredible views over a nearby watering hole. If you read my post sharing my tips for planning an African safari, you’ll know that I talk about the length of time allocated per camp, plus understanding the differences between national parks and conservancies. Conservancies, such as where Little Chem Chem is situated, more stringently limit the number of visitors plus they’ll often allow experiences that you may not be able to enjoy at national parks (depending on the rules and regs of the given park). Night drives in particular were something we enjoyed daily at Little Chem Chem. We set out with our guide, Salum, beginning at around 5PM each night and would enjoy sundowners and the early hours post-nightfall where wildlife was active. We watched a mother and her cubs on a kill, plus had one of the best sundowner experiences imaginable near a watering hole that beckoned to a herd of elephants while we were there (just us!). Walking safaris are on offer, too, to focus on the smaller creatures that often get overlooked on game drives.
It’s easy to be mesmerized by solely the wildlife that you’ll experience at Chem Chem, but I think it’s important for visitors to see the impact the Chem Chem Association is having, and the initiatives that some of your dollars will go to support. Community engagement is one of the primary focuses of their organization. Give yourself at least four nights at Little Chem Chem if you’re able (you’ll want more, believe me). We had the great privilege of meeting Walter, the Director of Community Engagement with CCA, who shared with us a bit of insight on the current initiatives and took us to see the positive impact in the neighboring communities. Due to COVID, we were extra cautious and a bit more limited with village visits during our time in Tanzania but during future years, you’d have opportunities to see the impact of the association’s work first hand.
When it comes to drinking and dining on safari, the only thing that I ever really conjure up is that classic G&T at sunset. Chem Chem delivers on that in spades but their F&B scene goes far beyond that with changing daily menus and upscale meals prepared by the kitchen. As with virtually all safari camps you’ll stay at, your rate includes all of your meals, and while we were universally impressed with the food across the board during our time in Tanzania, Chem Chem’s definitely slanted the most gourmet of the bunch. There are a range of dining locations on offer so during a four-night stay you’ll eat in a different setting each night (under a tree, on the deck, near a fire, etc.).
I mentioned the wildlife viewing from your tent, and the same goes for viewing during dining. We often had lunch with elephants, zebra, or buffalo wandering by (see above); the perfect backdrop for a mid-day break. You’ll be able to discuss any dietary restrictions with the team in advance. I had a vegetarian menu daily with incredible offerings for every meal. Your choice of wines – mostly South African – and spirits are available throughout the day.
Planning your getaway to East Africa? Here’s some inspiration for your getaway:
- 10 Tips for Planning an African Safari
- Witnessing the Great Migration in the Serengeti
- What It’s Like to Travel to Tanzania During COVID
- Gorilla Trekking in the Congo
- DRC: Mount Nyiragongo Hike
👉🏼 Wanna collaborate on your next trip? Let me help you plan your safari!
Number of Rooms: 6 tents (additional accommodation available at Chem Chem and Forest Chem Chem) Cost Per Night: From $960 per person per night + park fees, all-inclusive Must-Try Eats & Drinks: Don’t miss their Pink Flamingo sundowner! Hotel Highlights: Location, location, location! Game viewing right from your tent. Worth the Investment? Yes, a truly extraordinary experience, with a philanthropic side that’s focused on community building and conservation.