A very pretty, down-to-earth lodge set just outside Arusha, Rivertrees Country Inn is a popular base for safaris into northern Tanzania. A central staging post for northern safaris, most safari itineraries through this area will include time in Arusha, and travellers could do a whole a lot worse than a night or two at this owner-run lodge.
Set back from the main road, in a mature, 10 acre garden, on the banks of the Usa River, River Trees is an ex-colonial property, and retains all the charm and individuality of a private home.
Consisting of two central buildings and 34 rooms, the farmhouse has been beautifully restored, and the main area – lounge, dining room, bar, swimming pool, extensive veranda and outdoor seating facilities – overlooks a classically upcountry garden, complete with prolific bougainvillea, fly-catchers flitting through the bushes and a clutch of very old, very big trees. Indeed, it is worth visiting Rivertrees for the garden alone. Alive with colour and a range of hibiscus, oleander and candelabra, it is not uncommon to see – as we did during our last visit – the likes of casqued hornbills flying across the lawns.
FOOD AND SERVICE
Inside, the lodge’s interiors are designed to fit with the function of individual rooms. The bar, a highland throwback, is rough and ready, the lounge luxuriously comfortable, and the dining room a touch more formal. Tea is served on the open-veranda, and an informal atmosphere is encouraged by sprawling sofas, and by the opportunity to come together with the rest of River Trees’s guests. The service is a delight, and the food, prepared in an open kitchen, good country nosh – is just right.
There are 34 rooms: 30 Garden Rooms (including the Farm House’s additional 4 rooms), 2 River Cottages and the River House, which is 2 rooms. The standard rooms, reasonably recently refurbished, are simple, very comfortable and beautifully kept. Varying in size and style, and not in the least decadent, they are very much in keeping with the traditional feel of an old home. Characterised by whitewashed walls, polished concrete floors and clean, functional bathrooms, each of the standard rooms possesses a double or twin bed, table and seats and veranda.
The cottages are similar, only larger and positioned away by the river, and offer guests complimentary hot drinks facilities & an outside shower, as well as a roaring fireplace. River House – two en-suite bedrooms, a separate lounge, and extensive veranda – would suit a group. For those after a purely traditional colonial accommodation stay, the main house’s old parquet floors, ramshackle seating and huge fireplace ticks all boxes. Across the accommodation, the internet is quick and notably reliable.
Rivertrees boasts numerous activities, including horse riding, bird watching, cultural visits and plantation walks.