I have stayed at Ilboru Safari Lodge on a number of occasions and have always felt a great sense of relief arriving at what I consider to be my home away from home in Arusha.
As your car leaves the main road in Arusha, and heads to the safari lodge, you may feel your heart race a little but wondering just where in the heck you are going?
The road is barely a road, and you are definitely in the middle of local culture, which is fascinating, but maybe not your first choice of where to spend the night.
Then the gates open and you turn into Ilboru Safari lodge, a lovely hotel, and an oasis in the middle of the Arusha madness.
Now if you've come to Africa and are looking for the Mariott or the Hilton, this is not it.
It is not ritzy or lavish- but it is charming and most importantly Authentic.
The staff is charming, the grounds are manicured, there is a nice pool, and the rooms are in quaint bungalows. Yes they are very basic, but we actually liked them very much. The bathrooms are workable, and again not fancy.
The manager and chef extraordinaire does amazing things with food and will remember your face from years earlier.
His tomato soup is a miracle cure for jet lag after a 48 hour non-stop journey from Sydney - guaranteed to let you have a great night sleep and wake up fresh in the morning. The staff are welcoming and very friendly.
The rooms are modest but clean with each boma (room) having a private verandah to enjoy the beautiful surroundings.
It is true that at times there power problems and at times the water pressure is not great - but this is not a 5 star hotel in the middle of Sydney.
It is Arusha and for the price it is fantastic. If you are looking for somewhere to base yourself while you check out all the wonderful adventures you can have in the Arusha area you should look no further.
I don't know about you but I am a very "middle of the road traveler" and I think there are lots like me- meaning I don't want to be someplace "local" meaning, unsafe, dirty, falling apart like a hostel in a horror movie- but I also hate the "Sheraton Africa" mentality just as much- I will gladly give up little bottles of shampoo and a forceful shower for the chance to feel like I am meeting real local people and getting an Authentic experience.
If you are this kind of traveler, and don't mind putting up with minor Inconveniences - you will be rewarded with the best feeling of all- feeling like you are in Africa!
The Dutch owner Adj/Adge is the real bonus to staying here. He is very friendly and helpful and you feel he could solve most problems, if you had any.
All in all a good place to spend a night or two and I'd gladly return on a similar trip.