Camel Safari Cultural Tourism Programme
to the camel camp at Mkuru, where you can make camel safaris to the plains
between Kilimanjaro, Mount Meru and Lake Natron, and enjoy the friendly
behaviour of the "sheep of the desert".
We, Maasai of Mkuru offer you:
a visit to the camel camp at the foot of Mount Meru
a thorough explanation of the way camels are kept in the semi arid plains
camel safaris varying in length from half a day to one week
bird-watching walks through the plains around Mkuru
a climb up Ol Doinyo Landaree, the mountain with the shape of a pyramid
a view into the culture and daily life of the Maasai
a fresh cup of camel milk
profit will be used for running a kindergarten for Maasai children.
Your visit helps us to improve the education for our
tourism programme executed with advice from SNV B the Netherlands Development Organisation and
the Tanzanian Tourist Board.
Mkuru is situated on the North side of Mount
Meru, not far away from the irrigated fields of Ngarenanyuki and the Momela gate
of Arusha National Park. From a distance the area can be easily recognized
through the remarkable shape of Ol Doinyo Landaree, the little mountain that
looks like a pyramid.
Maasai families live in small traditional
bomas scattered throughout the area. In the early morning, the warriors start
wandering with their cattle looking for pasture and water. Young children take
care of the goat and sheep, and sometimes assist their mothers in fetching water
and collecting firewood. With assistance from Heifer Project International some
Maasai have also started keeping camels, and come to understand the benefits of
this animal. On behalf of the requests from Maasai societies Heifer Project
International is providing camels to individuals and groups.
Since the introduction of camels in Tanzania
in the early nineties, Mkuru has become one of the centres for camel promotion
in the country. Over a hundred camels stay in the camel camp, from where they
are lead every day into the plains to search for forage. At the end of the
afternoon, all camels return to the camp and are milked by Maasai warriors. The
camels are seen as a perfect animal for the semi arid plains between Mount
Kilimanjaro and Lake Natron. Since they eat from the trees, they hardly compete
livestock and they can stand the droughts
much better than the Maasai cattle. If necessary, camels can stay up to fifteen
days without drinking, so they are capable of making long trips. The area around
Mkuru is alive with colourful birds. The rufous crowned roller, the red and
yellow barbet and the Fischer's lovebird are some of the more special species.
Small game also regularly passes the area and in the plains to the north,
giraffes and zebras are common animals.
A visit to Mkuru can be designed in various
ways, varying from an overnight at the camel camp to a camel safari of several
The camel camp
At the end of the afternoon you arrive at the
camel camp, where you can see the camel herds returning from the plains and walk
in between these animals that are very friendly to men. Often there are young
camels, just born, that cannot yet walk and have to be carried by Maasai
warriors to a place in the shade of a tree. At night, near the campfire, you can
listen to sounds of the plains and watch the thousands of stars at the sky. In
the morning you will see the Maasai milking the camels and you can enjoy the
taste of a cup of fresh camel milk.
The camel ride
From the camel camp you can undertake a camel
ride of several hours through the plains around Mkuru. On the back of the camel
and guided by Maasai warriors, you can perfectly oversee the area and have good
chances to view game and special birds. With Kilimanjaro and Longido Mountain at
the horizon, and Mount Meru rising up right behind you, the landscape you are
wandering through is of an amazing magnitude.
In co-operation with tour operators,
arrangements can be made for camel safaris of more days. Starting from the camp
in Mkuru, safaris are possible in the direction of Kilimanjaro, Longido Mountain
and Lake Natron.
In two days, a tour can be made in the
direction of Mount Kilimanjaro, passing the wildlife corridor between Amboseli
National Park and Tarangire and Arusha National park.
In three days a safari can be made to Longido
mountain, while four days is sufficient to reach the mountain of Kitumbeine.
Four the most adventurous ones, a seven days safari can be organized via the
mountains of Kitumbeine and Ol Doinyo Lengai to the shores of Lake Natron.
During the camel safaris you usually cover around 20 kilometres before lunch. In
the afternoon you can always relax and explore the area around the camp.
Guided by Maasai warriors you can walk
through the acacia woodland around the camel camp in Mkuru. With their sharp
eyes, the warriors notice every movement and will show you many special birds,
that live in this semi arid area. If you are lucky, you can also see some game
running away. It is advised that you bring a pair of binoculars if interested in
Climb of Ol
For a more strenuous tour without the camels,
you can climb Ol Doinyo Landaree, the mountain with the shape of a pyramid.
Escorted by Maasai warriors it will take you about two hours to reach the top,
from where you have a beautiful view on Mount Meru and can look out over the
Maasai plain between Meru and Kilimanjaro. In about one and a half hour you can
descend the mountain and relax at the camels camp.
Combinations of the various tours are very
A camel safari in Mkuru can also well be
combined with a visit to Arusha National Park. In two and a half day an
adventurous tour can be made around Mount Meru. The first day you leave Arusha
at noon and make an afternoon Game drive in Arusha National Park around the
Momela Lakes. You spend the night at Momela Lodge and make the next morning a
walking safari through the natural forests on the slopes of Mount Meru. In the
afternoon you proceed to the Mkuru camel camp, where you make the camel ride the
next day before you return late afternoon via the west side of Mount Meru to
The guides are mainly young Maasai who grew
up in the plains around Mount Meru, and are all well experienced in organizing
camel safaris. They speak only limited English, but can explain a lot with hand
signs. Especially on longer safaris it is advisable that the tour operator
provides an extra guide who can translate Swahili into English.
In the camp are three luxury cottages, that
each provide room for two persons. The cottages share one outside toilet, from
where you have an excellent view on Kilimanjaro. Camping equipment, including
bush showers, is available for large groups. Except from tea of coffee with
camel milk, there are no food and drinks for sale in the camp. On requests tour
operators can make use of the kitchen with energy saving stoves to prepare meals
for their clients.
view on Kilimanjaro. Camping equipment,
including bush showers, is available for large groups. Except from tea of coffee
with camel milk, there are no food and drinks for sale in the camp. On requests
tour operators can make use of the kitchen with energy saving stoves to prepare
meals for their clients.
for the Maasai
In the village of Mkuru there is no single
primary school. Therefore, children who want to get education have to walk long
distances every day to neighbouring villages. Especially for the younger
children this distance is simply too far. In order to give also some education
to their younger children, the Maasai have now started their own kindergarten in
Mkuru. A part of the income generated from tourism will be used to support this
Visitors wishing to do a camel safari should
camp overnight the day before in Mkuru and make arrangements for their safari
the following day. To get to Mkuru by public transport from Arusha, you must
first go to Usa River where you will transfer to another bus going to
Ngarenanyuki village. Ngarenanyuki is in the same direction but past Arusha
National Park. The Momella Lodge is located 5 km before Ngarenanyuki village.
Guests can stay overnight at the Momella Lodge and request a driver to send a
message to the camel camp. If you have your own transport, you can drive to
Mkuru which is another 5 km from Ngarenanyuki, alternatively you can walk from
Ngarenanyuki village to the camel camp.
For further information
contact your tour operator
information Centre in Arusha
Road, Tel: 057 - 3842/3)