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Jan 3 - Jan 10, 2015
What a wonderful house and wonderful experience! I needed a large venue for a reunion of 10 Tanzanians and Australians. I wanted somewhere that was a bit special because people needed to travel long distances to join us. Chele Chele Villa was exactly what I needed. The photographs show the house just as it is. The grounds are beautiful; the house has clearly been been restored with love; it is filled with interesting artefacts from a life spent travelling in Africa; it has lots of space so people can be together or apart as they choose; we used the swimming pool every day. The staff are wonderful--welcoming and helpful. And although the owner is not on-site, he was extremely helpful via email. So, what are the down sides. There are few but they are real --The owner will warn you about the access road. Everything he says about the last 1 1/2 km is true. The trip in and out are not for the faint-hearted or for low slung cars. Ideally you will be driving an old LandRover and be used to driving on washed-out unsealed roads. We did not have our own vehicle , so we relied on transfers to and from the JRO airport and to and from Arusha. If you choose the house partly for the view of Kilimanjaro, you need to know that there is a lot of haze for most of most days, and there were several days when we couldn't see it at all. As compensation, you can usually get clear views of Mount Meru (also impressive). --We had fewer power black-outs and internet problems at Chele Chele in rural Tanzania than in Addis Ababa, but you should expect that they will happen. --In Africa, I regularly feel uncomfortable about living in comfort so close to people living without any comfort at all. So, this is an ideal place for a retreat, or to spend quiet time with friends and family, or to recover from privation. Unless you have an indestructible vehicle, it may not be the best base for daily commutes to Arusha/Moshi or into the 2 nearby National Parks. P.S., the directions to the house are accurate but several people in our group got lost. The locals are very helpful, but if you need help, ask them how to get to Aziz's house (not how to get to Chele Chele Villa, which is not a name many are familiar with) in order to get good directions. Would I come back? In a heartbeat.