It has 35 tented camps with the capacity of accommodating 70 visitors at a go.“We receive visitors from almost every part of the world but our major market is in Europe, Scandinavian countries and we also receive some visitors from America”, Ikoma Tented Camp Manager, Mr Joseph Goshashy.
The camp provides a wide range of unique services that put visitors close to the nature of Serengeti ecosystem at all times, according to Mr Goshashy.They included night game driving, something which enables guests to come face to face with wild nocturnal animals such as bush babies and nungunugu.
“It ispossible for us to conduct game drives at night, because we are situated outside the park. Our visitors have also access to nature walks during morning and evening hours to witness sunrise and sun set. Sun rise and sun set is an interesting thing for many of our visitors”, Mr Goshashy told this paper recently.
“Our tents put visitors close to the nature of wild animals compared to those who stay in rooms”, the camp manager pointed out, adding that the camp has well trained tour guides who assist visitors during nature walks and game drives.
The camp has since 2005 been under the management of Moivaro Group which operates a number of tented camps and tourists lodges in the country. It is rated as the most famous tented camp in the western Serengeti. “For sure this is an amazing tented camp we have here because of its nature, and visitors never complain or regret after visiting this camp,” Mr Karim Juma , a regular local tour operator who has been taking visitors to Ikoma tented camp for years said.
The camp’s bed occupancy during peak period (high season) stands at an average of between 80 – 90 percent, according to MrGoshashy. “Visitors do not only come to view animals like elephants and giraffes. They also come to see various species of flora found within the Serengeti ecosystem”, he explained.
The camp is situated in Robanda village of Serengeti District in Mara region. A large part of Robanda village is potential for photographic tourism. The camp has 40 workers, majority of them hailing from neighboring communities. “All workers, including me and the assistant manager are Tanzanian and 70 per cent of them are from the nearby villages’, Mr Goshashy, who has served in the hospitality industry abroad and Tanzania for many years said.
The tented camp also purchases fruits and vegetable from the village in a bid to promote horticultural farming among the area residents who in the past relied mostly on poaching as their main source of income. This has made many villagers to support the ongoing campaign against poaching in the western Serengeti. Local leaders and ordinary people are also happy with the presence of the camp in the village, saying that it plays a crucial role to speed up social development in the area.
“We have several investors here but Moivaro has always been in the frontline in bringing changes to our village”, said Mr Meshaki Mago, a popular entrepreneur at Robanda trading centre.Moivaro has been paying bedding fees depending on the visitors visiting the camp, according to the company’s Chief Accountant, Mr Daniel Msemo.
Robanda village government Chairman, Mr Mrobanda Japan confirmed that his village received bedding fees amounting to about 115 ml- from the company last year alone. Mr Japan said that the money has been spent on putting up a modern high school that targets students from the marginalized communities, with girls getting the top priority.
He says that the school opens its doors next year. “We are also using the revenue we get from tourism investment to sponsor our youths at various universities, colleges and high schools and seven of them have completed their first degrees on various disciplines”, the village chief said.“In addition to that, we transport sick people who are referred to big hospital like Mugumu District Designated Hospital”, he added.
The village has a modern office used by both local leaders and government experts based in the village. The village projects are expected bring in about 300 ml- in the next financial year, according to MrJapan.