Tanzania's Lupita Island, a Real-Life 'Fantasy Island'
This is my mid-summer's fantasy vacation: A stay on a spectacular 130-acre private island off Africa with open-air luxury rooms set in a pristine natural habitat. Accessible only by boat. Price: If you have to ask ... (A family cottage with two bedrooms and two baths is $2,600 a night. One bedroom units rent for $863 per person or $518 for a child sharing. Meals and water sports are included.)
Guests of Lupita Island, located on Africa's Lake Tanganyika in south western Tanzania, stay in detached, open-sided thatched-roof villas with views of Africa's second largest lake. The resort provides a variety of water sports, luxury dining, relaxation, spa services and the fact that there is a very good chance no one can reach you by cell phone. That's called a getaway vacation.
The luxury resort, which completed a major renovation in June 1010, was designed to blend in with the environment. It is surrounded by dense indigenous forest, open grassland and rocky outcrops. The Lupita Island Resort accommodates guests in a 13 luxury suites and 2 presidential suites, which have private plunge pools and the option of star beds. The plunge pools are fed by a constant flow of water through the suite resembling a soothing mountain stream.
Gallery: Lupita Island
The luxurious beds are hand-crafted in a dramatic fashion, extra king-size with down comforters. The resort provides all the finest amenities, top-class furnishings and pampers its guests. Each room is completely open to the lake, guaranteeing magnificent sunsets and balmy African breezes. Hot waterfall showers cascade over stones and large outdoor baths add to the Lupita experience. Each room is totally open to the lake, ensuring beautiful sunsets and balmy breezes. Hot waterfall showers cascading over stones, black granite sinks, large outside baths add to the Lupita experience.
Lake Tanganyika, with its sapphire blue waters ,is the longest lake in the world at 421 miles and holds 8% of the world's fresh water. It is pure and unspoiled, the way a fantasy vacation lake should be. The lake contains hundreds of species of fish, including some of the finest game fish in all of Africa such as Goliath Tiger fish and Nile Perch. It also makes for excellent snorkeling and diving, where the crystal clear underwater visibility averages more than 65 feet. The lake is 2,500 feet above sea level.
For those more interested in relaxing with a book and cocktail, the resort has a fully equipped spa that combines both holistic and traditional pampering treatments, including many of African origination.
Guests may rent the entire island exclusively for up to 12 days, if they promise to invite me along. The island is accessible by air and then a seven-minute boat ride across the lake to the resort. The three-hour scheduled flight from Arusha or Dar Es Salaam runs on Mondays and Thursdays, but private charters can be arranged at other times.
The resort has a lake 48-foot cruiser that sleeps 6 and is available for charters, day trips and overnight boat rides to Mahale Mountains Chimpanzee Park and the Gombe Stream Chimpanzee sanctuary.
Lupita Island is one of three stops on an African safari by parent company Firelight Expeditions.