Mwitongo Lodge: The reason you should visit Butiama

Sunday April 23 2017

The lodge’s surroundings make it look like an

The lodge’s surroundings make it look like an African homestead in the historic village of Mwitongo. PHOTOI ELISHA MAYALLAH. 

By Elisha Mayallah

For many travellers, Butiama is a stop over on a journey along the Serengeti National Park, which is 60 kms away and nearly 40 kms to Musoma, the regional capital of Mara. And it is about 190 K Rock City that lies along the shores of Lake Victoria, Africa’s largest lake.

But just a short detour away from Butiama is the hidden Mwitongo Lodge that takes visitors into the journey of the past and present through the wealth of cultural tourism in the neighbourhoods.

Mwitongo Lodge is a cosy family run hotel facility situated on the gentle highlands. It is dominated by majestic and fascinating rock formations some of which still bear ancient rock paintings.

The lodge is the quintessential sanctuary of tranquillity and a perfect destination for those who enjoy fine things in life.

It is owned and run by Calogero Drago and Neema Nyerere-Drago Italian and Tanzanian citizens, respectively. Calogero and Neema are well-travelled across Africa, the Caribbean, Europe, and the US during which they have developed a distinctive touch and taste for quality hospitality.

Calogero took early retirement from the University of Trieste where he accomplished years of research in road construction and Neema recently resigned from international cooperation and diplomacy in Geneva. Environmentally friendly and quality hospitality is their priority.


The lodge was upgraded and opened for business recently, Neema says. If we take a dive to its past, the lodge was built in the 70s as a hostel by Neema’s father, Joseph Nyerere. It was meant to cater for travellers visiting Butiama village mostly to visit Mwalimu Nyerere while vacationing in the village. Thus, the lodge did see its days of glory in the 80s and 90s but then fell into oblivion and decay until Neema and Calogero revived it to a quality tourist hotel.

Mwitongo Lodge sits on a magnificent hill landscape winding down to the surrounding land featuring family rooms and honeymoon suites. The 12 rooms feature exquisite furnishing blended with African and local traditions and designs. Most of the furnitures are locally made from naturally available resources in keeping fully with the local environment and respect of the ecosystem.

Destination to unwind

Mwitongo offers unrivalled peace and relaxation. The tranquillity here is so natural that makes it so compelling a rewarding destination to unwind. Visitors here are drawn to its remarkable marvellous sense of nature and natural landscapes. It’s nearness to Serengeti National Park and Lake Victoria in Mara region makes it a choice for travellers.

The crisp air noticeably from the nearby hills through the relaxing environment captivates a visitor’s senses. And walking around the lodge rewards visitors with the natural beauty and the cool breeze sweeping across trees rattling the leaves and beautiful flowers of different species.

Visitors are free to walk around the area on their own since the boundary is without wild animals, to enjoy the beauty and the diverse flora, in which monkeys and a few birds’ species are residents.

The lounge and restaurant are housed in two open-sided thatched roofed loggias spread in the lodge’s landscaped gardens. They all provide a rustic African setting, which makes for an exclusive and most memorable stay.

The lounge and dining areas are designed in such a way as to blend well with the natural surroundings and local traditions. Each is equipped with a fireplace to warm the chilly evenings of cooler seasons. To give it a warm and homely atmosphere, a library with a variety of literature and board games is also available.

To maintain the tranquillity, no distraction atmosphere, only the lounge is equipped with a multi-channel satellite TV. A Spa for body massage using essential oils from Zanzibar, Tanzania’s Spice Island is available.

An outdoor swimming pool and several activities, such as trekking, game drives, mountain biking are organised on request. To enable visitors explore nearby scenic surroundings, the Butiama village and the lifestyle of the Zanaki people, said to be the country’s smallest tribe to give the visitor a unique “African experience”.

Entertainment from live performances by local cultural groups are available as part of the lodge’s entertainment programmes.

Mwitongo Lodge, according to Neema, has fast become very popular not just because of the swimming pool but it has become Butiama’s top to lovers of refined dining.

It takes just a moment to realise that it isn’t the location of the lodge that’s the most distinctive feature. Nor is the spacious dining area, but the Chef here is a culinary genius.

The Chef and his team serve only the best foods, the freshest ingredients and with profound inspiration and creativity. The perfection is in its carefully selected local influences and a fusion of African delights based on seasonal specialities. From breakfast with warm, oven crisp breads and freshly squeezed juices. All the main dishes are paired with the finest drinks from climate-controlled cellars.