- The luxury lodge, located at Usa River east of Arusha, has been a centre of debate after a recent announcement it was rented out to IAA for student accommodation.
Arusha. Owners of Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge have confirmed the facility has reserved space to accommodate students of Institute of Accountancy Arusha (IAA).
However, they insisted part of the complex would continue to serve as a hotel for the tourists and other visitors as well as offer conference services.
“We have decided to reserve some rooms for the college students because of under capacity,” Beatrice Dallaris, the manager of the five star facility said yesterday.
The luxury lodge, located at Usa River east of Arusha, has been a centre of debate after a recent announcement it was rented out to IAA for student accommodation.
“The status the lodge remain as it is only that part of the complex will be rented out to the college for student accommodation”, she said.
The lodge has a total of 480 rooms. According to her, the rooms are hardly filled to capacity due to declining number of visitors, especially after the outbreak of Covid-19.
Ms Dallaris, the first company official to open up to this newspaper since news of the rent-out spread on the mainstream and social media since Tuesday.
She further confirmed that, indeed, the famous outfit has entered into a deal with the accountancy institute to accommodate hundreds of off-campus students.
“This will not only enable us (the lodge) to make income but utilize our large space”, she said, adding that the students would be separated from the mainstream visitors.
IAA Rector Eliamani Sedoyeka told The Citizen the college would this year enrol a record 8,000 students but had limited sleeping space at its main campus at Njiro.
He said hiring buildings at the lodge was also an opportunity to promote what he called ‘education tourism’ through organizing a range of education-related events.
Sources at IAA said the deal would initially target availing sleeping rooms to at least 1,000 students, rising to 2,000 depending on the negotiations with the lodge owners.
Ngurdoto Mountain Lodge is among the commercial properties owned by the late Arusha hotel tycoon Meleo Mrema - the others being Naura Springs and Impala Hotel, in Arusha and Moshi Hotel.
Impala was once the flagship hotel for the group. In the 1990s, it was a leading tourist outfit in Arusha, edged out later by the new or massively rehabilitated ones.
It emerged yesterday that it had halted business for months along with Naura Springs. It looked a deserted place when a team of The Citizen visited the site .