As our day in Tarangire came to a close, we headed to our lodge. We drove a narrow, sandy track past Maasai homes, with children tending goats in the coming dusk. Around a curve, Rioka Tented Lodge appeared like a welcome surprise. After check in and a camp briefing in which we were warned not to stray from the established paths, two Maasai carried our luggage to our expedition-style tent on a raised platform, complete with leather "bwana chairs" on the porch.
We settled in, then found our way to the bar, a spacious round building with a tall ceiling supported by cocoanut poles, where we sampled Safari and Tusker beer. These have quickly become our favorite Tanzanian brew. I brought along my iPad so we could listen to the African playlist I prepared at home. Soon the sounds of "Homeless" by Paul Simon and Ladysmith Black Mambazo were lilting into the surrounding forest. After dinner, we stepped out into the African night. A Maasai with an impressively sharp-looking spear appeared from the shadows to escort us back to our tent. Safe under our mosquito netting, we lay listening to a nighttime chorus of birds and insects. Marvelous. I think we will remember the tented camp as the most unique "camping" experience we've ever had.