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Mkombe’s House Lamai

Mkombe’s House Lamai is a private safari house set on the slopes of a rocky kopje in the Wogakuria Hills near the Mara River in the northern Serengeti.

Mkombe’s House Lamai is simply perfect if you are a small group of four adults, two families travelling together or a multi-generational family group of up to 10 (maximum four adults and six children) looking for a private house experience in the heart of the northern Serengeti. The house is located on the hillside below the excellent Lamai Serengeti safari lodge and is run as an extension of the lodge. The house itself is very comfortable and spacious with great views, plenty of outdoor living space and a swimming pool. The location is good for exploring the northern Serengeti whilst having close access to the Mara River and potential river crossings from July to November. The Nomad service and guiding ethos means that children will be incredibly well looked after and although the house itself is a very comfortable retreat, your safari experience can be intense and busy if you wish it to be.

Mkombe’s House is split into two ‘sides’, which are separated by indoor and outdoor living areas. On each ‘side’ of the house there are 2 bedrooms – a master en suite bedroom and then close by a secure en suite children’s room. The living areas include a private dining room and lounge as well as a snug with a TV for viewing films. There are relaxing outdoor areas and space for dining under the stars, a plunge pool and a larger swimming pool. The elevation of Mkombe’s House creates superb views across the northern Serengeti.

Facilities

Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – Yes

Habitat & Wildlife

With an area of some 14,000 sq. km, Serengeti is probably the best-known wildlife sanctuary in the world. The ecosystem includes the National Park itself, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Maswa Game Reserve and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Reserve, together forming one of the most complex and least disturbed ecosystems on earth. The landscape was originally formed by volcanic activity in the Ngorongoro highlands and it varies from the open short grass plains in the south, to savannah and scattered acacia woodlands in the centre, to extensive woodland and black clay plains in the west, to hilly wooded grassland in the north. Most of the permanent water is found towards the northern and western areas, the lack of permanent water and food in the south being the main reason for the annual migration.

The park is home to approaching 2,000,000 wildebeest, 500,000 Thomson’s gazelle and 250,000 zebra: the largest concentration of plains game in Africa. More than 30 species of herbivores are found here, as well as all the major predators and nearly 500 species of birds.

The northern part of Serengeti is a huge area of open plains, rolling hills and acacia woodland, intersected by numerous small streams which flow into the Mara River. The Mara River is a natural focal point, and most camps are located in the Kogatende region to the south of the river. To the north of the river is a section of the park known as Lamai, whilst to the south of Kogatende are the Wogakuria Hills where the rolling hills are interspersed with rocky granite outcrops. The plains stretch east and west to the boundaries of the park, and in the east continue into the Loliondo Game Controlled Area.

The northern Serengeti is exceptional for lion, cheetah and leopard sightings, whilst hyaena, serval, African wild cat, elephant, buffalo, hippo, crocodile, giraffe, eland, topi, jackal, ostrich and impala can also be seen. Wild dogs are making a comeback in the region and are very occasionally encountered, whilst black rhino can sometimes be seen in the north-eastern region around the Sand River.

Although this region offers a wonderful all year round safari experience, it is busiest from July to October when hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, gazelles and zebra congregate on these northern plains. The herds usually arrive in late June or early July, travelling up from the southern and western Serengeti on their annual migration. Many of the herbivores will cross into Kenya’s Masai Mara, but large numbers remain in the northern reaches of the Serengeti, where the Mara River provides permanent water. This movement of so many animals can be dramatic, especially when they cross the Mara River, which can happen at any time between July and early November. ‘River Crossings’ are a favoured highlight for wildlife enthusiasts and photographers, as hundreds of wildebeest stampede into the river whilst crocodiles lie in wait. Around October/November, as the rain clouds gather, the herds head south once more to calve on those nutritious short grass plains before starting the cycle again.

Activities

Game viewing activities concentrate around game drives (by day), often with bush breakfasts or sundowner drinks provided at suitable vantage points. Nature walks are possible at extra cost, however there is a limited area in which you can walk. Children under 12 years are not permitted to walk.

Seasons

Mkombe’s House is open from June to mid-March each year.

Mkombe’s House is perfect for family groups seeking privacy and accepts children of all ages. Mkombe was actually a guide who was brilliant with children and the house was designed particularly with them in mind, containing secure children’s rooms, high chairs, cots and baths. The House is ideal for one family (upto 5 staying in one side of the house, or upto 10 maximum split across both sides of the house) or for two families of maximum 5.

Nomad Tanzania, owners of Mkombes House, set up the Nomad Trust in 2007. The Trust supports wildlife and people in the remote areas in which Nomad operates where, bordering the national parks, human and wildlife conflict can often be found.

The Trust also partners trade, health and educational organisations in Arusha. Sidai Designs work with Maasai women who create high end beaded jewellery that is attractive to the Western market yet still maintaining the traditional skill of their craft. The jewellery can be found for sale in some of Nomad’s camp shops. The Trust also supports Shanga, a local social enterprise whose handmade glassware, produced by people with disabilities, is used in the camps and so providing them employment and income.

The Plaster House in Arusha is a home which helps children with physical disabilities from all over Tanzania by offering the surgery they require. The Nomad Trust raises awareness of such health problems by running programmes in the communities close to their camps, where often such impairments are hidden, and so enabling them to seek care from the Plaster House.

The Frankfurt Zoological Society (FZS) operates a De-snaring programme in the Serengeti. A team is sent out in search of poaching camps and wire snares, which are then removed. To give some clout to what they have achieved, in the first eight months of operating the FZS recovered over 8500 snares. Nomad supports their efforts by a donation $1 for each bed night at Mkombe’s and sister camp Lamai Serengeti.

The Trust also supports The Hope Centre in Mugumu village which is about a two hour drive from the camp. The centre is a refuge for girls escaping female genital mutilation who are then, in time, assisted in being reunited with their parents. Part of the girl’s therapy is to discuss their experiences, and to assist with this guests at the Mkombe’s are able to visit the centre and meet with them.

Some of Mkombe’s staff members come from nearby Merenga village. A basic village that is supported by their school and clinic, Merenga has very little in the way of resources and the Trust assist them where needed. Guests are able to combine visiting this village with a game drive should they wish.

Nomad are member Pack For A Purpose and guests at Mkombe’s may use the space in their luggage to bring in donations of goods for the village programmes.

ALTERNATIVE CAMPS IN SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK
(& SURROUNDING ECOSYSTEM)