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Serengeti Safari Camp

Serengeti Safari Camp is a seasonal tented camp that moves between three different areas of the Serengeti National Park according to the season and the movement of the wildebeest migration.

Serengeti Safari Camp is a small and well run camp offering a traditional mobile camp experience with communal meals and an intimate bush atmosphere. The accommodation and facilities are very comfortable and nowadays quite stylish, though the camp remains very much a seasonal camp and therefore cannot compete in terms of luxury with more permanent camps. The ethos of Nomad Tanzania, who run Serengeti Safari Camp, is more focused on the bush experience, guiding and hosting – all of which are superb and extremely professional. We therefore feel that the camp is most suitable to guests looking for quiet sophistication rather than obvious luxury, with good food, friendly service and a high quality, more in depth safari experience.

Rooms

The camp consists of six en suite traditional and spacious walk-in safari tents with proper beds, bedside tables, luggage storage and 24 hour solar lighting. To the rear of each tent is an en suite bathroom, consisting of a flush toilet, a bucket shower with hot water provided on request and wash basin with hot and cold water provided in a jug. To the front is a private verandah with safari chairs and a washstand.

Central Areas

The central mess area is very simple with a dining and lounge tent overlooking the plains. Drinks are usually taken around the camp fire, and meals are often served ‘al fresco’.

Facilities

Wi-Fi – Yes
Power for Charging – Yes
Swimming Pool – No

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 southern reaches of the park consist of endless ‘short-grass’ open plains. In the heart of these plains on the border of the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is an area known as Ndutu, where a series of partial soda lakes and marsh areas are surrounded by woodland. Many of the camps and camp sites in the southern Serengeti are located in this area. To the west the open plains are bordered by the woodlands of the Maswa Game Reserve, and a secondary hub of camps can be found along the edge of woodland, known as the Kusini area. To the east the plains are endless, stretching south-east through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and north-east towards the Loliondo Game Controlled Area which borders the eastern Serengeti.

The hundreds of thousands of wildebeest, gazelles and zebra congregate on these southern short grass plains from December to April, usually calving around the end of January when the nutritious grass is at its best. During this time the ‘migration’ is restricted to local movements according to rainfall and grazing, though even within the southern Serengeti region the distances are vast. This southern region is exceptional for lion, cheetah and spotted hyaena sightings, all of which thrive on the open plains, whilst leopard, serval, African wild cat, elephant, buffalo, giraffe, eland, topi, jackal, ostrich and impala can also be seen. Wild dogs are making a comeback in the region and are occasionally encountered to the south of Ndutu in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Depending on grazing conditions and water supply, the start of the Serengeti annual migration begins at the end of this period, and the herds begin to march north/westwards, ‘lowing’ incessantly so that the air hums like a dynamo (zebra first, then the wildebeest and gazelles). Lion, cheetah, hyaena and wild dog follow, ensuring that only the fittest survive, while jackals trail behind and vultures circle overhead.

The central and western sections of the park are fantastic for game viewing all year round, though wild dogs and rhino are not encountered. The central region around Seronera is especially productive for game viewing but does get very busy with tourists. To the south-east of Seronera is a much more exclusive game viewing area that stretches towards the border of the park. To the north-west the ‘Western Corridor’ stretches out along the course of the Grumeti River. This region is busiest in June and early July when the wildebeest and zebra herds pass through on their journey north. The habitat of the region changes dramatically from vast open plains in the east to dense riverine woodland along the Grumeti River in the west.

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

Activities centre around game drives. The main focus for game drives tends to be the famous wildebeest migration, as well as general big game viewing, but with your own private guide and vehicle, you can plan your day to suit your interests. You can choose to head out for a full day with packed lunch, or take a morning and afternoon game drive with a siesta in camp across the middle of the day.

Seasons

Serengeti Safari Camp operates in the southern Serengeti, located at Ndutu just inside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, from December to April. The camp then moves to the central/western Serengeti in late May, before going to the Wogakuria Hills or Bolongonja regions of the northern Serengeti from mid-July to early November.

Serengeti Safari Camp accepts children from eight years old and is very suitable for families with older teenage children looking for a tented bush adventure. There are however no specific accommodation facilities for families so children will need to be old enough to stay in their own tent. On shared game drives, children are required to be 12 years and over.

Nomad Tanzania, owners of Serengeti Safari Camp, 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 Lamai Serengeti and Mkombe’s House.

The Trust also supports The Hope Centre in Mugumu village in the northern Serengeti. 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 girls therapy is to discuss their experiences, and to assist with this guests at Serengeti Safari Camp are able to visit the centre and meet with them when visiting the camp whilst it is in the north of the national park. They also assist the nearby Merenga village, a basic village that is supported by their school and clinic and has very little in the way of resources. Guests visiting the camp whilst it is in the north are able to combine a trip this village with a game drive should they wish.

Nomad are member Pack For A Purpose and guests at Serengeti Safari Camp 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)