Tanzania: Top 10 safari camps and lodges

Tanzania is home to some of Africa’s most famous national parks and natural attractions, including majestic Mount Kilimanjaro. Consequently, the most popular things to do in Tanzania and the reason many people visit the country, are the safaris and wildlife-related adventures. Tanzania in East Africa is one of the top safari destinations in Africa. Tanzania’s vast Serengeti National Park is the scene of the annual Great Migration, a breathtaking wildlife spectacle that every serious safari enthusiast should experience at least once in a lifetime.


Here are the top 10 camps and lodges to stay on your MICE trip in Tanzania:


1. Singita Sasakwa Lodge, Grumeti Reserve

Grumeti is a private game reserve on the western border of Serengeti National Park and a major highway for the two million wildebeest, zebra and gazelle that make up the Great Migration. The 350,000-acre reserve is leased to a foundation headed by the American philanthropist Paul Tudor Jones and has only five exclusive lodges and camps; Sasakwa is the most sumptuous. Resembling a stately Edwardian manor house, it encompasses ten cottages and a suite wrapped in verandas and lawns, as well as a stable of horses for riding alongside the herds, which mass on the Grumeti River in midsummer.


2. Cherero Camp, Serengeti National Park

Named after the African lovebird, this diminutive camp is another great spot for watching the wildebeest as they travel north on their annual migration along the Serengeti’s Western Corridor to the Mara River and into Kenya. Even when the wildebeest are elsewhere, the Big Five and other wildlife are here in abundance. The four canvas-and-teak tents are set apart from other properties, and guests can take full advantage of this peace and tranquillity, sitting out on their deck with a G&T and listening to the birds.


3. Mkombe’s House Lamai, Serengeti National Park

The majority of safari camps and lodges are not set up for young children, but this exclusive-use sister property to the eight-room Lamai Serengeti was designed especially for them: there are two fenced-off pools (including one for infants and toddlers), the staff cook to order and game drives are when it suits. Set on a rocky outcrop with classic Serengeti views, the simple thatched-roof construction has two suites with rooms for up to six children leading off them, and the stylish interiors — by Arusha-based Joanna Cooke — integrate local crafts. River crossings of the Mara River (July to October) are nearby.


4. Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti, Serengeti National Park

For those who like their creature comforts, the Four Seasons offers a familiar face in the middle of the Serengeti. The lodge has 72 spacious, air-conditioned rooms with private plunge pools, as well as five villas, a wine cellar, a spa, a well-equipped gym and 24-hour room service. The kids’ club offers tree-planting and mornings with a Masai warrior; activities include hot-air balloon rides and trips to the Ngorongoro Crater. Unusually for a high-end lodge, the full-board rates do not include game drives or other activities.


5. Mwiba Lodge, Southern Serengeti

One of the most luxurious lodges in the country, Mwiba is located in a 130,000-acre concession leased to US billionaire Dan Friedkin and guests have it all to themselves. Set atop huge granite boulders with views across the Arugusinyai River, it has ten beautiful Scandi-cool tented suites with soaking tubs, a rim-flow pool, a spa, gym and wine cellar, and dining spots galore. The wildlife-viewing is exceptional, too, ranging from wild dogs by day and aardwolf by night, not to mention migrating wildebeest in nearby Ndutu from January to mid-March.


6. Namiri Plains Camp, Serengeti National Park

For two decades, the grasslands of the eastern Serengeti, and the big cats that stalk them, were off-limits to tourists. Then Asilia Africa opened Namiri Plains here, and in 2019, the simple tented camp was relaunched with interiors by the Cape Town designer Caline Williams-Wynn and ten minimal-impact suites with outdoor tubs and views over the seasonal Ngare Nanyuki River. The Great Migration moves into the area between October and May and there are no other camps within an hour’s radius; guests can also spend an evening with the resident cheetah researcher.


7. Entamanu Ngorongoro, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

This Unesco-protected caldera and highland area are home to a dense concentration of game — including the critically endangered black rhino and flamingos on Lake Magadi — and a cluster of safari lodges and camps near its two entry points. Low-impact Entamanu is set slightly apart, but close enough to have astonishing views into the crater bowl and the Serengeti behind (the name means “circle” in the Masai language). The seven tents are furnished in a beautifully simple style that showcases African crafts, and activities include cultural visits and unforgettable Highland walks with a guide, a Masai scout and an armed ranger.


8. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

This extravagantly luxurious lodge stands right on the crater rim with staggering views of the mist rising from the crater floor, 600m below. The Masai homestead-meets-baroque-château architecture and interiors are similarly dramatic, combining banana-leaf ceilings and Masai spears with wood-panelled walls, chandeliers and gilt. The 30 suites are split between three camps, each with its own lounge, dining area and private butlers. Game drives into the crater and visits to the Olduvai Gorge are complemented by wine tastings and in-room spa treatments.


9. Gibbs Farm, Karatu, Ngorongoro Conservation Area

This historic farm and coffee plantation on the forested outer slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater has deep roots in the local community, a swimming pool, a spa and 19 cottages and family houses in 15 acres of tropical and kitchen gardens filled with birdsong. Guests are encouraged to lend a hand with the cows and hike to the nearby elephant caves with a naturalist. But with Lake Manyara National Park and the Ngorongoro Crater within striking distance, game drives to both are also an option, returning for a delicious, homegrown supper in the charming farmhouse.


10. Elewana Tarangire Treetops, Tarangire National Park

The southernmost national park in Tanzania’s “Northern Circuit”, Tarangire is a 2,600 sq km area known for its vast elephant herds and 1,000-year-old baobab trees — the central building at this 20-suite treehouse-style lodge on its border was built around one of them. As well as gazing out over the canopy and plains from their spacious suite and expansive balcony, guests can go on game drives, night drives and morning walks, examining plants and tracks and learning about indigenous cultures, all before breakfast in the bush. Dinner, meanwhile, is in a Masai-style “boma” (homestead), or poolside, watching the wildlife at the waterhole.


For the best experience in Tanzania, plan your trip with Zanzibar And Beyond Safaris.


Why Zanzibar And Beyond Safaris?

Zanzibar and Beyond Safaris is a comprehensive destination management company established in 2018, specializing in Zanzibar and Tanzania operations. Their impeccable reputation for outstanding services and combined experience of over 40 years challenges them to broaden their experienced coordinators, enhance their expertise with the global market, and enlarge their ministry of objectives.


Author: Deb Davad


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