Namiri Plains, Serengeti’s newest luxury safari camp

20th July 2015

A perfect place to watch the annual migrations of wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles, and the predators that prey on them, the camp offers tented suites with king-sized bed and indoor and outdoor showers, writes Nick Walton

It’s a safari camp, then? Yes, but not all camps are created equal. Namiri Plains is one of the Serengeti’s newest camps, built to coincide with the reopening of the surrounding Soit Le Motonyi reserve, a remote area of Tanzania that was closed off to mankind for 20 years in an effort to revive the cheetah population. The result is unique in the Serengeti, which welcomes more than 20,000 camera-toting tourists each year – a luxury camp 45 minutes from its nearest neighbour and perfectly positioned for the annual great migration of wildebeest, zebras and gazelles, in a closed reserve where the big cats rule supreme and people are few and far between.

What will we see? There are more than 200 lions, in 12 prides, in the eastern Serengeti, as well as cheetahs (the stars of the eastern plains), shy leopards and servals, spotted hyenas, elephants, giraffes, waterbucks, warthogs, wildebeest and fearless honey badgers. There is also an abundance of bird life, and migratory species including the Cape buffalo. You’ll encounter wildlife as soon as breakfast – Namiri Plains has a resident lioness that watches over the camp from the reeds of a dry riverbed a mere 50 metres from the dining table.

So we’ll be active? The camp’s team, led by manager Blessed Mpofu, offers daily driving and walking safaris. The driving excursions usually take place early in the morning or just before dusk (the latter including sundowner cocktails timed to coincide with an often stunning sunset), when the animals are most active. The camp’s custom-built, open-sided Land Rovers are comfortable and offer an elevated view, as well as power sockets for last-minute camera recharging. Game walks cover the unique flora and fauna of the eastern Serengeti, and are accompanied by the camp’s spear-toting Maasai warriors, who double as security. Wrapped in traditional red wool robes, the tribesmen also escort guests to their rooms under the cover of darkness, when things really do go bump – or growl – in the night.

What about creature comforts? Although you’re staying in a remote safari camp, that doesn’t mean you’re roughing it. Each spacious yet durable tented suite (above) comes with a separate seating area, a king-sized bed, an indoor bathroom (below) with bucket shower and an oversized outdoor shower, under the plentiful stars. Mesh windows ensure a cool breeze flows through without bringing insects with it. Next to the dining tent (bottom) is a comfortable lounging area, filled with couches and books. Many meals – the tariff includes three squares with wine a day – start with cocktails around the fire pit followed by alfresco dining beneath a towering acacia tree strung with fairy lights.

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