Photo Courtesy of Elewana Serengeti Migration Camp
Elewana Serengeti Migration Camp
As the camp’s name indicates, the main reason to stay here is to catch the Great Migration, the annual movement of more than one million wildebeest and hundreds of thousands of zebra and Thompson’s gazelle making an 1,800-mile circuit through Serengeti National Park. Large, tented chalets on stilts have wraparound decks affording a 360-degree view of the landscape and its denizens. The lodgings blend into the surroundings on the bank of one of the great migration obstacles: the crocodile-, hippo-, and boulder-filled Grumeti River. Southward-moving herds pass through the vicinity from August through November, and the Elewana’s location seven miles from the main concentration of game lodges in the park’s northeastern Lobo district means a sense of privacy rarely achieved in the far more visited western and southern park corridors. One further advantage: The camp is within driving distance of the other great wildebeest crossing point, the Mara River, on the border region between the Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara National Park. Elewana Serengeti Migration Camp’s atmosphere is cheerful and relaxed. Huge tented suites, divided by canvas walls into bedroom and bathing areas, have comfortable queen or twin beds, wood floors, modern colonial-style leather chairs, African textile accents, and, unlike most mobile migration safaris, hot water and electricity 24/7.
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Though the relatively large number of tents makes for less intimacy, the atmosphere is relaxed, and the connection with nature so present that at night resident hippos emerge from the Grumeti River to graze in camp, often right next to the chalets. Territorial lion prides and other big cats remain in the vicinity year-round, but the best chance to see them hunting occurs when the large herds are in the region.
Need to Know
Rooms: 20 tented suites; from $650 person including meals and shared game drives. Check-in: Coordinated with guest. Dining options: The camp cuisine is a blend of international dishes and traditional Tanzanian curries prepared with fresh regional produce and served in varied settings: breakfast in the bush, under the stars; alfresco buffet grills in camp; or at individual tables in the main lodge dining room with deck terrace. Spa and gym: There is no gym or spa. Most of the day is spent game driving, but the common split-level lounge has game-viewing decks and an open-air swimming pool. Guided nature walks provide guests with the chance to work off multi-course safari meals.
Who’s it for: Those experiencing the Great Migration for the first or fifteenth time. Our favorite rooms: The 20 tented suites are all sumptuously appointed and spaced for privacy. Plan ahead: The camp’s 4WD vehicles follow dirt and gravel tracks. No off-road driving is permitted in this part of the park, so bring good binoculars and a camera with telephoto lens in case that lion pride is lying under a tree 50 feet away. Hot air balloon excursions are worth the price during migration season and should be booked when reserving one’s stay, not upon arrival in camp.