One of the most luxurious tented camps in all of Africa sits on an open plain within Singita Grumeti, a 350,000-acre private reserve that is an extension of the Serengeti National Park ecosystem through which vast herds of wildebeest and zebra migrate. Huge, ornate tents are throwbacks to 1920s expedition style, decorated with crystal port decanters, fresh-cut flowers, oriental carpets and kilims, four-poster beds, clawed bathtubs, and wood-and-leather campaign chairs. A personal assistant organizes game drives, horseback riding, and hot air ballooning. Leased by American hedge fund mogul Paul Tudor Jones, the private Singita Grumeti concession has off-road driving rights (unlike the adjacent central Serengeti National Park) and strategically placed manmade water holes that encourage resident wildlife to congregate for the camera lens. Opulence and colonial-era service don’t overwhelm the experience of immersion in nature; the tents’ mesh windows allow bush noises to come through at all hours, and zebra frequently dust bathe on the red-earth tennis court.
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Sabora is one of five luxury camps and lodges within the reserve, but guides coordinate so that clients on game drives rarely encounter one another while benefiting from shared intelligence on sightings, particularly of big cats. With accommodation for just 106 guests in the entire reserve, Singita Grumeti sets a premium on privacy. A team of 120 antipoaching scouts has led to increased game populations and animals’ tolerance for human presence. Big Five viewing is excellent year-round. From June to early November, experienced riders can book eight-day mobile horseback safaris on the plains.
Need to Know
Rooms: Nine tents; from $1,150 per person, including meals and game drives. Check-in: 1 p.m.; check-out: 11 a.m. Dining options: At lunch and dinner, the modern bistro-style cooking emphasizes Eurocentric themes, but guests can request traditional Tanzanian dishes such as mchicha, a spinach and peanut curry. Couples can dine privately and formally with crystal and fine linen in a variety of alfresco settings and can request packed picnics to extend game drives. Spa and gym: There is no gym or spa, but massages are available. Between game drives, guests can relax on outdoor day beds or make use of the shared tennis court and swimming pool.
Who's it for: Safari goers who want to indulge the colonial high life while experiencing intense immersion in nature. Our favorite rooms: Bill Gates once booked the entire camp. Couples prefer stand-alone tents 1 and 9, farthest from the central camp; other tents are paired to share decks and are suited for families or friends traveling together. Plan ahead: Book mid-June through early August to witness wildebeest on their annual migration and crossings of the crocodile-infested Grumeti River; bring ear plugs, as the huge herds around camp emit nonstop high-decibel grunting. Travelers who need to monitor business affairs back home can take advantage of 24-hour U.S. phone lines and Wi-Fi.