This seasonal December-to-April tented camp is situated in a 20-mile-wide valley just outside the park boundary on the southern Loliondo Plains, backed by the Gol Mountains and studded with kopjes that overlook areas where wildebeest congregate. As such, its location is optimal for witnessing the wildebeest calving season on the southern, short-grass plains of Serengeti National Park. The camp also emphasizes cultural encounters with local Masai communities. In the immediate vicinity, Masai cattle herders still live a traditional lifestyle in balance with wild animals, and guests meet local people in authentic settings and situations. Under an agreement with local Masai leaders, no other safari operators have crossing rights through the concession; meanwhile Nduaro Loliondo guests have permission to drive off-road for up-close game viewing. The camp is also one of the rare places in the Serengeti ecosystem to offer guided walking safaris and night drives away from mainstream safari tourism infrastructure. Colored Masai beads, sheepskin throws, and leather furniture decorate the guest tents, which are all equipped with flush toilets and bucket showers. The vibe is laid-back, and, unlike many camps with pre-dawn wake-up calls, guests are not pressured to get up earlier than they want to for game drives or other activities.
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The camp’s good relations with the resident Masai community means cultural encounters are sensitively arranged. Ceremonies such as warrior goat roasts and drawing blood from cattle are not staged for tourists, but may be photographed—and even experienced—by mutual consent.
Need to Know
Rooms: Six tents; from $675 per person, inclusive of meals and safari activities. Check-in: 1 p.m.; check-out: after 10 a.m. Dining options: As with many safari camps, the camp has the rhythm of a big breakfast after a morning walk or game drive. Lunch and dinner are set in a yurt-styled dining tent shaded by a large acacia tree and overlooking a small mirror lake. Bread is baked daily in camp. Spa and gym: There is no gym; guests come for long walks on open plains amid Masai cattle and hoofed game.
Who’s it for: Most guests are safari veterans as interested in Masai lifestyles as the wildlife. Children over eight years are welcome but must be at least 12 for the walking safari. Our favorite rooms: The six Meru tents each have a shaded verandah with seating and are spread out for privacy. Plan ahead: More than a million wildebeest arrive in the vicinity in late December and calve en masse—a defense mechanism on the predator-filled short-grass plains. For guests who are squeamish about the sight of blood and other gory aspects of the cycle of life, the wildlife attractions of this camp may be unsettling.