Who would ever pair the words “luxury” with “rustic”? Or the words “sophistication” with “wild”? It may seem a literary paradox, but these are precisely the words that come to mind when attempting to describe Lemala Mara River Luxury Camp in the North Serengeti, otherwise known as Lemala Mara. And a few more words come to mind too… authentic, luxurious, pristine, lavish, primal, beautiful, remote, dramatic… We could go on and on, but hopefully you are starting to get the idea. THIS is where the wilderness meets civilization, in a big way!
Nestled in an open acacia grove far off the beaten path, 10 secluded safari tents line a grassy pathway leading from a main dining tent and lounge. This semi-permanent venue offers the ideal location to witness the Serengeti’s premier event during the heart of the dry season… the Great Migration. The setting is located only 45 minutes from the great Mara River itself, a great crocodile-laden barrier in the migratory animals’ path, and you couldn’t ask for a better location to base your game drives in the Mara and Lamai areas. Every year, on their northward journey to find food and water, the Great Migration pours right through the nearby woodlands and valleys with all the thundering drama you might expect from over 2 million large animals!
Accommodations consist of just ten intimate safari-style tents. The camp is “semi-permanent”, meaning it is actually taken down and moved to a different location at certain times of the year to follow the Great Migration. During the dry season, specifically June-November, the camp makes its home here in the North Serengeti near the Mara River. Because of its mobile nature, this camp does not have many of the more established fixtures you might find at other permanent camps and lodges such as swimming pools, manicured gardens, elaborate structures or even underground plumbing. However, the staff here does a remarkable job in making everything extremely comfortable and offering guests a level of luxury that will suit the most discerning of travelers.
This considerable effort shows up in the smallest of details, such as shimmering chandeliers over the dining room table, a fully stocked liqueur cabinet, four-course gourmet meals, and hot showers made to order. The flicker of torches lights the dark pathways in the evenings and invite you to the Lodge’s common areas for sundowners and fire-side chats. The size of the camp gives it an inherently cozy feel and strangers quickly become friends. Guests join one another around a brilliantly lit bonfire in the evenings for drinks, and then feast together by candlelight around a big timber dining table. The dining tent shares a roof with the lounge and sitting area, which is furnished by overstuffed couch cushions, coffee table, and a fully stocked liqueur cabinet.
Guests are escorted by arrow-wielding Maasai warriors back and forth from their tents to the common areas as needed. Lemala is definitely remote, being the only lodge within a huge mileage radius, and offers a feeling of authentic seclusion that simply cannot be duplicated. Lemala’s unique location, intimate size, and attention to detail make it one of our top picks for witnessing the farthest northern reaches of the Serengeti, and the Great Migration, during the peak of the dry season.
With Lemala Camp, it’s ALL about location! And the governing theme for the location of this camp is the opportunity to witness the Great Migration in action. In fact, the location of this camp changes to different sites throughout the year to literally “follow the Migration” on its annual journey. During the heart of the dry season this venue is located in furthest and most pristine northern corner of the Serengeti’s Northern Extension. The camp is approximately only 45-minutes from the great Mara River and the beautiful Lamai Triangle which serves as a dry season refuge for the migratory animals.
The Central Serengeti, specifically Seronera, is located approximately 50 miles to the south. The camp is located extremely close to Kenya and the Masai Mara National Park, although the border between Tanzania and Kenya has been closed since 1977 and you are not allowed to drive into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti; conversely the giant crowds of tourists that flood Kenya annually are not allowed to drive over the border to disrupt the pristine Tanzanian side. So you can enjoy premier game-viewing without fighting the crowds, an element which enhances your experience beyond words.
The area surrounding Lemala Camp is beautifully, wonderfully remote and you will have the majority of this vast wooded wilderness all to yourself! Leopards prowl in the surrounding trees and you may well hear their characteristic “coughing” while you sleep. Other animals such as elephants, eland and giraffe pass freely through the camp. And when thick herds of wildebeest and zebra blanket the hillsides surrounding the camp, well you just cannot beat these front row seats to the Great Migration right from the comfort of your safari chair!
The main Lodge Tent is set on a hilltop and includes a comfy lounge with oversized couches, liquor cabinet, dining tent and nearby fire-pit. All of these areas have glorious views out over the Northern Serengeti’s surrounding patchwork of woodlands and broken plains.
Sleeping accommodations at Lemala Camp consist of just ten (10) intimate luxury tents under canvas. The tents are arranged at ground level on wooden platforms with stylish rugs. The tents can be arranged to accommodate single or double beds, and there are two family style tents available with 1 queen and 2 single beds each. Each tent is elegantly appointed with a quaint writing desk, storage trunks, a coffee station, and two bedside tables complete with candle-lamps. At the back of each safari tent is an enclosed en suite bathroom complete with a dressing area, proper flushing toilet, vanity and sink with running water, and a safari style shower that can be filled with up to 40 liters of hot water upon request.
The tents are pleasantly spaced apart from one another to ensure relative privacy. You will be escorted by the camp staff to and from dinner each evening to assure your safety.
Food and Drink
Get ready for serious gourmet in the bush! Meals at Lemala Camp are absolutely fantastic. Breakfast consists of a mixed buffet with orders taken for eggs, omelets, bacon, toast, etc. The buffet consists of yogurt, nuts, cereal, breads, fruit and juice. Alternatively, breakfast boxes can be arranged for early morning game drives. Similarly to breakfast, you have your choice of dining in the main tent for lunch or enjoying a lunch box if you plan a full day adventure game drive. The choice is yours – this is YOUR private safari, after all!
Dinner is a wonderful event to look forward to at Lemala Camp, and it is one of the few places where everyone joins together for a family-style dinner at one long dinner table. Usually the mingling with other guests starts over sundowners around a roaring campfire while the camp staff arranges a feast for you in the main dining tent nearby. Once everything is prepared the staff comes out to the campfire to “collect” all the guests from the fireside and lounge areas and seats everyone around an elegant candle-lit table set with weighty silverware and crystal and draped in fine linen. Dinner consists of four delicious courses with the main course being a choice of either chicken, beef, lamb or pasta.
Most drinks including soft drinks, beer, wine and house wine are included in our safari packages at Lemala Camp.
- Private game drives into the most remote corners of the Serengeti National Park
- Remote location near the Mara River and the Great Migration (June – Nov)
- Picnic breakfasts and lunches available
- Bush dinner available if weather permits
- Nightly sundowners and campfire if weather permits
- Intimate and informal setting that features dining with other guests at dinner
- 24 hour solar electricity
- Battery charging available in the main tent only
- Laundry service (complimentary up to 3 items of laundry per person per day)
- Complimentary house beverages with dinner including soft drinks, beer and house wine (premium drinks are extra cost)
- Child Policy – Minimum 6 Years Old<
- En suite bathroom has dressing area, flush toilet, shower with 40 liters of water per person per day between 6.30-8pm
- No hairdryer or use of hairdryer due to limited solar power<
- Bar and sundries cash only policy; no credit card facility available