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Seronera Summary

What makes the Seronera Private Luxury Camp so great is location, location, location! The Seronera Private Luxury Camp is approximately 2 miles east of the Seronera Airstrip at the heart of the Seronera River Valley. The Seronera River Valley, with its abundance of resident animals including all the big carnivores, is a must see no matter what time of year. The campsite is conveniently located within a 5 minute drive of the main road, which means that you can spend more time game viewing the predator rich area of the Seronera River Valley and less time in transit. The campsite is also set far enough off the main road and away from the other facilities and lodges of Seronera that it affords an intimate and wild bush feeling. The following was written on a 1928 safari while camping very close to the location of the current Seronera campsites and best sums up (though exaggerates) this wonderful locale:

"From our camp we could look across a wide sweep of plain which ran into a low range of hills whose tops peeked over the horizon. As we gazed over this rolling veld, which was hemmed in on the left by large hills, and on the right by trees, which melted into the skyline, we could always see many thousands of animals. Here in our front yard Tommies, Grant's gazelle, topi, kongoni, wildebeest and zebra kicked up their heels in play or stampeded in flight from real or fancied danger. On the farther plains were eland and giraffe, while the wooded hills sheltered mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, steinbuck, duiker, dik dik and impala. In the dongas lurked not only the big cats, the lion, leopard and cheetah, but many lesser carnivores. Scattered all over this tremendous area were troops of ostrich, thousand upon thousand of hyena, jackals, bat-eared foxes and warthogs. Once in a while a black rhino or a herd of buffalo or a few roan antelope would pay our front yard a visit. At no time night or day were we out of sight or hearing of animals."

There are three excellent campsites a the heart of the Seronera River Valley where we set up the Private Luxury Camp including Yellowstone, Acacia and Seronera 10 campsites. These are the three best campsites in the Seronera Valley and all are positioned just east of the Seronera Airstrip and each is roughly 1-mile apart. The Yellowstone campsite offers the best views, Seronera 10 provides the most scenic location being situated next to a handsome kopje while the Acacia campsite boasts the best in camp animal action. All the Seronera campsites are recommended year round due to their central location and an abundance of resident (non-migratory) animals in the immediate area.

The main attraction in the Central Serengeti is undoubtedly the beautiful Seronera Valley. Several perennial rivers run through this valley enabling an abundance of resident animals to thrive year round. The combination of location and resident prey attracts the largest and most diverse population of predators in Africa. It is this amazing abundance and diversity of easily seen large predators that attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of researches to the Seronera River Valley each year. The secret is out - there is simply no better place in Africa to observe these large carnivores in action! Since many of these wild creatures call this place their permanent home, excellent encounters are available year round regardless of the season or where the great migratory herds are located. It is not unusual to encounter all four large predators (lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah) during the course of a day along with a multitude of smaller predators (mongoose, jackal, serval and bat-eared fox). Seronera is actually derived from the Maasai word 'siron' meaning the place of the bat-eared fox.

The scenic landscape of this pristine valley is truly magnificent. Endless savannas saturated in sunshine stretch beyond the horizon. Meandering rivers wind through a sundry montage of trees, pools, seasonal swamps and open fields. The dark silhouettes of umbrella shaped acacia trees rise above the plains and colossal mounds of granite kopjes loom in the distance, forming a classic image of quintessential Africa. Each day begins with the golden rays of sunrise striking across the eastern plains, and ends with an over-inflated sun smoldering in crimson glow on the western horizon - a daily cycle that you will never tire of seeing on these open plains. Sunrise and sunset are just one of the timeless rhythms of nature that drive life in this valley. Sweeping grasslands blanket the landscape - morphing from a verdant savanna in the green season to tawny sunlit plains in the dry season. During the northward and southward migrations, Seronera plays host to the greatest wildlife show on earth as over a million wildebeest and zebra pour through the valley in a thunder of echoing hooves and a haze of red dust. However, the true beauty of Seronera Valley is that no matter what time of year you might venture here, a whole world of life, drama, action, and wonder await!

Seronera River Valley is unique in many ways, however the most striking feature of this valley is that no matter what the season, massive numbers of resident wildlife can be easily seen and photographed. You will consistently find lions sprawling in the sunlight on the crests of towering kopjes, and look for the famous Seronera leopards peering down from their shadowy perches in the arms of the sausage trees that line the river. Even cheetahs can be seen here, gracefully striding through the shifting grasses or scouting distant prey from the top of a termite mound. Seronera River Valley is a favorite hangout for these big cats as prey is always plentiful here.

The Seronera River Valley is home to an incredible diversity of wildlife due to its unique ecological niche as a transitional zone. A transitional zone, or ecotone, is where two distinctly different habitats merge and where various species of flora and fauna from both habitats can coexist. Seronera is the border zone between the Serengeti plains and the Serengeti woodlands. At Seronera the great Serengeti Plains stretch out to the south and east while the Serengeti Woodlands predominate to the north and west. Due this unique ecological feature, Seronera supports a much greater diversity of wildlife then anywhere else in the Serengeti.

Large groups of portly hippos can be seen bobbing their heads above and below the surface of murky pools that are fringed in spiky cattails and shaded in leafy palms. Watch for the proud male impala, posing with his tall and elegant corkscrew horns, as he guides his shimmering band of females along the riverbanks. Pairs of dik dik anxiously dart between large clumps of grasses; it is interesting to note that these tiny antelope are monogamous and form bonds for life, so where you might see one dik dik be sure to keep an eye out for his or her mate following close behind. Giraffe exchange long glances with you from lofty perspectives as they browse thorny acacia trees at a leisurely pace; if startled, these gangly looking animals can move quite quickly with remarkable speed and unexpected grace.

Reedbuck and waterbuck frolic on the riverbanks of this valley, endlessly searching for the choicest bits of grass and reeds. Hartebeest can be seen ambling through the grasslands and open woodlands, looking rather somber with their long, solemn faces. Thomson's gazelle glace about and nervously flick their little tails in unison, always alert for that cheetah stalking in the grass nearby. Groups of regal elephants stroll through these open woodlands with stately presence, displaying remarkable grace for animals such colossal size. Families of warthogs can be seen rooting for food in the grasses and thickets; if startled these amusing little animals will squeal in alarm and run away with tails pitched straight up in the air.

Large herds of buffalo strut about with their noses high in the air, tossing their mighty horns in arrogant confidence. Baboon families groom one another in the shade of acacia trees, one minute seemingly content with each other's company and the next minute squabbling loudly in some dramatic family quarrel. Vervet monkeys swing effortlessly from the branches of thorny trees, playfully scolding one another and gazing down at bystanders with mischievous expressions that make you smile and also grip your valuables a bit tighter.

Wildlife viewing in the Seronera Valley is at its best during the northward migration (May-June) and southward migration (November-December). During these two periods when the wildebeest thunder through the valley, accompanied by thousands of zebra, Seronera offers some of the best game viewing in Africa. In general though, game viewing is great all year round in the Seronera Valley regardless of the migration as there is an abundance of resident (non-migratory) animals that thrill visitors year round, including Seronera's famous lions and leopards.

Serengeti Home is a must read before, during or after your safari and is a great companion book to Myles Turner's My Serengeti Years . Kay Turner lived in the Serengeti with her husband, Myles Turner, who was chief game warden for 16 years. Kay Turner's book details her adventures including raising her family in the Serengeti (this chapter is charmingly titled "Bush Babies"), humorous stories about her wild pets including 'Chuta' the bat-eared fox, 'Gussie' the Grant's gazelle and 'Prince and 'Pixie' the serval cats.   Kay shares many wonderful adventures both living and going on safari in the Serengeti.

The chapter in Kay's book about camping in the Serengeti will undoubtedly have you excited to camp at Seronera:

"After a long day out in the sun amongst the game, we would return to camp...then, stretching our feet towards the campfire with drinks in hand, we enjoyed seeing the sun sink slowly towards the horizon and the stars appear in the thousands, until it seemed there was no space in the sky for more. The sky at night felt close on those treeless plains, and it glowed with a soft and enveloping radiance that inspired a feeling of harmony with the universe. We were alone in that immense open country, and it seemed the stars displayed their brilliance solely for us. After an early supper, we would be lulled leep by the rhythmic sound of the wildebeest bleating, interspersed by the off-key moan of a hyena or the plaintive cry of a stone curlew."

Location

The Seronera Private Campsites (elevation of 5,003 feet) are located at the heart of the Seronera River Valley in the Central Serengeti. The campsites are located about 2-miles east of the Seronera Airstrip. There are three campsites where we set up the Private Luxury Camp in Seronera including Yellowstone, Acacia and Seronera 10 campsites. Each private campsite is roughly 1-mile apart ensuring complete privacy and solitude.

Seronera 10 campsite is positioned in a semi-open grassy area and tucked next to a handsome kopje. The opposite side of the kopje is used extensively by a female lion as a den site for her cubs. The female lion, her cubs and other members of her pride are frequently spotted in the immediate area surrounding Seronera 10.

The Yellowstone campsite offers the best views of any of the Seronera campsites with views both to the north and also to the south overlooking the Seronera River. This campsite offers convenient access to a small game track that leads directly to the river ensuring for quick game drives to see the big cats in action as they ambush their prey along the river.

Acacia campsite is located in a beautiful open patch of savannah under several magnificent acacia trees. This campsite boasts great in camp animal action with lions and hyenas both being frequently heard at night. Giraffes are also frequent visitors to the Acacia campsite location.

Private Luxury Camp Summary

Do you crave seclusion, adventure, and the unspoiled beauty of nature? Do you appreciate comfort, exceptional food and first rate service? Do you want to have the ultimate "once in a lifetime" safari experience? If you said YES to any of these questions - PRIVATE LUXURY CAMPING IS FOR YOU!   Private Luxury Camping is the most unique and rewarding way to experience that intangible "something" that makes the Serengeti so special. Imagine total privacy in the middle of the remote African savanna, where you can embrace the peace of this pristine wilderness completely uninterrupted by other tourists or the lights and sounds of a commercial lodge.

Think you'll miss the service or comforts of a commercial lodge? Think again! The beautiful irony of the experience is that you sacrifice little comfort by choosing to camp in this way - let's just say you won't be "roughing it!"   In fact, at the Private Luxury Camp, you'll have a dedicated staff of courteous attendants catering to YOU and YOU ALONE with the same level of service you would expect at a high-class luxury resort! Immediately upon your arrival, you'll be graciously welcomed by the staff with warm Swahili greetings, a hot towel and a chilled beverage. From that moment on, the only distance between any wish and reality is simply a request to make it so. Even laundry service is included - one of the many little perks you'll find integrated into your stay.

And did we mention the front row seats to spectacular wildlife viewing? You are, after all, spending the best parts of the day in the middle of the remote wilderness! Look for elephants and giraffe drifting among the Acacia trees, or if the migration is thundering through be prepared for an even more dramatic show! Okay, so you've got the spell-binding ambience of the Serengeti savanna, you've got the personalized service of a 5-star luxury resort, NOW throw in all those familiar creature comforts (only better!) like hot showers (by starlight!), un-limited beer or wine (by a bonfire!) and gourmet meals served on fine china (cooked to order- just for you !) The result of this combination is an overall experience that's almost too good to be true!

Let's face it, no commercial lodge can compete with the raw, authentic ambience that accompanies camping underneath the exposed African sky. In complete solitude you will be able to just soak in the peace and beauty of your surroundings, unrushed by the schedules of others. Watch an ocean of sun-drenched grasses ripple in the breeze as far as the eye can see (with no walls to block the view!) and piles of shifting clouds roll through brilliant blue skies (in lieu of hotel ceilings!)   Smooth islands of granite kopjes rise from this vast sea of grass just as they have for millions of years, adorned by ornate candelabra trees that stretch their lofty arms to the heavens. Primitive, wild and beautiful, THIS is where you will really GET the Serengeti. The buildings, traffic and crowds of civilization are but distant memories of the past.

Don't feel like leaving yet? Good! You don't have to! As evening descends over the camp, sit outside your tent and watch the dying light of sunset shimmer through the long, frayed grasses of golden savanna. Indulge in a traditional bush dinner by candlelight or campfire, featuring 4 course gourmet meals that are cooked to order (just for you) and graciously served by the dedicated staff (just to you.)   Don't be surprised if the cooks and waiters burst into a spontaneous performance of traditional song and dance as they serve dessert! Choose your favorite beverage from the fully stocked bar (soda, beer, wine and spirits are all included with your stay!) and huddle by the dancing lights of the roaring bonfire as night cloaks the rest of the camp. Gaze at the sparkling blanket of stars that beam overhead, larger and lower and more brilliant than you've ever remembered seeing them before - there are no commercial lights around for miles to dilute this magical view!

When you are ready for a good night's sleep, retreat to your private tent and stretch out in a real, comfortable bed draped in a cozy duvet and fine linens. A hot water bottle, already placed snugly under the covers by one of the staff, nips any rogue chill that tries to sneak in. Since you are miles from civilization, expect the night to be full of life and nocturnal voices. Warm, comfortable and safe under your canvas shelter, you are coaxed to dreams by the symphony of the Serengeti - the soft throbbing of crickets, the distant whoops of hyenas and maybe even the roar of a lion!

Awake before sunrise to prepare for your early morning game drive and drench your body with steaming hot water from the open-air shower - you look up to the sky and all you see are stars! Toast the Serengeti with a delicious champagne breakfast by bonfire as you watch the sun rise and cast its ethereal glow over the surrounding land and cloudscapes. Inhale the smell of earth and dew and grass. Embrace the raw power of a wilderness still completely untouched by man. Each glorious moment is a celebration of the senses, and an incredible way to start the next day's adventure!

So if you really want the opportunity to connect with the nature of the Serengeti in a very intimate way, without sacrificing comfort, this is your chance to do it. Private Luxury Camping allows you to invest quality time in the Serengeti, especially during those magical hours like sunrise and sunset where the sights and sounds of your surroundings naturally intensify. Bask in the golden light of the setting sun, gaze up at a brilliant canopy of stars, listen for lions roaring in the night and then roll out of bed to a champagne toast at sunrise without ever climbing into the land rover. You are continually immersed in the magic of nature without interruption.

As mentioned above, the gracious staff at your Private Luxury Camp are there to serve YOU and YOU ONLY! So expect to be pampered like royalty. Expect gourmet meals and fine linens. Expect to be inspired. But don't just let us just talk about it come experience it for yourself!


Testimonials

'The Private Luxury Camp in the Serengeti was the showstopper! A private Tent (as big as our Family Room) so clean you could eat off the floor. A separate Dining Tent. Superb food (including the popcorn at the Fire Pit and Trout for lunch). A staff of five, to take care of the two of us, headed by Anthony. Anthony could make anyone feel welcome, he is a sophisticated, caring professional who sees to the smallest detail. It was hard to believe we were in the "Bush".'
Bill & Maryann K.

'The whole experience at the private luxury camp was great. The service was akin to a 5-star hotel, the bed was very comfortable.'
Paula and Ray M.

'Next we were off to the Central Serengeti region where we stayed at a 'mobile' Private Luxury Camp site, right out on the open plains among the animals, an absolutely incredible experience. Here you really get the feeling you are on an African Safari versus staying just at hotel like lodges.'
Tom and Peg W.

'You don't offer the same canned tours as everyone else. We saw Tanzania the way we wanted to. We opted to camp almost every night. It was so exciting. The private camping was exhilarating.'
Barry T. Family

'The lions roaring all night and the African dinner the last night at the Private Luxury Camp were particularly memorable.'
Carl S.

'You may recall that we were somewhat reluctant, to say the least, about the private luxury camp. You will probably not be surprised to hear that it stands out as one of our most memorable safari experiences. The thrill of camping at the very site of the migration, the magnificent starry African night sky, being awakened by the sounds of roaring lions and hysterical zebras, and the extraordinary, warm personal care we received from the staff made our time spent there sensational. We thank you for insisting on it.'
Martha and Monty D.

'We actually heard a pride of lions right outside our campsite in the middle of the night!! That was why we did it and it was worth it! Plus, it put us right in the thick of the animals. The food at the camp was great and the cake and song at the end was the perfect end to our camping experience.'
Susie and Phillip C.

Accommodation

The Private Luxury Camp is a completely mobile camp and will be set up at the campsite of your choice (subject to availability) for the dates of your choice. The completely private camp is set up exclusively for just your group and can accommodate from 1 to 16 people. The camp consists of one dining tent and one or more sleeping tents depending upon the number of people in your group. Each sleeping tent is spacious and comfortable, and can be arranged as a single, double, twin or triple. The single will sleep one person in a queen size bed. Similarly, the double can be set up to accommodate a couple or two people with one queen size bed. Twin tents have two smaller beds and can accommodate two people in separate beds. A triple can also be arranged for a family with a small child. In the triple tents there is a queen size bed and a single bed suitable for two adults and 1 child.

A blend of comfort and practicality, each canvas sleeping tent is spacious, secure and well appointed with the fundamental necessities. In each roomy tent, there is a comfortable hardwood bed with a cozy duvet, comfy pillows, smooth sheets and plenty of blankets. Hot water bottles are thoughtfully embedded in your sheets each night although this is usually completely unnecessary. Next to each bed is a handy nightstand with bottled water, solar powered lamp and flashlight for your convenience. Towards the back of each tent is a table with a hand basin with soap and water to wash your hands.

Each sleeping tent is conveniently equipped with an en-suite toilet and bladder shower in two separate compartments. These compartments are accessed from inside you own tent and are separated with a zipper from the main tent (you do not need to walk outside your tent to use the facilities). The toilet is a simple and clean chemical, manual flush toilet. The toilet is cleaned and sterilized every day while you are out on game drives. The bladder shower is quite charming, with a ceiling open to the sky, and is filled with plenty of hot water upon demand. At the front of each tent are traditional safari chairs to relax in while enjoying the setting and additional wash basins and towels so you may freshen up for those early morning game drives.

Although electricity is not supplied to each separate sleeping tent (the space is lit by solar powered lanterns as required), there is a generator at each camp used to run the refrigerator and can be used to charge any camera or camcorder batteries. If you need any batteries charged, just leave them with the staff during the day and they will charge them by the time you get back from your game drive. Please do make sure you have the proper 3-pin UK plug adapter - see our useful information section for the specifics.

Food and Drink

Overall, the food and beverages offered at the Private Luxury Camp are among the finest in all of Tanzania. Dinners are especially delicious and the roaring campfires, full bar and attentive service makes for especially memorable bush evenings. A stay at the Private Luxury Camp is inclusive of 3 mouth-watering meals a day and all drinks (soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits, champagne, etc.)   You won't have to compete with other tourists for attention because the dedicated staff caters to YOU, and you alone!  

Wake up call times are taken the night before and then steaming hot coffee or tea is delivered to your tent at a predetermined time. A full breakfast can be enjoyed in the main dining tent at the time of your choosing, or you may have the cooks prepare a delightful breakfast box (to go) if you wish to have an early morning game drive. Just let your guide know the night before of your choice but we strongly advise to try the early morning game drive with breakfast box at least once during your stay. If you choose to dine in for breakfast, a large spread will be prepared in the dining tent including cereal, fruit, breads and juices. Orders are taken for eggs, omelets, pancakes, bacon, sausage, hot potatoes, etc. On the last morning of your stay, you may choose to sit outside by the warmth of a bonfire and watch the sun rise over the golden plains with a delicious champagne breakfast served al fresco.

Similarly to breakfast, you have the choice of either having a scrumptious lunch at camp in the main dining tent or rather a box lunch, packed with care, so you may enjoy a bush picnic. As with breakfast, we recommend a lunch box in the bush at least once during your stay.

The evenings at the Private Luxury Camp are simply heaven! Upon arrival from your afternoon game drive you are greeted with warm towels and escorted back to your tent for a hot shower to prepare for the evening's festivities. You will then be escorted back to the main dining area where a roaring campfire awaits with a full bar of soda, beer, wine, champagne and spirits (all included in your stay.) Popcorn, roasted cashews and drinks are served by a blazing campfire under a mesmerizing blanket of stars. At your convenience, dinner is served in the main dining tent by the light of flickering candles. Dinner is quite a serious production and consists of 4 amazing courses including tasty appetizers, hearty soup, flavorful salad, delectable entrees of beef or chicken, potatoes, rice, several selections of freshly prepared vegetables and luscious dessert (vegetarian meals are available on request). On your last night at the Private Luxury Camp, a traditional African dinner is served under the stars with a bottle of sparkling champagne. The thrill of the Serengeti night and all its wild wonder surrounds you. There is no lodge with an  


Activities and Highlights

  • Private game drives
  • Walk next to the hippos at Retina Hippo Pool
  • Balloon safaris
  • Picnic breakfasts and lunches if desired
  • Bush dinners and evening campfires
  • Early morning (before sunrise) game drives to witness the predators in action
  • Full day game drives to the GOL Kopjes
  • Sundowners
  • Private safari bush camp set up special for just you and your group accommodating from 1 to 16 guests
  • Location selected for seclusion and prime game viewing in the Seronera River Valley, Turner's Springs, Makoma Hill, Moru Kopjes or Naabi Hill depending upon the season
  • Camp consists of guest sleeping tent(s) and dining tent
  • Spacious sleeping tent(s) furnished with a comfortable hardwood bed, linens, washbasin, deck chairs, etc.
  • Each tent contains an ensuite chemical toilet and bladder shower filled with hot water on demand - these facilities are in every tent towards the back in separate compartments
  • Portable solar lanterns to carry with you at night and to light the interior of your sleeping tent
  • Separate dining tent with refrigerator and full bar (all drinks are included)
  • Approximately 6 camp staff including cooks, camp crew and waiters accompany each Private Luxury Camp
  • Inclusive of 3 superb meals a day including 4 course dinners with appetizers, soup, salad, beef or chicken, potatoes, rice, several selections of vegetables and dessert (vegetarian meals available on request)
  • Champagne dinner under the stars with traditional African food on your last night
  • All drinks (soft drinks, beer, wine, spirits, champagne, etc.) are included
  • Laundry service is included
  • Roaring campfire, popcorn and drinks under the African sky each evening
  • Breakfast boxes can be prepared for early morning game drives and lunch boxes can be prepared for full day adventure game drives
  • Generator at each camp - you may charge your camera or camcorder batteries during the day
  • Hot towel greetings upon arrival
  • Hot water bottles embedded in your sheets each night
  • Unparalleled Service!!

Some Additional Thoughts on Private Luxury Camping

There are several ingredients that if met always create a truly incredible property and ultimately the most rewarding safari experience. These components include location with regards to wildlife viewing, lodge/camp size, authenticity, closeness with nature, comfort, service and food. We think the Private Luxury Camp meets and exceeds each of these items and will undoubtedly prove to be one of your safari highlights. This is a tall order to fill but it really is this good. There is no where else in Tanzania where one could have complete privacy under traditional canvas with roaring campfires, lively nocturnal sounds, great food, friendly service plus the most intimate bush setting and the all the creature comforts (massive tent with en suite toilet and shower and all proper bedroom furnishings). Of course, there is always a downside and unfortunately the very high price tag for a private and luxurious bush property can be a deal breaker for many. However, for some it may be worth it to pull off a few nights at the Private Luxury Camp by downgrading the rest of your accommodations if what you're looking for is the ultimate bush adventure without compromising any comfort.

The Private Luxury Camp is commonly used in the Seronera River Valley of the Central Serengeti. The Central Serengeti is a must see on every safari (regardless of your month of travel) due its abundance of resident wildlife. The only problem with the Central Serengeti is the lack of small bush lodges and tented lodges that are found throughout the other areas of the park. There are three lodges in the Central Serengeti including the Serengeti Serena Lodge, Serengeti Sopa Lodge and Seronera Wildlife Lodge but all of these are large hotel style lodges with hordes of tourists. The main idea behind the private luxury camp is to provide a superb alternative to these large lodges for those of us looking for something a little more special then a large buffet line.

We highly recommend adding two nights at the Private Luxury Camp to every well-balanced safari itinerary as budget allows. The immediate area around the camp offers superb year round game viewing so this is a good fit regardless of your month of travel. However, the Private Luxury Camp is best combined with traditional lodges and tented lodges throughout the parks and conservation areas of Northern Tanzania. When used in conjunction with other lodges and tented lodges, a diversified and truly rewarding experience is obtained.