New safari camps on the block
The world has definitely not stood still in Southern and East Africa over the last 18 months and we are delighted to let you know of some exciting new safari camp openings.
Tembo Plains, Sapi Private Reserve, Zimbabwe
The gorgeous Tembo Plains, tucked away into a thick riverine forest on the banks of the Zambezi River, is a mouth-watering spot on the edge of Zimbabwe’s Mana Pools National Park. Four canvas and stone tented suites come with private indoor lounge areas, outdoor swimming pools (complete with exercise bikes on the verandah) and an outdoor dining area. WiFi means you can catch up with business or just manage photos – each tent comes with a Canon professional camera and lenses – from the day. The two-tent family suite enjoys the same expansive facilities and is perfect for a family or couple looking for the ultimate private safari experience.
There’s fabulous wildlife in the area with wild dog, lion and leopard common around the camp area, and buffalo and elephant seen regularly up and down the river. It’s the only camp in Zimbabwe to be granted membership of Relais & Chateaux, so if you are after luxury, privacy and superb wildlife we can’t think of a better place to go.
Building safari camps in the middle of the African bush comes with a unique set of challenges. Choose a river front location – and many do for scenic beauty and wildlife rich habitat – and you must factor in mother nature’s unpredictability too. It’s something our friends at Great Plains Conservation have faced with several of their camps where flooding has led to a complete rebuild of two of our favourites and a third, totally new offering.
Mara Plains Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
Mara Plains Camp has had an uplift – literally. Walkways wind their way through the forest between tented suites that are built high on stilts, looking down onto the river across the Mara plains. Simply being in camp is an adventure in itself at these treetop levels. The honeymoon suite is reached via its own suspension bridge, sit in the library and you gaze down on the resident hippos, take the epic Mara Plains Jahazi Suite – an exclusive use two-bedroom villa with dedicated staff – and you have the safari experience of a lifetime.
Mara Expedition Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
Mara Expedition Camp is the new safari camp and sits on high ground in a glade of acacia trees overlooking a pretty Masai Mara valley. The simple, safari chic design of the six tents evokes an atmosphere of early day explorers. It’s a great camp if big cats such as cheetah and lion are on your list – most days you don’t need to go very far to find them.
Mara Toto Camp, Masai Mara, Kenya
Last in the stable is the delightful Mara Toto Camp. Unable to resist the river front location, but mindful of that this camp had taken itself off downstream after heavy rains, this little gem is now a mobile camp that stays up just for the dry season (mid-May to October) – which happily coincides with the famous wildebeest migration. Its size and privacy – just four tents – it’s ideal for small groups for sole use, although it is open to everyone.
Offbeat Ndoto Camp, Mara North Conservancy, Kenya
Ndoto is the Swahili word for dream and the opening of Offbeat Ndoto Camp in September is one we’re eagerly anticipating. The four well-appointed tents with verandah, sitting room, en-suite bedroom and running hot and cold water offer a touch of luxury in a prime position amid the stunning wilderness of the private Mara North conservancy. It will be an out and out winner for wildlife viewing with bush walks, bush dining and cultural visits available alongside the traditional vehicle based wildlife drives. First class guiding and exceptional hospitality complete this wonderful picture.
Songa Migrational Camp, Serengeti, Tanzania
Legendary Expeditions’ Songa Migrational Camp moves across two sites in the Serengeti to take full advantage of the wildlife patterns in this world-famous national park. If watching the wildebeest migration is on your bucket list, then this is an extremely good pick. Every booking is allocated a private guide and vehicle, so you are free to spend your time wildlife viewing as you wish. If you want to explore on foot, then bush walks fit the bill and for some aerial excitement it’s possible to arrange balloon rides (at an extra cost) here too.
The Chyulu Club, Chyulu Hills, Amboseli, Kenya
The Chyulu Club looks set to be one Kenya’s most interesting family focussed camps, with the emphasis on delivering a transformative experience for young people at its heart. Children are invited to explore the savannah and cloud forests with Masai guides, participate in wildlife preservation, work on artistic projects with the Masai people and even teach in local schools. Activities are tailored to ages and interests and can be enjoyed as a family together or as specific programmes for parents and children.
Mboma Island Expeditions, Okavango Delta, Botswana
Overlooking the Delta’s floodplains, surrounded by fan palms, jackleberrys, sausage trees, and the intricate waterways of the Godikwe Lagoon, Mboma is a stylish, low-impact camp offering rustic luxury and a true ‘back to the wilderness’, adventure. With vehicle drives and mokoro expeditions, it offers the best of both worlds in this quiet corner of the Moremi Game Reserve home to a plethora of species, from lions and red lechwe to wallowing hippos and large herds of elephants. The five classic tents are fully equipped with all the necessary comforts and the main area features the quintessential elements of a simple safari, a roaring boma fire, an open-air dining tent and of course a drinks trolly, stocked with the iconic safari favourites!
Onduli Ridge, Damaraland, Namibia
The intimate six-suite Onduli Ridge is nestled among massive boulders at the base of two south-facing granite outcrops. Dramatic day-time views of the Brandberg, Namibia’s highest mountain, give way to extraordinary night-time star gazing at this lovely new camp. Special touches like beds that can be rolled onto a private deck if you fancy a night under the stars and the use of Swarovski binoculars during your stay add to the charm here. Well positioned to see some of Namibia’s intriguing wildlife, such as desert adapted elephant and rhino, it’s a great addition to our portfolio.
We would be delighted to help you plan a safari holiday to include some of these wonderful new safari camps. Our team of experts has travelled widely throughout Africa and the Indian Ocean and can offer expert advice on every type of safari from family and beach holidays to riding and primate safaris. Do get in touch – chatting to people by phone or email is what we do best. We listen, we explain, we answer all sorts of questions even those you didn’t know to ask, and finally we make suggestions. If this is your first time to Africa or your twenty first, we have a team standing by to help make the planning easy and the journey the best ever. Please get in touch whatever stage you’re at.