The exclusive Faru Faru Camp, in the Grumeti Reserve, overlooks the Serengeti plains.
Faru Faru Lodge: Our full report
Faru Faru Lodge is the most southerly of the Singita's properties in the Serengeti, and is close to the Grumeti River and the Serengeti's Western Corridor. Having opened early in 2007, Faru Faru is also the newest of the properties here.
It has views over the undulating, short grass hills of the Grumeti Reserve and is surrounded by countless acacia trees. The lodge also looks over a watering hole which is popular with the passing wildlife.
Faru Faru has an elegant and natural feel to it which is reflected largely in the main areas of the lodge. A library adjacent to the bar, dining and lounge areas is well stocked with games, DVDs, a satellite television, books, a computer with internet access and a printer – all of which are complimentary. The library is furnished in much the same way as the rest of the lodge; with plenty of wood and stone, and decorated with ornaments you would expect to find in a botanist's office. It also has large, welcoming sofas covered in scatter cushions, where you could easily while away a few hours.
The dining, bar and lounge areas all flow into one another and are built overlooking the watering hole, one of the swimming pools and the bush. The areas are cool, contemporary and effortlessly chic. It is impossible to ignore the fact that nature and the natural bush have played an enormous part in inspiring its construction. The interiors have exposed, stone floors, the walls are constructed with large nuggets of rock layered on top of each other, and wooden tables and chairs all of which shelter beneath a thick, khaki, canvas roof. Simple ornaments adorn the large wooden tables and pebble-coloured sofas align the walls looking out to the bush and over one of the swimming pools.
As you walk through the dining area you reach a second swimming pool which has been inspired by a Swahili sand beach, where you can soak up the sun from a poolside lounger or lying on the sand. After time at the pool, you can make your way up to the wooden deck and enjoy more views of the Serengeti whilst having an intimate lunch.
Faru Faru also has a small boutique style shop selling a range of African inspired jewellery, ornaments and clothing.
Faru Faru Lodge has been designed cleverly, so although it's quite large, it's very easy to find a quiet, undisturbed corner to be on your own. Beyond the central lounge and dining areas, sloping walkways lead through the bush to the bedrooms, the swimming pools, a firepit and an elevated deck. All of these outdoor areas have quite a tropical feel to them – they are shaded by wooden canopies and trees and surrounded by the green bush. (This was green even though we last visited here at the height of the dry season, at the end of September!)
Faru Faru, which means 'rhino', has been based on a 1940s'
/1950s' style botanist camp. There are copies of nature books and test tube-like vases in most of the rooms, instruments and botanical prints hanging on the ways, and each bedroom has a telescope. Having said that – it has been designed in an essentially minimalist, modern way; it has a far more contemporary and stylized feel than its sister lodges, Sabora Plains and Sasakwa.
Between about June and late-August, Faru Faru is surrounded by the great migration, as it munches its way north through the reserve's lush grasses. Because of its proximity to the watering hole and the Grumeti River, it makes a wonderful base from which to view the countless herds that pass by. Whilst Faru Faru makes a wonderful safari lodge during the migration, it is also a good lodge to visit at other times of year. Grumeti Reserve has many kopjies and ravines, and thus permanent populations of game. If you enjoy walking, then during the long dry season, from July to November, guided walks in the dry bed of the Grumeti River are a big attraction.
Like the other two Singita properties in the Grumeti, it retains exemplary service, charming staff and a feeling of exclusivity. When we last visited Faru Faru (September 07), we agreed that, out of the three Singita Grumeti Reserve lodges, Faru Faru undoubtedly has the most stylized feel to it. The fact that it is so different to the others is to its advantage; it's fresh, funky and full of charm.
The lodge managers, Ollie and Steve added a friendly, professional and relaxed touch to the lodge so we felt instantly feel at home – even if the very 'designed' style and décor wasn't completely to my taste.
Ideal length of stay: 2 / 3 nights
Directions: The lodge is about 1½ hour's flight from Kilimanjaro. There is an airstrip based near Sasakwa for charter flights.
Owner: Faru Faru is owned by Paul Tudor-Jones.
Staff: Camp/Lodge Manager: Olivia (Ollie) Mills & Steve Carr Guide: There are 12 guides that are shared between Faru Faru, Sabora Plains and Sasakwa Lodge.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast - Before heading out on early morning game drives, coffee and a light snacks (muffins, rusks and the like) are served in the lounge. When you return in mid-morning, there's usually a proper breakfast with fresh fruits, cereals, toast, etc - and/or a cooked breakfast made to order, and served to your table.
Lunch - The last time we visited Faru Faru (September 07) we had a very tasty lunch, sitting on the elevated deck, overlooking the bush. We started with a cold pear and champagne soup accompanied by warm, home-made bread and followed with a delicious, tapas-style, hot meat and vegetable platter and an assortment of fresh salads. All of the food was served in beautiful blown glass dishes by charming staff.
Dinner – In the main dining room, this is a ¾-course meal served to your table, although if you prefer a private, candle-lit venue, then you can opt to have it brought to your room's private verandah.
Meal times at Faru Faru can be flexible and work around you and your safari activities. The lodge is very happy to cater for all tastes and ages as long as they have prior notice.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Most drinks are included at Faru Faru, except champagne, premium wines and spirits, which are priced as extras and charged separately for in the lodge.
Solo Travel: Faru Faru is a warm and welcoming lodge – with guides and managers who are very good and attentive. Solo travellers can relax by the pool, in the library or on the private verandah, or take part in the many activities!See more ideas for Solo Travel in Tanzania
Riding: There is a very serious and well-equipped equestrian centre at Sasakwa, Faru Faru's sister-lodge, and guests her can use all of its facilities. Currently this has 16 horses, English-style tack and a choice of English or Western saddles. Experienced riders can head across Grumeti Reserve – which has lots of magical vast open plains.See more ideas for Riding in Tanzania
Wildlife safaris: Wildlife around Faru Faru is good throughout the year, with plenty of resident game. The lodge is also on the migratory route for the thousands of animals that make their way north across the Serenegti during June – August. The water hole also attracts game in view of the lodge.See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Children over 10 are welcome as long as they are under constant parental supervision.
Equipment: Faru Faru doesn't cater for children under 10.
Generally recommended for children: Yes – as long as they are under supervision. As Faru Faru is such an intimate and peaceful lodge we recommend only more mature children stay here (12 upwards).
Notes: There are two pool areas that children can use but under supervision. There is also a large library with satellite television, DVD's, games, books, a computer and a printer.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: There are internet phones in each room and guests can use these to phone internationally with compliments of the lodge. Wireless internet is installed in the library.
TV & radio: There is satellite television in the library.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: There is a resident paramedic at Faru Faru and they have links to the Flying Doctor.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are guards at night to escort guests from their rooms to the dining / bar area and back.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers around the property and some staff are trained to use them.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Faru Faru. If collected in the morning, it will be ready by the same evening – weather permitting.
Money: Faru Faru accept US$, Euros and Tanzanian Shillings.