Nduara Loliondo Camp moves twice a year...
Nduara Loliondo Camp: Our full report
Nduara Loliondo is a semi-permanent tented safari camp which moves between two locations within the Loliondo Game Controlled Area, on the eastern side of the Serengeti National Park.
From December to early June it is located in the southern-most part of Loliondo, in an area called Piyaya. This area is bordered by the Serengeti National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Gol Mountains and comprises a mixture of open plains, rolling hills and acacia woodland. Between about December to April, this is good location to see the great migration as it moves through the southern Loliondo area towards the southern plains of the Serengeti.
From mid-June to November Nduara stands in the northern Loliondo, in an area called Olosokwan. This area borders the Maasai Mara in Kenya to the north and the Serengeti to the west, and is a good base from which to explore the northern and eastern Serengeti. The migration passes through here around October to December.
For an idea of more precise idea of the migration's usual route and timings, see our moving migration map.
Besides seeing the migration at certain times of the year, Nduara is a good place to visit at any other time of the year as the activities here are much more varied than if you were staying within the Serengeti itself. It is possible to do night drives, game walks and visit the local Maasai community in these areas. There is resident game here all year round too, regardless of whether the migration is in the area or not.
When we visited Nduara (in late June 2008) the camp was in the northern Loliondo area, just a few kilometres from the Kleins Gate entrance into the Serengeti. It was in a beautiful setting, amongst the rolling hills with a stream running through the valley below. Some of the Maasai brought their cattle there to drink, so there was the constant sound of cowbells in the distance, which we found quite soothing.
On our first evening at Nduara Camp, we were taken for a drive to the top of the hill behind the camp and were surprised to find a couple of staff waiting for us with a selection of drinks and chairs around a blazing camp fire. This was a lovely surprise and a great spot to watch the sun setting over the distant hills of the Serengeti.
Nduara Camp is not designed around your ordinary style safari tent! The tents at Nduara have been designed with the homes of various nomadic tribes in mind, particularly the Mongolians. 'Nduara' means 'round' in Maasai – and hence they're referred to by the local team as 'Nduaras', even though the camp's literature calls them “yurts"! (You'll also see them sometimes spelled as 'yerts'.)
Each yurt at Nduara Loliondo is very large, round and brightly decorated inside. These may not be to everyone's taste – as they use an eclectic mix of styles and bright colours. We're not sure that all of these gel together very well.
From the outside, these yurts are brown and green in colour – blending well into the surrounding bush; however, inside the fabric is brown and bright yellow. The wooden beds, the bedside tables, and the luggage rack at the foot of the bed are all painted bright red. Each bed is covered with a red-and-blue blanket sporting a bright geometric design, and draped with a normal, white mosquito net, yet on the floor there are natural, animal skin rugs.
To one side of each yurt is a casual seating area with bean-bags and pouffes on the floor covered in blue, orange and white kangas (local fabrics); on the other side of the tent is a more traditional wooden table, complete with an electric lamp and two adjacent directors chairs. Here you'll find a basket, mosquito repellent spray, a torch, bottled water, a couple of drinking glasses and a compressed air horn which can be sounded in case of an emergency.
Each yurt at Nduara Loliondo has a private bathroom, in a separate, smaller round tent, off the main yurt. This has a short-drop compost toilet with a proper seat.
The shower cubicle is an unusual zinc-metal design in the centre of the bathroom, against the back of which is a metal shelf with the sink set into it. The shower head protrudes from the central dome of the tent. There is no running water – but when you want to have a shower, you simply inform a member of staff and they will fill your bucket shower with warm water, and also provide a jug of warm water for the basin.
Rustic shelves hang by rope on the one wall and a bamboo 'ladder' to the side of the shower acts as the towel rail. A small container with soap powder is provided, should you wish to do any hand-washing.
There are two separate tents in the main area – the dining yurt and the lounge yurt. The lounge yurt has a selection of seating areas with chairs and sofas, covered with leather and animal skins. Brightly coloured cushions are scattered on the sofas which are around large chunky coffee tables, on which are a selection of books and magazines to read. Tucked into a corner of the yurt is a small drinks cabinet; grass mats and bright coloured rugs are scattered on the floor.
The dining yurt is simply furnished with a few round tables, directors chairs covered in sheepskin fabric and the floor covered in grass mats. A table to the side is used for serving breakfast and lunch.
All of these yurts seem a bit bright and stark during the day, with lots of contrasting colours, but at night the lamplight adds a lot to the atmosphere – and everything looks much softer and much improved!
Having made lots of comments above ... when we visited Nduara Camp, we found the food and service to be very good. Everyone who stays here is usually hosted by their personal guide, so there is no camp 'manager' here. However, all the staff that we met were very friendly and attentive, and all seemed to do their very best to make sure that we were well looked after.
Our ViewNduara Loliondo is a good safari camp to use as a base to experience the migration in the eastern side of the Serengeti, as well as to experience the other activities in the Lioliondo Reserve, outside of the national park. The comforts, food and service are of a high standard here without being too luxurious – even if the camp's decor wasn't really to our taste.
Ideal length of stay: Two to four nights should allow enough time to do daily trips into the Serengeti as well as to do a walk or two as well as a visit to a local Maasai village; Nduara is often combined into safari trips with it sister-camp, Serengeti Safari Camp.
Directions: Nduara Loliondo lodge is located half an hour's drive from Kleins airstrip and ten minutes drive to Kleins Gate.
Owner: Lodge Management Company – Nomad Tanzania
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited Nduara Camp, the food was very good, and very plentiful. Drinks are served to us in the lounge 'yurt' prior to dinner – and then we were called into the dining yert when dinner was ready.
Dinner was a sociable affair – laid out on two or three tables, which we shared with other guests. Very much like being at a dinner party. Staff came around with the food for each course on dishes, and we helped ourselves whilst sitting at the table.
When we last visited, in late June 2008, we had a delicious butternut and ginger soup, followed by beef served with 'Zulu Cabbage' (a special South African recipe), potato dauphinoise and green beans. This was finished off with a lovely chocolate desert and tea or coffee.
Breakfast was buffet-style, as most travelers leave camp at different times of the day. A selection of fresh fruit, fruit juice and cereals was available on a help-yourself basis. A cooked breakfast was also offered, which included a selection of cooked eggs, sausage and bacon.
When we left Nduara we were given a packed picnic lunch, which was one of the nicer packed lunches that we've had. It included a pasta salad, a feta and green salad as well as grilled chicken pieces followed by fruit salad. This was greatly enjoyed in the shade of an acacia tree, in the middle of the Serengeti!
The service and attention to detail at Nduara Loliondo were high and all the staff were friendly and attentive.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Drinks included: Yes, all house wines, beers and soft drinks are included here; premium wines, imported spirits and champagnes are not.
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 8 years are welcome in camp.
Generally recommended for children: No children under the age of 8 years are allowed in camp and no children under the age of 12 years are allowed on game walks.
Communications: The camp has radios for communication, and there is often intermittent mobile phones reception throughout the Serengeti.
TV & radio: No
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Laundry facilities: Every vehicle is supplied with a medical kit. There is a clinic at a nearby village otherwise, for more serious emergencies, medical air rescue is available.
Money: Nduara Camp does not offer any currency exchange.