The Serengeti is home to huge numbers of animals: over a million wildebeests...
Olakira Lamai Camp: Our full report
Olakira Lamai Camp is the new sister camp to Olakira Camp, located south of the Mara River, and is very similar in style and design. Unlike Olakira Camp, however, Olakira Lamai Camp does not move location during the year. It is situated in the Lamai Wedge, a small pocket of the Serengeti north of the Mara River and south of the border with Kenya. This part of the Serengeti is a great place to witness the great migration between the months of July to October: it’s within the Serengeti National Park and is one of the more remote camps in this park.
Opened in July 2013 this is currently one of only two camps in the Lamai Wedge. Olakira Lamai is a rustic camp yet remains very comfortable. On our recent visit in July 2013, the camp had only been open for two weeks. To get there we had to drive through herds of wildebeest and zebra, which were located not far from the camp.
There are eight tents at Olakira Lamai – five to one side of the main area and three to the other side. All are spacious with their own en-suite bathrooms. The canvas tents are entered through a zip at the front of the tent, which leads you into a small seating area, with a canvas director’s chair and a couple of poufes on the canvas floor. Another canvas screen, entered through another zip, leads you into the main part of the tent. Each tent has either twin or double black wrought-iron beds, covered in cream coloured linen with a brightly coloured throw and scattered with cushions. To either side of the bed is a colonial-style bedside table with a flask of drinking water and a solar lamp. Cream coloured fabric curtains hang at the mesh windows, held back with little wooden hand-crafted tie-backs. A wooden writing desk and leather chair stand in the corner with a solar lantern on top.
Through a flap at the back of the tent is the en-suite bathroom. There is a black wrought-iron hanging rail, with bright African print dressing gowns, for hanging clothes. Below this is a digital safe for storing valuables. In one corner of the bathroom is a flush toilet and, behind a canvas curtain, a bucket shower, which is filled with hot water, from the outside, on request. On top of a wooden washstand is a brass basin, which is filled from a small brass tank beside it. A larger tank outside the tent automatically refills this little tank as it empties.
In the centre of the camp are two separate tents, one houses the main lounge area and in the other is the dining area. The lounge tent is completely open to the front and sides (with flaps that are lowered in bad weather) offering views over the Serengeti grassland in front of the camp. Inside is a couple of seating areas in a red a cream colour scheme. Comfortable sofas, chairs and pouffes surround low wooden coffee tables, scattered with nature books for guests to browse through. Dark red woven oriental rugs are scattered on the canvas floor. To one side is a table with tea and coffee, which is available for guests to enjoy throughout the day. To the front of this tent is a fire pit surrounded by canvas director’s chairs. This area is very popular with guests, in the evening with drinks, or in the early morning while watching the sunrise.
In the nearby dining tent are a few tables and chairs where meals are taken. Breakfast and lunch are usually enjoyed at individual tables, however dinner is communal, allowing guests to chat over the days exciting events. In this area there is also a small drinks cabinet from which guests are able to help themselves.
Our ViewAlthough Olakira Lamai is a relatively new camp we are confident it will be as well run as its sister camps in the area. Located in the quieter Lamai Wedge in the northern Serengeti, it is a great base to see the migration from July to October. Its great resident game also makes it a good spot for great game viewing during the rest of the year.
Ideal length of stay: Three nights is typical, although during the wildebeest migration, four would be fine. Olakira Lamai is often combined into trips with it’s sister camps, Olakira camp, Ubuntu and the more luxurious Sayari Camp. It also combines very well with its sister camp in the central Serengeti Dunia camp.
Directions: Olakira Lamai is 45 minutes drive from Lamai airstrip.
Owner: Asilia Africa
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: On our recent visit we did not stay long enough to enjoy a meal, however the manager explained to us what we could expect :
Breakfast is a choice of a cold selection of fresh fruit, cereals, yoghurts, fresh muffins and freshly baked bread. A cooked breakfast is also available – eggs to order, sausages, bacon, toast along with a selection of fruit juices as well as tea and coffee.
Lunch is eaten at individual tables, as guests usually return from an activity at different times. Normally there is a hot dish served with a selection of salads and freshly baked bread. This is finished off with a light desert.
Afternoon tea or coffee and a fresh homemade cake are served in the afternoon, before heading out on an afternoon game drive.
Dinner is a slightly more formal three course meal. After a drink around the fire, guests sit at one large communal table and are served a starter followed by a main course, which is normally a choice of meat, chicken or fish served with fresh season vegetables. House wines are served with dinner. This is usually rounded off with a delicious desert. A vegetarian option is always available if there are vegetarians staying in camp.
Dining style: Group Meals
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Most drinks are included at Olakira Lamai, except for champagne and premium wines and spirits.
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of 5 are welcome at Olakira Lamai.
Property’s age restrictions: Children must be 6 years or older to stay at Olakira Lamai.
Special activities & services: There are no special children’s activities.
Equipment: Olakira Lamai does not have any cots or highchairs
Generally recommended for children: Olakira Lamai would be suitable for mature children from the age 12 years. There are no activities or facilities here to entertain children.
Notes: Parents would need to be aware of Olakira Lamai’s remote location and the high risk of wild animals, which wander through camp day and night.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: There is a generator for back up.
Communications: There is cell-phone signal at Olakira Lamai. Wi-Fi is also available here and the camp is in radio contact with its sister camps in the area. The camp also has a satellite phone.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio here
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Olakira Lamai has links to the Flying Doctors service. The staff here are trained in first aid and they have a first aid box on site. The nearest hospital is in Arusha, which is two hours away by light aircraft.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are 'askaris' (local watchmen) on duty during the night. They will escort you to and from your tent after dark. There is also an armed ranger on duty at night.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main areas as well as at each tent
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Olakira Lamai. It is hand washed by local staff so, for cultural reasons, underwear is not accepted. Soap is provided in the bathrooms for this.
Money: There are electronic safes in each tent. There is no currency exchange.
Accepted payment on location: Olakira Lamai accept US Dollars, English Pounds, Euros and Tanzanian Shillings. At the time of our visit (July 2013) they did not have credit card facilities.