Olakira Mara - Ndutu Camp

Olakira Mara - Ndutu Camp: Our full report

Rooms
9 safari tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (96%) From 27 reviews
Children
Best for aged 12+
Open
1st June to 31st March

Olakira Camp, sometimes known as either Olakira Mara, or Olakira Ndutu depending on where it's located, is a semi-permanent tented camp that moves twice a year to a new location, depending on the location of the wildebeest migration at the time.

Through the months of June to November, Olakira Camp is located on the Mara River in the far north of the Serengeti. This makes it a great base to see the migration in the months of August through to the end of October. That said, either side of these months the resident game in the area is certainly worth stopping by for, with relaxed leopards in trees, cheetah and a healthy population of plains game. There have even been recent sightings of Rhino in the area.

Then from mid-December to the end of March, Olakira Mara moves to be located in the Ndutu area, which is the perfect spot for witnessing the migration when it is spread out on the southern plains. WHen it's located down here, it's often called Olakira Ndutu.

See our moving map of the migration to see where the animals are at different times of the year.

Olakira is the sister camp to Olakira Lamai, Ubuntu, Dunia and Sayari Camp.

Olakira is a very comfortable tented camp – with large spacious walk in tents. Each of the tents has is en suite, with a chemical toilet and bucket shower – hot water is brought on request. (Read more about the tents at Olakira...)

In the main mess tent you will find an area that is set out for dining, with canvas directors' chairs set around square wooden tables. There is also a very well stocked drinks cabinet – the staff will help you to a drink, whether it be a G&T, a whisky or perhaps an after dinner Baileys on ice. Guests can help themselves from a coffee and tea station at all times during the day.

To one side of the open-plan tent is a comfortable lounge area, where a large corner sofa and a number of comfortable beanbag chairs are set around a dark wooden coffee table. Natural browns, creams and burnt orange combine to create a rustic yet stylish effect.

Although you will find power sockets here so you can charge batteries, there are no lights: at night the tent is beautifully lit by atmospheric storm lanterns instead.

In front of the mess tent is a fireplace which is lit in the evenings. Guests tend to gather here before dinner and have a few drinks in the company of the other guests and the guides. When we were last there we also enjoyed a performance by the camps own band. Founded by one of the waiters who learnt to play the guitar in church, the band play a variety of Africa songs as well as some they composed themselves.

When we last visited Olakira, the food was really tasty and the service was good. The team at Olakira are very attentive, and we especially enjoyed the performance of the 'squirrel band' – a band formed by some of the staff, who play African songs around the camp fire before dinner.

Activities from Olakira are all vehicle based 4x4 safaris. Olakira is a base from which guests explore the Serengeti with their own private driver/guide. So you can make a plan with your guide the night before, and chose to head out for a full day with a packed lunch. Or you can do a morning and afternoon safari, returning to the camp for the heat of the day. Timings are all very flexible around what you want to do.

Our View

Olakira Mara-Ndutu is a very comfortable and stylish little camp; taking a maximum of fourteen guests, it is very personal. Its semi-permanent nature means that you really feel a part of the surrounding bush, but without having to sacrifice any of the usual comforts such as hot showers and toilets.

Geographics

Location: Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: Spend at least three nights here to explore the area properly – or even longer if you have the time.

Directions: When the camp is in the south most will drive to Olakira with their vehicle and guide, and then drive away again when they move on. When it is in the more remote north you may choose to fly here. No matter where the camp is you have the choice to either fly-in and use the resident vehicles and guides, or drive in with a private driver/guide.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we were last at Olakira, in July 2013, the food was very tasty, with a good variety of international dishes made with fresh ingredients.

Timings for breakfast or brunch was flexible, depending on what you wanted to do in the morning. For breakfast you would usually find a variety of cereals, a cooked breakfast with eggs of your choice, fruit and yogurt. Then brunch was similar but with the addition of tasty snacks such as hot open sandwiches and quiches.

Lunch was also an offering of snacks such as quiches and sandwiches. But had a further spread of cold meat, green salads and pasta salads. We found the lunch light, refreshing and very tasty.

At around 7pm, guests start to gather around the camp fire where they can relax and have a drink. The chef would then come out and announce what the courses were for dinner. Dinner consisted of three courses, usually a soup or salad starter, perhaps a barbeque or traditional Swahili dish for the main course, and then a deliciously rich desert. When we were there we had chocolate mousse and cream – it was delicious.

The food at Olakira Camp isn't of an incredibly high standard; it's not what you might expect in a five-starred restaurant in Europe. But it is really fresh and very tasty – it is good food, done well.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Drinks are included, except for champagne and certain imported wines and spirits.

Further dining info: Tea and coffee is brought to the rooms.

Special interests

Solo Travel: Olakira Camp can be an inspired choice for solo travel; fly in here for the Serengeti’s great migration. You’ll share your safaris with other guests, and a top safari guide, and everyone dines communally so it’s very friendly. What’s more, the single supplement is reasonable.

See more ideas for Solo Travel in Tanzania

Wildlife safaris: Olakira Camp is a semi-permanent tented camp that moves twice a year, in order to optimize its location for the migration. With careful planning (talk to us about this), this can be the perfect base from which to witness one of nature's greatest spectacles.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania

Children

Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at Olakira.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions here.

Special activities & services: Olakira Camp will happily prepare special meals and arrange earlier meal times for children.

Equipment: Cots and highchairs are available on request.

Notes: Olakira is a fun and friendly camp that has a team who will go out of their way to make families feel welcome. However, it is also a very wild camp and parents should be aware that children should not be allowed to wonder around unescorted. Children are the responsibility of their parents at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Combination of power

Power supply notes: The camp has 24 hour power.

Communications: Olakira Camp has a satellite phone that can be used in emergencies. There is also intermittent cell phone reception around the camp.

TV & radio: There is no TV or radio at Olakira Camp

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The staff here are first-aid trained and there is first-aid equipment for minor injuries. For more serious cases, the camp has links to flying doctors.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: The team will escort you around the camp at night.

Fire safety: The camp has a fire break, and also each tent has fire extinguishers which the staff are all trained to use.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: The laundry is included – it is hand washed a line dried so is returned with 24 hours depending on the weather.

Money: There are no currency exchange facilities at Olakira Camp.

Accepted payment on location: Olakira Camp can accept cash in US dollars, Tanzania shillings and Euros. Visa and MasterCard are also accepted, with 5% commission charged.