Reviews of Olakira Mara - Ndutu Camp
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Olakira Ndutu - amongst the animals!
Olakira is set in a lovely open position with giraffe, zebra and wildebeest wandering and grazing around and even in the camp. As the camp manager said, don't sleep too well because you'd miss the nighttime sounds of all the animals, including lion calling to each other. He was right - it was wonderful - and I was woken on the first night by zebra, munching and galloping around our tent. The front of the tent is mesh netting which allowed me to watch them in the moonlight, chomping just a couple of yards away from me.
Animals aside, the staff were wonderful, very friendly and chatty and the food excellent. During one camp lunch we had been asking about typical Tanzanian food and that evening the staff cooked us an extra dish of just such food (meat cooked with bananas!) for us to try. That gives you an idea about the level of willingness, attentiveness and service common to all 3 camps that we stayed in.
The tents and facilities were great, and very few flies or mosquitoes, in spite of the proximity to all that wildlife.
The game viewing in the area was superb and we loved being able to drive off road (it is in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and off road driving is allowed), and it made all the difference to our game viewing and photos as our driver/guide was able to get up close to a leopard lying in a tree with its kill, vultures annihilating a wildebeest carcass, a cheetah hunt and to drive right through the vast herds of wildebeest gathering on the plains.
Excellent all round safari camp
This place is a gem - we had seen pictures on the internet, but it far surpassed our expectations. Kindness, friendliness, efficiency, attention to detail - it all seemed to come naturally to Pascal and his team. Our guide, Baraka was excellent, informative, inspiring and fun to be with.
Saw so much game and even managed to see a little crossing - little being the operative work - watched and waited for 1000 or so wildebeast to cross from the other side, only to have 30 or so cross over from our side!! Managed to get up-close-and-personal to lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, topi, impala and so many other birds and animals, including the hippos wandering around the camp at night.
The camp was comfortable and beautifully equipped, with so many little touches that made it all work so well. The food was simply delicious and meal times a treat. Our thanks go to Pascal and the team for
(a) providing amazing specially made gluten-free foods, including cornbread and corn muffins.
(b) speaking with Coastal Aviation about the air sickness of one of us, which message was passed on all down the line so front seats were provided and the pilots being attentive.
(c) coping so well with the dripping wet guests when we had an amazing thunderstorm which lasted for 2hrs just as we were returning from afternoon game drives.
Would love to return.......
Comfortable and friendly camp
Lovely situation by the river.
Excellent and friendly staff
Olakira Camp review
Northern Serengeti was amazing and Olakira and staff made it even more memorable and fantastic.
Accommodation was wonderful - plenty of water for the basics (sink and toilet) and bucket showers inside the tent were more than adequate. An intimate setting (only 10 guest tents) in the middle of great game viewing (including regular lions roaring, hyenas calling, elephants, giraffe, impala and zebras feeding all within sight and hearing of the tent and event sometimes right in the camp).
Food was plentiful and consistently delicious - excellent variety, fresh, tasty and great service. Common dining table for all guests meant that every evening was a chance to talk to fellow travellers and share the day's experiences. You'd be hard pressed to find higher quality meals in any restaurant anywhere in the world, and the fact that it was all prepared in a temporary camp in the middle of the bush was truly amazing.
Hot coffee, tea and biscuits delivered to the tent at wake-up call, hot water bottles in the bed at bed-time, highly experienced and skilled guides, lots of game (we saw many lions, cheetah, leopard, buffalo, zebra, giraffe, elephant, crocodile, hippo, and even rhino, plus tons of others too numerous to list). Saw a couple of wildebeest river crossings (one right down the road from the camp!).
An amazing experience, great friendly genuine staff, and something that we'll remember for the rest of our lives. Four nights felt very comfortable, we saw a little bit of everything in terms of game. Any less though and you'd probably miss out on something.
Olakira Camp review
Delightful Tented accommodation with a pleasant area for relaxing in before the evening meal or in between game drives.
Baracka our guide was excellent and I very much enjoyed his excellent and illuminating talks from Termites to family structures of different animal groups and we were lucky enough to see two amazing Wildebeest crossings as well as Black Rhino, Hippos, Big fat crocs etc etc etc Very different country again wonderful open plains and ancient Landscapes. Some amazing weather with Thunderstorms and lightening.
Great company again around the table.
What an experience! Absolutely unforgettable
Our experience at Oliver's Camp set high expectations on what was to follow at Olakira and we were not disappointed. On the other hand, our experience at Lemala Camp lowered our expectation of a mobile camp and Olakira turned that around.
The location was excellent, and our view of the Mara River from our tent was memorable. The tents exceeded our expectations, the staff was attentive and gracious and the food was very good. Pascal was an excellent host and helped make our experience at Olakira Camp truly memorable. We especially liked the change in the way we took our safaris. One in the morning, return to camp for lunch and rest, and then one in the afternoon made a pleasurable day for us.
The Serengeti is truly the park to visit. We could have skipped the other parks and spent our time in the Serengeti. After seeing the Serengeti, I wonder why we even visited the other parks.
Olakira Camp review
A wonderful tented camp with a great location. The rooms, service and food were first rate. The staff attended to every request with great efficiency.
Would recommend this camp to anyone wishing to visit northern Tanzania.
A fabulous location and excellent guiding
The camp was in an amazing location - the view from the tent down the river was wonderful, and it was relatively quick to get to areas where there were lots of animals. We were very fortunate to see two wildebeest river crossings - one of the most amazing things we have ever witnessed. We were right in the middle of the action - the noise and dust surrounded us and it was extremely exciting, although sad when we realised that not all of them were going to get out of the river - the banks were too steep and they were just piling in on top of each other. The fact that we saw so much was in no small part due to the excellence of our guide, Victor. He was really good at finding animals for us and had a good knack of sensing when things were going to happen. On our last day we had almost given up waiting for the big herd of wildebeest to cross the river but he turned back just in time and found us excellent viewpoints to watch it all.
We did find that taking breakfast and lunch boxes with us and going out all day was the best way to do it - it meant that you didn't have to go back to camp for lunch and you could see more. We had flown to the camp specifically because we wanted to use the camp vehicles and guides and were really glad we did. It meant that we were in an open-sided vehicle (a Toyota Landcruiser which had been specially adapted) which had a shade over the top. There was space for 6 people so everyone got a 'window' seat, but we only shared with one other couple on one of the days - apart from that we were on our own with the guide. This was the same as our experience at Oliver's.
One thing to note - we would have liked to do a walk here but you can only do it if you arrange it in advance as they have to get a ranger over from the sister camp (and I think you have to pay extra for that). Not sure if I had just misunderstood about this as I thought we could arrange it once we were there.
The camp was very comfortable - the tents were not quite as plush as those at Oliver's but still very good, and we did appreciate the en-suite bathroom. The bucket shower worked well - you just told them when you wanted a shower and the tent attendants would bring the water for you and tell you it was ready. Food was good - fairly standard but amazing really when you consider how far you are from anywhere. One night there were only 4 of us staying and so they set up individual tables for us near the campfire. The other two nights there were more people so we all ate sitting round a big table in the dining tent.
Olakira Camp review
Jeremea the guide was very knowledgeable about the animals. He could have responded better to our requests to stop and see/photograph the birds-second guessing that all we wanted to see were cats. While we appreciated getting to see the crossing on short notice, he was somewhat cavalier in his driving and took what seemed to be unnecessary risks re speed and rough terrain-throwing us about in the jeep.
The food here was exceptionally good-compliments to the chef.
Pascal the manager and Future, the tent manager, were well organized and most attentive to our every need.
All the big five and much more
We included Olakira in our itinerary specifically to try to catch the migration crossing the Mara. There can be few better locations although one still needs good fortune to see an actual crossing as the wildebeest insist on being amusingly indecisive - albeit understandably in the face of the considerable dangers involved in the crossing.
We did see literally tens of thousands of wildebeest, including a small group crossing the Mara. But arguably as big a selling point for Olakira is that, expertly guided by Jeremiah, we also saw all the "big five" in the four days we were there - a rare treat in our experience of safari. Add to this cheetah, side-stripped jackal, hyaena and around 20 other mammal species and one can only conclude that this is a top safari spot by any standards.
The camp itself is comfortable and well run - indeed we were impressed generally by our dealings with Asilia (the parent company of Olakira and Oliver's where we had stayed immediately prior) and its staff.