Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti

Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti: Our full report

Rooms
6 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (98%) From 8 reviews
Children
Best for 8+
Open
Mid-June through mid-November

A stylish tented camp - Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti is a mobile tented operation situated in one of two locations in or around the Serengeti depending on the time of year. Aiming to give guests a simple, authentic bush experience, it's a relaxed and friendly camp which retains a luxurious edge.

We had the immense pleasure of visiting the camps in the Lamai Wedge in October 2019, and the experience was phenomenal! The Serian Serengeti operation moves to two general areas – the northern Lamai Wedge/Kogatende area and the southern Serengeti Plains – during the year, and there are two camps in each location.

From July until mid-November the camp is in the north, and the two camps are known as “Serengeti North” and “Serengeti Mobile Lamai”. The operation is located up in the Lamai Wedge and Kogatende area of the Serengeti - close to the Mara River, which means at the time of year you should be able to witness some great game sightings as the wildebeest migration crosses the Mara River. You can read more about the wildebeest migration here… On our last visit, we had the incredible experience of witnessing a crossing of 2,000+ wildebeest braving the roaring waters of the Mara River as well as the razor-sharp jaws of hungry crocodiles.

From mid-December through until the end of April the operation (meaning both camps) moves down south. One camp, known as “Serian's Serengeti South” is actually inside the western-most portion of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, bordering the short grass plains of the Maswa Game Reserve and southern Serengeti - within fairly easy reach of both the Serengeti itself, as well as the Ngorongoro Crater (a two-hour drive away). The camp lies 50 kilometers due south of Ndutu, and access to this camp is either by road as a part of a private-guided overland safari or by air to Mwiba Airstrip. Serian's Serengeti South offers complete isolation as it is the only tented camp in this area, and it also offers adventure fly camping.

50 kilometers northwest tucked inside the Kusini area in the Serengeti National Park lies its sister camp, known as “Serian's Serengeti Mobile Kusini”. This camp offers a massive advantage of being in a rhino-breeding area and being near one of the few places inside Serengeti National Park where you can do walking safaris. Furthermore, the camp is south of Ndutu Road, which is the only place in the Serengeti National Park where vehicles can legally drive off road.

In the operation's southern positioning, the camps lie in two very distinctively different areas; so much in fact, that they can even be combined to offer a diverse itinerary. The important thing to remember is that “Serian's Serengeti South” offers a much more adventurous experience with the fly camping element and operating in an area where wildlife is still not accustomed to mainstream tourism whereas the game where “Serian's Serengeti Mobile Kusini” lies in an area where game is used to seeing vehicle with tourists on photo safaris.

The most important aspects to consider with Serian Serengeti are guiding experience, location, and high service standards. Firstly, every booking is guaranteed a private vehicle, guide, and spotter. Secondarily, the operation is always located in a remote area that offers exceptional wildlife viewing – especially for the migration – far removed from mass tourism. Guides like to head out early and return early, avoiding the possible crowds later in the morning. And finally, the operation's exponentially high staff-to-guest ratio makes for unrivaled high service levels.

The camps are mirror images of one another and consist of 6 meru-style tents are simply furnished and decorated in a traditional safari style. Expect comfortable wrought iron beds, velvet sofas, and rugs covering the floor. All have en-suite plumbed bathrooms with flushing loos, and a basin with a jug of water by the sink. These are not posh or pretentious, but the eclectic furniture gives them a shabby chic feel. They are not slick and shiny, but nor are they trying to be; this is an unfussy bush experience where everything works seamlessly.

Four tents are suitable as a double, twin or triple. There are then two family tents which consist of two interconnecting bedrooms with a central lounge.

The communal mess tent is where guests will gather for a drink and dine together in the evenings. The dark canvas walls and antique sofas created a cosy, homely atmosphere where you can relax and watch the world pass you by. The Serian operation has a very high staff-to-guest ratio, and we were floored by how great the service and attention to detail were on our last visit. Amongst the staff and guests, however, a very relaxed and comfortable atmosphere is maintained.

There is no guest WiFi anywhere in the camp, and we did not miss it. A stay at Serian Serengeti is really about getting back to nature and having a real bush experience where guests are encouraged to disconnect. In a world where safari camps are increasingly trying to compete to have the most luxurious tents, WiFi and mod cons, Alex Walker Serian Serengeti delights in the simplicity of an authentic safari with excellent guiding and great food and service.

Activities tend to be focused on game drives and walking safaris, and where possible their guides like to take you off the beaten track and in to more remote areas of the park. If you stay at “Serian's Serengeti South”, “Serian's Serengeti Mobile Lamai” or “Serian's Serengeti North” you can get a real feeling of being out in the wilderness by taking advantage of their fly camp (which is included in the price) - a simple dome tent set up in the middle of the bush, with short-drop toilet and bucket shower.

Our view

The Serian Serengeti operation is professional and well run with superb guides, authentic and comfortable tents, and offers a tremendous bush experience in remote areas of the Serengeti ecosystem. Our experience exceeded our high expectations, and we are extremely confident it will deliver consistent phenomenal experiences.

Geographics

Location: Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: Stay here for 3-4 nights, or more if you want to do some fly-camping too.

Directions: Reach the north camp by flying to Kogatende or Lamai airstrip - the camp is then just 20 minutes drive away from either airstrip. Reach the south camp by flying to Ndutu or Mwiba and then transferring.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Alex Walker

Staff: 65 in the north and 80 in the south

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: We found the food at Serian Serengeti to be exceptionally delicious on our October 2019 stay. Breakfast is served with both hot and cold options with eggs, bacon, sausage, and vegetables cooked to order as well as a buffet of cereals, breads, fruits, and yoghurt.

Most guests, including ourselves, spend the day on game drive in the park, so the camp prepares a box lunch consisting of something simple, such as roast chicken, fruits, and bread roll in addition to preferred drinks, which are arranged in advance.

Dinner is a special occasion every night at Serian Serengeti, and guests can expect a festive atmosphere when dining along with the highly engaging guides and camp managers. The staff serves 'family style' dishes on large, silver plates where guests select the portion that is just right for them for each course. We enjoyed delicious warm tomato and basil soup for a starter, rosemary lamb shank for a main course, and a rich, savoury chocolate cake for dessert. If Alex Walker is in camp himself, he dines with the guests and makes for excellent and entertaining conversation and reflection on the day's game viewing experiences.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Most drinks are included with the exception of premium wines, spirits and champagnes, which are at extra cost.

Further dining info: If a couple particularly wanted to dine privately in their tent it could be arranged.

Children

Attitude towards children: The camp welcomes children, but not young babies. There is a strictly enforces a minimum age of 12 for walking safaris.

Property’s age restrictions: No formal age restrictions, but babies are not accepted.

Special activities & services: The camp can happily arrange child friendly activities such as making bows and arrows and going on nature walks. Because a private vehicle is included in the cost you can plan your activities to suit your family's needs. There is also the chance for some cultural interaction, which children may enjoy.

Equipment: Serian Serengeti has cots available but no high chairs.

Notes: Parents must note that children are always their responsibility.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Generator

Power supply notes: Generator is run for 4 hours in the morning when guests are out and is shut off before they return.

Communications: There is no WiFi in camp, however if guests need to connect then it is possible to drive to the nearby rangers’ post where WiFi can be picked up. The managers can help you to check in to you international flight if needed.

TV & radio: None

Water supply: Other

Water supply notes: Borehole in the north and water tower and well in the south

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: All guides and managers are first aid trained.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There is a small team of night watchmen on duty. There are torches and whistles in the tents in case of emergencies.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the central area.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A laundry service is included however due to cultural sensitivities lady’s underwear is not accepted.

Accepted payment on location: There is a small curio shop and all items will need to be paid for in cash. The camp accepts all major currencies, including US dollars and GB pounds.

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