Reviews of Serian Serengeti
Wildlife sightings and reviews
12 independent comments and wildlife information from our travellers who have visited Serian Serengeti and kindly agreed to share their thoughts. They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa
"We Loved Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti Kusin"
We were initially disappointed by this because we were looking forward to experiencing what it would feel like to be in a very remote area after having spent days in Maasai Mara and the Ngorongoro Crater that, while very enjoyable, could not be described as remote.
Our disappointment at shifting camps was very short-lived. We loved everything about the Kusini camp. It felt very remote to us. It is small camp - only six tents - located at the end of a long grassy road tucked under very large acacia trees. During our four-day stay, we saw only two other safari vehicles during our game drives. Thanks very much to Entamanu Ngorongoro staff for making all of the logistical changes and to Expert Africa's Lyndsey for reassuring us, in Maruska's absence, that we would enjoy the Alex Walker Kusini camp.
We had specifically chosen to stay at one of Alex Walker's two southern mobile camps partly based on Expert Africa's description of the camps on its web site as having "an unfussy bush experience". We wanted to see what this would feel like after staying in camps with more amenities.
We definitely enjoyed the experience very much. Our tent was simply furnished but very comfortable - a comfortable queen size wrought-iron bed, a writing table and chair, and bedside tables with lamps and charging stations for phone and camera batteries. We quickly got used to the lack of running water in the sink - staff provided a large bucket of cold water and a jug of very hot water early each morning. We also enjoyed the bucket showers - we told staff when we wanted to take showers and they poured hot water into a bucket at the back of the tent. We then pulled two levers - one to start the shower, the other to turn it off - attached to a shower head. I like very hot showers and this worked very well. The amount of water was sufficient for two showers as long as we told the staff that both of us wanted to shower. It is amazing how quickly you can do without things that you consider an essential part of everyday life.
The camp's common areas, though also simply furnished, also are very comfortable. The main tent is divided into two sections - a large round dinner table and a lounge or living-room area furnished with comfortable couches and rugs and various guide books on flora and fauna. We also greatly appreciated the lack of wifi and cell phone service for guests. This definitely contributed to a feeling of "getting away from it all".
Two other aspects of the camp are notable. First, the food was excellent at every meal. I need to eat a gluten-free diet and the chef accommodated this without sacrificing the quality or creativity of the food. The meals at lunch and dinner were very creative, well-prepared, and very "tasty". We had very interesting salads or soups, varied entrees, and simple, but interesting desserts. He also baked gluten-free bread, biscuits, or muffins for each meal. The food also was well-served by staff.
We ate "picnic" breakfasts every day during our game drives. These breakfasts also were excellent, with great variety - cereal, fruit, breakfast meats (bacon, sausages), egg frittatas or quiches, muffins, biscuits, or toast (always with gluten-free options) - and with more food than two of us could eat. We were so impressed that the chef could prepare all of this fresh food by the time we left the camp at 6am for our game drives.
Second, all of the staff were extremely friendly, gracious, and eager to respond to any requests that we had. We were the only guests during our stay at the camp, so we had the undivided attention of staff. We had many interesting conversations with the camp manager, who asked us to call him by his nickname "Six".
While the camp as a place to stay was excellent, the game drives and our guide may have been even better. We left for our morning drives every day at 6am and returned to the camp around noon. Being out for 6 or so hours eliminated the need to move on quickly from each wildlife "sighting" to make sure that we saw as much wildlife as possible. Instead, it provided an opportunity for us to take time to linger and watch the animals "doing their thing". For example, we: followed a family of cheetahs - mother and her "teen" offspring - slowly searching for their next meal for an extended period of time; watched, at a respectful distance, another group of cheetahs track and kill a gazelle; observed a group of lions taking turns eating a wildebeest (some were napping or resting after satisfying themselves) surrounded by jackals and vultures waiting their turn to pick on the bones; watched wildebeests running and cavorting with each other.
We also went on afternoon game drives at 4pm, typically returning between 6 and 7pm.
The game in the area was very plentiful. The short rains had just begun in the past few days and wildebeests and zebras began arriving in large numbers every day that we were there. We saw long lines of wildebeests and zebras that stretched as far as we could see. It was quite a sight. Jeremiah, our guide, indicated that these long lines meant that the wildebeest/zebra migration was just beginning to arrive in the area. Jeremiah estimated that there might have been close to a million and a half wildebeests in the area by the end of our stay.
We also saw many lions, cheetahs, and hyenas.
We also enjoyed the diverse scenery of this part of the Serengeti, especially the vast short-grass savannah that seemed to stretch forever. We could see the mountains that framed the Ngorongoro Crater area far to the north. The area also had a number of rocky outcroppings, lots of acacia trees and shorter bushes, as well as some denser areas of forest.
Our guide was beyond excellent. The camp used an interesting system for game drives. First, they assigned a safari vehicle to each tent so that we had the same vehicle and guide each day. Second, each vehicle had a guide and a spotter. We wondered, at first, whether this was necessary but quickly learned that it was very helpful as the spotter often saw animals in the distance that the driver might have missed and they typically collaborated in deciding where to go.
Our guide, Jeremiah, was very personable and incredibly knowledgeable about the wildlife and fauna. He was very responsive to our interests. He asked us when he picked us up at the airstrip what we hoped to see during our stay and asked the same question before each drive. He then organized the game drive based on our answer.
We greatly enjoyed his company and learned a lot about animal behavior from him. For example, we learned how to estimate the age of a lion and how a male lion learns when a female lion is in heat.
We also appreciated that Jeremiah was very respectful of the wildlife that we observed. For example, when we followed cheetahs and lions to see whether they succeeded in killing an animal, he stayed at a respectful distance to avoid interfering in, or affecting, the outcome of the predators' search for food.
Jeremiah also is an accomplished photographer. He showed us some of his photographs, which were much more interesting than most of mine. He also showed me how to upload photos from my SLR camera to my mobile phone, which I greatly appreciated. Lonyoke, our Maasai spotter, was very attentive to our needs and very helpful to us in many ways.
Two final notes. First, as noted above, the short rains had just begun while we were there. On three of the four days, we heard deep rolling thunder that began shortly after 3pm while we were relaxing in our tent. This was followed by incredibly heavy rain for 30 minutes or so, ending in time for our afternoon game drive. It was fun to listen to the deep thunder and the deluge while we stayed dry in our tent. We also were entertained each evening by incredible patterns of lightning in the distance as we sat around the campfire with our pre-dinner drinks and snacks.
Second, we would like to thank Alex Walker for contacting Expert Africa to recommend that we shift camps so that we would have a more enjoyable experience. While this may not have cost him revenue, as we were just moving from one of his camps to another, it indicates a concern for the quality of his "product" and respect for his guests, which seems refreshing these days. We appreciated this gesture very much.
Based on our experience, we would definitely stay again at another Alex Walker camp. In fact, we have tossed the idea around of trying to stay at one of his mobile camps in the northern Serengeti (the same camps that migrate to the south to follow the wildebeest migration) during the earlier phase of the wildebeest migration." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania
"Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti review"
The food and staff were terrific, as were our guides Nelson and Bara Bara.
However, the tent was extremely "worn," with holes in the sheets, towels that were too thin, stains on the cushions and lighting was almost non-existent.
We could have been OK with bucket showers, but the other aspects of the tent made the experience very disappointing." See all these reviews: 5n in Rwanda; 4n in Kenya; 4n in Tanzania
Alex described that a little over a week prior to their visit, an unexpected storm blew through the area and knocked over seven tents – three of which ended up in the trees - and flooded the camp. It took hard work to try and get everything swiftly back into shape. The tent they were in was one of the ones that had to be replaced because the original one ended up in a tree. They had to switch these for older tents that are water and weather stained from being used in previous seasons. Carpets were also affected.
Alex is sorry that they found the linen and chair covers also looking tired. He explained that these are washed and pressed every three to four days and the camp team ensure they are always clean. They do get sun bleached through the season and, when combined with the use of the secondhand tent, he understands why the guests felt the overall look was tired and worn.
We were sorry the storm and its effect weren’t explained to the guests in camp, or prior to their stay, so they might have an understanding of what had occurred, even if it didn’t change their experience. Alex has thanked them for their feedback, including the comments about the room lighting, and will be taking all of it into account as they replace and rebuild the camp in its next location – the southern Serengeti plains.
"Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti review"
Lack of running water acceptable but looked forward to moving to the next camp which had running water.
Communal shared dining table fun, but sometimes a little awkward when some preferred not to share company." See all these reviews: 10n in Tanzania
"A twice-in-a-lifetime experience!"
It wasn't planned but we were surprised and privileged to see two major migration crossings of the Mara river (pretty late for a normal year). Guide Baraka timed it perfectly for us to be in the right place to witness this spectacle. We weren't prepared for what a thrilling experience this would be and it was enhanced considerably by there only being a handful of other jeeps when there would ordinarily be dozens. There was a good amount of water in the Mara and vultures were on hand to deal with the (remarkably few) wildebeest casualties. The numbers of these animals on the plains was astonishing. The only drawback was the numbers of flies they attract!
One evening we drove up to the Kenya border and on our last full day headed east for the Kuria hills, all the while enjoying the massive scenery and animals to ourselves. We saw all three big cats, lots of new babies of various species and an unusual albino hyena.
Transfers to Serian are always via the Lamai airstrip, even though Kogatende is closer, because of the unpredictable levels of the Mara. On our last evening there was torrential rain and you could see the immediate impact on the river. The journey to Lamai takes more than an hour.
At camp the tents are a good size but a bit gloomy and starting to feel a bit tired. Because it is a mobile camp there is no running water (only to flush the loo) but there are bucket showers and hot water is brought with your morning wake-up drink for a quick wash. The food here is five-star, the best we had on the trip, including brilliant bush breakfasts." See all these reviews: 16n in Tanzania
"Classic Safari experience"
Because it as the very end of the season, we were the only ones there, which was a little awkward but the camp managers handled it gracefully. The only negative is that it was extremely hot during the day and the tents had no fan. Consequently, it was uncomfortable and hard to relax between the morning and afternoon game drives. Hopefully, that will be rectified." See all these reviews: 7n in Kenya; 5n in Tanzania; 4n in Zanzibar
"Amazing safari to catch the migration"
The facilities at the camp themselves were also very nice. While very comfortable, they weren't "opulent" but rather very functional. I was a bit unsure about the bucket shower at first, but it was a great reminder of how much water we probably waste at home every day! It was nice to be woken up to a cup of coffee delivered to the room each morning, and fascinating to hear the wildebeest right outside of our tent each night.
The staff at the camp were very friendly and attentive, and the meals were all good. We especially enjoyed speaking with Ainslie about her experiences - she is very warm and straightforward but a great ambassador for Serian. Our guide and spotter were also very helpful, with a focus on the first two days of trying to see as much as we could, and the last two a bit more on what we'd like to see more of. Having a vehicle to yourself is a real luxury that not every camp provides." See all these reviews: 5n in Zanzibar; 4n in Tanzania
"Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti review"
Very friendly/efficiently run with plenty of activities- morning balloon safari over the Mara river highly recommended. Lovely food in a communal dining setting.
Private vehicle with guide and tracker a definite plus point - if you don’t feel like waiting hours for the wildebeest to cross the river you can just go and see something else.
Bush breakfast during the morning game drives a highlight." See all these reviews: 6n in Tanzania; 4n in Kenya
"Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti review"
The game walk we did was the highlight of our entire Africa trip." See all these reviews: 14n in Tanzania
"Alex Walker's Serian Serengeti review"
The standard of accommodation was extremely high particularly considering they are located in the middle of nowhere and are a mobile camp.
Flycamping was a highlight! They do a tremendous job of making you feel removed from your everyday life and connected to the wilderness." See all these reviews: 8n in Tanzania; 4n in Rwanda
"Migration at AW Serian Serengeti"
Great staff and great service at this tented camp which fulfills all your needs." See all these reviews: 6n in Tanzania; 5n in Kenya; 4n in Zanzibar
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Other lodges in Serengeti Migration Area
Alternative places to stay in this same area.
Comfortable, friendly and relaxed, Olakira Camp moves between the Mara River and the southern Ndutu area, in line with the wildebeest migration.
In the northern Serengeti, near the Mara River, luxurious Sayari Camp offers excellent wildife all year – boosted further by the wildebeest migration.
Nomad Serengeti Camp
Serengeti Safari Camp is a well-appointed tented camp that moves several times a year to follow the predicted path of the migration.
Dunia Camp is well located for the migration from December to March, and has excellent game viewing for the rest of the year.
Namiri Plains Camp
Namiri Plains is one of the best camps in the Serengeti and its remoteness ensures a fantastic wildlife experience away from the crowds.
Set high in the kopjes with fantastic views, Lamai Serengeti offers top service and guiding and good migration sightings from Jul-Oct.
Ubuntu Camp has several locations in the Serengeti, following the wildebeest migration, so it is often in a great location to see the herds.
Kati Kati Camp
Kati Kati is a small, very simple bushcamp, which is well-positioned to explore the wildlife-rich Seronera area.
Ndutu Safari Lodge
Large and economical, but not luxurious, Ndutu Safari Lodge is well located in the southern Serengeti, so book early to get space.
Kimondo Camp is based in the remote Lamai Wedge in the northern Serengeti from Jul–Oct, and on the southern Kusini plains from Nov–Mar.
Klein's Camp, in a private area of the northern Serengeti, sets high standards. Activities include walks, nights drives and Maasai village visits.
Serengeti under Canvas
Two of the three Serengeti under Canvas camps move through the Serengeti National Park every few months to follow the wildebeest migration.
Grumeti River Camp
Grumeti River Camp offers a laid-back atmosphere combined with top service, first-rate food, expert guiding and an excellent location.
Lemala Mara-Ndutu is a semi-permanent camp that moves between the north and south of the Serengeti to witness the wildebeest migration.
Lemala Nanyukie is a comfortable and stylish tented camp that opened in 2018 in the central Serengeti.
Lemala Kuria Hills
Lemala Kuria Hills is a luxury permanent camp that is ideally located for wildlife all year around, but especially during the wildebeest migration.
Lobo Wildlife Lodge
The large Lobo Wildlife Lodge has simple, functional rooms in a stunning location. It's a good base for exploring the north-eastern Serengeti.
Lemala Ewanjan is a comfortable and stylish tented camp in the Seronera area of the central Serengeti National Park.
Kusini Camp is permanent, luxury camp located on a beautiful kopje in a quiet, wildlife-rich corner of the south-west Serengeti.
The Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is a large, hotel-style lodge and a good family-friendly base from which to explore the central Serengeti.
Kubu Kubu is a contemporary, tented lodge, well located in the central Seronera area of the Serengeti National Park.
Mbalageti is a well-run lodge in a quiet part of the Serengeti's western corridor – an ideal location during the Apr-Jun migration.
Serengeti Walking Mobile
This fairly simple camp offers only walking activities, but it's very well done and combines well with more conventional camps or lodges.
Serengeti Migration Camp is a smart tented camp, good for the wildebeest migration from Jul–Aug, or to explore the Lobo Kopjes any time.
Faru Faru Lodge
On the north bank of the Grumeti River, Faru Faru is a small, chic hideaway in this exclusive corner of the Serengeti.
Serengeti Green Camp
Serengeti Green Camp is a comfortable camping experience, in your own private safari camp and at the heart of a great wildlife area.
Singita Mara River
Singita Mara River Tented Camp is a luxurious camp in the isolated and rewarding Lamai wedge region of the northern Serengeti.
Serengeti Sopa Lodge
Serengeti Sopa Lodge is an international-style hotel offering good-value accommodation in the central Serengeti, with lovely views of the plains.
Kirurumu Migration Camp
Kirurumu is a rustic tented camp which moves around the Serengeti twice a year to follow the wildebeest migration.
Mkombe's House Lamai
Mkombe's House Lamai is a fully staffed private house in the Wogakuria Kopjes district of Serengeti National Park.
Sabora Tented Camp
Sabora Tented Camp is a smart tented camp – one of the most luxurious, professional and stylish properties to be found in Tanzania.
On a hill looking over the Serengeti plains, Sasakwa Lodge is grand, luxurious safari camp, one of the most opulent properties in Tanzania.
Seronera Wildlife Lodge
Seronera Wildlife Lodge is large hotel-style safari lodge in the heart of the Serengeti, offering good value and a great location.
Serengeti Bushtops is a permanent luxury camp in the northern Serengeti, with spacious and private tents with their own hot tubs.
Ndutu Kati Kati
Ndutu Kati Kati is a seasonal tented camp, based in the southern Serenget from Dec-Mar, ideal for the migration as it passes through.
Lake Masek Tented Camp
Ideally located for the wildebeest migration from Dec–Apr, Lake Masek Tented Camp is a good, mid-market safari camp.
Olduvai Camp lies between Ngorongoro and the southern Serengeti plains. It's a good base for the southern plains during the rainy season.
Mwiba Lodge is a luxurious property located on a private concession on the edge of the southern Serengeti.
Four Seasons Serengeti
The Four Seasons Safari Lodge is the only hotel in the Serengeti offering international facilities such as a gym, spa and children’s club.
Serengeti Pioneer Camp
Serengeti Pioneer Camp is a luxurious tented camp in the central Serengeti, styled on African explorers' camps of the early 20th century.
Mara Kati Kati
Mara Kati Kati is a simple bush camp in the northern Serengeti, based from Jul-Oct near the Mara River for the wildebeest migration.
Mara Mara is a smart tented camp in the northern Serengeti, situated on a small hill close to the Mara River.
Nimali Mara is a luxurious safari lodge in a quiet region of the northern Serengeti with good access to the wildebeest migration.
Opened in July 2017, Nimali Serengeti is a smart, permanent tented camp located in the Seronera area of the central Serengeti.
Taasa Lodge is a slightly quirky option offering guided walks and night game drives, which are not permitted in Serengeti National Park.
Set high on a hill, in the Serengeti's western corridor, Kirawira is a relatively large tented camp in the Serena group.
Mbuze Mawe is a comfortable tented camp in a convenient, central-north location when driving through the Serengeti.