Grumeti River Camp: Our full report
The seemingly casual Grumeti River Camp overlooks the Grumeti River in Serengeti’s western corridor.It has a rustic, laid-back air and bright, playful interior design – yet the level of service and standard of food are more akin to some of Africa’s top safari camps. Because the river is perennial, there is always a good variety of wildlife to be found in the area. Even so, the camp is probably best visited between late-May and July when the wildebeest migration passes through on its journey north.
On the banks of the Grumeti, Grumeti River Camp’s main areas are a series of terracotta- coloured, moulded-concrete buildings with thatched roofs. The dark coolness of the lounge is brought to life by brightly coloured armchairs, coloured blown glass and beaded wall hangings. Close by, and linked by mosaic-inlaid concrete paths, are an open-sided restaurant and a funky-looking bar tower. Wide wooden decks in front of each building offer al fresco dining and relaxing vantage points from which to watch the resident hippos cavort in the river. The deck chairs here, and those around the nearby swimming pool, are covered with bright purple cushions – a theme continued through all the camp’s outdoor furniture.
Stretching along the riverbank, on either side of the main areas, the 10 large tented rooms at Grumeti River Camp stand on concrete bases under woven banana-leaf shelters, which help to keep them cool. Some have a river outlook and some overlook the surrounding bush, but all have a sizeable, extravagant bed and a private veranda. Mosaic patterns laid into the concrete floor match the outdoor table and help create a pleasurable place to relax between wildlife activities.
Large canvas-and-mesh zipped doors lead into a sizeable interior dominated by a superb double bed – which can be converted into twin beds. Brightly coloured linen matches comfy armchairs and beaded lampshades, rendering the canvas tents vibrant and fun. Large mesh windows let in light and, along with a ceiling fan, help to keep the air circulating. A tall headboard serves both to divide the bedroom from the bathroom and, on the other side, as a shelving unit, complete with hanging space, a small safe, dressing gowns and wellington boots put out during the rainy season. Opposite, a mirror overhangs a sink and is flanked by two doors – one leading into an open-air shower room, and the other into the toilet.
Each tent also has a hairdryer, plug points and a gym in a bag (including a book of exercises, mat, weights and a skipping rope).
Aside from its relaxed nature and location, what makes Grumeti so appealing is the camp team. During our last visit in May 2011, we were hosted by a very warm Tanzanian lady called May and her fun-loving colleague, Donald. All our mealtime needs were attended to by attentive waiters and the chef often made an appearance for a quick chat. Our room was kept ship-shape by our butler who left endearing notes for us to find. Although having a butler might not appeal to every visitor, we found this to be a subtle service which added a real personal and friendly touch to our stay.
Twice-daily game drives are the main activities from Grumeti River Camp, using open-sided safari vehicles, each usually taking a maximum of six passengers seated in three rows of two seats. These are led by very knowledgeable, engaging and enthusiastic guides – we’ve yet to hear of a bad guiding experience here!
Additional activity options include a balloon safari just after dawn, lasting about an hour and costing an additional US$500 per person. With advance notice, day trips to the great Lake Victoria are also possible for an additional US$300 per vehicle (taking up to six people – or seven if it’s a family or group of friends). The day incorporates a 40km game drive through the park, and the options to canoe, a village visit, a chance to watch the local fisherman bring their boats in and a picnic lunch. Massages lasting 30–60 minutes can also be done in the privacy of your room at Grumeti River Camp for about US$40–60.
If you like the comforts in life, but are looking for a bush location with excellent service and a laid-back atmosphere combined with excellent guiding, then this camp should be on your list – particularly between late-May and July when the migration usually passes through.
- Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- We recommend a 2- or 3-night stay at Grumeti River Camp allowing you to get to know your safari guide and really explore the area. Grumeti combines well with its sister camps: the lovely Klein’s Camp, Lake Manyara Tree Lodge which is one of only two lodges within Lake Manyara National Park, and the luxurious Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
- Most guests fly in to Grumeti Airstrip which is a flight of about 1 hour 45 minutes from Arusha. The airstrip is situated about five minutes’ drive from the camp.
It’s worth noting that the close proximity of the airstrip does mean that during the late morning and over lunchtime the occasional plane can be heard flying over the camp, momentarily disturbing the peace.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- The meals served at Grumeti River Camp are of a very high quality, enhanced by the use of fresh produce wherever possible. The camp have set up a partnership with villagers around Lake Victoria whereby they provide local farmers with seeds to plant and then buy back some of the produce at a good rate.
Breakfast is served at a time of your choice depending on whether you’ve opted for a very early morning game drive or a lie-in. A tray is brought to your table with a selection of fruit juices, fresh fruit, freshly baked bread, spreads, cheeses, cold meats and cereals. The menu board will also offer a selection of two or three hot dishes. During our stay the choice was between mouth-wateringly good drop scones served with bacon and maple syrup or a very tasty vegetarian frittata.
Lunch is typically a set menu usually served to tables set up on the lawn or by the pool. We enjoyed a starter of chilled cucumber soup followed by a selection including chapattis, satay chicken, salad, salsa and hummus from which we made our own chicken wraps. Dessert was a light lemon sorbet with mango slices.
Dinner is usually served in the boma (a sandy area encircled by a log fence where food is cooked over campfires) or on the lawn by the river. On request, a private dinner can be arranged on your veranda – a very romantic affair! The dishes we savoured during our stay included soup starters served with fresh bread rolls, pineapple tartlet with home-made ice cream for one dessert and chocolate mousse with coconut cream for the other. There are usually two choices for the main course; we selected from saffron chicken served on polenta with roast vegetables, peppered beef fillet served with rosemary potatoes and stir-fried veg, and couscous-crumbed fish served with honey-glazed aubergine and avocado salsa
- Dining style
- Individual Tables
- Dining locations
- Indoor and Outdoor Dining
- Further dining info, including room service
- Availbable on request.
- Drinks included
- Most drinks are included whilst at Grumeti River Camp. A few select ‘top- shelf’ beverages such as French champagne and the best single malts can be requested for an additional cost.
- Over 360 bird species have been recorded in the Serengeti’s western corridor; and six are endemic to the Serengeti Plains. The black-headed gonolek, silverbird, Fischer’s lovebird and grey-breasted spurfowl will particularly appeal to birdwatchers in Tanzania.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Wildlife safaris
- A short drive from Grumeti River Camp, is a patch of riverine woodland where a few troops of the shy and beautiful black-and-white colobus monkeys reside. Not only are they striking but they are interesting in that, unlike other monkeys, they do not have thumbs.
- See ideas for Wildlife safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome at Grumeti River Camp.
- Property’s age restrictions
- For safety reasons, children under the age of 6 can only join shortened game drive activities at the discretion of the lodge manager and subject to a vehicle and guide being available. Children aged between 6 and 11 can join the usual game drive activities, but again, at the discretion of the lodge manager.
- Special activities & services
- Childminding is available on request, but please note that this is done by local women working at the lodge who will not be qualified or formally trained in child care.
- An additional single bed can be added to the tented rooms to create a triple room for two adults and one child.
- Generally recommended for children
- Grumeti River Camp is an excellent safari option for families with children over the age of 6 years as the camp team is attentive and sensitive to the needs of youngsters. Although children younger than 6 years are welcomed, the restricted activities mean that both the parents and their children have little chance to really make the most of the game drives from here.
- This is an unfenced camp where wild animals can and do walk through freely. Children must be under their parent’s supervision at all times.
- There is limited cellphone network in the camp. Guests who wish to travel with their cellphones should keep these on silent whilst in the camp and not take them on game drives at all so as not to disturb other travellers.
A free Wi-Fi service is available in the camp’s main areas although the connection is quite slow. For travellers who’d like to send an email message but don’t have their own equipment, the camp’s computer can be used on request.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a doctor and small clinic on site. For any serious medical emergencies, the camp is in contact with the flying doctor services.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Guests are escorted to their rooms after dark just in case of visiting wildlife.
- Fire safety
- There are fire extinguishers by each tent and in the main areas.
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- A full laundry service is included at Grumeti River Camp. Clothes are typically collected during the morning room service and returned by the end of the day.
- Each tent has a small safe for valuables.
- Accepted payment on location
- Grumeti River Camp accepts payment for any extras by Visa, MasterCard and American Express. There is no surcharge added to payments by credit card. Payment can also be made in US dollars, euro and Tanzanian shillings.
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.
Serian Serengeti is a mobile tented operation run by Alex Walker which moves between two locations following the wildebeest migration.
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.
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.
Lemala Ewanjan is a comfortable and stylish tented camp in the Seronera area of the central Serengeti National Park.
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.
Kubu Kubu is a contemporary, tented lodge, well located in the central Seronera area of the 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.
Mbalageti is a well-run lodge in a quiet part of the Serengeti's western corridor – an ideal location during the Apr-Jun migration.
The Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is a large, hotel-style lodge and a good family-friendly base from which to explore the central Serengeti.
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 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 Sopa Lodge
Serengeti Sopa Lodge is an international-style hotel offering good-value accommodation in the central Serengeti, with lovely views of the plains.
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.
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.
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.
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.
On a hill looking over the Serengeti plains, Sasakwa Lodge is grand, luxurious safari camp, one of the most opulent properties in Tanzania.
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.
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.
Lake Masek Tented Camp
Ideally located for the wildebeest migration from Dec–Apr, Lake Masek Tented Camp is a good, mid-market safari camp.
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.
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.
Set high on a hill, in the Serengeti's western corridor, Kirawira is a relatively large tented camp in the Serena group.
Nimali Mara is a luxurious safari lodge in a quiet region of the northern Serengeti with good access to the wildebeest migration.
Mara Mara is a smart tented camp in the northern Serengeti, situated on a small hill close to the Mara River.
Mbuze Mawe is a comfortable tented camp in a convenient, central-north location when driving through the Serengeti.
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.
Taasa Lodge is a slightly quirky option offering guided walks and night game drives, which are not permitted in Serengeti National Park.
Opened in July 2017, Nimali Serengeti is a smart, permanent tented camp located in the Seronera area of the central Serengeti.