Lake Masek Tented Camp

Lake Masek Tented Camp: Our full report

Rooms
20 tents
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 1 review
Children
Best for 12+
Open
All year

Lying just south of the Serengeti National Park, in the north-west corner of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Lake Masek Tented Camp stands on a slight rise in the scrubby acacia bush overlooking Lake Masek. During the dry season, the vast plains around are very dusty. Then the water here, and in the neighbouring Lake Ndutu, sustains a good population of resident wildlife, especially cheetah. With good rains, typically from December to April, these short-grass plains are transformed into the green calving-grounds for the vast herds of the Serengeti’s wildebeest migration.

Opened in 2010, Lake Masek Tented Camp is simply but cleverly designed. There are no showy luxuries here but the tent layouts are well thought out, the tasteful décor is well coordinated and the living areas are spacious and uncluttered.

The camp has 20 spacious tents – ten doubles, five twins and five triples – each specially designed and set on wooden platforms about a metre off the ground. Linked by gravel paths and staggered for privacy, the tents overlook acacia and terminalia woodland characteristic of this part of the Serengeti.

Each tent has three parts: a large bedroom area, a bathroom separated by a wooden partition, and a private veranda, which is completely enclosed by a zipped gauze mesh. This keeps the tents cool and insects out, but it also makes the tents very dark.

Inside, dark-wood four-poster beds are hung with mosquito nets and flanked by matching bedside tables. A wardrobe, dresser and writing desk complete the set. White curtains, white linen and stylish cane furniture with white cushions balance the dark wood, whilst red-stained floorboards and soft furnishings in burnt oranges and natural browns lighten the effect.

In the bathroom, twin basins on wrought-iron stands sit below mirrors in carved frames. There is a flushing toilet in a separate cubicle, as well as a stand-alone bath flanked by metal palm sculptures and a separate, open-air shower paved with tanga stone.

Each tent is fitted with a phone to contact reception, a safe, a hairdryer and plug points for charging batteries. Outside, solar panels generate power to heat the water for readily available hot showers.

The main thatched building at Lake Masek Tented Camp has a good view over Lake Masek, broken by the occasional flat-topped acacia. The majority of the building is taken up by a large lounge and dining area, which opens out onto a sizeable wooden deck; its elevation gives great views out towards the lake. The main building also houses a small gift shop, mostly stocked with Maasai jewellery, and an internet room with three computers.

Stylish cane chairs with comfortable white cushions are scattered with burnt-orange and natural brown cushions; tall-backed iron chairs sit around long wooden dining tables; leather directors' chairs offer seating in select viewing points; a spotting scope is available on the deck; and natural wood is used for railings throughout.

Although technically located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ndutu is considered part of the Serengeti. This means it’s one of the few areas in northern Tanzania's wildlife parks where vehicles can go off-road and get closer to animal sightings – making it a particularly good spot for photographers. While the camp is often used by safari groups, the team is adept at looking after individuals; it is spacious enough that there's no feeling of being side-lined.

Most visitors to Lake Masek Tented Camp are on a wildlife safari as part of a group tour or with their own private guide and vehicle. However, it is possible to arrange a walk around the lake led by a camp guide and armed ranger for an additional US$30 or so. The walk lasts approximately an hour and should be arranged in advance to ensure a park ranger is available. Massages are also available on request, without notice, from about US$35 for 30 minutes.

Our view

Lake Masek is a relatively well-priced tented camp with a good balance of design and rustic safari ambience. During the ‘green season’, this is a prime spot for viewing the migration’s vast herds spread across the plains. Out of season, it’s quieter here, but the opportunity to drive off-road makes this area worth considering for wildlife, birding and photography enthusiasts en route to or from the central and northern Serengeti.

Geographics

Location: Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: Between about December and April, when the wildebeest migration is usually found in the southern Serengeti, we recommend two or three nights at Lake Masek Tented Camp, though note that space is at a premium during this period. For the remainder of the year, the camp makes an interesting and scenic one-night stopover between the Ngorongoro Crater and central/north Serengeti.

Directions: Lake Masek Tented Camp is approximately 40–45 minutes from the main southern Serengeti National Park Gate and a further 40 minutes to the productive Seronera region of the central Serengeti.

Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Tanganika Wilderness Safaris

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: When we last visited Lake Masek Tented Camp in November 2016 we didn't stay to sample the food, but we understand that breakfast and lunch are usually set out as a buffet, whereas the style of dinner varies.

Breakfast offers cereal, fruit, yoghurt, pancakes and pastries, and a cooked breakfast of your choice.

For lunch expect soup, two meat dishes such as curry or shepherd’s pie, vegetables and salad items, with a dessert such as rice pudding.

Dinner could be a buffet or à la carte, with a similar selection of dishes as at lunch. The chef explained that a typical dinner might include a soup (such as pumpkin), roast lamb or baked fish, two or three vegetable dishes, potatoes or a pasta dish, and a dessert such as crème caramel.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Beer, house wine, soft drinks and mineral water are included in the accommodation price. All other beverages are extra. Guests should not drink the tap water.

Further dining info: Private meals can be arranged on the veranda on request.

Children

Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at the Lake Masek Tented Camp.

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

Special activities & services: There are no special activities for children.

Equipment: There are cots and highchairs available on request.

Notes: Lake Masek Tented Camp is situated in a wildlife area where there is big and dangerous game; it is not fenced so animals occasionally walk through the camp. Children must be under their parents' supervision at all times.

Infrastructure

Power supply: Solar Power

Power supply notes: There is electricity 24 hours a day but batteries can only be charged in the main area.

Communications: Each tent has a phone to contact the camp's reception area. There is cellphone reception in this area and free Wi-Fi throughout the camp.

TV & radio: There is no TV or radio.

Water supply: Transported in

Water supply notes: Showers have hot and cold running water, and the toilets are flushing.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: There is a first aid kit in the main area and the nearest hospital is 55km away.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: The camp has a guard (askari) on 24-hour duty although this is mostly to keep an eye on wildlife movements. After nightfall, guests are escorted to and from their tents.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the camp's main area. A water truck is stationed at the camp, which can quickly be manoeuvred into position if pumped water is required.

Extras

Disabled access: Not Possible

Laundry facilities: No laundry service is available as the alkaline water pumped from Lake Masek is unsuitable for washing clothes.

Money: There is an electronic safe in each of the tents.

Accepted payment on location: Lake Masek Tented Camp accepts payment for extras in US dollars, British pounds, euros and Tanzanian shillings. Credit-card payments are also accepted, without surcharge.

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