Lake Masek is a fairly stylish tented camp bordering southern Serengeti National Park.
Lake Masek Tented Camp: Our full report
Named for the lake it overlooks, Lake Masek Tented Camp is located just south of the border of southern Serengeti National Park and northwest Ngorongoro Conservation area. This area, known as Ndutu after another lake nearby, sees the wildebeest migration pass through in the earlier part of the year (typically December to April). There is also a good population of resident wildlife found here, especially cheetah, which are regularly spotted.
Open since 2010, Lake Masek Tented Camp has 20 spacious tents – ten doubles, five twins and five triples – each specially designed and set up 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 is raised up on stilts and has three parts: a large bedroom area, a bathroom which is divided off by a wooden partition, and a private veranda, which is completely enclosed by a zipped gauze mesh. This makes the tents cool and keeps the insects out, but it also makes the tents very dark.
Inside, dark-wood four-poster bed/s 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 well against the dark wood, whilst red-stained floorboards and soft furnishings in burnt oranges and natural browns lighten the effect.
In the bathroom, twin basins held up by wrought-iron frames sit below mirrors in carved frames. A stand-alone bath flanked by metal palm sculptures stands nearby and a separate, open-air shower that is 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. It also houses a small gift shop, mostly stocked with Maasai jewellery, an internet room with three computers, the camp office and the kitchen.
The entire 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. Stylish cane chairs with comfortable white cushions are scattered with burnt-orange and natural brown-coloured throw 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.
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. This activity lasts approximately one hour and should be arranged in advance to ensure a park ranger is available. Massages are also available without notice on request, costing from about US$35 for 30 minutes.
Our viewLake Masek is a relatively well-priced tented camp with a good balance of design and rustic safari ambience. Although often utilised by safari groups, it is run by a team that is adept at looking after individuals, and is spacious enough that there's no feeling of being side-lined or tucked away in a corner.
Technically located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, although considered part of the Serengeti, means that this is 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. Thus, even out of season, it should be considered by wildlife, birding and photography enthusiasts en route to or from the central and northern Serengeti.
Ideal length of stay: Between about December and April, when the wildebeest migration is usually found in the southern Serengeti, we recommend a two-night stay at Lake Masek Tented Camp. For the remainder of the year, it makes an interesting and scenic one-night stopover between 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 central Serengeti.
Accessible by: Self-drive or Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Tanganika Wilderness Safaris
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: When we visited Lake Masek Tented Camp in April 2015 we didn't stay to sample the food. However, the manageress informed us that breakfast and lunch are usually set out as a buffet. The dinner style varies and could be a buffet, a barbecue or stir-fries cooked to order on a central hot plate.
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.
Further dining info: Private meals can be arranged on the veranda on request.
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 and is not fenced so animals occasionally walk through the camp. Expert Africa only recommends the camp to families with older children. Children must be under their parents' supervision at all times.
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 from which 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: The running hot and cold water is fine to use for washing yourself but it should not be drunk - bottled water is provided.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a first aid kit in the main area and the nearest hospital is 55 Km 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 maneuvered into position if pumped water is required.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: There is no laundry service available. The alkaline water pumped from Lake Masek is unsuitable for washing clothes. The camp has to take all of its bed linen to a nearby town to get it cleaned.
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, euro and Tanzanian shillings. Credit card payments are also accepted and there is no extra charge for this.