Lemala Kuria Hills is a permanent camp, located up in the northern Serengeti.
Lemala Kuria Hills: Our full report
The latest addition to the Lemala Camps portfolio, Lemala Kuria Hills is their most luxurious camp which opened in July 2013. Located in the northern Serengeti, in the scenic Wogakuria Hills, it is about a 30 minutes drive from the Mara River. This part of the Serengeti is a great place to witness the great migration between the months of July to October.
The camp is located on top of a hill dominated by large boulders and rocky outcrops (known as kopjes) with lovely views of the Serengeti below. The main area consists of two separate permanent tented structures located on different levels. In one is a spacious lounge with various seating areas, with sofas and chairs in neutral colours. Woven rugs are scattered on pale wooden floors. At each end of the lounge is a fireplace, which is a good spot to get together with other guests on chilly winter evenings. To one side of the lounge is the bar facing out towards the view. White painted metal chandeliers hang from the tented ceiling adding to the modern décor of the room.
Adjoining the lounge, accessed by a wooden walkway is the dining area. Here you will find individual dining tables, surrounded by cream upholstered high-back chairs and tables covered with white tablecloths. To one side of this room is another fireplace, and modern African artifacts are dotted around the room. The décor is clean and modern with lots of pale wood and neutral cream colours. Note that though the managers are always available, this is not a hosted camp and so unless guests specifically request to dine together they will usually eat separately.
Outside, a vast deck ingeniously made from recycled plastic that looks just like wood (we certainly couldn’t tell the difference) joins the lounge and dining areas. Here are tables and chairs where meals can be enjoyed outdoors, or where you can just sit and relax and admire the view. Tucked away at the end of the deck, is a sandy-floored fire-pit area, surrounded by canvas chairs. This is a popular spot in the early mornings where guests gather for a tea or coffee, before a game drive, or in the evenings for a chat and a drink before dinner.
Lemala Kuria Hills also has a lovely spa area down a short path in front of the main area. It offers massages, and other treatments such as manicures and pedicures in a lovely open fronted room that looks down into the bush. No one can walk in front and so it is very private, whilst also allowing people to take in the view. A blue glistening swimming pool is also available to guests and makes a nice cool break for the heat of the day.
Sandy paths lead either side from the main areas to the 10 tented rooms. These are all spread fairly far apart, and each is completely private. Some are a fair walk from the main area, either up or down a fairly steep hill and so guests with mobility issues should let us know in advance – then we can request oe. The spacious tents are entered from the back, into a small area with built-in cupboards, and tea and coffee making facilities. Here you will also find a small bar fridge which is stocked with water and soft drinks. Other drinks are supplied on request. Behind this cupboard area is a large double, or twin beds, surrounded by a vast mosquito net, facing outside towards the view. The canvas walls are all fairly solid and hung with modern African prints. To one side of the bedroom is a seating area with a sofa, chair and a coffee table. Modern African artifacts are dotted around the room.
Sliding doors lead from the bedroom to the en-suite bathroom. Two modern square basins are set on top of a wooden shelf, with white fluffy towels stored in cubicles below. Above each basin is a large round mirror, and a large freestanding bath stands in front of the window. Within a tiled cubicle is a glass-enclosed shower. A flush toilet is located in a separate cubicle.
Glass sliding doors open out from the tent onto a fairly large deck, with a large table and two chairs to one side, and two sun loungers at the other end, beside a small private plunge pool. Tucked around a corner is a private outdoor shower.
A short walk from the main area is a large shared swimming pool. It has an infinity edge to the front and is surrounded by decking on the other three sides. Here are a few sunloungers with umbrellas and there is also a changing room and toilet. A high rocky outcrop overlooks this area attracting birds and rock hyraxes.
Activities here centre on 4WD game drives. These focus on either the resident game or, when the migration is passing through, the predator interactions with the herds and the river crossings at the Mara River.
Our viewOpened just two days before our visit in July 2013, we expect Lemala Kuria Hills to offer a luxury option for those travellers wishing to catch the migration from August to October. It's at the higher end of the budget, but it looks set to be far more luxurious than the other Lemala properties in Tanzania.
Ideal length of stay: During the migration you could easily spend 4 nights in this part of the Serengeti following the movements of the wildebeest and observing their movements. Out-of-season, about 3 nights here would provide a quiet and offbeat experience with some good resident game, but far fewer people. It can be combined with its sister camps Lemala Ngorongoro, the seasonal Lemala Mara and Ndutu camps, Lemala Ewanjan, and Lemala Manyara.
Directions: Lemala Kuria Hills is 45 minutes drive from Kogatende airstrip
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Lemala Camps
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Although we didn't eat here on our recent visit, we understand that the meals may be as follows:
Breakfast is usually a buffet with fresh fruit, cereals, porridge, tea, coffee and fresh fruit juices. A cooked breakfast with a selection of eggs, bacon and sausage are also available. Lemala Kuria Hills can also offer picnic breakfasts as well.
Lunch and dinner are plated, with a soup starter, followed by a choice of three main courses with a large salad, usually meat or chicken, and always one vegetarian option. This is finished off with a choice of two deserts.
Afternoon tea, with freshly baked cake, is served in the afternoon before heading off on an activity.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Most drinks are included here, except for champagne and premium wines and spirits.
Further dining info: Room service is available on request – Lemala has phones in the rooms.
Attitude towards children: Lemala Kuria Hills welcomes children six years and older.
Property’s age restrictions: Children must be six years and older.
Special activities & services: There are a few board games in the main area and the swimming pool is also a good attraction for children.
Equipment: There are no cots or highchairs.
Generally recommended for children: Although Lemala Manyara welcomes children of six years and older we feel that this is more suitable for older mature children over the age of 10 years.
Notes: Parents need to be aware that the camp is not fenced and that game wanders through the camp day and night.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: Lemala Kuria Hills powers mainly on solar but has a generator as back up just in case. Power is available in the rooms throughout the day and night.
Communications: Free WiFi is available in the communal areas but not in the rooms.
TV & radio: There are no TV’s or radio here
Water supply notes: Water for washing comes from the borehole and is solar heated. Drinking water is currently bottled but there are plans to upgrade the camp to include a water purification system for drinking water.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a first aid box in camp. The nearest clinic is at Migumu, 90 minutes drive away, just outside the park. More serious cases can be airlifted to Arusha which is a flight of about 2 hours.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Askaris (guards) are on duty 24 hours a day and there is also a TANAPA ranger based in the camp
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are located at all the tents as well as in the main areas.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is available and included in the cost. It is done by machine and so the camp also washes underwear.
Money: There are safes in each of the rooms.
Accepted payment on location: US$ and Tanzanian Shillings are accepted. Visa and Mastercard are accepted at an additional 5% cost.