Buffalo Luxury Camp is just outside the park boundaries, in an area called Loliondo.
Leopard’s Ridge: Our full report
Leopard’s Ridge, previously known as Buffalo Luxury Camp, is set on a 60-acre hillside site inside the Loliondo Concession, five kilometres from Serengeti National Park’s Klein’s Gate. As well as being a base for game drives into the Serengeti, Leopard’s Ridge can offer night drives and walks because it’s not located within the park boundaries.
Opened in May 2012, Leopard’s Ridge is a relatively new addition to the area, and we came across it by accident on one of our recent trips to Tanzania. Leopard’s Ridge has 20 rooms in total, the majority of which are known as Suite Tents – are spread out in rows high on the hill. The remaining rooms, five Chalets, are simpler and lower down. We have also been told in 2016 that as part of a host of renovations to the property: a 4-bedroom family tent; private dining tent; spa tent; infinity swimming pool and shaded decking, from which guests can enjoy our expansive views of the Serengeti; have all been added.
The 15 Suite Tents are quirky and spacious, these tents are raised on solid stone bases, and suspended under a corrugated iron roof. Bizarrely they have a proper closing door, despite being made from canvas.
Inside, colourful rugs cover the timber floors, and animal-skin cushions and brown leather sofas make the lounge area a comfortable place to relax. Up a few steps, on a low mezzanine level, is the bedroom area which is dominated by a large aluminum-frame bed. A luggage rack and some hanging space for clothes are provided. The en-suite tiled bathroom is located towards the back of the tent and has a large bathtubs separate shower, and his-and-her sinks. Hairdryers are provided – although can only be used when Leopard’s Ridge's generator is on.
The style of both the bedroom and the bathroom is a little eccentric and individual – which may not be to everyone’s taste, but does make a nice change from the usual bush-camp style.
Leopard’s Ridge's five Chalets, located slightly further down the hill, are each named after a one of the ‘Big Five’. These are significantly cheaper than the suites – but in many ways, we actually preferred them! Like the suites, the tents each have their own verandah furnished with a couple of deck chairs. However, inside they are smaller than the suites, but have a much more rustic décor. The large bed is made with a wooden frame, the green canvas floor has some dark red rugs spread over it, and a small armchair in the corner gives the room a more comfortable feel. The fairly small bathrooms are at the rear of the tent and separated by a canvas flap. They are equipped with a single sink, flush toilet and hot shower. For the price, we think these rooms are very good value for money.
The main communal areas at Leopard’s Ridge are located inside a large glass-sided structure set at the top of the plot, with fantastic views down the hill and overlooking the Serengeti. At the top, the all-inclusive bar serves a good selection of South African wines, and is decorated with a few bar stools, some animal-print sofas and a few coffee tables. It’s a good place to relax before or after dinner. Uniquely, there are a few easels set up for painting should anyone feel particularly inspired by the views! A few steps lead down to the dining area laid out with individual tables. Weather permitting, tables are sometimes set up on the verandah outside.
Game viewing is at its best here in July/early August, when the wildebeest migration heads to the far north of the Serengeti and again in mid–late September/early October when the herds return to this area. Leopard’s Ridge is close enough to the northeast of the Serengeti National Park for visitors to use it as a base for exploring the park’s productive Lobo Kopjies area. However, Leopard’s Ridge's location outside the park boundaries, in the Loliondo Concession, gives visitor the opportunity to do activities such as walking and night drives. Thus Leopard’s Ridge gets the chance to compete with its obvious alternative, the more expensive Klein’s Camp. However, we’d observe that Klein’s unique private concession within Loliondo is substantial, very established and completely private, thus from a game-density point of view, the resident game is generally much better in Klein’s concession than elsewhere in Loliondo.
Thus activities here major on 4WD during the day into the national park, In addition, one guided walk and one night game drive – accompanied by an armed ranger and a Maasai tracker – are included per person per stay, and you can also visit a local Maasai village.
Our viewThe views from Leopard’s Ridge are spectacular, and the chance to augment drives with walks and night drives is welcome. The slightly quirky yet comfortable accommodation might make Leopard’s Ridge a good camp if you’re looking for something different from the usual bush-camp experience. That said, we haven’t experienced the guiding here first hand, so we’d recommended that you visit it as part of a drive-in safari with your own driver-guide.
Ideal length of stay: If you plan to stay at Leopard’s Ridge then we’d suggest a visit of two or three nights, in order to explore the Serengeti’s Lobo Kopjies area, and to try some of the extra activities available in Loliondo.
Directions: The camp is 3 miles from Kleins Gate.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Unfortunately, on our last trip to Leopard’s Ridge, we didn’t get a chance to try the food. The manager informed us all meals are served buffet style and visitors can expect to be served the following:
Breakfast is usually a vast spread of fresh fruit, cereals, and hot items such as eggs and bacon. There is also a selection of teas, coffees and juices.
Lunch is a choice of three salads and two meat dishes, as well as freshly baked bread.
Dinner is occasionally served as a set menu if the camp is very quiet.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Most drinks apart from champagne, premium wines and sprits are included.
Further dining info: On request
Attitude towards children: The camp welcomes children.
Property’s age restrictions: There is no minimum age.
Special activities & services: The camp has designed some fun activities for children such as short bush walks, star gazing and identifying animal tracks.
Equipment: There is no special equipment.
Generally recommended for children: Dangerous game can, and does, walk through this unfenced camp; we don’t advise bringing young children – and any children would need constant parental supervision. On the plus side, the option to get out of the vehicles and visit local villages in Loliondo could make it a flexible option for families compared to somewhere inside the national park.
Notes: Children must be supervised by a parent at all times as the camp is not fenced.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: Sockets are compatible with British-style sockets which take plus with three square pins.
Communications: There is WiFi in the office that guests can use, and a laptop which they can borrow if they don’t have their own equipment.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio at Leopard’s Ridge.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a first-aid kit at the lodge.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: They have askaris and security guards patrolling.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in each room.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is possible for an extra cost; it is machine washed and line dried.
Money: Guests can store valuables in the main office.
Accepted payment on location: Guests can only pay for extras in cash. They usually accept British pounds, euros, Tanzanian shillings and US dollars.