Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp is shaded by acacia woodlands, beside a kopje in the Serengeti.
Mbuzi Mawe: Our full report
Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp (mbuzi mawe is literally Swahili for "rock goat" otherwise known as klipspringer, which in turn is Afrikaans for "rock jumper") is set amid the bush and rocky outcrops of the central Serengeti. It belongs to the large Serena group of hotel-style lodges, owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development, and is one of the group's smaller and more intimate properties.
Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp is tucked away, off the main road between Seronera and the northern Serengeti. It is a convenient stop-over point for anyone travelling north or south, and is far from most other properties. That said, there are relatively few game-driving roads in this region, and not many options for wildlife-viewing, apart from heading north or south along the main gravel road through the park.
Mbuzi Mawe has 16 large, en-suite tents. The accommodation here is simple, but being under canvas adds to the wilderness feel of the place. Crazy paving paths lead to the tents which are rather closely set under the shade of acacias. The tents are surrounded by towering rocky outcrops, inhabited by inquisitive rock hyraxes, occasionally along with larger and more dangerous wildlife. Some tents have lovely sweeping views from their outside decks, and the layout of Mbuzi Mawe means that you also get some good views from some of the camp's public areas.
The main reception area is a large, airy tented structure which also houses a curio shop and a bar. The furnishings are heavy dhow-wood tables, chairs and sofas, complemented by terracotta floor tiles and matching cushions.
Mbuzi Mawe's small but well-stocked bar is tucked into a corner of the tent, adjacent to the restaurant, and is open all day and evening until the last person leaves. The bar and reception area flow into one, so you sit at the bar's wooden chairs to drink, sprawl on the lounge sofas, or take your drink out onto the wooden deck.
The cosy dining tent is supported by stone pillars and wooden beams. The tables in here are set rather close together which make it feel intimate, or rather intrusive, depending on your mood. You can also eat outside on the shaded stone deck.
For groups of five people or more, Mbuze Mawe will organize a barbecue dinner on a stone deck below reception and for honeymooners a bush dinner can be arranged. On warm evenings, sundowners are usually arranged around the fire pit.
Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp is particularly popular when the Serengeti wildebeest migration passes through this area. Typically this is during March and April, when the herds are on their way north, and then again around November to January, when the migration is heading back south.
Like most camps in the Serengeti, it's best to book Mbuze Mawe. Note also that the camp doesn't have any guides of its own – it's a place to visit with your own driver/guide, and cannot be visited on a fly-in trip unless you are arranging to meet your guide and vehicle here.
Our viewMbuze Mawe is well located for exploring the central Serengeti it you're transiting between the north and south of the park. It is also has a spectacular physical location, with its views and giant boulders and outcrops. Although run by a hotel chain, it’s small enough to have a much friendlier and personal feel than many of the Serengeti’s larger camps, however it's fair to say that the camp itself is a relatively modest set-up.
Ideal length of stay: The usual stay here is 1 or 2 nights, although during the migration people tend to stay for longer.
Directions: Mbuzi Mawe is 43km from Seronera Airstrip (about an hour’s drive) and roughly a two and a half hours' drive from Naabi Hill Gate.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Serena Hotel Group
Staff: Vincent Matei is the manager and there are 57 staff in total.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast is served from 6:30 – 9:30 and is both a cold buffet – cereals, fruits, juices etc and a cooked breakfast as you like it.
Lunch is served from 12:30 – 2:30. This meal is plated and served to your table.
Dinner is served from 7:30 – 9:30. Dinner is a hot, plated meal served to your table; however there is also a salad buffet for you to choose from.
Mbuzi Mawe caters for vegetarians and children on request. They can also provide a late lunch for those who arrive late from a game drive, but again this must be requested in advance.
The lodge is happy to arrange a packed lunch for clients going on full-day / long game drives.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks cost extra, but drinking water is supplied free to the rooms. Most of the wine list is around $25–30 per bottle.
Further dining info: Room service is available from 6am – 10pm.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Mbuzi Mawe.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at Mbuzi Mawe.
Special activities & services: The lodge can arrange babysitting at extra cost with housekeeping staff. If requested, they can arrange children's meals and can seat the children earlier.
Equipment: The lodge has baby cots but no high chairs.
Generally recommended for children: Yes, but they must be aware of the dangers of being in the bush and of the close proximity to wild animals. Children are their parents' responsibility at all times.
Communications: There is cell phone reception at Mbuze Mawe. Free WiFi is available all around the lodge. A laptop and printer are available for use, free of charge.
TV & radio: There is no guest radio or TV at Mbuze Mawe, but the staff TV would be available to enthusiastic guests to watch for major sporting events.
Water supply: Borehole
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Some of the staff are first-aid trained, and they have a first aid box at the lodge. There is also a trained clinician on hand who can offer enhanced medical care.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: We are told that the lodge has a TANAPA ranger on guard 24-hours a day.
Fire safety: The lodge has fire extinguishers on site, and the staff fire-training every six months.
Disabled access: In Place
Laundry facilities: Mbuzi Mawe has a laundry service, and charge roughly US$1-4 per item. The laundry is all air-dried, so the state in which it is returned is dependant on the weather.
Money: Currency exchange is possible at Mbuze Mawe in small amounts. There are no safes in the tents, but you can leave valuables in the safe boxes at reception.
Accepted payment on location: Mbuze Mawe accepts the following in cash: US$, Euros, South African Rand, Kenyan Shillings, and Pounds Sterling. It also accepts Visa, Mastercard and American Express. The lodge charges credit card bills in US$ with no commission or surcharge.