Olakira

Olakira: Our full report

Rooms
9 safari tents, including one family tent.
Traveller's rating
Excellent (95%) From 39 reviews
Children
Best for 12+
Open
1st June to 14 Nov; 1 Dec to 4 Apr.

Olakira Camp, usually known either as Olakira Mara or Olakira Ndutu depending on where it happens to be currently located, is a semi-permanent tented camp that moves twice a year to its alternative location, roughly matching the location of the densest part of the wildebeest migration at that time.

Through the months of June to November, Olakira Camp is located on the Mara River in the far north of the Serengeti, near the makutano wildebeest crossing point (makutano means crossing in Swahili) where the Bologanja stream enters the Mara. This location makes it a great base to see the migration roughly from August to the end of October. That said, either side of these months the resident game in the area is certainly worth staying here for, with plenty of lions, relaxed leopards, regularly sighted cheetahs and a very healthy population of plains grazers. Hippos often graze around the tents at Olkira, and we have also seen black rhinos in this area recently.

From mid-December to the end of March, Olakira relocates from the Mara River to the Ndutu area in the far south of the Serengeti ecosytem, which is the best area for witnessing the migration when it is spread out across the southern plains. Please study our moving map of the migration to see where the animals are at different times of the year – though please note that there can be considerable variation year on year and at any one time.

Olakira is the sister camp to Kimondo, Ubuntu, Dunia and Sayari camps.

The camp's tents and soft furnishings were upgraded in July 2016. Do have a look at the Asilia website for some recent photos.

Olakira is a comfortable tented camp – with spacious, walk-in tents. The en-suite bathrooms have flush loos and hot safari showers. (Read more about the tents at Olakira...)

In the main dining tent, usually known as the mess, you will find an area that is set out for meals, with canvas directors' chairs set around square wooden tables. There is also a well stocked drinks cabinet and the staff will help you to a drink, whether it be a G&T, a whisky or perhaps an after-dinner Baileys on ice. Guests can help themselves from a coffee and tea station at any time.

To one side of the open-plan tent is a comfortable lounge area, where a large corner sofa and a number of comfortable beanbag chairs are set around a dark wooden coffee table. Natural browns, creams and burnt orange combine to create a rustic yet stylish effect.

Although you will find power sockets here so you can charge batteries, there are no lights: at night the tent is beautifully lit by atmospheric storm lanterns instead.

In front of the mess tent is a fireplace which is lit in the evenings. Guests tend to gather here before dinner and have a few drinks in the company of the other guests and the guides.

Activities from Olakira are all vehicle-based 4x4 game drives. Olakira is a base from which guests can either explore the Serengeti with their own private driver/guide or use the guides and vehicles based at the camp. You'll make a plan with your guide the evening before, and chose to head out for a full day with a packed lunch. Or do morning and afternoon game drives, returning to the camp during the heat of the day. Timings are very flexible.

Our view

Olakira is a comfortable, stylish and personal little camp, taking a maximum of fourteen guests. Its semi-permanent nature means that you really feel a part of the surrounding bush, but without having to sacrifice any of the usual comforts such as hot showers and flush toilets.

Geographics

Location: Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: Spend at least 3 or 4 nights here to explore the area properly – or longer if you have the time.

Directions: When the camp is in the south most will drive to Olakira with their vehicle and guide, and then drive away again when they move on. When it is in the more remote north you may choose to fly here. No matter where the camp is located, you have the choice to either fly in and use the resident vehicles and guides, or drive in with a private driver/guide.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Asilia

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: The food at Olakira Camp is not of an exceptionally high standard, but it is fresh and very tasty. When we last stayed, in July 2013, they were serving a variety of international dishes based on fresh ingredients.

Timings for breakfast or brunch were flexible, depending on what you wanted to do in the morning. For breakfast you would usually find a variety of cereals, a cooked breakfast with eggs, plus fruit and yogurt. Then brunch was similar but with the addition of tasty snacks such as hot open sandwiches and quiches.

Lunch was also an offering of snacks such as quiches and sandwiches. And there was also a further spread of cold meat, green salads and pasta salads. We found the lunch light, refreshing and very tasty.

At around 7pm, guests start to gather around the camp fire for a drink. The chef then announces dinner. Dinner consisted of three courses, usually a soup or salad starter, perhaps a barbeque or traditional Swahili dish for the main course, and then a deliciously rich desert.

Dining style: Group Meals

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: Most drinks are included. Champagne and certain imported wines and spirits are extra.

Further dining info: Tea and coffee is brought to the tents.

Special interests

Solo Travel: Olakira Camp can be an inspired choice for solo travel; fly in here for the Serengeti’s great migration. You’ll share your safaris with other guests, and a top safari guide, and everyone dines communally so it’s very friendly.

See more ideas for Solo Travel in Tanzania

Wildlife safaris: Olakira Camp is a semi-permanent tented camp that moves twice a year, in order to optimize its location for the migration. With careful planning (talk to us about this), this can be the perfect base from which to witness one of nature's greatest spectacles.

See more ideas for Wildlife safaris in Tanzania

Children

Attitude towards children: Children are welcome.

Property’s age restrictions: A 6-plus age restriction is sometimes applied at the Ndutu site.

Special activities & services: Olakira Camp will happily prepare special meals and arrange earlier meal times for children.

Equipment: No special equipment.

Notes: Olakira is a fun and friendly camp that has a team who will go out of their way to make families feel welcome. However, it is also a very wild camp and parents should be aware that children should not be allowed to wonder around unescorted. Children are the responsibility of their parents at all times.

Infrastructure

Communications: Olakira Camp has a satellite phone that can be used in emergencies. There is also intermittent cell phone reception around the camp, partly from Kenyan and Tanzanian providers. The tents have 2-way radios and there is a computer with online access in the office that guests can use in an emergency. There is no guest WiFi.

TV & radio: There is no TV or radio at Olakira Camp but there is a TV in the staff camp which guests can watch when major sporting events are taking place.

Water supply: Transported in

Water supply notes: The main water supply comes by bowser from the borehole at nearby Sayari Camp. Bottled drinking water is supplied to guests.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The staff here are first-aid trained and there is first-aid equipment for minor injuries. For more serious cases, the camp has links to flying doctors - the SATIB medical evacuation service.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: The team will escort you around the camp at night. There are guards from the local community and armed government guards.

Fire safety: The camp has a fire break, and also each tent has fire extinguishers which the staff are all trained to use.

Extras

Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Laundry is included free of charge – it is hand-washed and line-dried and is returned with 24 hours depending on the weather. However, ladies' underwear cannot be washed: soap powder is provided in bathrooms.

Money: There are no currency exchange facilities at Olakira Camp.

Accepted payment on location: Olakira Camp can accept cash in US dollars, Tanzania shillings and Euros. It may also be possible to use Visa and MasterCard, with a 5% commission charged, but this cannot be guaranteed.