Serengeti Pioneer Camps location offers a commanding view over the surrounding plains.
Serengeti Pioneer Camp: Our full report
Opened December 2012, and located in south central Serengeti National Park, Serengeti Pioneer Camp is a smart tented camp with a touch of the early explorer about it. Built on a slope below a picturesque kopje, the camp setting retains a feeling of seclusion yet is well placed as a base for game drives across southern Serengeti's vast open plains.
One of the nicest spots in the camp is it's lounge. The makuti thatched building sits atop a rocky outcrop and offers commanding views across acacia woodland, open plains, and the Moru Kopjes. Canvas and mesh sides usually remain rolled up allowing a cool breeze and natural light in. A selection of seating areas created from soft couches, wooden chairs, director's chairs and sun loungers offer guests the opportunity to relax and watch gregarious hyrax and colourful agama lizards scuttle over the surrounding rocks, or to enjoy the views beyond.
In a small natural valley between the rocky outcrop and the main kopje lies the dining tent. Wooden poles hold up the ceiling canvas which is covered by a roof of shade cloth to help keep the interior cool. Canvas wall panels with large windows are rolled up to maximise the views or left down to keep out the weather. For breakfast and dinner guests are hosted at individual tables covered in white table cloths; at night these are lit by paraffin lanterns. If guests choose to have lunch at the camp, instead of a picnic as part of their game drive, then this meal is often served outdoors in a bush setting.
Built over a gradual incline the Serengeti Pioneer Camp's 12 tented rooms each have a view, and the staggered layout allows for privacy. Suspended below a canvas ceiling and cooling shade cloth layer, the tent's front canvas panels can be rolled up during the day and closed at night. White material covers the ceiling and matches the full-length curtains, lightening the interior and balancing out the intensity of the dark coloured furniture. Soft neutral rugs, throws and cushions round out the effect. A tall shelving unit with curtained doorways at each end divides the bedroom from the en suite. The bedroom is furnished with a king-size or two queen-size beds, a small writing desk, storage trunks, chairs and a coffee table set with a sherry decanter. The bathroom has a flush toilet, shower and basin.
The design idea behind Serengeti Pioneer Camp reflects the early explorer's mobile camps of the 1930's. This romantic theme has been creatively used in fun ways such as copper basins with water-pump tap fittings, shelving made of recycled wooden crates and travelling trunks used as benches. However some guests may find that hat stands hung with pith helmets, and bedside tables set with sepia images of natives bearing exploration equipment, a design step too far.
Most travellers arrive at Serengeti Pioneer Camp with their own private safari guide and vehicle. It is also possible to fly into the Serengeti National Park and then join the camp's own scheduled game drive activities, led by the resident guides.
Our viewSouthern and central Serengeti has traditionally offered travellers the choice of simple to very good mid-range tented camps and large multi-roomed hotels. The relatively new Serengeti Pioneer Camp joins a very short list of high-quality, fairly luxurious permanent camps now found in this area. If guests aren't put off by some of the brazen colonial décor touches, and slightly over fussy service, then this tented camp is a great option for those seeking a little luxury. It's well-positioned on the quieter outskirts of a popular and very productive wildlife area.
Ideal length of stay: We recommend a stay of 2 to 3 nights at Serengeti Pioneer Camp, allowing you to explore the southern plains including the Moru, Simba and Maasai kopjies areas.
Directions: It is approximately a 1 hour drive from Seronera Airstrip to the camp for fly-in guests. However, the drive is usually conducted as a longer game drive.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Elewana Collection
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast starts with a selection of fruit, cereals and freshly baked pastries - there was also a cheese and cold meat platter to choose from. This was followed by a choice of creatively designed hot dish’s that have a Swahili influence but are based on traditional English classics. Eggs Tanganyika and the Serengeti omelet are particularly good! The breakfast was certainly a step up compared to what is offered by most other camps.
When served in camp, lunch is a 3 course affair. The main course is a plated choice between a vegetarian, red meat, and white meat dish; however most guests opt to take a packed lunch with them on a full day game drive.
Dinner is a 4 course meal including a soup, starter, main and desert. When we last visited Serengeti Pioneer Camp in April 2015 we had a Tanzanian style BBQ. The meal started started with a vegetable soup and then the main course was a buffet which included: pumpkin salad, stir fried vegetables, creamed spinach, roast potatoes, maharage beans, fresh chili salsa, coconut rice, ugali, BBQ beef steak and BBQ chicken! It was delicious and the portion sizes were massive!
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: All drinks excluding French champagne and top-shelf whiskies are included in the price.
Attitude towards children: Serengeti Pioneer Camp accepts families.
Property’s age restrictions: Children of all ages are welcome.
Special activities & services: There are a number of educational activities for children on offer.
Equipment: There is one family tent and triple tents are available on request; there is also a highchair available for small children.
Generally recommended for children: This camp is unfenced and animals can and do wander through. Therefore we only recommend it to children aged 12 years or over. Children must constantly be under their parent’s supervision.
Power supply: Solar Power
Power supply notes: Solar power operates both the camp’s electricity and the hot water system. There are no plug points in the tents. Guests with items to charge can do so in the camp’s internet and charging tent, or with the camp management. The charging tent also has a hairdryer available for guests use.
Communications: Cell phone reception is available at the lodge and there is Wifi in main areas that is free to use.
TV & radio: There is no TV or radio.
Water supply: Transported in
Water supply notes: There is running hot and cold water in all of the tents that is fine to use for showers, but guests should use the bottled water that is supplied for dinking.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The camp manager and guides are all trained in first aid and they also carry a comprehensive first aid kit. The nearest doctor is located at Sopa Lodge, also in the Serengeti's southern plains. For serious ailments and emergencies, guests would be evacuated to Arusha.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: In case of wildlife passing through camp, guests are escorted to their rooms after dark. A walkie-talkie is provided in each room with which the alarm can be raised in the case of an emergency. Each room has a fixed safe for guests to store their valuables.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers for each room and in the communal areas. Fire evacuation instructions are set out in each room.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is included at Serengeti Pioneer Camp. Laundry is collected in the morning, machine washed at the nearby Sopa Lodge and returned to guests in the evening. Please note that women’s underwear needs to be washed by the guests themselves and washing powder is provided in the rooms for this.
Money: They are able to exchange small amounts of money in most recognized currencies in camp.
Accepted payment on location: For any extras, the camp accepts cash payment in Tanzanian shillings, US dollars, pounds sterling and euro. The camp also accepts credit card payments, although there is a 6% surcharge for this.