Serengeti Walking Mobile Camp: Our full report
The Serengeti National Park is one of the best wildlife destinations in Africa – attracting so many visitors ...... that some roads become congested. However, only a small portion of this vast park is accessed by road by the majority of safari operators. Thus with a little know-how, it is possible to explore the Serengeti on an almost 'private' basis. Sizeable sections of the Serengeti National Park have been designated wilderness areas where only walking safaris are allowed. Three nights or more in one of these wildernesses can be an amazing part of a safari to northern Tanzania.
From about December to May the conditions in Kilimafeza, a wilderness area north- east of Seronera, become perfect for a walking mobile safari. By late May, and depending on the weather patterns and wildlife movements, this area becomes dry and hot, so the focus changes to Kogatende, a wilderness area south of Lamai, bordering the Mara River in northern Serengeti. This is best visited between about June to November. Speak to us at Expert Africa for a recommendation on the best wilderness area to visit during your safari dates and for suggestions on how to build a walking safari into your itinerary.
If, before you travel, the weather patterns and wildlife movements mean that these recommendations change, then we will suggest that your itinerary is altered to get for you the best wildlife experience. So we ask that you retain a sense of adventure and flexibility when booking these walking safari mobile camps. Strictly speaking, these wilderness walking areas are not 'private'. That said, there are only a handful of safari operators who have the authority to offer walking safaris in the 1,500km2 wilderness area east of Seronera so your time here is almost guaranteed to be exclusive. It's a remote and wild area, perfect for exploring on foot.
Each Serengeti Walking Mobile Camp accommodates guests in simple canvas dome tents. These are usually 2.5m x 2.5m with windows on three sides and a zip-up door to the front. The tents each have a thick mattress on the floor fitted with sheets, duvets, pillows and a blanket. A small box forms the bedside table and holds a bottle of mineral water and a solar-charged reading lantern. Sewn in above the door is a discreet battery-operated light pack with a switch that's easily accessible as you enter the tent. A canvas 'bathroom cupboard', resembling a wash bag, hangs from the ceiling and comes with a spare bar of soap and roll of toilet paper.
Thick netting is pegged down outside each tent creating a porch which is covered by a canvas awning. Camp chairs are set up here to allow guests to relax with a book and enjoy the view between walking activities. Nearby, a canvas washbasin suspended from a wooden frame is regularly replenished with fresh water – warm in the mornings and cool in the afternoons. A second canvas 'bathroom cupboard' fitted with a small mirror hangs on an outside tent pole.
At the heart of each mobile camp is a mess tent which has one open side. The tent is set up to provide shade and sheltered dining when it's needed and to store readily available drinking water and cool drinks. Breakfast and dinner are often enjoyed by the nearby camp fire which is also usually the location for pre-dinner drinks. Lunch is often set out under a shady tree and at night, the camp is lit by paraffin lanterns hung on metal stakes.
Each mobile camp has at least one large bathroom tent with two compartments and with thick netting pegged down to create a floor. One side encloses a bucket shower overhanging a wooden shower mat. The bucket is filled with warm water on request and at any time of the day. The other side encloses a wooden box with a 'proper' toilet seat sitting over a short drop. Toilet paper is supplied and the toilet is 'flushed' with small buckets of dirt. The bathroom tent is shared by the group. If your group numbers more than six people, a second bathroom tent will be set up.
Each walking safari is led by an armed guide and accompanied by an armed national park ranger. Led by this knowledgeable and informative pair, you'll appreciate the change from being a casual observer in a game-drive vehicle to becoming part of the environment – it's a heady experience. The game viewing can be very good, but you will also learn about the smaller things too – the eco-system, animal behaviour, insects, birds and plants. During the wildebeest migration the experienced guides love to head out on foot and walk alongside the vast herds of wildebeest - which can be quite an exhilarating experience!
As part of a longer trip to northern Tanzania, we can highly recommend a walking mobile safari of at least three-nights for those who enjoy the outdoors, and don't mind relatively simple camping. These camps are private and exclusive, but not particularly costly. A trip like this is easily combined with time visiting the region's more conventional fixed camps and lodges. These mobile camps and walking safaris are a great way to experience the Serengeti National Park in a more adventurous and intimate way than is possible by vehicle; you get very close to nature whilst still enjoying a good level of comfort.
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- We found the meals served at the Serengeti Walking Mobile Camps wholesome and satisfying. All the dishes are prepared from scratch using fresh ingredients – quite a feat considering the remote locations and that everything is cooked over coals. Meat, vegetables and stews are usually cooked over an open fire whilst bread and cakes are baked in a specially crafted oven heated by coals placed both on top and underneath it. The chef welcomes guests to take a look around his bush kitchen.
Days often begin with a quick breakfast of fresh Tanzanian filter coffee or tea, hot porridge or muesli, toast with spreads and fruit. Part way through the morning walking safari you'll stop at a vantage point or under the shade of a tree for bacon and egg on a freshly made roll, home-made biscuits and fruit juice. If you don't head out for a morning walk on your last day, there's usually time for a hot breakfast of bacon and eggs.
You'll typically return to camp for lunch under a shady tree. During our stay in 2011 we enjoyed pizza with a freshly made base on one day and minced-meat pie the next. On our last day we had chicken and chips – simple but really delicious! Each was served with two salads: these included green salad, potato salad and coleslaw.
More home-made biscuits are laid out for afternoon tea and before you set off on your afternoon walk. Then at the end of each active day, you'll be served a three-course dinner. During our stay we had a curry night with tasty vegetable and chicken curries, rice, chapatis and condiments including finely chopped red onion, cucumber, tomatoes and capsicums. Pumpkin soup started off our next evening meal of marinated steak served with crunchy potatoes, mixed vegetables and a green salad. These meals were rounded off with a delicious apple fritter and a chocolate Swiss roll respectively.
- Walking safaris
- Serengeti National Park is a spectacular option for a walking safari in Tanzania. This private tented camp stands in a wilderness area within the park. Led by an engaging guide you'll explore parts of the Serengeti that are largely vehicle-free.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Private villas & houses
- A more rustic but still comfortable option for exclusive accommodation for groups and families is the Serengeti Private Mobile. It is pretty flexible in its location, moving between campsites for good game viewing and offers a real private safari feel for your group.
- See ideas for Private villas & houses
- Attitude towards children
- Walking camps can take children over the age of 6 years.
- Special activities & services
- Generally recommended for children
- We would only recommend walking camps for families with children over the age of 12 years. This is both for safety reasons and because there is little to keep youngsters entertained between walking activities. If you have children under the age of 12 and would like to consider a Serengeti walking mobile, please speak to us at Expert Africa.
- If you are travelling with children of any age please note that these camps are unfenced and animals do pass through them. Children must be under your constant supervision.
- There is cellphone reception throughout almost all of the Serengeti and each of the camp teams carries a cellphone in case of emergency. If you travel with your phone you must have it switched off or on silent during any walking safaris.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- All the walking guides who lead these safaris have the highest level of first- aid training available and will always carry a first-aid kit with them. The flying doctors service out of Arusha is also just a phone call away.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Each walking guide carries a rifle and a GPS system. Each walk is accompanied by an armed national park ranger.
- Fire safety
Guided walking safari
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- A simple laundry service is available on request. Clothes are hand washed and hung to dry – there is no iron available. However, as you're likely to be combining a stay at a private mobile camp in the Serengeti with time at hotels and lodges, it is best to wait until then to do your washing.
- Accepted payment on location
- For tips within the camp, US dollars are acceptable. You will not need money for anything else.
Other lodges in Serengeti Migration Area
Alternative places to stay in this same area.