Oliver's Camp: Our full report
In the quiet south-east of Tarangire National Park, beside Silale and Lormakau marshes, Oliver's Camp is ...... a lovely tented camp set on a low, sandy ridge. Open from June until the end of March, it is particularly good for wildlife in the height of the dry season, when the marshes attract huge herds of buffalo, zebra and wildebeest. It originally started off as a temporary camp, but was made permanent in 2008.
Oliver's Camp is the sister camp to Olakira, Dunia and Sayari, and offers the same good guiding and a friendly bush experience.
The main area at Oliver's is an open-sided two-storey, wood and thatch structure which looks out into the surrounding bush and is furnished with comfortable leather armchairs, reclaimed dhow-wood tables and campaign furniture. We particularly enjoyed the upper storey, complete with its deck giving you an even better vista from where to sit and keep a look out for passing game. This all comes together to create a very traditional safari camp, which is stylish but still very authentic. Dining is communal, with everyone seated at one long table, so there is a very sociable and friendly atmosphere to the camp.
In front of the mess tent is a firepit, surrounded by directors' chairs, where guests gather before and after dinner to chat about the day and listen to the sounds of the bush. Down from the main area, in a secluded, shady spot by a baobab, is a small deck used for private dinners. Further down the slope is a large sundowner and breakfast deck looking across the Tarangire River valley.
Oliver's Camp has ten large tented rooms raised up on wooden platforms, and suspended under thatch. The interiors are rustic but tasteful and practical: chunky furniture made from the timber of former dhows, lampshades adorned with Masaai beads, leather-bound books, wrought iron bedside tables, solar-powered lights and an open canvas wardrobe. Above each bed is a ceiling fan to keep you cool during the heat of the day. In front of each tent are two sunloungers on the deck where you can relax, read, or perhaps sit and birdwatch with a pair of binoculars.
There is one special honeymoon tent (#2), with a double-headed shower, and a family tent (#9) that includes an extension with twin beds and a second toilet and basin. Two triple tents can also be made up if required giving the camp a maximum capacity of 25 people.
UK style three pin sockets allow you to charge your electricals, and each tent also has mosquito spray, a radio to contact the office, a torch and a digital safe.
The en-suite bathroom is at the far end of the tent, with no partition. You'll find a single wash basin set on a heavy wooden table, some space to store your luggage and a flush toilet. A door leads out to an open-air rainfall shower which, although designed to look like a bucket shower, is fully plumbed, so there is plenty of hot water. The shower is partially enclosed by a wooden fence, allowing you to shower in privacy while admiring the sunset.
Oliver's has a range of activities on offer. The camp is located in a special wilderness area where walking and fly-camping are allowed, usually on the plains or in the sand river. There are resident guides who can take you out on shared activities, and both walks and game drives are available. If you're making use of the camp's vehicles and guides then walking is included in the cost, but night drives remain an extra cost. The camp has recently bought night-vision goggles for their night drives, to add an extra element of excitement.
Alternatively, you can opt to arrive with your own private vehicle and guide. In this case, walks and night drives are at an extra cost; when we were last here in October 2018 walking safaris cost approximately $75 per person whilst night drives cost approximately $110 per person. The minimum age for walking is 12.
You can also arrange to do a hot-air balloon safari over Tarangire National Park from Oliver's. Balloons take off from a launch site near Boundary Hill, and usually drift north. You'll need to plan for a 04:30 departure from camp. Ask us to help plan this into your stay.
Oliver's is a lovely tented camp with a great location in the far south of the park. Even though it is now a permanent camp with a luxurious edge, it still retains a real bush camp feel, and has a rustic charm. The food, service and guiding here are very good and the camp offers a great wilderness experience.
- Tarangire National Park, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- 2–3 nights
- Oliver's Camp is at the southern end of Tarangire National Park. It is around a one hour drive to Kuro airstrip or about 4-5 hours drive to Arusha and Kilimanjaro airport, depending on traffic and how much wildlife you see.
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board & Activities
- Food quality
- We did not get a chance to sample the food and drink on our most recent visit to Olvier's in October 2018. But the food at Oliver's when we stayed in November 2015 was great:
Breakfast consisted of a buffet of cereals, fruit and yoghurts, followed by a hot breakfast, cooked to order.
Lunch was two courses – a buffet main course where guests can help themselves, followed by dessert.
Dinner was a three-course affair. Guests congregate around the campfire for a drink before dinner, where the waiter will announce the menu for the evening. We enjoyed butternut and lemon soup to start, followed by lamp chops served with rice, roasted pumpkin and zucchini, and rounded off with a creamy passion-fruit coulis.
In November 2015, we started with the staple spiced butternut squash soup and went on to beef medallions with a red wine jus or herby chicken and risotto rice, accompanied by good vegetables, and followed up with choc peppermint brownies or passion fruit jelly.
- For rustic charm with a luxurious feel, Oliver’s camp is a great destination for a honeymoon to Tanzania. Enjoy a large tented room under a thatch roof, stylish furniture and delicious food. Expect thoughtful touches from the staff, to make you both feel really special.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- Tarangire National Park is the best park for birdwatching in Tanzania. Avid bird watchers will enjoy sitting in the central 'mess tent' at Oliver's where you might spot flycatchers, superb starlings, morning thrushes, and even a pair of yellow-winged bats.
- See ideas for Birdwatching
- Walking safaris
- Oliver's Camp offers guiding walking safaris within Tarangire National Park - a great way to experience the environment from a different perspective and really appreciate the little things.
- See ideas for Walking safaris
- Attitude towards children
- Oliver's Camp will happily accept children from the age of 5.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Children under 12 are not permitted to walk in Tarangire National Park.
- Special activities & services
- Kids' packs are provided and children can do nature trails with guides around the camp area, which has a wealth of insects and smaller wildlife. A chest of games is available and staff will often play football with children. Children are also welcome in the kitchen to make cookies.
- Generally recommended for children
- Oliver's Camp is a small friendly camp that is welcoming to older children, though parents should be aware that this is a bush camp and that it is not fenced (as is the case with all camps in TANAPA-controlled areas). Parents should keep a close eye on their children, who are their responsibility at all times. Under-12s are not allowed to walk around camp unaccompanied because of the high chance of encountering wildlife.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Oliver's Camp
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Oliver's Camp have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- There is a backup generator, but it is rarely needed as even in cloudy conditions their solar system generates enough power. Individual solar water heaters provide hot water for each tent.
- WiFi is available in all tents, but not the communal area. This was a considered decision by the camp, and the lounge is intended to be a sociable spot where guests can meet and socialise without the distractions of internet. There is usually some patchy cellphone reception in the camp, though Oliver's requests that guests do not use their phones in the communal areas.
- TV & radio
- There is no guest TV, but the staff TV is always open to guests for major sporting events and the like.
- Water supply
- Water supply notes
- There is a plentiful supply of water from the camp borehole, which is purified using reverse osmosis and desalination. It is frequently tested for purity.
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- The managers and guides at Oliver's Camp are all first aid trained, and the camp has links to the flying doctor service. The FAME clinic at Karatu is a 3-hour drive away.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- Askaris (guards) escort you around at night, as animals do wander through the camp, including four local leopards. There are radios in the tents.
- Fire safety
- There is a firebreak around the camp and all tents have fire extinguishers.
Guided walking safari
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry at Oliver's Camp is included – but it is hand washed so no underwear is accepted. Soap is provided in the bathrooms for this.
- There are safes in all the tents for storing valuables. There is no formal currency exchange.
- Accepted payment on location
- Oliver's Camp will accept payments in cash, as well as Visa and MasterCard, although there is a 5% charge for these cards. They cannot accept Amex or travellers' cheques.
Other lodges in Tarangire National Park
Alternative places to stay in this same area.