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“Indulgent Luxury” 5 of 5 stars
Review of Olakira Mara River Camp, Asilia Africa

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Olakira Mara River Camp, Asilia Africa
Serengeti National Park, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Certificate of Excellence 2014
Auckland Region, New Zealand
Top Contributor
102 reviews 102 reviews
99 hotel reviews
Reviews in 78 cities Reviews in 78 cities
173 helpful votes 173 helpful votes
“Indulgent Luxury”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 6, 2009

We had wanted to spend 2 nights at Ndutu Lodge but they were fully booked on the first night so we decided to stay at Olakira instead. This is a mobile camp & at this time it was only about 20 minutes away from Ndutu Lodge. We arrived extremely hot & very dusty & were met at our 4WD with a waiter offering warm facecloths & a cool drink. This was a nice touch, this was offered at all other places we stayed but not until you arrived at reception. The Manager came to the vehicle to meet us also & escorted us to the reception tent which doubles as a lounge. It is immediately apparent that this is an upmarket property, not only by the exquisite service but also the standard of furniture, linens etc both in the Restaurant & in the accommodation tents.

The only criticism I have of Olakira is the shower water arrangement. 3 Buckets are suspended above the tent at the rear, each supplying the basin, toilet, & shower. From memory I think the toilet water supply was around 60 litres so this is more of a small tank. With the shower you tell them when you require a shower & they fill the bucket up with warm water. My wife had time to quickly get wet & lather up her hair & the water ran out! Panic stations – I quickly arranged for another bucket which was delivered after a short wait. Then a 3rd bucket for my shower & I was able to have a leisurely shower but stayed under it just to see how long it took to run out. There is no doubt that the first bucket could not have been full, they are 20 litre standard size plastic buckets. This wasn’t a big issue but was a bit of a hassle.

The tents are very comfortable & large with a large King Size bed which was supremely comfortable. There is an abundance of electric lighting in the tents. The bathroom comprises of a vanity with single basin & all the amenities you could wish for. The shower cubicle is large & there is a dressing area in the bathroom with a canvas wardrobe as well. There are canvas windows all around the tent that can be rolled up & you could have the tent almost completely open if desired.

We relaxed with a bottle of Merlot in the sitting area at the front of the tent and watched the sunset, then joined the other guests for a complementary drink around the campfire before a delicious Dinner. The food was excellent as was the thoughtful and considerate service.

Overall, Olakira is more amazing when you consider this is a mobile camp and is sometimes only in place for 6 weeks before packing up & moving to another location. This is an absolutely mammoth task to do this. How such high quality meals could be prepared where they did was truly amazing. If you choose Olakira you will enjoy it but it is not a cheap experience neither should it be considering the logistics involved. Unfortunately during our stay here there was not a single animal to be seen anywhere nearby but that is just the luck of the draw!!

  • Stayed December 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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200 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Date | Rating
  • Dutch first
  • English first
  • French first
  • German first
  • Italian first
  • Portuguese first
  • Spanish first
  • Any
English first
Austin, Texas
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
88 hotel reviews
Reviews in 76 cities Reviews in 76 cities
106 helpful votes 106 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 12, 2009

My wife and I concluded our safari with three nights at Olakira. The location is ideal. We saw all kinds of wildlife within a short drive of the camp, including lions, wildebeest, leopards, giraffes (only about 50 yards from our tent), hyena, etc.

Service was fantastic. Coffee was served to us at our tent each morning at the time we requested. Our laundry was washed for us each day while we were out on game drives. Hot water was provided each morning and for showers upon request.

Our tent was amazing, although I preferred the floor plan of the tents at the sister property Suyan Camp (see my review for more details). Olakira's tents had its own advantages, such as running water at the sink (as opposed to a bucket), and the shower worked much better. We enjoyed relaxing and having drinks in our tent's living room (front part) each night after safari while we waited for dinner.

The food was very good. The main course at dinner was buffet-style, which varied each night. One of the nights was African-themed, which turned out to be our favorite.

Definitely the best part of Olakira, at least while we were there, was the proximity to wildlife. My biggest complaint, I guess, would be the ridiculous amount of flies at the camp during the day. But the flies are probably there because of the migration, so we gladly tolerated them. Fortunately we were able to keep them out of our tent, for the most part.

  • Stayed February 2009, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sharjah
1 review
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 14, 2009

We spent two nights at Olakira during our 5 day safari in Tanzania. It was by far the most enjoyable of all the places we stayed. The staff are so friendly and helpful. The food was fantastic and they had a great vegetarian choice. The luxury tent was gorgeous and unlike anywhere else I have ever stayed. Falling asleep to the sounds of the animals in the distance!! They pay great attention to detail and it is all the little things that truly make this tented camp so special. I will definitely go back to stay again. I would definitely reccommend it to anyone!!

  • Liked — All the attention to detail made by all the staff to ensure an enjoyable stay
  • Disliked — I couldnt find any negatives about Olakira!
  • Stayed January 2009, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 5 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
New York
Top Contributor
57 reviews 57 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 38 cities Reviews in 38 cities
38 helpful votes 38 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed January 7, 2009

We stayed at Olakira for 2 nights in December of 2008. All previous reviews mention the quality of this camp, it's high service level and it's attention to detail. The tents are very nicely decorated and comfortable, the loung/library is fabulous and the dining tent is great. The food however was a bit disappointing as the two dinners were just average and not at all memorable. This may have been the case as these were on a Tuesday and Wednesday which is right before the supply truck comes. The manager and camp staff make a real effort to make this a superior and upscale experience but we compared it to others and on a value/price level it falls short as it's 50-70% more expensive.

  • Stayed December 2008
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Calgary, Canada
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 12, 2008

My wife and I stayed here for two nights as part of a private safari for our 10th anniversary. It is absolutely first class in every respect.

There are only 6 tents at a campsite in the bush (the location changes seasonally). You get the feeling of having the savannah almost to yourself. It's very comfortable and intimate. If you were on honeymoon, this would be the place to stay.

The service is terrific. All the staff learn your name, so the camp has a very exclusive, friendly feel (though without being the least bit stuffy). Very relaxing and unhurried. Management clearly put a lot of thought and attention to detail into planning the whole experience.

The food is astonishingly good; the standard of a good bistro in a large city.

Our guide also liked staying here; apparently the guides are treated very well.

Not a place to bring kids--there's nothing for them to do in the camp.

The only disadvantage is that it doesn't come cheap, but if you can afford it it is absolutely money well spent.

  • Liked — private, friendly, exclusive feel
  • Disliked — n/a
  • Stayed July 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed May 29, 2008

This was the first "proper" safari camp of our honeymoon. I have been travelling to Africa since 1998 and stay in a wide variety of accomodation, from seriously luxurious to a sleeping bag on a kopje under the stars. Olakira is with out a doubt the best place I have ever stayed! It's not the most luxurious but it's also not exactly basic either, it is the perfect traditional safari camp. The staff are the most wonderful and obliging I have come across, there's none of that awful "bwana" type fawning you get in other camps and the guys just love chatting to the guests as friends rather than clients; that's not to say they aren't attentive but it's more like staying with long term pals.

The food is sensational, even more impressive given the kitchen tent and the rather pesky elephant which had been raiding the larder and water tower on a regular basis (nothing to worry about, all in the fun of staying in a bush camp). I am still craving the amazing onion bhajis we had with our pre dinner drinks. One point worth noting is that unlike other camps, the price you pay at Olakira includes all drinks excluding the more expensive wines, why can't other camps do this, especially when other camps are considerably more expensive?!

The game in the area is fantastic, even though we missed the massed herds of the wilderbeest migration we saw a plethora of game including every cat you care to mention, even a wild cat.

The tents are large and very comfortable and include the largest double beds I've ever seen in the bush, the showers are traditional bush showers within the tent and the toilet is a modern chemical one so it flushes (sort of)!

In short, if you're going to the Serengeti, stay here, why pay a premium for Nomads when Olakira does it with that little bit of class and authenticity, think "Out of Africa" and you're along the right lines. God I whish I was back there now!

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — Leaving, I still miss the place terribly.
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
UK
Top Contributor
83 reviews 83 reviews
34 hotel reviews
Reviews in 45 cities Reviews in 45 cities
122 helpful votes 122 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 29, 2008

We stayed at Olakira as part of a seven day safari. Olakira was our first destination - and it was fabulous. As soon as we arrived we were greeted with cold flannels and a cold drink which was lovely. Our tent, one of only 8, was lovely - fairly spacious, with a comfortable bed. The toilet was chemical and very clean. The shower was a bucket shower and they brought the hot water for it at the time we requested. There was plenty of water for a reasonable shower.

Meals were served in the mess tent and the food was delicious. We shared a table with our driver/guide. We really enjoyed the pre-dinner drinks and snacks around the camp fire and swapping game drive stories with other guests.

Our game drives in the Serengeti were fantastic. On our first full day we saw 16 cheetah, including a mother with six small cubs that all came and sat under our jeep. We also saw a black african wild cat, a serval cat and an ardvaak as well as two leopards, a lot of lions, giraffes,jackals, hyena, impala and thousands of wildebeest, zebra and gazelles.

  • Liked — Wildlife experience
  • Disliked — Liked it all
  • Stayed February 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Olakira Mara River Camp, Asilia Africa

Address: Serengeti National Park, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Serengeti National Park
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #11 of 82 Specialty Lodging in Serengeti National Park
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Like the wildebeest that are the stars of the Serengeti Annual Migration, the Olakira camps are wanderers; luxurious under-canvas camps that move with the seasons, forever following the herds to ensure you have a front-row seat to the greatest show on earth.Fine linens, finer dining and a touch of nomadic romance are the hallmarks of this authentic East African safari camp. Whether it’s at the river crossings of the northern Serengeti, the breath taking scenery of the Lamai Wedge, or on the great grassy plains of the south, the intimate Olakira camps ensure the best of the Serengeti is always right on your doorstep. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Olakira Camp, Asilia Africa Hotel Serengeti National Park

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