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“Wonderful camp....friendly staff”

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Olakira Camp, Asilia Africa
Certificate of Excellence
new york
Level Contributor
34 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 34 helpful votes
“Wonderful camp....friendly staff”
Reviewed September 12, 2011

We ended our 8 day safari here and stayed for 3 nights. It was the perfect ending to a perfect adventure. The staff, especially Obbie and Pascal, were friendly and helpful, and they really took the time to get to know you. The food was the best we had anywhere in Tanzania. The tents were very nice and clean. I agree with what elrey123 said......they were the most luxurious tents we stayed in, yet still "rustic" in a wonderful way!! Highly recommend this to anyone!

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled with family
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Thank betty1407
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Ottawa
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed September 10, 2011

We (a group of three - my father, friend and myself) finished a 14 day safari with three nights at Olakira Camp in early September 2011. It was perfect. The three of us had just finished 11 days of 'self-drive' bush camping in other parts of the Serengeti and TZ - so three nights of luxury camp and guided drives was the perfect way to end our trip.

Wildlife: simply amazing. After 10 days on our own we had driven past 100s of leopards (I am sure of it!) but had seen our share of cats and game. The Mara River area at the time we were there was crowded with wildebeest - the game was truly amazing and by far the most impressive of our trip. Watching three full grown male cheetahs "climb" an old tree trunk with the sun setting and with a cool lager in hand is pretty awesome. Rhino, lion, cheetah and perhaps a few hundred thousand wildebeest and zebra....

Guides: After 10 days without a guide, we were ready for someone else to drive and spot game. And can they! We were picked-up at the Kogatende Airstrip by Goodluck who was fantastic. We were then assigned to Fadhil who spent the next 2.5 days with us. He was also fantastic. Vehicles in superb condition and clean (clearly pride of the driver/guide showing through) and his willingness to work hard to find the animals we were interested in was awesome. We got on wonderfully with Fadhil as he enjoyed our enthusiasm for wildlife and we enjoyed his. We spent full days in bush with Fadhil (based on our request - it is quite normal for quests to take a break between 11AM and 3PM). Sitting and waiting for wildebeest to cross the Mara offered lots of time for us to ask Fadhil questions about TZ, guiding and wildlife - great experience. The guides are a very professional group - I have heard the Assilia Group (the camp owners) are regarded as having some of the best guides in TZ and I believe it.

Location: in Jun-Oct this camp is in the northern extreme of TZ - you can see Kenya. The camp is right on the Mara River at a well established crossing site. The wildebeest are all over the place. This area of the Serengeti is by far the most beautiful we had seen (and we saw most of it) - rolling hills, green grass, flowing rivers, amazing rock kopjes. When combined with the amazing quantity of game around, it is an emotional experience to drive in this area. This was, by far, the most spectacular location we visited on our entire trip.

Service: top notch! This is not a large camp - 8 guest tents and the assistant manager (Obi) made us feel perfectly at home. I was immediately impressed by Assilia's attention to detail as I had emailed them before our trip advising that we would be arriving after 10 days of camping on our own and wanted to be paired up with other guests who were similarly 'robust' and wildlife oriented. We were greeted by Obi, who referred to my email, introduced us to Fadhil our guide for the next 3 days - and the first thing Fadhil asked us was if we wanted to do a full day game drive the next day! I was thrilled to say the least! Over the next 3 days Obi took great care of us and the other guests - as did Abby the head waiter/meal organizer.

We also had a chance to meet Simon, a member of the Assilia management team doing a visit to Olakira. We enjoyed his evening conversation and we asked him many questions about how these camps are run - logistics to administration. A wonderful opportunity for the curious folks like me.

Rooms: The rooms (large safari tents) were large, beautifully put together and the beds were wonderfully comfortable. The bathrooms were clean, and hot water was available for showers and washing. It could not have been better.

Dining. The Dining area under a large tent with open sides (to the River view). We ate as a family group with all guests sharing the table - this is excellent and a way to get to know the other guests who are no doubt interesting and excited to be there. The meals were wonderful, well served and there was lots of it.

All in all, Olakira Camp was the perfect way to end our self-drive safari. Location, wildlife, quality of the guides and the level of personal service that catered to the individual guest (in our case - more time in the bush) set this place above. I hope to return and will certainly focus future trips on Assilia owned camps based on this experience.

  • Stayed September 2011, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Steve639
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 9, 2011

We visited Olakira camp in mid June shortly after it moved up to the Mara River from Central Serengeti. Although its in shoulder season and a little too early for the migration it was a beautiful time to visit and we had the camp to ourselves for the first 2 days (being the only people was a little overwhelming and the pressure was on to eat all the amazing food on offer)- The northern serengetiti also seemed far removed from what we saw of the busyness of the western corridor at that time of year. We had a lot of fun with our guides Francis and Easau and it seemed like they enjoyed it just as much. The guys were great helping us find all 4 or the big 5 (rhino eluded us but other guests saw them- so they are there!), the ugly 5 and a lot more. My tip is prepared to be patient and keep an eye out yourselves- we saw so many guests from the sister camp Sayuri out in the cars busy chatting amongst themselves and basically just expecting the guides to find everything for them. 4 sets of eyes were definitely better than 2 especially when 1 set is looking out for rocks and pot holes on the track.
As others mentioned the camp itself is fantastic- Pascal was a great host- although though we didn't know what to think when we arived and he gave us the 'joke' camp brief. I had originally thought about staying at Sayuri but was so glad we made the choice to stay at Olakira as it seemed to offer a much better intimate and authentic camping experience. We loved every minute of it.

  • Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank Kitticat674
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Netherlands
Level Contributor
57 reviews
44 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 108 helpful votes
Reviewed August 13, 2011

I have awarded five stars to this camp, not because it is luxurious (it is not) or top designed (it is just tents, folks), but because this is what African safari is really all about. You will sleep in a tent (a big one), in a warm bed, and you will have a working toilet and a bucket shower. That is quite something altogether, compared to any campsite. However, in the hart of the Northern Serengeti these features are to be considered a luxury, surely if you take a minute to comprehend the enormous difficulties the camp staff are to overcome to make it all work for the guests.

The camp is mobile and only operational a couple of months on every location (there are 3). It consists out of 9 tents with several other tents for dining and relaxing. But in the whole, it is simplissimo, and it better remain so.

It is a good start for any safari, to have a true "Out of Africa" experience. The camp is right next to the Mara river, where the visitor can witness the dramatic Wildebeest Migration and the crossing of the river, sometimes up to two times a day.

But it is not only Wildebeest, there is the Big Five right next or even into the camp. I have waited long to see a - truly wild - Rhino and saw it here for the first time. And what a sight it was ! I saw cheetahs on the hunt, lions in the tall grass, hippo, crocodiles, huge vultures and hyena. Besides all that, the landscape is the most dramatic and beautiful in all of Africa. Your gamedrive therefore can be breef and does not have to bring you far from camp. Actually, one could see the Big Five right out from the main dining area.

At lunch and supper, all guests dine together in the designated area, which triggers a family feeling. Besides, this modus operandi helps to discuss sightings together so that one knows where to go the next day. We met all sorts of wonderful people in this camp and had a good laugh with every one of them. Most of the time we were so lucky to have our own Landcruiser for the day, but we shared it with other guests as well, which only added to the amount of valuable spottings.

The staff in this camp work hard and are prepared to help the guests in any way possible. The camp leader is quite a charismatic man called Pascali, and he surely knows his business well. We loved to stay here and I can only recommend it highly.

Looking back, those bucket showers were some of the better ones I had in Africa, for the water is guaranteed to be hot. Not even the 5 star lodges around the corner managed to achieve that, so keep it in mind.

  • Stayed August 2011, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank ELREY123
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
10 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 11 helpful votes
Reviewed August 4, 2011

We went in October when Olakira was based up north by the Mara River. The wildebeest were gathering and waiting by the river to do a crossing and we could see this from our tent. One afternoon we took a nap and woke up by Elephants walking right pass our tents. Amazing that was. The camp is fantastic, big, good quality tents with nice and big en-suite bathrooms and the staff was very accommodating and just amazing, even had a game of soccer with them :) The food was outstanding! The mess tent was very comfortable and in the evening we just threw all the pillows on the floor and sat there talking for hours. Hyenas and lions in the background as well as a rain shower which was just magical. I stopped counting how many wildebeest, lions, hippos, crocs, vultures, Maribu Storks, game we saw in the area but we even got to see a rhino (very brief but still :) which was just extra special. Olakira Camp is most definately one of the best out there and anyone going to the Serengeti not going to Olakira is certainly missing out on a great bush camp experience.

  • Stayed October 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank rhinovr
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
170 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 92 helpful votes
Reviewed July 25, 2011

My son and I stayed 4 nights at Olakira, in the northern Serengeti, in July, 2011. My travel agent (Journey to Africa) planned the entire trip around availability at Olakira. When we arrived, I realized why. There is a scenic view of the Mara Rive about 300 yards away. The river then turns and comes within 100 yards from camp. You can’t see it there but you can hear it. The sound of rushing water with animal calls at night is great.
The camp is mobile and relocates between the southern and northern parts of the Serengeti to follow the migration. The tents are clean, have in-suite toilet and shower. Beds were very comfortable, All lamp lighting is 12 volt solar. They run a generator part time to keep the refrigerators at cold temperatures. Camp is all inclusive – laundry, wines, hard liquor. They charge extra for some premium wines. We stuck to the standard fare and they were great.
Except for tse flies while on game drives, we experienced very few bugs (at least at this location).
Then you have the service. Pascal, the manager, and his crew have the formula for superb service nailed down. Every time you arrive at camp, you are met with a warm hand towel to clean your face from road dust. Your guide will call camp 10 minutes before arrival and by the time you arrive at your tent, you have hot water for your shower. I have stayed at some very nice hotels in the USA and Europe. The service at Olakira was by far the most personal service I have experienced. They simply can’t do enough for you and there is always that smile.
The food was excellent by any standard, even more so when you consider the logistics of getting it there and preparing it in the bush. I had actually expected to lose a few pounds or at least hold my own. I was not successful. I simply could not pass any of it up.
When touring, I recommend leaving camp at 6:30 am with a packed breakfast. The temperatures are cooler, the animals are more active, and the tse flies are not flying yet. Best yet, you never know what you will run into while you are enjoying breakfast in the bush.
In summary, Olakira offers the opportunity to stay at a great location, with superb service, a friendly staff, excellent food, and at least 2 million of the 3 million wildebeests who live in the Serengeti.
I hated to leave and would return tomorrow.

  • Stayed July 2011, traveled with family
    • Sleep Quality
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank carlosm1951
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Boise, Idaho
Level Contributor
485 reviews
161 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 448 helpful votes
Reviewed July 20, 2011

This tented camp in the north east Serengeti is run by Asilia; we stayed at three of their camps during our trip and they all have a similar configuration with varying levels of service and luxury. Olakira was our favorite not only of the Asilia camps, but of all the places we stayed on this trip.

The tents are very nice with en suite bathroom facilities. The shower is on demand and hot water is brought to you. Having a flush toilet inside your tent is certainly a luxury! Laundry is included here, as are beverages, and the only extra charges you incur are for "top shelf" liquor. So you can relax and enjoy yourself without the nickel and dime charges of many places.

In the evening there is a campfire and then dinner. The dinner is generally one long table where all guests dine together, headed by the camp manager, which was Pascal at the time of our visit. Pascal has been running this camp for a number of years and by far this place had the best staff and the smoothest operation of anywhere we stayed. The staff showed initiative and did things for us we did not ask - like took and cleaned muddy shoes for us. Pascal checked with us several times a day to see if there was anything more he could do for us - much attention to detail was payed to every aspect of our visit. Staff here are happy and joking, confident in their responsibilities, and dedicated to service.

For lunch we got to sit in the shade of an Acacia tree one day, and had a lovely buffet style lunch the next. Boxed breakfasts and lunch were very good here. The food was excellent. Dinner service is also superb here.

The camp location is a good one in this part of the Serengeti. This is a mobile tented camp, which means it is only up for part of the year and then removed. This is a very pleasant way to stay on safari, but know yourself - tented camps offer the most rustic wildlife experience yet you still have the luxury of flush toilets and hot water. If you like camping this is the best option for you! Permanent camps have tented walls but are often on wood or concrete foundations and are more your speed if you are an RV type of camper. Lodges are more like resorts or hotels, African style, and are a nice choice if you do no t like camping or you feel you need surroundings more similar to home. As far as tented camps go, Olakira is outstanding and we would love to stay there again.

Stayed June 2011, traveled as a couple
Helpful?
4 Thank DAEsmae
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Olakira Camp, Asilia Africa

Property: Olakira Camp, Asilia Africa
Address: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Serengeti National Park
Amenities:
Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 113 Specialty Lodging in Serengeti National Park
Hotel Class:4 star — Olakira Camp, Asilia Africa 4*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Immerse yourself in the Great Migration at Olakira Migration Camp. You will feel the earth vibrate during brave winter crossings of the mighty rivers in the north, or be moved beyond measure by the mass summer calving on the south's grassy plains. Olakira follows the massive herds of wildebeest to two spectacular locations in the north and south of the Serengeti National Park. Home from December to March is the southern Serengeti, where herds of wildebeest calve simultaneously and the plains throng with new life. As the dry days of winter arrive, Olakira relocates north to the confluence of the Mara and Bolongonja rivers for spectacular game viewing at the Mara River itself and around the Lamai Wedge. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Olakira Camp, Asilia Africa Hotel Serengeti National Park

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