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“Ultimate Camping Experience”

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andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas
Certificate of Excellence
Fountain Hills, Arizona
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 2 helpful votes
“Ultimate Camping Experience”
Reviewed November 14, 2013

My wife and I spent 3 nights at this property. I cannot phantom the logistics required to run such an operation. The food, accommodations and service were all above our expectations. The wildlife is abundant but a little noisy while they graze around your tent so if you’re a light sleeper I would recommend ear plugs. Keep in mind you are in the bush and do need to be aware of the animals around you. The staff however does take every precaution to ensure your safety. It is quite the view to wake up as your butler delivers tea first thing in the morning and as you look out you see hundreds of animals grazing just outside the entrance to your tent. Your every need is accommodated by a very friendly staff that takes great pride in providing you with an experience you will never forget. The guides are also very knowledgeable about the habitat and animals that are abundant in the area. Our guide was able to find every animal we had requested to see and how he did that in such a large expanse of land I will never know. The most memorable experience was performed to perfection. The entire kitchen staff and kitchen was resurrected in the middle of nowhere providing us with a superb lunch along the river. My hat is off to the staff and &beyond that can make this dream a reality.

  • Stayed November 2013, traveled as a couple
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1 Thank Scott W
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Adelaide, Australia
Level Contributor
38 reviews
24 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed October 25, 2013

What an experience!

The staff provided the best service I have ever received. Ever. Friendly, welcoming, charming, professional, incredibly efficient and good at what they do. Every need was met, often before we anticipated the need in the first place :)

The tents are beautiful. The flushing toilet was a pleasant surprise, the private-but-open-at-the-top gravity fed shower with a view of the stars, and the sounds of zebra in the background was amazing. The beds were comfortable, there was hanging space, and the only creature that got in one night was a mouse - I'm assuming because we didn't shut the shower flap properly!

The food was excellent, although if you are fussy it's worth mentioning any likes and dislikes, as it is a set menu in the evenings - the staff are more than apply to accommodate anything you need,
provided they know about it!

Other bonuses - great alcoholic beverage selection, complimentary hand washing laundry service (as our butler said "we wash by the hand, and dry by the sun"), free access to wifi (although it can be patchy in the sleeping tents, it's only designed to supply the common areas - tent access is a bonus), gorgeous views.

Perfect "special occasion" accommodation, incredibly romantic.

Must see!

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
Thank adelehallett
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Level Contributor
6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed September 27, 2013

The following is my husband's review of our recent trip, including commentary regarding Serengeti Under Canvas. I post it here in it's entirety, although it is not Serengeti Under Canvas specific, as I cannot find a spot to post a review of &Beyond as an entity. To his comments I would simply add that the gentlemen who cared for us at Serengeti Under Canvas were second to none. They were knowledgeable about game and birds, good conversationalists during the evening cocktail hour, and not only attended to but anticipated our every need. I am not much of a camper, but because of their caring attendance this was not camping; it was equivalent to a fine hotel, despite not having wired electricity or plumbing.

Items not mentioned in the general review but worth noting: 1. We were able, through the ability of our guides, to see a lioness and cub interacting from less than 20 yards, and also to view 2 types of monkeys we did not see in other areas on the trip. 2. The mobility of the camp allows for moving to where the animals are, which led to our having a fantastic breakfast on the Serengeti while watching wildebeest in migration. 3. The butlers here are absolutely the best, and take care of everything you could want. 4. The food was fantastic!

So now for the epic review:
My family and my brother’s family, six adults and three children in total, went on an eight day African safari in June, 2013. Anika Oosthuizen of & Beyond planned our trip. We went to three different camps: Bateleur Camp Masi Mara, Serengeti under Canvas, and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. We had a spectacular time. I can wholeheartedly recommend & Beyond and Anika. They did a wonderful job. We saw countless animals (including all of the big five). The staff treated us like royalty, and the trip ran like clockwork. We never had to think about, let alone worry about, our schedule or travel logistics. We were able to relax and enjoy the show.
It is difficult to convey in words how superb the animal viewing was. We were able to drive within twenty yards of giraffes, lions, cheetahs, elephants, and most other animals with such frequency that, by the end of the trip, it had become almost routine. On the drive from the airstrip upon our arrival at the first camp, Bateleur, we saw elephants, giraffes, a pride of about fourteen lions (one of which was lounging in a tree), and countless other quadrupeds. That evening, still on our first day, we saw two lionesses from the same pride hunt, kill, and (with the help of the other hungry pride members) rapaciously devour a warthog. Within two days, we had seen all of the big five, including the elusive leopard and the rare rhino. I cannot imagine better animal viewing unless it is staged.
The use of the word “camp” to describe the accommodations is a misnomer. To be sure, at Bateleur and Serengeti under Canvass, you sleep in a canvas walled structure. However, this is where the comparison to what one typically envisions as a camp ends. Inside each tent are a proper full sized bed, cabinets, and all the other furniture that one expects to find in a luxury hotel room . The butler at Bateleur placed two rubber hot water bottles below the sheets at night. As a result of what is surely a mighty logistical challenge, each tent at Serengeti under Canvass had flush toilets, running water and a shower.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is one of the best hotels I have ever visited, and I travel extensively on business worldwide. The rooms, which overlook the crater, are at least five hundred square feet, and come fully equipped. Upon returning from the safari, the butler draws a hot bath, complete with rose petals, in the traditional claw footed tub. My wife almost refused to leave. Where else can you sit in the loo and gaze onto one of the UN World Heritage sites?
The staff at each camp was friendly, highly trained and professional. It is worth noting that they are also locals. The staff took care of us very well; spoiled us, in fact. I felt like I was living in Victorian England. Each morning, a butler arrived to your room with delicious hot coffee (hot chocolate for the kids), biscuits and the warm “jambo jambo” greeting. Oh, and then you went to breakfast. I like my cocktails, and I was therefore delighted to learn that anytime was the right time for a gin and tonic. The food, especially the soup, was outstanding. I ate so much that I gained weight.
The guides deserve special mention. I learned that they must attend and pass a rigorous field course before they can serve as game guides. Their training showed. But for their sharp eyes, we would not have seen several different animals, including the leopard. They were able to find and identify everything. My brother is an avid birder. He drove me half insane on the trip with his incessant questions about the birds. I was astonished to discover that the guides at each camp knew the birds better than he did. They were happy to accommodate and fuel his avian obsession.
I will admit that, although I consider myself to be adventurous and have travelled extensively, before the trip I was somewhat apprehensive about safety and logistics. I was traveling with my wife and three kids (aged 16, 14, and 12) in and out of Nairobi. My apprehension was unwarranted. Upon arrival at the airport, we were greeted by a friendly man who took us to our hotel. From that moment onwards, & Beyond looked after us completely until we were standing in line at the Nairobi airport for our return flight eight days later. I did not have to worry about any travel arrangements. I was able to shut my mind off, and let others take the lead. Anyone who travels with kids will appreciate how significant this is, especially given the complexity of travelling between the three camps using primitive airstrips and twice crossing the border between Kenya and Tanzania.
I should also note that, to its credit, & Beyond will arrange to take you on a side trip to see a local village. I did this with my kids so that they could see what life is really like in east Africa, lest the superlative service on our safari create a false impression. I recommend this to anyone who has the time.
The bottom line is that anyone interested in an African safari who has the means should use & Beyond. Although the price may seem high at first blush, the reality is that it is a great value for what you receive in terms of game viewing, service, accommodations, food and drink, and travel management. Why skimp when such an option is available?

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
5 Thank hockeymomWI
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Level Contributor
69 reviews
52 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 122 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2013

What an amazing 3 nights we spent here! We started our trip at Lake Manyara Tree Lodge (separate review posted) before moving on to Serengeti Under Canvas. This is a mobile tent camp that moves approximately every 2-3 months with the migrating wildebeest herd. But just because it’s a mobile camp doesn’t mean they’re sacrificing comfort or luxury. Our butler Solomon tended to our every need with enthusiasm and efficiency. Our guide/driver David was excellent at spotting and locating even the most elusive of animals.

The Room: Our tent was an east-facing room with an unobstructed view of the sunrise every morning. There were often zebras and wildebeest grazing outside our tent overnight and in the morning – but of course they run off as soon as they discover you’re looking at them or photographing them. The bed was extremely comfortable and we had no trouble sleeping. The toilet actually flushes, although it’s not as strong of a flow as your at-home toilet. The bucket shower proved to be a bit challenging. The water is hot and wonderful, but the showerhead flows extremely lightly. If you have hair any longer than shoulder-length, you will struggle to get it wet enough for good shampoo suds. And don’t even think about styling your hair. But you’re in the plains of the Serengeti, not the catwalk on Fashion Week. Deal with limp hair. You’ll more than make up for it with amazing safari pictures.

Electronics: The camp has electricity and Wifi, although you struggle to get a good Wifi signal from anywhere except the electronics tent, and even then it may be hit and miss – at best, it is an extremely slow experience. Uploading photos to social networking sites is a practical impossibility, although text-based updates are more likely. The electronics tent is where you can charge all your electronic devices – don’t worry about bringing converters. They have everything you’ll need here.

The food: On the whole, amazing. Deliciously prepared, beautifully presented. Our only disappointment is that the food seemed to be optimized for Westerners and lacked any local flavor, although locally sourced ingredients were used and everything was freshly prepared. Fresh baked bread every day, amazing entrees. And even chocolate mousse for dessert one night! We never felt hungry and if the staff had even an inkling that we were not full, they would force more food and cocktails down our throats. My husband particularly enjoyed the breakfasts with the made-to-order eggs and the fresh-made muesli.

Safari Tours: We spent three days on safari here and it was absolutely amazing. We saw more than a thousand wildebeest cross the Mara River during the Great Migration – totally amazing. Our guide, David, worked extremely hard to find the specific types of animals we wanted to see, some of which were rather elusive. (i.e. he spent 2 days looking for a leopard in all its usual haunts, we finally saw one on the evening of our last day on safari…and then as we were driven to the airport the following morning, we spotted a leopard lounging on a rock just off the roadway) The distances we had to drive every day were pretty long and bumpy…there are no paved roads…only well-traveled dirt paths. The andBeyond guides keep in touch with each other to report animal sightings and the guides on the road seem to share information as well. Because the distances traveled are long, we had a packed picnic lunch every day rather than returning to the camp for the midday meal.

A note about the safari cars: The vehicles provided for the safari sightseeing were converted Land Cruisers which had large window openings and no window glass. This vehicle design was mostly fine and allowed for photography from either seat of the car without getting parts of the car in the photo, but it was a far inferior vehicle to the open air vehicle we had experienced at Lake Manyara and which we saw a few some other tour companies using at Serengeti. The vehicle also had a pop-up open top, which allowed us to stand up for a fuller view, but we rarely needed to.

The service: Impeccable. From the surprise cocktail bar perched high up on a rock overlooking the plains to the extremely personalized and personality-filled conversations with our butler, every moment we spent at Serengeti Under Canvas felt like a luxury experience. The folks at andBeyond have truly worked hard to create a unique experience that shows its guests that they are getting good value for the money they spent on the trip.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
3 Thank tvnewseditor
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed September 19, 2013

This was definitely the highlight of our trip!! The camp is beautiful. The staff goes way beyond to fullfill all your expectations and provide superb service. You are assigned a butler per tent and our butler John was the best. The food is wonderful, the drinks are premium, the ammenities in the tent are excellent. Everything was clean and working in perfect condition. The experience of sleeping in a tent surrounded by the wilderbeests and under a perfect starry night is thrilling. Although the showers are private and inside your tent, they do not have a roof so showering under the night skies was an adventure. You definitely feel part of the Serengeti and one with nature. This was one experience we will not forget. I would not recommend this for small kids though.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Lauraacra
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Santo Domingo, Distrito Nacional, Dominican Republic
Level Contributor
11 reviews
8 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 6 helpful votes
Reviewed September 16, 2013

This was the highlight of our African Adventure. The staff goes beyond service, they become friends and are simply unforgettable. I read somewhere "I came for the wildlife but will always remember the people". This is true at this camp. You have to have in mind this is not a hotel, is a "tented camp". The showers are roofless, so I showered with heated water from a bucket shower under the moon and the stars. Wildbeest and zebras are all over the camp at night. It is as real as you can get but with luxury. The tents are huge and very well equiped. Coffee is brought to you every morning in your ask. The food is remarkable. We stayed in Africa for 2 weeks including and 4 tented camps.. all very good, but this, without any doubt is the one that really made the difference.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with family
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Helpful?
Thank Mario D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
154 reviews
22 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 99 helpful votes
Reviewed August 24, 2013

This was the end of our safari trip, having spent 3 days at Bateleur Camp (see separate review) in Massai Mara.
This was a totally different experience in the Serengeti, but just incredible. &beyond seem to have an uncanny knack of employing the most hospitable, knowledgeable, and friendly people, who bend over backwards to ensure your stay is memorable. Whether it be the butlers, the welcoming committee, the guides or the chefs, they are all remarkable. Nothing to hard.
This moveable camp, is luxury camping at its best. You have to see it to believe it!! In the middle of the Serengetti, here we are in what can only be described as five star camping. Our "tent", is hessian lined with a Persian rug over the entrance, fantastic comfortable bed, great bathroom, and a highlight is the fantastic outdoor (but private) showers, where hot water is brought to you whenever you ask. The other finishes in the tent are beautiful, as are the area outside for relaxing.
The lounge area where we met for pre-dinner drinks, was warm & inviting, with a huge range of quality beverages, and dining inside or out was superlative. How the chef KK produced such excellent cuisine on open fire was incredible.
Our butler Julius was just marvellous, always there to assist for whatever one required. Interestingly he represented Tanzania in the marathon at the Sydney Olympics!
Our guide Robert also deserves a mention. Very knowledgeable, and we always felt safe. The wild life in the Serengetti was amazing, but very different to Massai Mara. Experiencing both is a must.
Serengeti under canvas, comes with a big plus from me.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank Ronnie51_11
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas

Property: andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas
Address: Serengeti, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Serengeti National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast
Hotel Style:
Ranked #24 of 113 Specialty Lodging in Serengeti National Park
Hotel Class:5 star — andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas 5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
AndBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas is a luxurious semi-permanent tented camp that moves around the Serengeti, bringing guests within range of the massive herds of the Great Migration. This is the ultimate in luxury camping, complete with a private butler service, chandeliers, silverware, crystal, ensuite flush toilets and comfortable beds with fluffy duvets. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Serengeti Under Canvas Hotel Serengeti National Park

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