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“Luxury Safari Adventure”

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Alex Walker's Serian
Certificate of Excellence
Austin, Texas
Level Contributor
31 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 35 helpful votes
“Luxury Safari Adventure”
Reviewed January 11, 2014

The animals are awesome, the lodging is excellent fun, but it's the people that pushed this adventure over the top! Our extended family, including young adult kids and 90 year-old parents, just returned from 4 wonderful days on the Serengeti. Our guides were top flight, and Robyn and the campsite team were soliticious to our every need, making sure hot showers were on tap, coffees was delivered in the dawn, and no glass was empty during fireside evening cocktails. We spent 3 days in 3 tricked out land cruisers, and saw every animal we had hoped for and more.

Day 1 we left before dawn and droves miles across the plains to catch the wildebeest migration and the accompanying lions, cheetahs, and various hangers-on. On the way we ran across animals at every turn including a honey badger, a den of hyenas, zebras, gazelle, and more birds than can be remembered. What an awesome introduction. Day 2 we left early again, this time targetting more family of lions, a cheetah and her cubs, ostriches, and herds of curious giraffes. We returned to camp for a delicious late lunch, and an afternoon scenic drive. Day 3 the guides delivered on the pack of wiley wild dogs and a beautiful family of elephants. Every animal we saw was accompanied by a note of interest (e.g. dik-diks mate for life) by our guides (the "dream team," commanded by "never-stuck Eric!") We were never lacking for a cold beer or glass of wine, on the road or in the tent! Evening meals were a romantic affair, gathered under a candlelit chandelier with circling waiters passing delicious 3 course meals prepared in the kitchen tent!

Besides the camp crew, we really enjoyed getting to know our fellow guests (from all corners of the globe - a really enjoyable crowd but, what else would you expect)? Also, we were entranced by our neighbors the Masai (who were about to move pending the approach of the migration); these colorful friendly people herded their goats, cattle and donkeys across the horizon, and came out to meet us when did a brief nature walk past their boma. Our weather (late Dec - early Jan) was excellent; cool at night, warm during the day, no bugs. We had a few showers which rendered the roads "challanging" in our book, but nothing that can't be handled by gunning the motor and steering into the skid, adding an element of excitement to several of our drives!

The tents were as promoted: comfortable real beds, complete "en suite" bathrooms, sheep skin rugs and lovely covered "porches." The one area we probably did not calculate right was the footwear; because we are in the cars most of the day, you can get by with sneakers and shoes that can be easily taken off/on are best for traipsing around camp; something for wet weather/mud is also a good idea, but heavy hiking boots are not necessary. Also, bring tons of sunscreen and of course a good hat.

Robyn, Eric, Michael and Mandabe: thank you for everything and we'll always remember the wonderful time you shared with us! Please keep it going so that we can share it with out grandkids one day!!!

  • Stayed December 2013, traveled with family
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2 Thank BagzRPkd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (41)
Date | Rating
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English first
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
Reviewed January 3, 2014

My wife and I stayed for 4 nights at the end of October.

Although the great migration had already started heading south, we were still able to see lots of resident game.

The game drives were a step up from the other legs of our trip. What made our game drives here so good were:
- Our own vehicle, driver-guide and spotter.
- Having a spotter made a big difference in what we found / saw).
- The guide's knowledge was also extremely useful in predicting river crossings and rhino locations.
- They knew the area like the back of their hand, so could take us straight to see the baby leopards, the prides, etc.
- Everything is on your doorstep, no need to drive for hours before you start seeing things
- They're able to drive off the roads / tracks to get you closer to the action.

We saw all the "big 5" on multiple occasions. The highlight for us was probably the river crossings - the noise and drama was spectacular.

In terms of the lodge itself, it had all the creature comforts and luxury you might hope for (lovely tents, great food, all the little touches like hot water bottles, etc.)

One thing that we liked was that it was more like staying at someone's home than a hotel. Alex and Robyn were always to hand, acting as hosts and really getting to know you. We were encouraged to make ourselves feel at home (they have a lounge area and a bar where you can help yourself to drinks). All the guests congregated around the campfire before dinner, where we all ate at one table with Alex and Robyn.

I can't recommend staying here enough. Do it! You won't regret it!

Room Tip: All the tents are good!
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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2 Thank gregwill
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Jackson, Wyoming
Level Contributor
33 reviews
27 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 18 helpful votes
Reviewed November 28, 2013

Alex Walker's Serian camp exceeded our expectations in every way: accommodations, customer service, food, wildlife, scenery, serenity, and on and on. We went there to see the animals - wish we had spent more time taking in the landscape and spirituality of the place and had allowed the animal watching to be secondary. If you go there, try to smell the roses instead of counting them.

Room Tip: Get a tent where the elephants pass by just as you are returning from you afternoon drive
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with family
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1 Thank sandy r
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
7 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
Reviewed November 2, 2013

We spent four days at the Serian Serengeti North camp, and I will remember the experience for the rest of my life. The access to the wildlife is truly remarkable-- we were up close with lions, cheetah, black rhino, leopards, zebra, cape buffalo, elephant, hyena, giraffe, hippo, and crocodiles, as well as seeing at least one hundred thousand wildebeest and multiple river crossings. It was the most amazing display of animal life I could ever imagine, and more often than not we were along on the plain. If you hope to go out to Africa and see an entire nature documentary live (think Planet Earth) there is nowhere better than the Serian Serengeti North camp.

Additionally, the staff is incredibly warm and friendly, and so amazingly knowledgable. Our guide and tracker were an absolute joy to be around, and could answer any question we could possibly imagine. Back at the camp, the staff on hand is kind and courteous, and while a little shy at first, they open up easily and are incredibly interesting to talk to. Meals in the main halls with Alex and Robin were a parade of delicious food and amazing stories, and sitting around the table with the whole camp was such a fun departure from meals alone amongst our group. They do a spectacular job of creating a sense of community, and that makes the whole experience that much more fun.

The rooms are in tents, but that doesn't mean they aren't luxurious. The beds are comfortable, you can charge electronics in your room, bag showers and flush toilets are in the bathrooms, and fresh linens are always available. Sleeping on the ground, and hearing the animals all around you, is quite an exhilarating yet remarkably peaceful experience.

All in all, Serian Serengeti North is perfect. To pair the most spectacular wildlife in the world with the community they create is an experience you will never forget.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
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Helpful?
3 Thank Charlie M
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Melbourne, Australia
Level Contributor
24 reviews
16 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 19 helpful votes
Reviewed October 23, 2013

We had an amazing 4 night stay between October 10th and 13th.
Alex was a wonderful host and Gerard and Belinda outstanding managers.
Jeremiah was an excellent and enthusiastic guide and Pius the best spotter we had in Tanzania - they were a great team who did everyone they could to please us.
We saw the Big 5 on Day 1 and also saw lots of babies including lions, jackals, ostrich, giraffes, zebras, hippos, crocs, wilderbeast, leopard tortoises, hyennas.
Seeing the black rhinos, leopards and cheetahs were also special.
This place is brilliantly located, our vegetarians food options superb, evening drinks, fireplace chats, magnificent room with brilliant sunrise views.
Yes it is expensive but it certainly met and exceeded our high expectations.
They even put on a special birthday cake for my birthday.
Thank you !

Room Tip: We stayed in room 7 but i think everyone room is just as good. We did a morning safari leaving at 6...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
2 Thank DavidCarman
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Columbus, Ohio
Level Contributor
3 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 1 helpful vote
Reviewed October 23, 2013

I do not think there are words that can describe the experience I had at the North Mobile Camp.
What a wonderful place and a wonderful team of people who are dedicated to the mission of you having the safari experience of your dreams. A special thanks to Tuma and Sabol who were always ready to go at early 6am and always willing to stay late racing back to camp to be back before dark(we were always sidetracked by some sighting on the way back which further delayed us.) A special thanks to Belinda, Gerard and Alex for being such welcoming host and for such great attention to detail . Now for my experience. 5 days and 5 nights. 4 leopards in 4 days, 6 cheetah -3 separate sightings, 3 black rhino's(baby included) 3 separate sightings, 50 plus lions, 2 large prides, 2 solo females, 1 female with 4 young cubs, 2 coalition males, 2 servals one hunting successfully , black back jackals, over 100 elephants, and one wilderbeast crossing. I was told that at the time of my visit that there had not been much rain so less crossings but my experience at Lamai Valley were outstanding and that would have not been possible with heavy rains. I have a few words for advise for future travelers think about what you want to see and do and discuss this with your guides and listen to their suggestions. I think we were a great team and were willing to spend some time in the bush and had an amazing time. Also I have seen some of the comments regarding crowding the animal and interfering with their activities. I think as consumers we need to be respectful and let our guides know that we do not want to crowd the animal. They are eager for you to have this amazing experience. Often leaving early you can see these animals without alot of others around. 2 of the 4 leopards and one of the cheetah sitings we found them and approached slowly they did not appeared bothered . We also discussed that if the animal seemed stressed we would pull away or leave . I can't wait to come back.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled solo
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Helpful?
Thank angelas70
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Sydney, Australia
Level Contributor
72 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 80 helpful votes
Reviewed October 19, 2013

We stayed at Alex Walker’s Serian- Serengeti north camp in September 2013 for 4 nights. This was the 1st of 4 camps we stayed at on our 14 night safari in north and south Tanzania. This was our 2nd safari holiday (18 nights/5 camps) in Africa and 2nd visit to the Serengeti Mara.

The guiding was good, the car was good, location was great, the tent and camp were excellent, the food was very good, drinks included, laundry included and were treated with a bush bath. However there were a few inconsistencies with the service and therefore I rate this experience very good relative to cost/night and comparative to my experience at other camps. While it may appear that I am nit-picking over small things, these small things are what makes the difference between a very good stay and excellent stay, especially when other camps hit the mark on everything! This is the most I have ever paid/night to stay anywhere in the world and I wanted it to be perfect.

The camp is in a great location, not far from the Mara River, airport and interesting and diverse areas of the park which we visited on game drives. The open plains and abundance of wildlife make it easy to see a variety of animals and we saw everything we wanted except rhino. There was a good amount of wildebeest in the area and there were at least 3 crossings (crossing no. 1, 2, 4) while we were there. There were no Mosquitos, a few flies and a few tsetse flies in the park.

Robyn was the camp manager. She is lovely and we enjoyed our lunches and dinners with her. She was always there to see us off and welcome us back from all game drives. On arrival at camp Robyn debriefed us on the running of the camp and checked any food allergies. We were also asked to sign a disclaimer form. All drinks and alcohol were included in our rate. Laundry was included in our rate. We had our own car, guide and spotter and we arranged with them directly what time we wanted to do the game drives. The routine was completely flexible and based on what time and where we wanted to do things. We organised a 5.30am wake up call. We had a 6-1pm safari with a packed breakfast followed by lunch at the camp. We had a 4-6.30ish afternoon safari. You can ask your guide to radio camp to organise a hot shower so it's ready when you get back from safari in the day or at night.

At camp there was a tent with a lounge area and small dining table we used for lunches. There was a campfire and chairs out the front at night. There was a large dining table in a tent which was used for dinner. There were 8 tents with a maximum 16 guests.

The camp uses a generator and solar power so power was available in the tent and at all times. The tents were large and roomy and beautifully decorated. The bed was firm and it had 5 types of pillows. Bed linen was great and towels so fluffy and soft. Hot water bottles were not in our bed on the first night, but were every other night after that. A medium weight duvet is perfect for the cold nights. Blankets were available from Robyn if you are still too cold or you think the duvet is too hot. The bathroom had 20L hot bucket showers for each person. The toilet and the shower are in individual zip up canvas rooms. Shampoo, conditioner, soap, washing powder, body lotion, insect repellent, talcum powder and soap were in the bathroom. 1.5L plastic water bottles were provided in the bathroom and on each bedside table. The tent was absolute luxury and can't be faulted.

The food was very good but lacked some variety at breakfast and lunch. Wake up call included a plunger coffee or tea bag with boiling water and cold milk plus shortbread biscuits or small muesli bars. Packed breakfast was the same all four mornings for the 4 of us: 4 boiled eggs, 4 pikelets, 4 white (stale) bread rolls with either peanut butter or honey and 4 pieces of watermelon. You serve yourself from the back of the car. The guide makes you either powdered coffee or English tea/herbal teas. On day 4 there were no English tea bags left at breakfast. We ate sitting at a small table for 2 in 4 different locations looking over the Serengeti. I didn't really enjoy the food at breakfasts but the experiences were good!

We ate buffet lunch at camp and Robyn eats with the 6-8 guests who were around. Wine or spirits were offered at lunch. The lunches were delicious. Lunch on 3 days was Napolitano pasta with 2 salads, a cheese board with 4 types of cheeses, crackers and fresh bread. There was cold chicken or meat loaf on 2 days. On the table was butter, olive oil, vinegar and chilli chutney (which was so yum). A plated dessert and coffee were also served.

No snacks were offered before or on game drives during our stay. Between 7-8pm guests met around the fire for drinks, appetisers and star gazing! Bliss. I enjoyed the time given to this. Dinner with the all the guests was at 8pm. It was 3 courses such as soup, main which included meat and vegetables and dessert. Food was restaurant quality but there were a few dishes that weren't to my taste (rock melon and tomato layered salad!?!). As I am vegetarian I had a separate main meal. Staff bought the food around the table so guests were able to receive the amount of food they wanted to eat. I really enjoyed the communal dinners and Robyn was on hand to oversee the meal.

The vehicle was a 7 seater with 2 rows with 2 seats and a 3rd row with 3 seats. The vehicle had 2 sunroofs so you could stand up. An esky was placed on the floor between the 2-3 rows. Drinks were available during drives, but were never cold. Blankets were provided on morning game drives. The camp uses radios to communicate with camp and other cars. I found the guide used them occasionally and it was not too loud.

Our guide/driver and spotter were pleasant and we had nice drives with them. Our spotter was Masai and learning English and we had limited communication with him. On arrival our guide Madebe asked what we wanted to see and about our safari experience. Before we went out for drives he would discuss a plan which we all agreed on. He tried to find everything we wanted to see and answered all our questions. I feel our experience would have been enhanced if he had shared more information about the animals or the environment or anecdotes. We did not meet any other drivers or spotters during our stay.

When we arrived at Kogatende airstrip we were not greeted by our guide and therefore had to remove our luggage and go find him amongst the 20-30 cars. This is the only time I have experienced this. We were offered a drink and waited about 45 minutes for the previous guest’s plane to arrive and depart and for our paperwork to be lodged at the office. We had a 2 hour game drive before heading to camp for lunch. During the drive Madebe said sorry for not being at the plane when we arrived, it was because the plane was early.

On the 1st afternoon we let Robyn and Madebe know I would like white wine for my sundowner and my husband asked for beer. On the 2nd day we asked for a sundowner at 6pm but there was no wine and of course the beer in the esky wasn't cold so we drove back to camp to get some drinks and then we drove 3 minutes from camp to catch the sunset which was nice. On day 3 we were offered sundowners and none were offered on day 4.

On our 2nd afternoon game drive, us plus 6- 7 cars were lined up watching a leopard stalking an impala. Another car from Alex Walker camp drove between the row of cars and the leopard and stopped within a few meters of it. The leopard ran away and the car went on to follow it. We were frustrated with the missed opportunity but it was made worse when other guests and drivers from other camps told our guide off. Our guide handled the situation well but the mood of the afternoon changed for all of us. I discussed this with Robyn that night and she was very apologetic.

Our 3rd night was a highlight of our holiday. Robyn organised for our guide to drop us off at a bush bath. It was very romantic to finish our sundowner by a private fire. We waited impatiently for the unbearably hot water to cool but after an hour we decided my husband would go with the torch to find someone to bring cold water. Once he made it back and the bath was cooled down we only had a short bath because a Masai came to get us. It was an amazing once in a life time experience and we let Robyn know we were very thankful. We did mention the hot bath water and suggested having a bucket of cold water near the bath.

On our departure day (flying 10-3.30pm) Robyn organised a packed lunch for us which we really appreciated. We were given a bag with two small bread rolls with tomato, cucumber, pesto and two small muesli bars.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
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Helpful?
1 Thank ClaireBare
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AlexWalker, Manager at Alex Walker's Serian, responded to this review, October 27, 2013
Thank you for all the positive comments – we so enjoyed having you and your husband to stay, and it really was such a pleasure to have your company in camp. The tips on improvements are also much appreciated… as much as you try to control all aspects of a guest’s experience, there are certain things you don’t know about until they happen, and it’s always helpful if these things are brought up at the time, so that we can make the necessary adjustments as we go along.

Regarding the incident with the leopard sighting, we do take our conduct on game drives very seriously indeed, and by no means do we condone the kind of behaviour mentioned. Feedback like this is very helpful to us: as well as addressing the issue at the time, Alex reinforced the message in a subsequent guide’s meeting, and we can safely assure you that this is not an experience that will be repeated.

Though unfortunate, hopefully those reading this review will be able to discern that the situation described is by no means a reflection of our ethos or professionalism – as you will see from other posts in this forum, our guides usually receive the highest of praise, and the overwhelming majority of our guests are delighted by their experience with us.

Having a spotter in the car plus exclusive use of vehicle is one of the unique things about our camps, and we select people who really know the environment due to their culture’s interaction with it. This yields a blend of authentic bush knowledge and experience with the communication skills of the guide. We encourage people to spend a good few days with us, to be able to immerse into the wilderness and let the situations unfold around you, rather than feeling the pressure to rush from sighting to sighting with the fear of time running out.

We’ve also taken up this review with our kitchen, and picnic variety has been improved – we’re delighted that you enjoyed the food otherwise! We are working on the little inconsistencies you’ve mentioned, and with these improvements we feel confident that our guests will enjoy the experience we pride ourselves on providing.
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Additional Information about Alex Walker's Serian

Property: Alex Walker's Serian
Address: Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Serengeti National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites Wheelchair access
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 113 Specialty Lodging in Serengeti National Park
Number of rooms: 6
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A seasonal camp located close to the "great migration" best suited to those with an adventurous spirit who seek out raw and real experience.Alex Walker’s Serian - Serengeti flaunts a sense of spirited style. An authentic and intimate East African bush camp; that allows you to flee the bustle of contemporary life & experience a blend of untamed Africa in traditional tented splendour! Tanzania’s celebrated Serengeti hosts the last great concentration of mixed wildlife in Africa, best known for its migration of nearly two million Wildebeest. "Simply put, the very best game viewing in the world today." ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Alex Walker`s Serian - Serengeti Hotel Serengeti National Park

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