Alex Walker's Serian camp in the southern Serengeti had been recommended to us by our travel agent as one of the best and most reliable operators in the region, and our experience lived up to all our expectations. My partner & I stayed with Alex and his team for 6 nights in late January 2011 and managed to see pretty much every animal possible, with the sole exception of the elusive leopard. But plenty of lion, cheetah, elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, hyenas etc. made up for that.
The Serian camp is located approx. 2 hours drive from Ndutu so, unlike the camps in the Ndutu area where we saw up to 5 jeeps surrounding any big cats, at Serian we were miles from any other tourists and had all the wildlife to ourselves. In fact the only other people nearby were the local Maasai tribes, all of whom were very friendly. Alex's description of a barely visible dirt track as their 'main road' illustrated how remote the camp was.
The camp comprised 8 'posh' tents, each with an en suite flushing toilet and hot shower. The giant beds were super comfortable and the tent was far bigger than our bedroom at home. All the furnishings, including a really soft rug and writing desk, made the tent feel very homely and it was easy to keep the netting over the entrance and windows zipped up to keep out bugs and mosquitos (although there didn't seem to be many flying bugs around).
Evening meals were taken with all the other guests around the large dining table in the main lounge tent. Despite my initial reservations this provided some very interesting and diverse conversations, perhaps reflecting the cultural background of people who are interested in (and can afford) an exclusive safari experience. During our 6 day stay the number of other guests varied from just 1-3 other couples, creating a very friendly and intimate camp. Despite the remote location, the food and drink (all inclusive in the price) were excellent and the alcohol was always freely available (often in quite large quantities).
As a gay couple we weren't sure how the local Tanzanian staff would react to us, but Alex and all his 25 staff at the camp made us feel extremely welcome and the service was excellent from everyone. Alex's assistant, Alexandra, in particular made the stay extremely enjoyable through her friendly chatter and willingness to help. Each day's itinerary was entirely customisable with guests choosing whether to drive or have a walking tour, with delicious picnic breakfasts and/or lunches available for those going on longer drives.
As with any safari, the amount of wildlife you see is largely dependent upon your driver & tracker. Our one negative comment on our week was that our tracker didn't seem as good a spotter as those assigned to other guests, who seemed to find it easier to spot wildlife and learnt much more about all the animals from their tracker & driver than we did. Nevertheless we did see all the wildlife we had expected and took some amazing photos (minimum 300mm lens is essential).
Overall, we can highly recommend Serian. It is expensive but our holiday was a wonderful experience and we are so glad we didn't go with one of the cheaper options.
- 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