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Oliver's Camp, Asilia Africa
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Reviewed March 20, 2013

The staff is wonderful and attentive. The individual "room" tents are set up with some distance between them for privacy and a wonderful view. We enjoyed the outdoor showers - they have privacy but the same great view and plenty of hot water. Our porch was a wonderful place to relax and soak it all in. The tent was roomy and the bed comfortable. Dinner was good, we especially enjoyed the campfire and happy hour before. Anybody that comes to a tented camp has to understand that it's, well, a tented camp and you will hear animals at night and not have the luxuries of a hotel, but we are not campers but were very comfortable.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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2  Thank JBSK89
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 16, 2013

We have been to basic tented camps, and we have also been to upgraded tented camps. Oliver's is upgraded, however, remember, out in the bush you camp, it's not a luxury experience. We met the new managers who had only been there for a week before we arrived for a 2 night stay. The staff tries very hard to please, and the rooms were comfortable. There is, however, no privacy in the bathrooms, but then again, there usually isn't too much privacy out in the bush anyway! My husband loved the food, I thought is was just ok. All in all it was what I would expect for a bush experience, kept clean, neat and well maintained.

Room Tip: Rooms 1 and 2 are quite a hike from the main lodge, so if walking is a problem make sure you ask for a room closer in.
  • Stayed: March 2013, traveled with friends
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6  Thank earperson1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 15, 2013

This was our first tented camp in Tanzania and boy were we spoiled straight out the gate. The tent was very private and absolutely fantastic. The room is huge with a nice bed and sitting area. The shower is outdoors and not a bucket shower. Just very cool.

In addition to the extremely cool tented room the service was just out of this world. Nothing was too much to ask for. We were there during a change over of managers. The outgoing temporary manager - Carisia (not the right spelling) set the bar very high for the new, permanent managers - Justin and his wife whose name is escaping me at the moment. While all the Asilia managers were excellent we definitely were spoiled by this experience.

The managers sit with you upon your arrival and go through everything you need to know about the camp including how to safely navigate the camp. There is always someone at the bar and meal tent to get you a drink no matter what time of day. Happy hour starts at the fire pit with a chance to meet and talk to the other guests and staff before a wonderful 3 course dinner.

Oliver's is one of the only camps that offers a game walk. I would highly recommend this. It gives you a completely different perspective on seeing game from foot versus the safety of your jeep. Lewis was our guide for the walk and he safely got us within 100 yards of a breeding herd of elephants. Fantastic!

We also did the night drive. The sunset alone out in the bush was worth the cost. In addition to enjoying a beautiful sunset with a Sundowner (drink) we also saw Gennet cats, Jackals, a bat eared fox, bush babies, lot of owls and roosting birds. Again, it gives you a different perspective on the bush seeing the animals move in the night.

Yes, this experience is more expensive than staying at a hotel but in my opinion absolutely worth every penny!

Room Tip: All tents are the same. If you have a person traveling with you that can't navigate well ask for a tent close to the main tents.
  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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7  Thank Annie123081
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 13, 2013

Oliver's Camp , one of Asilia's properties, is located in Tarangire National Park. Tarangire is a great location to see tons of giraffes and elephants. Nice outdoor shower but no privacy in the bathroom area. I did not have any food in my tent; however a honey badger did get into my tent and chewed through a side zippered pocket in my duffle and pulled out and chewed up my document case that also contained my money. Luckily the staff heard the noise and chased the badger off before too much damage was done. Be warned about the tse tse flies. They are extremely annoying. Overall, the food and accommodations are good, game drive great and the flies bad in the month February.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with friends
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4  Thank millie4t
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 4, 2013

How you view Oliver's depends on what you want. If you want a "camping experience" (as the many positive posters say they did) then Oliver's is a lot more luxurious than a pup tent on the plains.

But if you want to see the East African wildlife during the day but then go back to the comfort, convenience and safety of something resembling a lodge or hotel room at night, as we did, then Oliver's is definitely not for you.

Not that a tent camp can't provide that. Kusini Camp in South Serengeti (run by Sanctuary), really is the luxury tented camp that Oliver's pretends to be, but isn't.

To mention just a few points of difference between them:
Oliver's offers an open toilet bowl in the bedroom, so there is no privacy, Oliver's offers no electric outlets in the tents to even recharge camera batteries, nowhere near enough light in the tents to read or even unpack by, no mosquito nets over the bed, even though there are holes in the tents and the area is infested with tsetse flies and mosquitoes. All unlike Kusini.

Water in Oliver's tents comes in flasks, not sealed bottles, and that requires using the metal drinking cups that didn't look clean. There is a long unlighted ill-marked path to Oliver's tents, with overhanging thorn tree branches waiting for the unwary. Dinner wasn't bad but there was no choice at all and not enough meat to go around. If you drive into Oliver's you have to undergo many hours on a very long incredibly bad "road" - much worse, even, than Serengeti standards. Kusini even offers wi fi in the lodge. Oliver's has internet for the staff but doesn't offer it to guests, even in the dining room, except in emergencies.

Worst of all, animals routinely get into Oliver's flimsy, largely mesh tents which don't even have locks on the doors, and break into luggage. Oliver's requires guests to sign a release absolving Asilia of all responsibility if you are killed, injured or your property is destroyed in their camp. They warned us that the honey badgers will even chew your passports if they are in your luggage, not the tiny safe (honest).

We could go on but you get the idea.

If you read between the lines, you'll find that each of these points, and more, is confirmed in other, 4 and 5 star reviews, but dismissed as unimportant because those things make Oliver's a "real camping experience".

But they are important for those, like us, who don't want to camp out, - who just want basic comfort, convenience and safety in their accommodations.

We stayed happily at three Serena's, Kusini Camp, and Rivertrees Country Inn and enjoyed all of them. Years ago we stayed in several South African game lodges and were very happy.

We had paid for Oliver's for three nights, (Feb 23-25th, 2013), which was to be the grand conclusion of our trip, but we realized immediately that we were in the wrong place. It cost us an additional $500 to escape after one night, but believe me, it was worth every penny.

We don't generally post on TripAdvisor, and we're not hostile to Oliver's, but we were fooled by the uniformly good reviews and felt a duty to warn others of the other side of the story.

On the plus side, the brand new managing couple, Jackie and Justin, couldn't have been nicer and more understanding of why we wanted to leave.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled as a couple
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12  Thank the-explorers-350
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
AsiliaAfrica, Manager at Oliver's Camp, Asilia Africa, responded to this reviewResponded March 14, 2013

Thank you for taking the time to share your feedback. First and foremost, we are very sorry to hear your experience at our camp did not meet your expectations. Moreover as this is, as you say, most unusual.

As the vast majority of our past travellers and reviews here confirm, Oliver’s is an authentic Tanzanian safari camp and widely regarded as one of the best on the Northern Circuit. Oliver’s is a tented safari camp and not a fenced or concrete lodge. We take great pride in details such as the fact that we don’t provide non-biodegradable plastic bottles which litter our country or provide sockets on every wall. Indeed, it has won eco awards for those very things that you did not like and it does that by offering an experience that is true to itself and not short-cutting in attention to detail as you suggest.

Many of the things you raise are standard practice and would not surprise any regular safari-goers and even most new guests, when you consider the environment you are in and the experience we seek to offer. Importantly having considered feedback from other guests over and around the same time you were there, none of which reflect your experience at all, I do feel that for one reason or another you have ended up in a place most definitely not suitable for you and for that we are sincerely sorry.

We acknowledge your negative experience and as I say are most disappointed that on this rare occasion we could not get it right despite - as you kindly acknowledge - the management’s best efforts. We obviously care that your expectations were not met, and are sorry to hear your trip had to end this way.

Should you wish to further discuss, please feel very free to contact me at marleen@asiliaafrica.com

Kind regards,
Marleen Haverkamp – Marketing Manager

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