04 Mar Safari camps in Out of Africa style in Kenia and Tanzania
If you make a safari to Kenya and Tanzania, make sure to choose the right charming holiday accommodation; safari camps in ‘Out of Africa’ style, lodges in trees …, there is a wide range each with it’s own style and character. It is one of the most beautiful trips we have ever made.
The most striking for me is the wildlife, an untamed world, not a zoo, it’s for real and it’s a hard world. But the african safari is much more then ‘just’ watching animals, it’s a mixture of wildlife, amazing landscapes, gastronomy, and the special offer of charming holiday accommodation. An unforgettable experience!
Tailor made african safari package to Kenya and Tanzania
We are used to organize our own holidays, but in this case we decided to contract a tailor made african safari to Kenya and Tanzania. The idea was travelling for a week so we thought it was best to have our own guide to optimize the time. The spanish travel agency De Viaje de Madrid designed a custom made trip for us which adjusted perfectly to our desires. In the past they organised our trip to Argentina so we already knew they are a real profesional agency.
If you decide to go on a safari, which can be quite expensive, I recommend you go to a specialised agency. A team of experts can give you recommendations based on experiences (just like our trip to Maldives), they can design the trip according to your wishes and budget and also give you a good choice of charming holiday accommodations, in this case safari camps & lodges, so that you can decide which ones to go to.
Our itininary for our african safari to Kenya and Tanzania
Day 1: Flight Madrid – Amsterdam – Nairobi (Kenya), we spend the night on the flight
Day 2: Long journey by car to the safari camp Kambi Ya Tembo in Sinya, Amboseli National Park, Tanzania
Day 3: Safari in Sinya
Day 4: Proceed from Sinya to the Naivasha Lake and accomodation in the Naivasha Simba Lodge
Day 5: From Naivasha visiting the Nakuru Lake and Naivasha Lake
Day 6: A long journey by car from Naivasha to Masai Mara and lodging in the safari camp Mara Intrepids
Day 7: Safari in Masai Mara
Day 8: Morning safari and in the afternoon a domestic flight to Nairobi and at night flight Amsterdam-Madrid
African safari camps and lodges in Kenya and Tanzania
The offer of charming holiday accommodations in Kenya and Tanzania is diverse and goes from safari camps to luxury lodges integrated into their environment. Personally, we prefer something nowadays called glamping = camping but in certain luxury. Here a list of some of the best tented camps according to Travel + Leisure.
We stayed in the following accomodations:
Kambi Ya Tembo Camp (= Campamento del elefante)
In Africa there is a wide range of safari camps and we stayed in two. The Kambi Ya Tembo Camp is located in the middle of the bush in Tanzania. It’s on the border with Kenya in the Amboseli National Park in the private reserve of Sinya. Sinya is a private concession of some 600 square kilometers. It has spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro, the Ol Doinyo Ibor (the white mountain). There are only 1o classic tents, each with its wooden beds, shower, toilet and porch.
A curiosity is that this safari camp isn’t fenced. This means that at night the toilets can not have water because the elephants come to drink from the cistern with its consequent destruction and scares. It is a brutal experience to be at night in your bed and hear the animals loitering around or on top of your tent.
The safari camp has a main tent with its living room and dining room. At night they light fires and candles which create a very romantic atmosphere. Besides the food was excellent.
I absolutly recommend this accommodation. It has the authentic Out of Africa style, you have all the amenities but without exaggeration and you are in a unique environment with amazing views.
Lake Naivasha Simba Lodge
The Naivasha Lodge is situated in the interior of the Great Rift Valley. This lodge is not bad but we were not as excited about it as our safari camps. But it is true that it has a very strategic location to visit Lake Naivasha, Lake Nakuru and the Crater Lake Sanctuary. It offers all kind of services like a spa, a tennis court, a shop.
The hotel overlooks Lake Naivasha (= rough waters) which is riddled with hippos. Be careful, because they are very dangerous animals. It is also the reason why the hotel is fenced because late in the afternoon the hippos come out of the water and would enter their gardens with the possible consequent problems.
The Mara Intrepids tent camp is definitely one of the most charming accommodations I know. It is a combination between the accommodation itself and its location in the Masai Mara area overlooking the Talek River. When we moved by car from Nakuru to this safari camp, I did not understand how the guide knew how to get there. There was no sign, no indications, no obvious roads and suddenly you find this oasis of peace.
We stayed in a luxury twin tent overlooking the Talek River with its corresponding hippos. It is a fenced safari camp because of the presence of dangerous animals. In the mornings a ‘butler’ brings you your coffee, tea or hot chocolate which is appreciated because you always get up around 06h00 as it is the time with the best chance of seeing animals like lions but it is still cold outside.
What to do in Kenya and Tanzania
In our case the answer was easy; go on safari. We had come specifically with this objective. And with the safari, I mean to enjoy the untamed wildlife in combination with the charming accommodations lie safarii camps and the stunning scenery that Africa offers with a very special light. We visited mainly 3 areas:
- The Amsboseli National Park in Tanzania, close to the frontier with Kenya
- The Nakuru Lake and the Naivasha Lake
- Masaai Mara
Amboseli National Park,Tanzania
From our campsite Kambi Ya Tembo accommodation the first thing that impresses are the spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro. In combination with the animals you have a unique experience.
Private excursions are made in open jeeps or on foot escorted by Masaai warriors.
Normally you wake up very early in the morning to see the animals. Then you have breakfast. In this area we saw mainly elephants?; small ones, big ones, fighting and threathening elephants (the elephants have a great impact when they approach your car) and graceful giraffes?.
At the end of the day at sunset we enjoyed the sunset from the top of a hill with a glass of champagne. A magical moment!
At night you also take advantage to do a small safari. It is super fun to see in the trees in lots of seemingly little lights that turn out to be the eyes of different animals.
During the day we visit a Masaai village to see how they live. The huts are so dark that I almost fell on a Masaai grandmother. In the village, men did practically nothing or at least that was the impression. The ones who worked were children and women. I have to say that in general I do not usually like to do this type of visits because you think you see a very authentic population and the moment you leave you take out your cell phones. But the good thing is that when you buy the products (in this case, necklaces, bracelets …) they have designed, you give support to the local economy, and they need it.
Naivasha Lake and Nakuru Lake
Lake Naivasha has a large population of hippos. And although they look kind of cute, this herbivore is the animal that causes most deaths per year in Africa. If you bathe and there is a hippopotamus you have a great chance of ending up dead by being crushed or being killed by its jaw. So be careful! When it gets dark you can’t go through the fence of the hotel to the lake because that’s when the hippos get close to the shore and leave the water.
If you decide to take a tour on the lake, do it on a big boat. We did it with local people in a small boat and I had a terrible time. It should be forbidden because the hippos disappear under the water, you can not see them and they can overturn you and then they crush you.
Crater Lake Sanctuary
The first day in the afternoon we visited the Crater Lake Sanctuary. It is a crater and in the middle it has a small lake surrounded by forest with a large population of the black and white Colobus monkeys ?. We skirt the lake without a guide. It is a walking route without difficulties and we really enjoyed it because it was in absolute peace, we didn’t see anyone (only animals).
This tour is from my point of view a mandatory visit. Lake Nakuru is also located in the Great Rift Valley at 1,745m. above sea level. What an impression to see this lake from a high viewing point dyed pink by the presence of a large population of flamingos. On the shore we got out of the car but we have to be careful because of the type of animals in this area like buffaloes and rhinoceroses?.
After visiting the lake we visited the Nakuru National Park. It is not very big but we saw many types of animals like monkeys and cheetahs. We had lunch at the Sarova Lion Hill both restaurant and lodge. It could be an interesting accomodation to spend a night, it is not high level but it is charming in african style and has a perfect location.
Photo Safari of the Mara Plain
We were lucky to be in Masai Mara at the time of the animal migrations from Tanzania to Kenya. It is a real spectacle to see the animals crossing the Mara River, where many do not survive because they are being trampled and eaten by other animals.
This park is an authentic animal festival. We’ve seen thousands of zebras and I’ve laughed a lot about the wildebeest. They are so stupid that I am surprised that there is still one left and they haven’t been eaten all. We have heard and seen howling the unpleasant hyenas, you see hunt the lionesses but then the lions first eat (feminism has not yet reached this species), a tree full of vultures waiting for the remains, ostriches, crocodiles and cheetahs.
What is the best time to go to Kenya and Tanzania
One of the most important things to keep in mind when planning your safari is when the Serengeti great migration takes place. If possible, make your holidays coincide with this anual migration of thousands of animals (depending if you are in Tanzania or Kenya it’s a different moment) although an exact date can’t be given because it depends on each years rainfall patterns. Ours coincided and it is the animal world in full splendor.
The order of the animals during the migration has a logic: in front go the wildebeest and the zebras?, behind them the predators like the lions?, then the carolers as the hyenas and as last the vultures? who eat the remains.
Regarding the weather?; the best time is between January and March and between July and October because it is the dry season. During the day it is hot but be careful, in general to go on safari you get up very early and in the early morning it is cold. Take warm clothes with you !!!!
Getting around in Kenya and Tanzania
We flew with KLM from Madrid to Amsterdam and from there to Nairobi, the capital of Kenya.
For land transport we had our private guide with whom we traveled all the way to Tanzania, Lake Nakuru and Masai Mara. The guide was a lovely Kenyan and the long journeys were a great opportunity to hear everything about the local life and also enjoy the scenery. The advantage of a private guide is also that you make the stops whenever and wherever you want.
If you travel with an organised group, they often make stops at shopping centers or stores where they get a commission but where you personally do not want to stop at all.
The last trip from Masai Mara to Nairobi was done by plane. A funny detail was that next to the Mara Intrepid hotel there was a small runway and landing strip but there were no fences, no buildings or anything. Therefore, before arriving each plane they have to make sure that the strip was clear of animals.
Recommendations for traveling to Kenya and Tanzania
✅ Take into account migration season of the animals. I recommend that you try to match your trip with the migration because it is an impressive experience.
✅ Choose charming accommodations such as safari camps? in classic style. They do not need to be luxurious but they should have that ‘Out of Africa’ touch.
✅ If you make this trip and you can afford it, travel with your own guide and car. You see other safari groups in larger vans where some have windows and others don’t. I think it’s an ‘once in a lifetime experience’ and it’s worth paying it. Also,
✅ Take a balloon trip?. We didn’t contract this activity because it was very expensive but later on we regret it. The combination of the beautiful light in Africa and seeing wildlife from a height must be a unique experience.
✅ If you have little time, don’t stay in Nairobi, the capital of Kenya. The travel agency advised us not to stay in the city but directly leave and I think that is a correct decision. Maybe I’m mistaken but it didn’t seem ver interesting
✅ Normally you get up around six in the morning to make your first excursion before breakfast. It is one of the best times to see the animals but at that time it is cold. Take warm clothes with you!
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