Photo credit: Asilia Management
Tuesday, September 27 to Thursday, September 29, 2016
The Central Serengeti
For 2o years, the grasslands of the Eastern Serengeti were closed to tourists to allow the cheetah population to replenish itself. Today, this is big-cat territory, where cheetah roam the area in pursuit of prey, and lion and leopard hunt undisturbed.
In 2014, the region reopened with Asilia appointed as its custodian.
Namiri Plains could be the set for Out of Africa. The only thing missing was Robert Redford.
Namiri Plains was one of my two favorite camps. It is magical. Beautiful scenery and stunning sunrises and sunsets.
We flew into Seronera airstrip and we were met by our camp senior guide Partena and trainee Ngimba in an open sided Toyota Land Cruiser. We had lunch at the airstrip while Partena sorted out the paperwork for entry into the park.
The camp is about an hour and a half from the airstrip so we extended the ride to about 3 hours and did our first game drive. It was very eventful. As well as the usual zebra and wildebeest we saw our first cheetah, a lion kill (young buffalo) and lions mating, a great start! About 30 minutes out from the camp there was a short but strong rainstorm. Rain ponchos and fleece blankets appeared within seconds.
Once again we were greeted by Diana, the camp manager, and the eager staff with cold towels and cool drinks.
The tents have fabric floors and you can feel the earth beneath your feet. Our tent was large with sweeping 360-degree views of the plains. The king-sized beds fitted with crisp black and white linens are seriously comfortable. Hot water bottles appeared beneath the sheets every night. Spacious en-suite bathrooms have flushing toilets and hot running water in both the indoor and outdoor showers. Amazing having a late afternoon shower and watching the elephants stroll by. Eight tents in all with a communal dining and lounge tent. Attention to detail was impressive.
At night you could hear the lions roaring in the distance and other calls of the wild. One evening we had elephants walking within a few yards of our tent and on the other night we had lions roaring within yards of our tent. A side note: The guides and staff are very knowledgeable and cognizant of visitor safety and security. After dark, it was mandatory to be escorted by a true Maasai Warrior.
Sundowners by the fire every night and those sunsets. One of my favorite times of day. Dinner was served in a large tent with plenty of conversation about the day’s sightings.
Once again our wake up calls were coffee, tea or hot chocolate, with biscuits, delivered to our door at the agreed upon time. I can’t think of anything that compares to waking up at 5:30 am to a deep voice saying Jambo, Jambo and having coffee in bed as the sun rises, looking out on the plains, while lions and elephants and 30+ other species are roaming around you, in total silence. It is definitely hard to get out of bed.
On our first day we did morning and afternoon game drives with a great lunch between. Hot water bottles and fleece blankets provided on morning game drives due to the cold, windy weather. The landscape is very bleak with wide area of dry, brown savannah and rocky outcrops (kopjes). The highlight of our morning was seeing a mother cheetah and her 2 cubs. Clifton spotted what he thought was a cheetah. Partena confirmed and the hunt was on. We spent several hours just watching. Clifton asked if the cheetahs had ever climbed onto the vehicle. Partena said, “no.” And a few minutes later, the little boy managed to climb up on the hood of the land cruiser. A simply incredible experience.
Partena was a great guide, he was knowledgeable and went the extra mile to give us great game viewing. Ngimba was very focused on spotting wildlife. We spent a lot of time just sitting quietly with the guides watching these cats. As importantly we learned a lot from our guides during these quieter moments.
During our trip to Tanzania we stayed at three camps run by Asilia. At all camps the service and attention we received was first class and the staff and guides were very friendly and courteous and committed to making our trip a memorable experience.
Namiri Plains is a tailor made for those who are serious about their Safaris. There were only a few other couples in the camp and we had a private vehicle and were partnered with the Partena and Ngimba for the whole of our stay.
Partena joined us for dinner on the last night and shared his passion for the animals. It was a great way to end our adventure.
The food was extremely impressive and the Chefs deserve a lot of credit. Moses was a fantastic bar manager and made sure that there was a cocktail when I needed it and Jackson was always very attentive at meal times.
I have amazing memories from Namiri, but the cheetah cub that climbed on to our land rover will remain with me for ever. I suspect he will get into a lot of trouble.
Namiri Plains was perfect! The staff, the tents, the guides, and of course the animals. You expect and hope to see many different species, many in a group, multi species together, close up if possible. All of this happened. We had the privilege of experiencing on of the last untouched harmonies on our planet. I can’t wait to go back. I was blessed to share this experience with my husband and son.
Thank you, Diana and all the staff for making a memory that we will never forget. There is nothing in this world as rewarding as spending time with your family experiencing something so incredible.
Excellent location, people, amenities, food & wine, conversation, and big cat viewing. An amazing experience that will live in my heart forever!