After being off limits to tourists for two decades for big-cat research, this section of the eastern Serengeti is home to a staggering density of predators. The recently upgraded Namiri Plains has been designed to maximize views of the water source in front of camp. Its 10 elegant and spacious tents – each with its own veranda and private outdoor bath – provide the perfect setting from which to watch the wildlife that congregates here to drink. When the Great Migration moves into the area, the plains explode into action, with massive herds heading south to calve, followed by the big cats that prey on them.
There’s fantastic game viewing here but relatively few other visitors, which is very unusual in northern Tanzania. The tents, which are stylish and thoughtfully designed, really make an impact. Nothing distracts from the overwhelming feeling of wilderness, which is iconic Serengeti.
The camp has has ten guests tents, including a family unit, spread either side of the main areas. With heavy stone walls and taut, multi-peaked cream canvas awnings, they are imposing structures and quite unlike any other tented camp we have seen in Tanzania. Walking is the most intimate way to experience the bush; the pace is comfortable, your eye-level is that of the wildlife, and your senses are more acutely aware of the sights, smells and sounds. Walking safaris must be booked in advance.
During your stay at Namiri, you will enjoy daily game drives with their very knowledgeable local guides. You Study and photograph the big cats of the area at your leisure, and absorb the extraordinary sight of massive herds of wildebeest appearing to take over the plains. Cheetah Research on the open plains of the Serengeti and you get a chance to meet up with the local cheetah researcher to compare notes and learn more about these endangered big cats. This is available at an extra cost and should be booked in advance. All vehicles at Namiri Plains are open-sided and have power points where you can charge your devices, and are fitted with fridges to keep your drinks perfectly chilled.
Balloon safaris are a romantic and iconic way to experience the wilderness of East Africa, as you fly silently over the plains teeming with herds of wildlife in the early morning. Typically, a balloon safari begins around 6am and lasts for around 1-2 hours. Balloon safaris (available at an extra cost) in the Serengeti take off from designated sites in the nearby Seronera area. The Hot Air Balloon safari is followed by a champagne breakfast in the bush, a fitting end to a memorable flight over the wild.
Cheetah move in and out of the crater, while leopard are most often encountered in the spectacular Lerai Forest
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