Safari camps aren’t exactly plagued by noisy neighbours, (save for a roaring lion or two), but this remodelled luxury lodge really is far from the madding crowd. With no other camps to speak of for an hour in any direction, Namiri is a mere speck in the endless golden plains that carpet the Serengeti National Park’s eastern reaches. Closed to visitors for two decades to allow cheetah numbers to replenish, this once off-limits region is now aflush with big cats.
Being unfenced, there’s every chance you could spot one in camp – reimagined as ten solar-powered suites that fan out from a central dining and lounge area. Designer Caline Williams-Wynn has eschewed Hemingway-esque colonial clutter for macramé wall hangings, a poured concrete floor and earthy tones. The fresh look really comes to the fore in Namiri’s light-flooded rooms, camouflaged by sandy-hued awnings and decked out with oversized straw pendants, milking stool table nests and slouchy ochre armchairs.
As for the bathrooms, their volcanic rock walls are offset with floor-to-ceiling glass showers boasting views of acacia-studded plains. For the ultimate bush indulgence wallow in the sunken tub on a private deck, fashioned from recycled plastic and overlooked only by the odd grazing gazelle.
Bathtub game viewing is one thing, but to witness bulging pods of hippos and Masai giraffe, you’ll need to hit the dusty, bone-rattling roads. Punctuating these savannahs are the Serengeti’s famous rocky outcrops, or kopjes – a favourite refuge for nursing lionesses and former lookout of dreadlock-maned Bob Marley. Thought to be one of the national park’s oldest lions, the local legend’s eventful 14-year life is immortalised on the camp den walls.
The den, which also houses a library and shop, backs onto a modest pool ringed by hammocks. It’s the perfect spot for a pre-prandial cocktail before feasting on a Swahili platter with a side of star-spangled bush skies.
IN THE NEIGHBOURHOOD
50km south of Namiri is one of the world’s most important archaeological sites: Olduvai Gorge in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It was here, in 1959, that paleoanthropologists Mary and Louis Leakey discovered the earliest evidence of human evolution; a 1.75 million year-old hominin skull.
A new female pride
Namiri’s sister camp, Dunia, is challenging gender stereotypes by being the first all-women-run safari camp in Tanzania, helmed by the country’s only female Safari Lodge Manager, Angel Namshali. Nestled in the Serengeti’s southern plains on the path of the great migration, the semi-permanent camp’s team hails from 16 different Tanzanian tribes.
Conservation and conversations
As part of Namiri’s ongoing alliance with the Serengeti Cheetah Project, guests can spend an afternoon out in the field with head researcher Dennis Minja to learn more about this vulnerable species, known to commandeer 4x4s to scan for prey.
PRICE: FROM US$479 PER NIGHT / asiliaafrica.com