Serengeti Migration Camp
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
The Great Migration pulses and pauses, but is in more-or-less constant, million-animal movement throughout the year. Nestled amidst huge, kopje-like boulders overlooking the always lively Grumeti River, Migration Camp is designed for spectacular game-viewing, luxurious relaxation, and a full, vitalizing dose of the world-unique—solar system unique!—Serengeti.
The Serengeti’s light, wrote Cyril Connolly, “is dazzling, the air delectable; kopjes rise out of the grass at far intervals…the magic of the American prairie here blends with the other magic of the animals as they existed before man. There is a lightening of spirit.” And few places are as alight with Africa as Migration Camp.
One common experience of that atmospheric dazzle: our butler brings freshly brewed coffee (or tea, or whatever we wish) to our tent, and we sit on the especially expansive veranda, hot cup in hand, awaiting the dawn. And we see in the east a cloud so fiery from the light of the still unseen sun that we almost have to avert our eyes. Sunrises in the Serengeti are like daily creation events.
Migration Camp’s 20 tents are well-spaced, unusually spacious, and designed in high safari style, mixing leather-and-brass tradition with unobtrusive but handy modernity. (And as we always like to remind our potential safaiers, they resemble normal camp tents about as much as the august New York Public resembles a little hometown library.)
Each of the camp’s 20 tents (12 doubles, 3 twins, and 5 triples, making the camp more-than-usually family-friendly) overlooks the vast Serengeti Plain, ever pulsing with life. Migration Camp delights in arranging bush breakfasts, lunches, and candle-lit dinners, and its elegant dining room is a great place to sip a fine vintage while gazing out at a herd of elephants in lordly procession. The main tent has a dual-level lounge, swimming pool, sparkling restaurant, and viewing platforms that look down at the bustling river, and out to golden eternity.
First and famously foremost: seeing the world’s most fascinating animals. From the Camp itself, and on leisurely game drives in the company of our Micato Safari Director and Driver Guide, who know and love the Serengeti backward, forward, and everywhere in between. The Big Five—leopard, Cape buffalo, rhino, lion, and the biggest terrestrial animal of all, elephant—are much to be seen, along with 65 or so other mammal species. And we realize that though we’ve seen Africa’s animals in zoos, read about them and seen endless pictures, movies, and videos of them all our lives, we really didn’t know them until now. Not until we hear a lion’s “ominous, compacted grunt,” a thrilling sound in which Elspeth Huxley heard “an arrogant authority unique among animals.”
Then again, roaming the great Plain, coming across one of those kingly beasts unmajestically splayed on its back atop a bonsai-like kopje, warming its fluffy belly in the Serengeti sun, gives us another appreciation of our not-always arrogant fellow mammal. Something to talk about later as we lounge on camp chairs enjoying a winsome picnic under a generously spreading acacia tree.
Golden savannah is the Serengeti’s major theme, but riverine and forested sub-themes abound, including the neighboring Grumeti River. Bubbling pods of otherworldly hippos gambol in chocolatey pools (in contrast to the Camp’s rather more pristinely blue pool). And as streams of ungulates make their perilous river crossing, crocodiles bide their time like the pleistocenic beasts they are.