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That most enticing of safari dreams—spying each of the Big 5 at home at their wildest—never ceases to delight. Happily, the splendid Serengeti Pioneer Camp is ideally placed for this, in addition to some very fine holidaying prospects at its just-the-right-side-of-wonderful tented luxury camp. Another magnificent moving target, the Great Migration, passes right through this desirable neighbourhood, too. Roosted atop a romantic rocky kopje, the wistful beauty of the Serengeti plains unfolds before us and, depending on the season, the annual movement of more than two-million creatures – the great, the small and, in the wildebeest’s case, the downright wacky – is a true delight to behold.
Our Tanzanian home from home is a splendid cocoon of modern comforts mixed with indulgent traditions. Paying the best kind of homage to the adventure-inclined mobile camps of the 1930s, our luxury tented accommodations mean the sky-rich savannah views are as close as another welcome G&T. (A successful game drive chock-o-block with spirit-lifting animal sightings can be thirsty-making stuff!) Alongside fine hospitality and delicious meals at every turn, our thoughtful hosts have cleverly employed many nifty features (like solar-heated water, as but one example) to create a “zero footprint” camp, assuring the splendid Serengeti remains just that for a very long time indeed.
Twelve spacious tented luxury villas accommodate two people each, and there’s a two-bedroom tent that’s ideal for families. Each evokes the romantic, pleasure-filled escapades of the very first safaris, enhanced with every mod-con we might need (and a few extra extras for good measure, like the stationery-equipped writing desk and a set of comfortable deck chairs, perfect for the fragrant pot of coffee that arrives, like magic, first thing). Sturdy canvas walls furl open onto pink Serengeti skies, woven carpets cushion each step, and a rushing hot shower is at the ready to rinse away any fine African dust we’ve collected that afternoon admiring those elephants gamboling by the river. A glorious candlelit dinner – either in the dining tent or perhaps beneath a glittering canopy of stars—is on the menu, before sinking into another of the deepest African sleep of sleeps.
Families are most welcome and there’s ample space to breathe, frolic and generally live large in the two-bedroom family tent.
Long, luxuriating game drives are a particular passion in the Serengeti. If the spirit moves, we set off early, well armed with a Champagne picnic breakfast, pausing when it suits later for a delectable picnic lunch. The company never fails to entertain: the Serengeti serves up a famous plethora of animals, from lion and giraffe to hippo and rhino, cheetah and… well, pretty much the whole shebang. Our amiable hosts also delight, by special permission from park authorities, in treating us to a very perfect, very private picnic spot—on a hilltop overlooking the Serengeti plains which, we think you’ll agree, is the picnic spot of a lifetime. In fact, the only other vista that compares is the one we soak up from on high whilst on a magical balloon safari.