- Posted July 18, 2012 by
This iReport is part of an assignment:
World's coolest hotels and resorts
Luxury Camping in the Serengeti
Coming in across the Serengeti plains for a landing in the small six-seater aircraft, I spotted a herd of something below. Gazelle? Impala? It was definitely some sort of antelope. And in the midst of them, something raised its long and graceful head far above the others. My heart skipped a beat — it was a giraffe! I was seeing a real, live giraffe in the wild, in its natural habitat in Tanzania, with my very own eyes!
It only got better from there.
For any traveler, an African safari is way up there on that bucket list of must-do things in this lifetime, and we are no different. From the moment we landed and drove away from the small dirt airstrip with our andBeyond guide, Medson, we spotted wildlife. Within half an hour we observed hippos, baboons, more giraffe, and even a leopard napping in a tree before his evening hunt began. I was blown away — and we had only been in the Serengeti for a short time.
Medson drove us to our andBeyond tented camp, Serengeti Under Canvas. This is an incredible, luxurious camp that moves five times a year, to follow the wildebeest migration. The annual movement of wildebeest across the Serengeti-Mara ecosystem is one of the greatest spectacles in the natural world. The horizon fills with 1.5 million wildebeest, 200,000 zebra, 18,000 eland and a half-million Thompson’s gazelle, relentlessly tracked by Africa’s great predators.
Serengeti Under Canvas is a marvelous place — this is no “roughing it” camping. The spacious tents are equipped with a comfortable hardwood bed, rugs and even a flush toilet. We had our own personal butler, Edward, who was responsible for bringing us hot water for the outside shower, our meal services and, one of his most important jobs, escorting us to and from the main areas of camp after dark to make sure we remained safe from wild animals.
On an all-day game drive with Medson we saw elephant, lions, buffalo, warthogs, zebra, impala, gazelle and even one of the rarest animals to spot, a cheetah making his way through the great wildebeest migration. A highlight was the wonderful picnic lunch we enjoyed, beside a salt lake where hundreds of vivid pink flamingos live.
On our last morning at Serengeti Under Canvas, we were sad to leave. However, we woke up to what was the most enchanting experience of our entire Tanzania safari. At barely daybreak, we heard a rustling noise outside our tent. Taking a cautious peek outside, we were astounded to see a family of giraffes about fifty yards away, munching happily on the tree right outside.
For more information, visit http://www.andbeyondafrica.com.