The Grumeti River Tented Lodge, commonly referred to as Grumeti River Camp, offers fine luxury tented accommodations, excellent hippo viewing and thrilling nocturnal action. With just 10 vibrant and spacious luxury tents, Grumeti River Camp provides for a very intimate, avant-garde and romantic safari experience. This combined with wonderful dinners under the stars and lively nights with grazing hippos and roaring lions creates, in our opinion, one of the finest tented lodges in Tanzania.
We think it is simply heaven staying here. However, Grumeti River Camp will not appeal to everyone’s tastes and the nearby Kirawira Camp may make a better choice for some individuals. Two potential problems at Grumeti River Camp are 1) there is a large presence of insects due to the nearby river and 2) it can be very intimidating for some people as hippos commonly graze on the sweet grass between the tents during the evening. Kirawira Camp, located about 30 minutes to the southwest, is significantly less expensive and may make a better choice for some people seeking a more ‘conservative’ tented lodge experience. In Africa, luxury does not necessarily correlate with higher prices or comfort but rather with intimacy, adventure and uniqueness. A stay at Grumeti River Camp will certainly deliver these latter aspects but careful consideration must be given to your specific tastes as to whether Grumeti River Camp or Kirawira Camp makes the most sense in your safari itinerary. Please feel free to talk it over with your Africa Dream Safaris representative.
Grumeti River Camp is only recommended early June to late November. It offers especially superb game viewing from early June through mid July and during the month of November. This is when game viewing is at its finest in the Western Serengeti as not only are there plenty of resident animals but a significant portion of the great migration should be passing through the immediate area. It is during these months that we recommend incorporating the Western Serengeti and the Grumeti River Camp into your safari itinerary.
The only downside with Grumeti River Camp with regards to wildlife is that during most of the year game viewing is generally much better in other areas of the Serengeti. The surrounding areas do support a moderate number of resident herbivores and carnivores but nowhere near the numbers seen in other areas of the park during certain seasons. Due to its isolated location way out in the extreme western corridor, game drives to other areas are really not feasible. The exception to all this is from late May to mid July when the great migratory herds of wildebeest reside in the western corridor before moving northward to greener pastures. During these months, game viewing can be phenomenal. Additionally, November is usually a good time for the Western Serengeti as some of the migratory wildebeest and zebra accumulate here before making their final southward leap to the southern Serengeti Plains.
The camp manager at Grumeti River Camp is Warren Pearson. Warren is a friendly South African with a deep passion for lions and photography. Prior to Grumeti River Camp, Warren spent 5 years at a camp in the Londolozi Game Reserve in South Africa.
Grumeti River Camp is located in the western corridor of the Serengeti. Situated at the westerly end of the corridor, the lodge is roughly 30 miles east of Lake Victoria. The lodge lies just north of the Grumeti River, which runs almost the entire length of the corridor. Few visitors ever make it out to the western corridor and most are content just to game drive and lodge in the central Serengeti. A rewarding experience awaits those willing to explore the remote western corridor, especially if the migration is pouring through from late May to mid July.
Grumeti River Camp is usually incorporated into our fly in and drive-back itineraries at the beginning of your safari. You will most likely be arriving via the nearby Grumeti Airstrip on your regional flight departing from the Arusha Air Strip. A night or two at the beginning of your safari is a superb way to kick off your adventure before traveling to other areas of the Serengeti and onwards to the Crater and the other great parks of Northern Tanzania. From Grumeti River Camp, it is about a 2-hour drive east to the Seronera Valley of the Central Serengeti. The main road to Seronera follows the Grumeti River through the Musabi plains and all the way into the Central Serengeti.
Accommodations at Grumeti River Camp consist of a main lodge area set on the banks of a small hippo pool and 10 sleeping tents generously spaced throughout the property to ensure privacy. All 10 tents are furnished with 1 double bed, which can be converted to 2 twin beds upon request. Unfortunately, no triples are available.
Each tent is built on a raised stone platform and encased under a wooden thatched roof. There is a small private deck in front of each tent with safari chairs and lounge chairs. The interiors are quite eclectic and feature vibrant African fabrics. Upon entering your tent, you are greeted by a colorful and oversized bed with a spectacular headboard. Just in front of your bed are two bright cushioned chairs and a small coffee table with 3 jars of tasty hard candy. Immediately behind the bed is a single washbasin with electrical outlets where you can charge your batteries. To the left and right of the washbasin are two separate wooden doors that lead to the shower and toilet. The toilet is completely enclosed while the beautiful alfresco shower is open under the stars. Please note that the generator is turned off each night at 10.30PM.
The main guest areas are just as impressive as your room and consist of a lounge, domed bar, game-viewing deck and inside and outside dinning areas. The lounge overlooks a lush tributary of the Grumeti River containing approximately 20 resident hippos. During your stay at Grumeti River Camp, make sure to set aside an hour or two to watch these entertaining animals. There is even a small ornate plunge pool from which you can lounge in and watch the hippos down below doing the same.
The service at Grumeti River Camp is unbeatable. There is a team of 34 staff (accommodating a maximum of 20 guests) that will go out of their way to make sure your stay is completely enjoyable. They really are a friendly bunch and their pleasant and engaging personalities are certainly one of the highlights of a stay here.
During the night, the surrounding area comes alive with the sounds of hippos grunting, lions roaring or a hyenas calling. Hippos are mainly nocturnal grazers and it is quite common that you will hear them grazing next to your tent during the night. There are no fences around Grumeti River Camp and because the camp resides in a low-lying area and next to a river, many animals freely move through the camp during the night. For obvious safety reason, it is imperative that you do not walk around unescorted during the night. There will be a safety briefing upon arrival and someone will be waiting outside your tent each evening to escort you to and from dinner. Additionally, because of the large presence of insects attracted to the nearby river, please make sure to use insect repellant frequently when staying at Grumeti River Camp
Note: Refurbishments are planned for April and May 2005. The camp has not been remodeled since it was purchased in 1996. The tents have recently been looking a bit tired and worn and the refurbishments will certainly correct these problems. The refurbishments will include a complete overhaul of the camp including replacing each tent with new larger tents, interiors and thatched roofs.
Food and Drink
The food at the Grumeti River Camp is delicious. Wake up calls are taken the night before and coffee or tea and biscuits are delivered to your tent in the morning at the predetermined time. Breakfast boxes can be arranged for early morning game drives or you can enjoy breakfast on the outside patio. Breakfast consists of a mixed buffet with orders taken for eggs, omelets, bacon, toast, pancakes etc. The buffet consists of yogurt, nuts, cereal, breads, fruit and juice. Similarly to breakfast, you have your choice of dinning in for lunch or enjoying a lunch box if you plan a full day adventure game drive. The lunch boxes at Grumeti River Camp are noteworthy as they are among the tastiest you will encounter on your safari. Lunches are usually served on the open lawn if front of the river.
Dinner is a splendid production and is always a memorable occasion at Grumeti River Camp. Drinks and appetizers are first offered in the bar/lounge. Guests are then led to the open dinning area next to the river. Dinner is then served by candlelight and under the stars. It is a delicious 4 courses and consists of Pan-African cuisine and a mixed buffet cooked on the brick fire pit. Your waiter will serve you hot rolls and soup with your choice of wine. The main courses are buffet style and typically consist of chicken or beef, pasta, vegetables, potatoes and rice. Vegetarian options are available upon per request. Dinners are on a 7-day rotation ensuring each night you will enjoy a unique and delicious meal.
There are a good variety of soft drinks, beer, wine and spirits available and most are included in your safari package.
The Grumeti River Camp is located in western area of the Serengeti ecosystem and accordingly, it is this area that will be the topic of discussion below. See the Serengeti National Park guide for a complete analysis on the entire Serengeti ecosystem, including the famed migration and all the game viewing highlights.
The western corridor of the Serengeti is a special place seldom explored by those visiting the Serengeti. It is a remote and unique part of the famous Serengeti. The corridor stretches west from Seronera in the central Serengeti to almost Lake Victoria. The relatively narrow corridor is roughly 50 miles long and is characterized by dense stands of acacia tress interspersed with broken woodlands and open plains. The dominant feature is the Grumeti River, which runs almost the entire length of the corridor.
The western corridor straddles the northward migration route of the enormous wildebeest herds. Typically in late May (the beginning of the dry season), the great herds depart the plains and follow the Mbalageti and Seronera Rivers into the western corridor. The western corridor is the wildebeest’s wet/dry transitional zone. The vast herds will remain here until about July when the dry season completely parches the land and they must venture north towards Kenya and its greener pastures.
The pinnacle of the northward wildebeest migration takes place in the western corridor with the famous Grumeti River crossing. The river is infested with the Nile crocodile, the world’s largest crocodile. For some of these prehistoric animals, it has been a year since they have last eaten and they eagerly await the wildebeest river crossing. Additionally, The Grumeti River also supports a unique riverine forest, which is home to the beautiful black and white colobus monkey.
The western corridor is also home to significant numbers of resident wildlife. There are large populations of resident wildebeest and zebra that do not join their migratory cousins as they pass through every year on their journey northwards. Other resident animals include giraffe, buffalo, eland, topi, impala, waterbuck and Thomson’s gazelle. These resident animals support large concentrations of predators including lion, leopard, cheetah and hyena. The big cats are frequently sighted but not to the extent as seen in the central Serengeti. However, there is simply no other area in Africa that could compete with the central Serengeti’s localized predator densities.
An interesting note: There is a very popular pride of lions that has resided in the area immediately around Grumeti River Camp for generations. You will undoubtedly see them on your game drives, as they are usually very easy to spot. As of October 2004, the pride consisted of 4 adult females, 2 resident males, 6 sub adult cubs (1 – 2 years old) and 3 cubs (2 months old). Two of the lions, an adult female and a resident male, have only 3 legs due to poaching snares. Lions are remarkable resilient animals and the lions are seemingly able to cope with their handicap. The 3-legged female in particular is still a very capable hunter. Despite the vigorous anti-poaching patrols, snare poaching still takes place along the periphery of the park and especially along the northern border of the Western Serengeti. This area of the park is under surmounting pressure from an every increasing population including ranchers and agriculturists. The main threat in this area is the illegal and thriving bush meat trade. Poachers set wire snares to catch game such as wildebeest but they indiscriminately snare whatever walks through including lions.
- Private game drives
- Picnic lunches
- Hippo viewing from Camp
- Cultural tour to a Lake Victoria fishing village