THE Serengeti National Park is an area of the planet that humans can lay no claim to. Animals reign supreme here – the Big Five to be specific (lion, leopard, buffalo, elephant and rhino), all living in fragile harmony with the landscape and each other.
The Serengeti nature reserve, meaning “endless plains” in a local Maasai language, spans Kenya and Tanzania in East Africa. To help maintain this precious ecosystem, some safari lodges put sustainability high on the list of their priorities, whilst also providing guests with a few luxurious creature comforts. Here are four of the best:
What better way to start your first day of safari than by floating above the vast plains in one of Four Season’s hot air balloons? Accommodation here is extremely comfortable, offering a variety of rooms and suites that come with a veranda overlooking the bush and a nearby watering hole, where elephants and their calves make regular appearances.
Guided tours by local Maasai guides and park rangers will help immerse you in your environment, while the animals themselves are never far away.
The Lodge is open and welcoming guests, but there may be Covid-19 symptom screening for guests. Employees wear masks and all guests (age 10 and above) will be required to wear a mask or face covering whilst indoors.
Price per night – from $1,780
Getting there – a 45-minute drive from Seronera Airstrip, which is an hour-flight from Kilimanjaro International
&Beyond created a sustainable, luxurious camp of nine stilted treehouse suites which blend into the mahogany forest on the fringes of Lake Manyara, staying true to its ethical values. Each spacious cabin is built from local wood and is designed to have minimal impact on the environment.
&Beyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge is open and taking bookings, but guests are encouraged to pay attention to the latest travel guidance and be prepared to undergo various Covid-19 screenings on arrival.
Price per night – from $840
Getting there – twice-daily flights from Arusha Airport to Lake Manyara Airstrip, followed by a 3.5-hour drive through the national park
The Ngorongoro conservation area is a protected UNESCO World Heritage Site and has an abundance of animals and plants co-existing in a 610m deep, 18km wide caldera formed two and a half million years ago.
The Manor at Ngorongoro Crater invites you to step back in time to the grandeur and elegance of a magnificent coffee plantation farmhouse, surrounded by 18 luxurious cottages, each with a log fire, and Dutch Cape style décor.
Price per night – from $750 (depending on the season)
How to get there – a 40-minute drive from Manyara Airstrip
No trip to the Serengeti would be complete without witnessing the migration of 1.5 million wildebeest, the largest annual animal migration in the world. This is made possible at Singita Mara River Tented Camp – 6 luxury tents at this permanent camp sit on a bend of the river and boast fantastic views of hippos, crocodiles, wildebeest, and other animals coming to drink, play and hunt.
Sustainability is at the heart of the ethos at Singita, using solar panels for all electricity and only biodegradable materials where possible.
Price per night – from $1,700
How to get there – Arusha Airport – Singita is approximately 1.5 hours via Sasakwa Airstrip