Special feature: Grumeti River Camp, Tanzania

Grumeti River CampCC Africa’s Grumeti River Camp is located on the banks of the Grumeti River in the Serengeti National Park in Tanzania.   Although there is the opportunity to travel on a rather bumpy road, most guests arrive by plane courtesy of Regional Air, landing on a make-shift airstrip (read: flat stretch of grass).   As we descended upon the camp, the abundance of wildlife was immediately  evident and the tail-end of the migration was depicted by a scattered line of wildebeest, all heading in the same direction.

Grumeti River CampOn arrival, we were greeted by the staff and immediately shown to our tented camp by our butler, Rueben.   There are ten tents here, each with en suite bathrooms, and our shower was open to the sky allowing us to shower under the stars if we so wished.   Without further ado, it was lunch time.   Here you lunch on the banks of the river to the sound of snorting hippos.

Grumeti River CampThe food is exceptional given that you are in the middle of nowhere. (I think they fly provisions in from South Africa.) Lunch consists of Greek salad followed by delicious, fresh pizza, and pineapple and raspberry sorbet to finish).   And, after watching the hippos for a little longer (they were starting to get a bit impatient with each other) and relaxing about the camp a little, it’s time for our first game drive.

Grumeti River CampGame drives at Grumeti are best at dawn and just before dusk. On the afternoon of our arrival we went out with our ranger, Wilfred, and two guests from the UK, Ken and Kim, who were seasoned visitors of the CC Africa lodges and enjoying their third stay at Grumeti. The smart 4WD Grumeti River Camp vehicle we travel in is open-sided, allowing easy viewing.

Grumeti River CampWell, what can we say… we saw everything from termite mounds to Thompson gazelles. Wildebeest, zebras, ostriches, dig-digs, mongooses (mongeese?!), a tawny eagle (which we saw kill a small bird), giraffes, Grant and Thompson gazelles, a lioness and three cubs, and more… a lot to take in and  somewhat awe-inspiring!

Grumeti River CampThe next day, even before breakfast we had seen crocodiles, pelicans, monkeys and more. We spent the rest of the day relaxing around the camp.   They have an open (but covered) lounge area, a bar  and a plunge pool to help prevent you overheating.   And, of course, your butler is there at your beck and call. Rueben went beyond the call of duty when I was stung by a wasp, and he jumped to the scene, removed the sting and massaged my arm… I’m not sure what  miracle he performed, but I’ve never before  had a wasp sting that did not sting!

Grumeti River CampAll the staff at the camp were exceptionally friendly, yet professional. On a semi-regular basis,  many of them  while away an hour or two of their afternoon playing football (soccer) and I was lucky enough to be the first guest to join them. Having a kick-about in the Serengeti with Tanzanian supporters of the likes of Manchester United, Arsenal, Chelsea and Liverpool, with a lioness and  her young less than a mile away, was one of my more surreal experiences to date!

Grumeti River CampA few more game drives later and we’d seen warthogs,  giraffes, hyenas, buffalo, cheetahs,  and lots and lots of wildebeest and zebra.  We’re also lucky enough to spot  a rare Colobus monkey. This is a perfect location and one where the romance of Africa is complemented by luxurious accommodation, superb cuisine and CCA’s highly personalised service. All in all, I’d highly recommend it.

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