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A 2020 safari with Nomad Tanzania

Throughout Tanzania there are many different safari lodge options, whether you are looking for a mobile tented camp in the heart of the Serengeti, or a lavish river-side lodge with a pool, spa and incredible views, almost anything can be granted. Nomad Tanzania are one of the best companies that provide all-round brilliant service and hospitality within beautiful lodges. From Nomad Lamai in the kopjes of Kogatende to Sand Rivers on the banks of the Rufiji River, their lodges all maintain the highest standards and now have very strict and efficient Covid-19 protocols that ensure the safety of their guests and their staff members. A noteworthy point is that Tanzania does not have any entry requirements, meaning it is a very easy destination to travel to at the moment. Kuro Tarangire Tarangire is the quietest park in the North of Tanzania.  Seldom visited, it offers the perfect calm and relaxed start to any northern itinerary. Often people overlook Tarangire and head straight for the renowned Ngorongoro Crater, yet any time spent in Tarangire will not be wasted! Unlike the Crater, Tarangire is a huge wide expanse of wilderness that not only comprises of beautiful bushveld, but around 10% of the park is made up of a swamp area which attracts some of the best wildlife, especially during the hotter hours of the day. Whilst in Tarangire, I stayed at Nomad’s Kuro camp. A secluded and remote camp that unless you knew where to look, it would be very easy to drive straight past. Blending into the surrounding bush, Nomad try to keep their footprint as light as possible, yet still ensure maximum privacy and seclusion. All six of the airy and spacious thatched rooms have en-suites, a private deck and hot water on demand. Great little additions include a sofa in the room as well as a chaise-longue on the deck. The main area follows the same airy and spacious feel, comprising of a lounge area, a small library and an open dining area which allows you to enjoy pan-African cuisine. A fantastic touch for the birders is the small bird bath just outside the front of the room which can be easily seen from any part of your room. You can lay on your bed and watch as the various pytilias, woodpeckers and starlings come for a drop of water during the day. Covid protocols were taken very seriously at all Nomad camps I stayed at. From temperature checks upon arrival, to hand washing and sanitizing stations scattered throughout the camps, I could not have felt safer. All staff members wear masks and are also quarantined and tested in a separate camp before they are allowed back with guests after their time away. Although Tarangire is normally a quiet park, it was even quieter due to the pandemic. With even less visitors than normal, my guide Joel and myself had sightings all to ourselves. Be it a martial eagle with a kill, or a herd of four-hundred buffalo, the time we spent at the sightings was uninterrupted and it was only the setting sun that caused us to leave. After dark, Tarangire offers a wonderful addition to any safari that is not possible elsewhere in the North of Tanzania: night drives. Accompanied by your guide, a park ranger and a spotter, with six pairs of eyes, your chances of seeing something are good. We were very fortunate and spotted a beautiful serval, an aardwolf, plenty of spotted hyena and so much more. It was definitely worth heading out after dark and seeing what we could find. It was the perfect way to start my Covid-19 safari. Lamai Serengeti After the laid-back serenity of Tarangire, the Serengeti was my next stop. As it was October, Lamai was my choice of Nomad camp. Located in the Kogatende region of the Serengeti National Park, Nomad’s Lamai is perched beautifully amongst the kopjes that overlook the surrounding wilderness. No matter where you are in camp, you will be greeted by beautiful views. Each room has its own private veranda where you can unwind, relax and drink in the stunning scenery. Make sure you have your binoculars as you never know what my stroll by! Just like the other Nomad camps, simplistic luxury is the key, and the main area is no different. With a separate bar area, a lounge with exquisite views and a fire-place for the chilly evenings, as well as an open and spacious dining area, every need is catered for. If however a mobile tented camp is more your style, Nomad’s Serengeti Safari Camp is one of the best. Simplistic luxury is the best way to describe the camp and as it moves throughout the year with the migration, you can be guaranteed front row seats to the most spectacular wildlife phenomenon on the planet. Unlike other parts of the Serengeti where the grassy plains stretch endlessly, the Kogatende area is characterised by rocky outcrops and the meandering Mara River. The first glimpse I got of this famous water source was on my internal flight as we landed at Kogatende airstrip. The rocky outcrops are perfect to explore in the afternoon, where you will often find snoozing cats and a whole host of other wildlife. Yet it is the migration that really steals the show in this area. From mid-July, through to the end of October, the Northern Serengeti teems with over 1.5 million wildebeest as they dare to cross the Mara River. October sees the herds heading South so staying at Nomad Lamai gave me the perfect opportunity to witness the herds crossing the river and heading straight past us, it gave me some perfect photographic opportunities and trying to put into words the scale and awe of such a spectacle is no easy task. Whilst normally you can have between twenty and thirty cars at a river crossing, I was only accompanied by three. Not only did this give me unprecedented access to the crossings, but it meant each sighting could be enjoyed to the fullest. Both my guides, Joel (who I had met on a previous trip) and Amos were brilliant. They ensured I was well looked after and made certain my interests on game drive were met. Whether I asked for a full-day out or only a morning, breakfast and lunch were packed and we had some incredible sightings. Nomad pride themselves on having great guides and I would recommend Joel or Amos to anyone staying at a Nomad camp. Whilst the Serengeti can often get busy during the peak seasons, this year was very different. Due to the pandemic, the visitor numbers were a record low. Although this enhanced my own game viewing experience, the staff members and guides from all camps support families and therefore rely on tourism for income – as do the parks that support the wildlife. I sincerely hope with the promise of vaccinations and travel restrictions currently easing, a sense of normal travel will return soon. Marc Harris is Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey. Tanzania Odyssey is a leading tour operator that has specialised in Tanzania since 1998. If you would like to be a guest blogger on A Luxury Travel Blog in order to raise your profile, please contact us.

Marc Harris

Marc Harris is the Founder and Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey and Africa Odyssey. Marc founded the companies in 1999 after a 2 year stint exploring and guiding all over Africa and still enjoys regular visits to this amazing continent. We are safari experts, long-established specialists in all aspects of African safari itinerary planning and ground management across sub-Saharan Africa. Therefore, whether you are dreaming of the ultimate walking safari through the heart of Zambia’s South Luangwa National Park or a champagne breakfast in the Masai Mara, whether you wish to encounter wild gorillas or enjoy the ultimate Indian Ocean island beach break, we will design the perfect itinerary for you.

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  1. I’ve never been on a safari and after reading this I know that I’ve got a lot to learn, didn’t know that you could do night river drives.

    One of the criticisms that my friends make about safaris is that it’s busy at sunrise and sunset. Then it makes sense to head for the swamps where you’ve got more chance of seeing some wildlife in the daytime.

    Thanks for this, really useful, I need to keep reading and doing my research.

    1. Hi Ted,

      Business does depend on where you stay and where you drive to.

      With good guides you will likely avoid the crowds and find a quieter spot.

      I hope you get to head out on safari soon, if you do want any questions answering please email us at info@africaodyssey.com

    1. Hi Mo,

      October is a great time. The game viewing is amazing and it is not as busy as July-September.
      The weather is great and the herds are still crossing the Mara River.
      I would thoroughly recommend it as a month to visit.

  2. Being half a world away from me, I’ve never considered safaris as a vacation option. I have always thought they were too wild and rugged for my taste. I’m not picky or anything, I thought it just wasn’t my thing and I don’t diss anyone who chooses to spend on it. But lately, I’ve been reading a lot about safari travels because many more people have begun thinking about safer travels. Going where there are fewer crowds or going to where practicing safety protocols such as physical distancing is easy. It’s made me think of really just sticking to traveling where there are a lot of outdoor activities and staying in a really amazing hotel. It’s making me reconsider it somehow, though I’m not there yet. It’s great to read more about what kinds of things happen during safaris and what you can expect, though.

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