Klein’s Camp

Old school thatched rondavels

B 144, Tanzania

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At a Glance

A former hunting camp, Klein’s consists of simple thatched cottages on a ridge in the northern Serengeti.

Indagare Loves

  • The Maasai community visits
  • The night drives which are possible here
  • Sitting in the lounge looking over the Serengeti at cocktail hour


A former German hunting camp on the northern edge of the Serengeti, Klein’s Camp was taken over by the visionary wilderness company CCAfrica (now &Beyond) in 1995. Its ten guest cottages are tucked on the edge of the Kuka Hills overlooking a stunning valley that teems with zebra and wildebeest during the annual migration. In the main house, a larger thatched rondavel style building similar to the guest cottages, you can sit on cushy couches or deep leather club chairs and gaze over a land barely tread upon for centuries. Stacks of guest albums with notes and photos documenting adventures in the area rest on a massive leather ottoman adorned with Maasai beading. The houseman proffers tea or a cool drink and at night a central fire is lit and guests gravitate here to trade the day’s game stories. The camp leases close to 25,000 acres from the Ololosokwan Maasai community, which graze their cattle in the grasslands that are also home to resident herds of buffalo, giraffe, zebra and elephant. And the young male warriors in their bright red robes and beaded Maasai jewelry are as majestic a sight to come upon on a game drive as the lion prides that they carry spears against.

As Klein’s is on a private reserve, it is possible to do guided safari walks as well as night drives, during which the nocturnal animals like hyena, jackals and leopard come out to hunt. Among our evening highlights: we spotted bush babies, which look like small bouncy bears, leaping from tree to tree, and a caracal, a small lynx like feline. An entrance to the Serengeti National Park sits only a few miles from camp, so you can also make forays into the world’s ultimate animal preserve, and in one of its least trafficked areas. When we did, we saw only one other vehicle the entire day but hundreds of wildebeest and zebra along with lion, ostrich, elephant and many more. Next to the main house, with the bar and lounge area, there is a dining pavilion. During the day, the canvas sides of the dining area are rolled up for maximum view value, but at night they are dropped and large candelabra illuminate the mirrors and colonial style furnishings to create a magical oasis of formality. The neatly dressed waiters serve wonderfully light yet sophisticated food such as tomato basil soup, sea bass with pine nuts and leek and chocolate soufflé. (Many of the vegetables and fruit are grown in the camp’s organic garden.) One afternoon we visited the Maasai village where the chef was born. We toured a new clinic and classrooms, which &Beyond funded, and then visited a family in their home, a shelter made of cow dung bricks and twigs. Judging from the food he prepared, I would have guessed the chef had been raised in Lyon or Paris but on the night that other Maasai came to the camp to perform their traditional dances, it was clear from the way that he jumped and sang with them, that, wherever he learned to cook, he had not forgotten how to celebrate like a Maasai.

Klein’s does have a pool, internet service (in the office) and a small but attractive gift shop, but it is one of the less lavish of &Beyond’s Tanzania camps. There’s a rustic simplicity to the rooms, which have mosquito nets over the deep, soft beds and thoughtful touches like a plate of fresh biscuits in the afternoon and a watercolor set in case you get inspired to paint. But you still feel in the wild; the hot water in the shower takes a while to warm up; the generator is turned off at night (there are hurricane lamp-like reading lights in case you want to read late), and the only phone is in the office, so you need to set a time for the askari (guard) to escort you to dinner. The mosquito nets aren’t just for effect; I spotted the occasional spider. There were more lizards sunbathing on the rocks around the pool than guests, and some spiders swam in it. But frankly, that natural quality didn’t bother me. The birds that landed on my breakfast tray and pecked at my ginger biscuits if I left it outside more than a few minutes after the askari knocked in the morning only reminded me that I was living in their world. By not being so sealed off from nature, you feel more connected to it—and what a privilege that is. Staying at Klein’s is certainly not as rustic as living in a tented camp. After all, I had solid walls and wood floors, but I still had to watch where I stepped. I found a slug had slimed its way under the door one day. Erasto, our wonderful guide, was as knowledgeable about birds and small lizards, even plants by the side of the road and how the Maasai used them for medicinal purposes, as he was about lion social behavior and cheetah hunting routines.

Another tenet of &Beyond is giving back to the local communities, and to date the company has invested more than $100,000 in community projects, including building a clinic and three classrooms. If you sign up for a Maasai village visit, which I recommend highly, especially if you are traveling with children, you can tour the school and clinic as well as visit a Maasai home. At the medical clinic, our guide explained how the most common illness affecting the villagers was diarrhea. My son, who was nine years old at the time, was confused. “Why would someone have to come to a hospital for that?” He asked. “Because children can die from dehydration and malnutrition if they have diarrhea,” our guide explained. In fact, according to the World Health Organization, diarrhea causes one-fifth of child deaths worldwide. That was a fact that would stick with all of us.

Who Should Stay

Anyone who wants to spend time in a glorious, isolated area of the Serengeti and who understands that the greatest luxury can be space and peace not lots of added activities and amenities.

Who Should Not Stay

Those who want all of the bells and whistles of a modern resort should book elsewhere. If you want a luxurious resort in this region, go to Singita Sasakwa.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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