Seasonal Mobile Camps: Serengeti National Park

Safari as Hemingway did


At a Glance

Sleeping under canvas is the original and most authentic way to go on safari. Today, the tents on offer range from simple fly tents to luxury permanent ones.

Indagare Loves

  • Hearing the night sounds
  • Dining under the stars with no other camps for miles
  • Returning to simpler living and nature’s rhythms


The Serengeti National Park, founded in 1951, encompasses 5,758 square miles and thousands of roads. At a mobile tented camp, you learn that until you have slept under canvas, you haven’t really been on safari. As author Ernest Hemingway wrote of his safaris in the 1930s, “Now, being in Africa, I was hungry for more of it, the changes of the seasons…the discomforts that you paid to make it real…” There is a hyper-aware, extra-alive feeling, like a sixth sense that plugs you into the world of the wild when you live close to the earth and among the animals in their kingdom. You awake with the sun and the sound of the birds. You watch every step you make (yes, there are deadly snakes and scorpions). You spend your day learning from your guides how to track animals. You’ll be alert to movements in the distance and scanning the horizon will be a constant pastime. You may pause for a picnic under a canopy of a tree alive with vultures, or vervet monkeys or with a backdrop of migrating zebras. We picnicked one day on top of a kopje, one of the massive rock outcroppings, from which we could take in the plains and their endlessness from a new vantage point. One night our camp was set under a trio of ancient acacia trees, where the tall grass plains spread for hundreds of miles in every direction with no sign of man. Night may be the time when the awesome aloneness feels most magical. So many stars can be seen strewn across the night sky that you won’t recognize it from any other you have been under. Maybe it’s because no man-made light exists for hundreds of miles or because of the angle of the earth this close to the equator, but you cannot fail to feel that you are seeing the heavens for the first time.

Tented accommodations range from simple tarp structures with cots and bucket showers to semi-permanent camps with platform tents filled with antiques and hotel-quality beds. Of course, prices range widely as well but one common misperception is that tented camps, because they include the word camping, should be less expensive than staying in a lodge. In fact, when you are mobile, you have an entire crew who travels with you as does their kitchen and the accommodations. The privacy, flexibility and often the caliber of the guides are unrivalled but prices will be reflective of quality.

Many of the mobile camps follow the migratory pattern of the wildebeest, so they stick to the southern Serengeti from December until March and then move north toward Grumeti for the summer months. Contact our bookings team to discuss the best tented, mobile option for you.

Some of our favorite mobile tented camps include &Beyond Serengeti Under Canvas, Legendary Serengeti Expedition Camp and Singita Explore.

Written by Melissa Biggs Bradley

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