Sayari Camp Welcome!
2 nights 3 days
So first stop was the Arusha Coffee Lodge, then Little Oliver’s Camp, Plantation Lodge and now here – Sayari Camp. At this point I am thinking…can this trip get any better because so far its been orbital. From the Crater we headed to the Manyara Airstrip for the flight to the Kogatende airstrip.
Reginal Air Flight
The short flight from Manyara was about 45 mins. Some folks drive from the Crater into camps in the Serengeti but this was not something I was interested in doing.
Landing at the Serengeti Kogatende airstrip was very exciting as when you arrive its buzzing with safari Guides, Masai and folks in route to points in Tanzania and Kenya. Some trucks have tables set up with drinks and snacks to welcome or send off guests. Our guide met our flight and secured our bags on the truck. He gave us the option of heading directly to the camp or meeting up with our guide who was already out on safari with one other couple.
We decided to join up with the guide and start right in on the action and this was the right decision as within 20mins we heard….”get in the truck and put on your seatbelts”. We’d only been off the plane for 45 mins and boom we witnessed our first mara migration crossing and it was so exciting and amazing! Our guide for our stay at Sayari was Kivouyo – Kiv for short. Kiv was very enthusiastic and made our experience more exciting as he was very keen on making sure that his folks witnessed every migration crossing that we could and in addition that we’d get the best position available. But in order to do this “When I say get in the truck, Get in the truck”. Wow, when I think of how much fun I had on this trip….wow…it was simply outstanding.
We arrived at camp after the morning game drive in time for lunch. We met up with the manager Karen and a warm welcome from everyone we encountered along the way…and yes our truck was greeted as we arrived with hibiscus tea and cool towels.
Sayari Camp is also part of the Asilia Company. It is considered more luxurious than Little Oliver’s but I had a hard time making a huge distinction. This is not a bad thing as I considered Little Oliver’s tent the best out of all three Asilia camps. It’s interesting because when speaking with my travel partner he mentioned that he thought Sayari’s tent was better and Naboisho was his favorite……go figure…it’s a win win situation anyway.
As far as Tarangire versus the Serengeti… hands down no competition, the game viewing at the Serengeti is more diverse in that you see more predators and you have the migration. As with the other camps on this trip there were never more than one other couple in the truck at one time so that’s 4 people per truck so this was very nice and I am not sure you can accomplish this at most camps. Actually, for half of the day we had only 3 in the car as the wife of the other couple did not go out for the afternoon drives. Each guide works with his folks to agree on game drive times, how early to start, whether to return to the camp for lunch and what time and how late to stay out so folks are coming and going at different times so you really don’t get a feel for who or how many people are at the camp until dinner time – but then some folks prefer to have a private meal instead of communal so you may never run into some folks. We always chose communal style meals which gave us a unique opportunity to mingle with folks from all over the world.
There is normally a ‘happy hour’ in that folks usually clean up after the afternoon game drive and head over to the bar in the main lounge tent to compare the days adventures or send a quick email using wi-fi. Wine and non-premium spirits are included along with all meals.
The morning game drives can start as early at 6am and its pretty chilly so the trucks are equipped with blankets and afternoon or night drives can be very chilly as well. There is usually also an extra pair of binoculars, beverages and spirits with snacks for afternoon sundowners. In order to get an extra early start you can request a box breakfast or if you leave later and don’t want to return for lunch your guide will pack a box lunch. When ready you find a nice spot in the bush to set up the meal and dig in. It’s actually very nice.
Sayari Camp is about three times as large as Little Oliver’s, they have 18 tents instead of 5 but the camp is divided into two distinct areas so really 10 on one side and 8 on the other. As I think we stayed on the smaller side so it was 3 more tents than Oliver’s. No matter its still very small by any standards and instead of one common area there are two. There is the main lounge tent with a bar and three separate sitting areas and a different tent dedicated to dining.
Sayari Camp – Dining Tent – Breakfast
Sayari Camp – Tent 11
So after the formalities we grabbed a drink and headed to the tent and well take a look at the pics….very nice. These tents have a tub, door for the bath room and shower, indoor and outdoor showers, hair dryer, and one electrical outlet so you could charge devices in your room. As with all of the camps there is no wi-fi in the tents and access in the main areas is not very fast.
Sayari Camp – Tent 11 Front Deck
The tent is pretty large plus the outside deck stretches the length of the tent with chairs and a large sofa and table to relax while you look out over the plains. The tents here are nicely situated and you have complete privacy unable to view inside other tents and could not hear voices/conversations from either so you definitely have a feeling of privacy.
Unfortunately since game drives were of utmost importance for me I was on at least 2 game drives per day plus meals AND relaxing in the pool – yep this camp has a pool – there was barely enough time to lounge around the room.
Sayari Camp – Pool
Lets face it. What’s a safari without the animals and who’s key to getting you the best game sightings and migration crossings…….your guide! Our guide for the Serengeti at Sayari was Kivouyo. All I can say is thank you Kivouyo so much. Kivouyo did everything to make sure that we saw the big five during our 3 days. He even suggested and early start one morning and we head out to a location to try to catch a lion pride and guess what….we did and it was amazing. His enthusiasm was contagious.
Take a look at our first of three migration crossings that Kivouyo got us to.
Okay, I’d have to give a very special shout out to my friend Zuly. Zuly was this smiling face I saw in the morning at breakfast, lunch and dinner. “Hello Sacha”, “Is everything okay”, “how are you doing”, “are you enjoying your day”. Zuly’s role is not something you can teach, its beyond basic hospitality, it’s very special not over looked and greatly appreciated. I am not sure where Asilia finds these guys but the team is outstanding and the real stars.
FOOD Glorious FOOD
Sayari Camp – Dining Tent
Sayari Camp – Breakfast Cereals
We headed back over to the main area for lunch and had our own table set up outdoors under the trees. It felt like heaven and the food was outstanding. Although Sayari’s tent – in my opinion – is second to Little Oliver’s the food was number 1 out of all three locations. Take a look at lunch on the first day, outstanding!
Sayari Camp – Lunch – Fresco
Sayari Camp – Lunch Fresco
The chef’s name was Simba and he made his introductions before meals at dinner time to introduce the menu. One night we had lamb and the other was chicken. Breakfast was pretty much whatever you wanted, eggs, pancake, porridge, meat, toast, endless fruit and juices, coffee or tea.
Sayari Camp – Lunch
For lunch is was pork chops and chicken, pasta, fresh veggies and salads…. all courses were outstanding gourmet meals.
Sayari Camp – Lunch in Dining Tent
Sayari Camp – Breakfast
Sayari Camp – Meal Starter
As you can imagine as day three got closer and closer we dreaded the inevitable reality of having to move on to the next camp.
I’d have to say that overall Sayari was my favorite camp of the three. The tent was amazing, the food was best, and they had a pool then the game viewing was outstanding in the Serengeti.
Don’t forget to check back for my post on each parks game drives with photo’s and video of all the animals…..
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