Top 5 Mobile Safari Camps in Africa
Kenya and Tanzania
The Serengeti, Ruaha National Park and Masai Mara National Reserve
When we dream of Africa our imagination fills with images of romantic safari lodges, incredible sunsets, animals in abundance and endless savanna plains. We also have to contend with moving between several camps to get the most holistic experience, after all, this could be the only chance we ever get to go on safari in Africa. Lets explore the top 5 mobile safari camps in Africa, but first, what is a mobile safari?
I’m sure definitions vary but essentially a mobile safari is a small group of adventurous travelers that move between several locations in a remote wilderness area, or, a camp that moves locations each year.
Some mobile safari camps move, but not with the guests. These operations follow certain animals and their movements, others follow seasons. During the “green season” the bush is lush, grasses stand tall and the diversity of new life astounding. In the dry season it’s hot and animals congregate at waterholes. The annual migration is one phenomena worth following!
Whether you walk and camp or opt for a luxury experience you can be assured that your location is both remote and completely private. Relax on the small veranda of your tent with a cool Gin and Tonic as you gaze into the far distance. An Elephant herd moving slowly past your tent, a circle of vultures wheeling over a kill, the grass swaying on a gentle breeze. The smells of the savanna waft over you, a hint of the evening meal tantalizes your nose, small birds call in the bushes and the sun is slowly beginning her descent to the horizon as you replenish your G&T.
This is the life on a mobile safari and it is one of the most exhilarating experiences you will ever have. From rustic tents to prefabricated luxurious rooms mobile camping is all about immersion. The mobile safari takes you to remote wilderness areas no one else visits and the seclusion is fantastic.
African Safari Experts has compiled the top 5 mobile safari camps in Africa to help you decide on where, and how you would like to experience a mobile safari in Africa. These companies have been chosen on their reputation for delivering unparalleled experiences for our clients. We are confident that we are making the finest recommendation for you.
If you are planning a last minute booking, rest assured we will take care of you and exceed your expectations. For Kenya a tourist visa must be applied for online here. And here is a handy guide on how to apply. For advice on Tanzania, get in touch with us via email, WatsApp, Signal or Telegram on +27 79 232 85 80 for up to date travel information.
Serengeti National Park – Tanzania
Based in the Seronera Valley of the Central Serengeti, Roving Bushtops is a unique and versatile mobile safari camp. Each unit is driven to it’s location and folds out into a 1000 square foot luxury tent complete with solar power, heat exchanger, wrap around deck and a sunken bath tub.
The main bedroom has a king size bed (or made up with 3 single beds) as well as an en-suite bathroom with flushing toilet and plenty of hot water. The unit has re-charging facilities via solar energy and a small fridge with supplies for morning tea or coffee and sundowner drinks. These unique units are completely self sufficient and reminiscent of any luxury hotel anywhere in Africa. You would not believe that the tent can be moved had you not been told. We absolutely loved the bath on the deck, this was ideal for a soak between the afternoon game drive and dinner. it fit us both easily and we could sip on our gin and tonics while we watched the sun set.
Our game drives and walking safaris were much better than any we had experienced as the camp is in such a remote location that you see no other tourists. It made the safari experience a million times better. We loved the freedom of each location knowing that we were alone for 50 miles around us!
This is definitely our #1 of the top mobile safari camps in Africa and operates between December 2020 to 31 March 2021.
Roving Bushtops is the pièce de résistance of the top 5 mobile safari camps in Africa. For location and luxury she cannot be beaten.
Rates for Roving Bushtops are $1700 per person sharing for adults and children up to 17 years is $1020 per night. Rates include all meals, accommodation, 2 game drives per day, local brand drinks, laundry, airstrip transfers and Wi-Fi.
Serian’s Serengeti Mobile Kusini
Serengeti National Park & Ngorongoro Crater – Tanzania
Enjoying the very best of two magnificent wildlife areas’, Serian’s Serengeti Mobile Kusini is perfectly located in both the Ngorongoro and Serengeti. This mobile safari camp operates between December and May of each year to take full advantage of the Annual Migration and give guests the opportunity to witness the Calving season when over 700 000 new animals are born.
Between them these two unique wildlife preserves offer sightings of animals rarely seen. Honey Badger, Jackal, Cheetah and Hyena follow the herds expectantly, knowing easy meals are soon to be had. The resident prides of Lion are also close to hand and we heard them every single night, sometime roaring in the distance and at others chillingly close to the camp. My wife, Kate, said she could see the tent canvas vibrate with one roar that felt like the Lion was right outside our tent! I looked for spoor (animal tracks) the next morning but could not say for sure how close that Lion had been.
The exclusivity of mobile safari camping ensures you have complete privacy on your game drives, far away from the ubiquitous mini buses that roam the plains. Kate and I enjoyed several full day game drives in our own vehicle with just our guide and spotter and a packed lunch. Well my goodness! Did we see game. It became almost laughable and blasé the extent and multitude of wildlife that we saw.
With just 4 tents Serian’s Serengeti is intimate and incredibly remote. The tents have been very well designed and thought out with comfortable beds, flushing toilet and a bucket shower too.
Rates for the mobile safari camp are $1090 per adult per night sharing. Single occupancy is $1175 and children between 5 and 15 are $520 per night.
These rates include all meals, accommodation, airstrip transfers, private game drive vehicle, guide and spotter. All local brand drinks, sundowners, picnics, bush meals and daily laundry.
Jongomero Fly Camping
Ruaha National Park – Tanzania
Jongomero camp lies under shady trees’ on the banks of a seasonal river in Ruaha National Park. This area has an incredible diversity of fauna and flora. There are an astonishing 570 species of birds to be found in this park, half of all of Tanzania’s species.
While Jongomero is not a true mobile camp we felt that this experience needed to be included. Departing camp mid-morning on a walking safari your guide will focus on the smaller aspects of the bush, the Small 5 and tracking of various game. We had some excellent Elephant sightings that were much closer than expected. Protected by the elevation of a high river bank we were able to approach an old bull to within 10 meters, all with the animal completely aware of our presence.
The camp itself is very simple, a domed tent and a private bucket shower in complete privacy. This is also a completely private affair that you will not have to share with other guests.
Rates at Jongomero start at $680 per person sharing with a $260 supplement for the fly camping operating from 15 July to 15 November each year. This does need to be pre-booked and is not an activity possible for children under 16.
Lemala Mara Mobile Camp
Masai Mara National Reserve – Kenya
Based in the Northern Serengeti from July to October guests get to experience the best sightings and river crossing of the Great Migration at Lemala Mara Mobile Camp. This part of the Serengeti is vast plains as far as the eye can see and even on our balloon safari, from several hundred feet up, the plains just kept on going. The camp is close to the Mara River and this made for quick and easy access to some incredible spectacles of thousands of animals crossing the perilous waters.
The tents are situated under a grove of trees’ so we experienced some fantastic seclusion and privacy while still being close to the action. We spent 4 nights in this mobile safari camp and each morning and evening we would be woken or serenaded to sleep by the soft grunting of Wildebeest and Zebra.
There are 12 canvas tents and while this may seem a lot we never felt crowded and made some friends for life with some of the other guests. Our tent had two queen size beds and staff informed us they can be made up as triples for guests traveling with a child. The en-suite bathroom is spacious with toilet, vanity basins and a bucket shower. The camp is completely solar powered.
Rates at Lemala Mara Mobile safari camp start at $1320 per couple sharing in the high season and $960 per couple sharing during the green season. These are the “game package” rates so include all meals, accommodation, local brand drinks, two game drives per day or one full day game drive, laundry, airstrip transfers and Wi-Fi.
Nasikia Mobile Migration Camp
Ndutu, Ngorongoro and Northern Serengeti
In true mobile safari camp style Nasikia Mobile Migration Camp moves twice annually between the Southern Ndutu region of the Serengeti and the far North to the border with the Masai Mara National Reserve. Between December and March access is best through Kilimanjaro Airport. During this time the camp is erected close to a small marsh and is an ideal location for the animals to calve and feed. We witnessed game sightings here that are not for the faint of heart as predators follow the calving and the vulnerable calves are sometimes minutes old before being taken.
From June to October the entire camp is moved an incredible distance to be re-erected near the Kogatende and Mara Rivers. Access at this time of year is via Nairobi. Here the focus is river crossings, we spent 5 glorious days here in September and were never disappointed. Kate was able to capture some of the most dramatic imagery ever of the panic and desperation of the animals as they cross the rivers. Considering the different locations we felt this was our #3 of the top 5 mobile safari camps in Africa.
12 tents can be erected but this all depends on bookings. On our visit there were just 6 other guests and we all enjoyed the small group intimacy over meals and around the fire in the evenings. The tents are the Meru style with canvas walls, a small veranda and double or twin beds. A family tent can sleep four guests.
The en-suite bathroom is at the back of the tent and has a flushing toilet, vanity basin and bucket shower. Just ask for hot water and the staff will accommodate you happily.
Rates for the Nasikia mobile safari are $480 per person sharing, there is no low or high season for these rates. A triple or family tent is $450 per person per night. These are “game package” rates and include accommodation, all meals, local brand drinks, shared daily game drives and airstrip transfers.
Having experienced Africa in a variety of ways we are firmly of the belief that if you really want to connect with nature then walking and mobile camps are the very best way to achieve this. You really become connected to the environment, the guides are the very best in the world in their interpretive abilities and the wildlife sightings absolutely phenomenal. These are the top 5 mobile safari camps in Africa.
If you would like more information on our experiences with these firms you are welcome to make contact with me.
African Safari Experts