For the Love of Lamai: A Look at One of Tanzania’s Most Prized Camps

by Sandy Salle on May 7, 2013

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Amy Green, Hills of Africa Travel’s Client Services Director has just returned home from an unforgettable trip to Tanzania! Here’s a look at all of the beauty, relaxation, and adventures she experienced:

I’ve just recently returned from the most amazing trip to Tanzania, in East Africa. Three years ago, if you’d asked if I wanted to go to Africa for vacation I’d have said you were crazy–Africa? Dark, dirty, dusty Africa? Fast forward to this past January, when an invitation to attend my first FAM came across my desk…my heart lept with excitement and anticipation…please, please, please Sandy, say I can go…to beautiful, soulful, cleansing Africa.

Even after two years working for Hills of Africa Travel, living vicariously through our clients and their fabulous journeys, I had no idea what to expect. I had no idea how thoroughly my life would be touched and changed. I’d heard how Africa gets into your soul and won’t let go, but didn’t truly understand until I experienced it myself.

Today I want to tell you about my favorite camp on this trip: Nomad’s Lamai in the northern Serengeti. This stunning property sits atop a kopje (a small rocky hill), and is perfectly blended into its surroundings, which makes it nearly impossible to spot when flying and driving in.

As we arrived we were greeted by camp staff with damp rags to wipe off the dust then shown to the main lounge area with its stunning views from the spacious open rooms and decks. The view looks north towards Kenya and is breathtaking. I loved sitting and watching the rains roll in from the north, smelling the scent of life giving water in the air.

tanzania safari vacation

Main lounge bar

tanzania safari vacation

Main lounge area looking out to Serengeti & in from the deck

trip to Tanzania

Rains moving in from the north

We gathered together and were ‘briefed’ on the camp by the delightful camp managers who explained all the do’s and don’ts and plans for our stay. All of the staff were extremely gracious and kind, always ready with a smile and helping hand. What a treat to be looked after in such a way.

Since the camp is on a kopje, getting to our rooms involved some up and down the hills. The paths are well maintained with stairs in some areas to help. For me the climbing was worth it! My room was on the upper end of camp, which provided spectacular views. I couldn’t see either of the neighboring rooms, so the feeling was very private. Since Lamai is a permanent camp, the rooms are built with a little more structure to them than a tented camp. Three-fourths of the room had stucco walls, with real windows and doors. The front of the room was screened to allow the views, smells, and sounds of the Serengeti to flow in. The room was spacious with a very romantic feeling. The bathroom was enormous with tons of storage, hot and cold running water, a stand up shower, flush toilets and dual sinks at the vanity. The windows of the bathroom were screened and faced out to the fabulous view, but since the rooms are so well situated the bathroom was totally out of view from other rooms.

trip to Tanzania

View from my deck

My room & bathroom (below)

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

The entire camp is very tastefully decorated in soothing neutral colors with small splashes of color for interest. The public areas are spacious and offer several different sitting areas to gather in large groups or in smaller private areas. There is a lovely pool with lounge chairs, a bathhouse and a shaded spot to escape the heat.

One of my favorite spaces was the dining room. All of our meals were delicious, and the view was amazing at all times of the day. But the treat here was the walls. The stucco walls had small bits of mirror embedded in them, which reflected light and colors during the day, but became like a wall of magical stars at night…simply lovely.

Dining room fireplace, table & view and buffet lunch (below)

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

Lamai Camp

There are little special touches everywhere. In the ‘powder room’ near the main lounge, wine bottles were set into the stucco walls to provide tiny windows of interesting glass. What a clever idea!

Our first evening in camp, we received  a special sundowner treat…a hike to the top of the kopje! What a view and so proud of our group that everyone made it to the top. The Lamai staff took special care of one gal who was a bit afraid of the climb. His patience, kindness, and helpfulness helped her feel great about her accomplishment!

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Me on top of the world! We climbed all the way up there…

Mornings greeted us with coffee/tea service delivered to our room to enjoy as we prepared for the day. The best part is that delivery is made without camp staff having to enter the room. There is a pass though window for delivery of this treat, which I think is a very clever idea.

After the delightful coffee service, we set off very early for a surprise bush breakfast! What a delight to drive along and suddenly come upon the perfect spot to rest under beautiful acacia trees and enjoy the scenery with a delicious breakfast spread…egg and bacon sandwiches, sausages, yogurts, fresh fruit, cereals and granola, tea, coffee, and juice! As we set up chairs and settled in to enjoy the surroundings we noticed two groups of visitors having their own breakfast and wondering what in the world we were up to…it was a family of elephant and some very curious giraffe. I’m not sure who enjoyed watching who more.

I’ve talked so much about camp…I’ve hardly mentioned the animals! I’ll save those stories for next time, but how about a few teasers…tons of elephant, giraffe, gazelle, hyena, hippo, wildebeest, zebra and topi…gorgeous birds…sneaking across into Kenya for a quick visit…watching and hoping to see four young cheetah try their hand at a kill…all amazing! My heart truly was filled to bursting with love for this land, its people, its animals, and its soul. I left knowing I will return one day, and am even more in love with my job getting to help each of our highly valued clients experience the magic of Africa!

Tanzania safari tours

Elephant siblings…baby is smelling us.

Tanzania safari tours

European Roller sitting carefully on a thorny acaia branch

Tanzania safari tours

Zebra & Wildebeest

Tanzania safari tours

Hippo in the Mara River

Tanzania safari tours

Hyena surveying the land

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