Owned and operated by a Tanzanian-born conservationist, Lengai Camp is the perfect place for travellers looking for a more immersive safari experience. With full and sole access to the western concession of the Lake Natron Game Controlled Area – which stretches to the Kenyan border – you have much of this jaw-dropping part of Tanzania almost all to yourself, along with the Maasai and Sonjo tribes who have lived here with their cattle for centuries.
Lengai Camp has intriguing Lake Natron on its doorstep and lies within the Great Rift Valley, where at least seven volcanic craters offer shelter to comical rock hyraxes and battalions of eagles and falcons. The custodians of this land take conservation seriously, and Lengai Camp is involved in important anti-poaching measures. This is glorious a Rift Valley setting, complete with vast views of rolling savannah and ancient mountains. Intrepid travellers can follow in the footsteps of Maasai explorers by climbing Oldoinyo Lengai to enjoy the views.
Comprising only four tents with a further two smaller tents for guides or extra guests, Lengai Camp is one of the most intimate in Tanzania. But its size belies the punch it packs: you can go fly-camping at Oldonyo Shambu mountain, seek out the Engaresero waterfall or simply pass your days on classic game drives. The camp lies on a Migration side-route with good-sized herds of wildebeest, gazelle and zebra moving annually through an area rich with resident wildlife - be sure to keep an eye out for elusive leopards. The herds move up from Tarangire National Park from about December to June to take advantage of the fresh, green grazing. September to November sees much drier and hotter weather arrive.
Plentiful plains game is present year-round and you see both Thomson's and Grant's gazelle, zebra, giraffe, gerenuk (which can stand on their hind legs for minutes at a time, nibbling contentedly on tasty leaves), jackal, hyena, oryx and ostrich.
Lengai Camp is well positioned to visit spectacular Lake Natron, which is a protected Ramsar wetlands birding site. Thousands upon thousands of lesser flamingos make Natron their breeding ground, along with plentiful water birds like pelicans, storks, cormorants and ducks.