“Fabulous colonial-style tented camp within the game-filled Tarangire National Park, specialising in walking safaris”
Oliver's Camp is in the heart of Tarangire, further south-east from the main entrance to the park than most other camps, and close to the famous Silale Swamps and the Minyonyo Pools, one of the very best game viewing locations. It feels wonderfully remote and is the only camp where walking safaris can be taken in the park, and the guides here specialise in tracking animals on foot. Walks range from an hour around the camp to a full day exploring the 'wilderness zones', or even overnight-ers, using fly-camps. The camp itself is made up of 10 tents, linked by sandy paths, and a colonial-style canopied dining area and lounge set amongst a stand of umbrella acacias. As of 2013, there's also a mini camp a couple of km away with 5 luxury tents, Little Oliver - perfect for groups but tents are also bookable individually. Whichever you choose, it's all utterly lovely - plus you get peace and tranquility, open skies and fires, and proximity to the wildlife you came to see. Our favourite Tanzanian camp.
Why we chose this partner
- The camp has an utterly authentic ‘Out of Africa’ feel about it - we loved sitting in leather armchairs to pore over black and white photography books
- Staff and guides are first-class - friendly, informative, kind
- Excellent food - restaurant quality, yet somehow magicked up in a tent
- Comfortable tents with good beds, great views and outdoor showers - a giraffe walked past as I bathed
- Opportunities for fly-camping under the stars, and amazing night drives inside the park (we saw leopards during ours, then a herd of 1500 buffalo ran in front of our Jeep!)
Please be aware
- The top-end service, coupled with the fact that packages include everything from wines to internal flights and private game drives, means that you are paying top dollar prices
- The ‘one’ table philosophy means you're obliged to be sociable, unless you opt to eat meals back at your tent or request a private table
- The ideal season for walking safaris is quite short (Aug-Nov)
- Be prepared for a 4-hour drive down from Arusha. But the last 2 of these are through the park, and utterly stunning
Best time to go
The only time of year that's best avoided is the season of the 'Long Rains', which tend to last from April-May and sometimes on into June. There's a second wet period, the 'Short Rains', which generally fall between October and early December.”
Our top tips
Pack comfy walking boots for your foot safaris, and a pair of binoculars and a birding guide.”
The main lodge has 10 tents, all with thatched roofs and wooden decks. Inside are writing desks, old trunks doubling up as side tables, African cloth-covered cushions and bedspreads, attractive lamps with beaded shades and chunky beds with planked headboards. These can be set together to make a kingsize bed; the tents are large enough for an additional single too. Expect bottled water, a whistle and a torch, an umbrella and mozzie repellent, as well as a safety box hidden away in one of the trunks. The tents all have some privacy, with a table and 2 cushioned loungers under your front canopy for relaxing during the day.
Large ensuite bathrooms with outdoor showers are tacked on at the rear of each tent. Handmade soap, shampoo and bodywash along with towelling bath robes felt like extra-special treats in this remote bush location.
Little Oliver is a separate enclave of 5 luxury tents, a couple of km away. Each has an indoor and outdoor bathroom, and the camp is totally self-sufficient with its own dining area, kitchen, guides and vehicles, so it's perfect for a group to hire, although tents are also available on an individual basis.
Fly-camping can be undertaken from here; a night in the bush with a lightweight tent and a guide for an even deeper safari experience.
Our stay at the main lodge was faultless. From the moment we were greeted with a chilled fruit juice and a hot face towel, we sensed that we were going to be cared for at every turn. And the food was among the best we had at any camp in Tanzania.
Evening meals begin in proper bush fashion with drinks around the boma, where you’ll be swapping stories of Big Game with your fellow guests. Then a 3-course dinner is served, normally at one large table hosted by camp managers; you can request a separate table, or have meals brought to your tent's viewing deck for suppers under the stars if you prefer. We started with an avocado salad with freshly made French bread, followed by an excellent steak with red wine jus, dauphinoise potatoes and crunchy veg. Dessert was a coffee-chocolate fondant. All drinks are included, as well as a house white or red; and there’s also a small selection of ‘cellar’ wines to choose from.
Breakfasts get going from around 6.30am so as to slot in with morning game drives. A big buffet spread is laid up to one side of the dining tent, whilst out front a cook prepares whatever cooked breakfast takes your fancy. Freshly baked muffins were an unexpected treat, as were the linen table cloths and napkins.
Lunches often take the form of a ‘boxed lunch’ to allow more time for your game drive or, if you prefer, you can eat a light buffet back at camp. A choice of 3 salads,quiche, curried lamb, homemade bread and fruit for dessert was plenty.
- There are 2 game drives a day included in your tarif - normally 1 in the morning and 1 in the late afternoon, with lunch at camp in between. Tarangire is known for its year-round elephant population and tree-climbing lions, and Oliver's is perfectly placed to view wildlife migrations and spot big herds at waterholes
- Keen birders will be in their element, with over 550 species of feathered life to spot including hoopoe, Fischer's lovebirds, mousebirds and cuckoos
- Opt for a walking safari and track animals on foot with a naturalist guide; utterly thrilling
- Take the opportunity to fly camp. You'll be driven into a remote wilderness and camp in a tent made of thick mesh, which allows you to see starry skies and hear animal sounds all around you
- Chill out at camp in the tented lounge with its small library, old leather armchairs, low daow-wood tables and black and white photos of the Oliver family: it feels as if it has been lifted straight from the pages of a Hemingway novel
- Fly camping
- Plantlife / flora
- Traditional cultures
- Walking safaris
The game drives and most camp-to-camp transfers are in comfy 4WD Toyota Landcruisers, with either 5 or 7 seats. All seats are by the window, with extra large windows for photography and driving comfort. They also have a pop-up roof for enhanced game-viewing in the parks, as well as a coolbox stocked with soft drinks, wildlife- and bird reference books, Maasai blankets, and a camera/phone charging point (with UK adapter).
The transfer back to Kilimanjaro Airport is normally in a light aircraft - typically a 12-seater Cessna caravan.