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“If this is heaven, I'll go back to church!”

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Serengeti Bushtops Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Shanghai
Level Contributor
13 reviews
9 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 16 helpful votes
“If this is heaven, I'll go back to church!”
Reviewed 21 May 2014

After a 3 week trip to Africa, our stay at Serengeti Bushtops was easily the highlight. I've never been on Safari before, and it was only our second trip to Africa, so perhaps all camps in the Serengeti offer similar services. The only problem here is, I'm not sure what more one could possibly ask for than what Serengeti Bushtops provide? I mean, I'm sure you could come up with some strange requests like "we'd like to be woken up with Giraffe noises", or "please ensure my coffee is Fair-er trade than other camps", and I'm pretty sure they'd find a way to make it work. So perhaps other camps are offering other, crazier stuff, but as far as I'm concerned, Bushtops satisfied pretty much everything we could have ever thought of.

This was our honeymoon, and admittedly, we spent a lot to stay with the Serengeti Bushtops. They're not cheap, and so I felt like it was going to be difficult to live up to the expectations of spending the old 80/20 rule (where 80% of your honeymoon budget goes to 20% of your time there). I can say with upmost certainty that we got our money's worth and then some. Hopefully the following can help you with your decision on Bushtops, which is obviously a big move for any budget. I should say also that our stay at the Bushtops was entirely made using TripAdvisor reviews and my discussions with their manager, Claudia Stewart. None of my friends had ever been there, and deciding to book there was a big leap of faith. Turns out the internet notched a big win with this one, we were SO glad that we did this, and we have the inter-webs to thank for it alone.

They picked us up from the airstrip and offered us coffee, booze, and cookies in a nice little spread by the side of the runway as our guide got our applications processed at the game ranger office. This type of spread would follow us wherever we went in the camp/on the drives. The drive back to the camp took about an hour, but we stopped and saw hippos on the way and just as we were pulling into camp we spotted a herd of elephants blocking our path. Said welcome committee delayed our arrival by about 20 minutes, but I can think of no better a reason to enjoy a delay. Watching them ripping down branches and meandering through the grassland next to the camp in the dusk light was borderline spiritual, and it set a high bar for the rest of the trip. A bar, I might add, that was raised with each day of our subsequent game drives.

The camp itself is a set of residence platform-raised tents for guests (you get your own tent). Each tent is immaculate, spacious, far away from everyone else, and allows you all the comforts of home without sacrificing just how close you are to the untamed wild of the Serengeti. It's entirely safe, though, and the camp takes precautions to make sure you feel even safer, like having local tribesman roam around the camp looking for animals to intimidate. In addition to the tents for sleeping/washing/hot-tubbing, there is a communal dining tent, (Think a 5 star restaurant with a great dining room with the best view on the planet), a reception tent, a fire pit, and a great, small but perfect pool overlooking the Serengeti.

The Game Drives: You're coming to the Serengeti, and while you are probably here for the luxurious experiences, I can hopefully assume you've come to see the animals, of which there are so, so many. We did three consecutive full day game drives (up at 6, back by 5), and don't understand why everyone doesn't do that. The more you're out there with those awesome rangers and spotters, the higher the probability that you'll see truly exceptional stuff. For us, there were two standout stories that we came away with: A cheetah hanging out on the hood of our jeep for a few minutes, and watching a massive pride of lions (with 9 cubs) feast on a Buffalo kill and then enter into what can best be described as post lion thanksgiving food comas. The guides were awesome, able to answer our 10,000 questions about this or that with enthusiasm and great detail. Oh yeah, and they can see animals about 10 minutes before you can, so tip them well for making your drives that much better!

The Service: Ever wondered what it would be like to be Teddy Roosevelt on Safari with a staff of 60 looking after your every possible inclination? That's how I felt, and I gradually learned that they wouldn't balk at any request I threw their way. My adventurousness in requests gradually increased in complexity as I learned that they didn't know how to say no to anything. Example of a request, Day 1: Can I have a glass of Rose please? Day 2: Can I have a bottle of rose in my tent? Day 3: Can I have two bottles of Rose prepared for my return from the game drive waiting for me in my tent? Day 4: Can I please have 2 bottles of Rose in my tent, the hot tub prepared, and masseuses ready to help us iron out the knots in our shoulders attained after a long day of watching animals kill/have sex with each other? I like Rose wine while on Safari, what can I say? Their manager, Pantaleo has possibly the best trained staff I've ever experienced anywhere, let alone the MIDDLE OF THE WILDERNESS. One final thing on the service, tell them it's your honeymoon, and prepare to be freaking wow'ed even beyond their already high standards of exceeding expectations.

The Food: You're in the middle of the Serengeti, but you wouldn't know that by the food. We loved it all, no complaints whatsoever. Everything tasted fresh, the courses plentiful, and our stomachs repeatedly were pressed to find more room to accommodate such great food.

Overall: It's a ton of money, but it delivered above and beyond our wildest expectations. I don't know what other camps do, and frankly, as long as Bushtops is in existence, I never wll. We're already trying to figure out how to sell non-essential organs to fund a trip back there. Don't dawdle, this place fills up fast and we booked months and months in advance. Trust in the internet...we did, and we were so so glad we did.

Room Tip: They're all the same except for a double tent, go for the ones furthest from camp to enjoy total...
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  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
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6 Thank iamthecoley
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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215 reviews from our community

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English first
Western Australia, Australia
Level Contributor
21 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 23 helpful votes
Reviewed 9 May 2014

WOW - what a place. This review is a little overdue as I stayed in March 2014. After spending 5 nights at the sister camp in the Maasai Mara (which was brilliant also and will receive a similar review) I arrived here and was just blown away. I spent five nights here also and the location, the animal experiences, the food, the accommodation and staff were just amazing. I could not have had a better time. I have travelled a great deal and have been on many safari holidays and this one and the sister camp in the Maasai Mara were unparalleled. I could use many adjectives and many paragraphs to tell people what an incredible place this is but you really just need to experience it for yourself - there is no way you could be disappointed. And you seriously need to know how good the food is - and you are in the Serengeti - and it is very, very good.

As a person travelling on my own, some of the things that really make a good holiday is when you don't have to worry about the quality and professionalism of the company, any internal transfers within a location or country, the booking processes, the way the staff is going to treat you etc. Everything was superbly arranged and organised and I was communicated with all the way. The staff were just brilliant - there is no other way to describe it. I especially loved having a drink at the end of the day with my Field Guide, some of the camp staff and the Manager and talking about what I had seen during the day and anything else we wanted to talk about. It was a great way to end what was already a great day.

And the animals - it can be hit and miss on safari and my philosophy is you see what you see and this means you are never disappointed. This is the wild and you can't possibly expect to see everything and no matter what you see it is all brilliant, but we managed to see and find pretty much everything and then some. Cheetahs hunting, a lion pride with 11 lion cubs, many many elephants, a leopard kill with lion chaser, buffalo herds - you name it we saw it. Incredible!

A special thank you to Lawrence who really just made an already incredible stay perfect and to Deus, Amos and Nissa who made this holiday such a special one. I really, seriously, can't wait to come back!

Room Tip: All rooms seem to have a similar view and regardless of which room (tent) you are in it will blow yo...
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  • Stayed March 2014, travelled solo
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Helpful?
1 Thank VJ313
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Yarm, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
15 reviews
5 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
Reviewed 14 March 2014

Having spent the previous 4 nights at it's sister camp , the Mara Bushtops, I was a little apprehensive as to whether the high standards could be maintained. i needn't have been as the standard of this camp was thankfully just as high.
Yet again the camp, the food , the staff were absolutely wonderful.
The camp itself is different from the Mara. The tents are spaced further apart, more spacious and seem to be newer. The wildlife surrounding the tents was just as close. Close encounters with elephants and large herds of buffalo will remain fondly in my memory.
Yet again we were fortunate to spot the big 5 again in a comparatively short space of time .This again was down to the excellent service provided by our guide, Jeffrey and spotter.
Nights were spent discussing what had or hadn't been seen on the drives sat around the campfire quenching the thirst with an ice cold Tuska.
In conjunction with our stay in the Mara this was the holiday of a lifetime. I do hope however that one day we will return and experience this unique place and people again.
A special mention must go to our guide, Jeffrey. Not only was he very knowledgable about the local wildlife, he had a great sense of humour and was always eager to talk even when off duty.

  • Stayed October 2013, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
3 Thank Sunchaser62
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Level Contributor
4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 3 helpful votes
Reviewed 23 February 2014 via mobile

All the BUSHTOPS reserves are amazing. We first went to the MaraBrushtops, then here. WHAT A FANTASTIC PLACE! Our tent was as big as an apartment for two, very confortable and organized.
The staff was absolutely friendly and makes us want to come back even more!
One tip: ask for the nearest tent to the common lounge (or admnistration area), its easier to get around later...
For the Safari, also check if there is another couple your age,..its more likely that you all will get along without any stress :)

Stayed September 2013, travelled as a couple
Helpful?
1 Thank Ma C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cheltenham, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
62 reviews
20 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 32 helpful votes
Reviewed 22 February 2014

The first week of our Ruby Wedding holiday was at the Serengeti Bushtops tented village (after two days at Arusha Coffee Lodge on the way). Amazing tents, superb food & wines and great company. The General Manager and all his staff were first class. The three days of safari seeing lions, leopards, elephants, zebras, rhinos, thousands of wildebeest crossing (and waiting to cross) the rivers were excellent. Recommend it highly.

*****

Room Tip: All 'rooms' are luxury first class tents.
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  • Stayed September 2013, travelled with friends
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Helpful?
2 Thank BrianKane_2011
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Cardiff, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
213 reviews
71 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 98 helpful votes
Reviewed 12 February 2014

This place is absolutely amazing. We stayed here for 3 nights as part of our 40th wedding anniversary celebrations and Pantaleo and his team went out of their way to make us feel special. We were met at the air strip and given Serengeti Bushtops hats and offered drinks and cookies (coffee and Amarula went down a treat) while the paperwork was being processed. The ride to camp is taken pole pole so that you can see whatever animals are around, giraffe, buffaloes, hippo and more beside in our case. We were met at camp by Pantaleo, the manager, and one of his team with flannels to refresh us, this happened every time we returned from safari. Our tent was named Kudu and was large and luxurious, Happy Anniversary was written in coffee beans on our bed. Our butler, Suddy, brought us wine and gin and tonic so that we could watch the sunset from our patio, filled our hot tub so that we could soak after a long day on safari, woke us up in the mornings with hot chocolate and muffins before we went to the dining tent for breakfast! Hot water bottles were placed in your bed at night and also provided on early morning game drives with blankets to keep you warm. Every night we all met up around the fire for cocktails, talk about the days sightings and order our dinner which was always excellent. Our ranger Jaffery and spotter Yusaf were fantastic. We managed to see 4 of the big five, no rhino, we also saw cheetah and on our last day after a brilliant leopard sighting we disturbed a civet cat who was resting by the tree we had picked to have our lunch under. We had such a fabulous time and would like to say "Asante Sana" to Richard our waiter and Swahili teacher, Dennis for his wonderful cocktails, Suddy our butler, Janet for her massage, Yusaf for his wonderful eyesight, Jaffery and his driving skills, Pantaleo and all of his team who made this trip so very special.

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
Thank janhooper50
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Lugano, Switzerland
Level Contributor
5 reviews
Reviewed 4 February 2014

My dream holiday... I am back from a week at Serengeti Bushtops and I am still dreaming... there are no words strong enough to describe the place.... AWESOME in every little detail.
Fantastic tents, fantastic staff, Pantaleo,great manager, excellent food, rangers very prepared and skilled.
You have a desire?... name it and you get it! According to me it is the best Camp on earth.
Thank you all for having made my stay unforgettable!

  • Stayed January 2014, travelled solo
    • Value
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    • Sleep Quality
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank Marilena1948
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about Serengeti Bushtops Camp

Property: Serengeti Bushtops Camp
Address: Wogakuria 10, north western Serengeti, Serengeti National Park 14708, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Serengeti National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Spa Suites Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #22 of 113 Speciality Lodging in Serengeti National Park
Hotel Class:5 star — Serengeti Bushtops Camp 5*
Number of rooms: 13
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
A Tanzanian haven for serious safari seekers, Serengeti Bushtops is an oasis of 5-star luxury within one of the world's most magical settings. Picture yourself gazing out over the stunning scenery of the Serengeti. Imagine returning from safari and watching the sun set from the comfort of your tent's private hot tub. Consider the thrill of watching the annual migration thunder across the mighty Mara river. Or simply revel in the thought of being pampered by your butler and our friendly staff, before enjoying our fabulous cooking and fine wines in the comfort of our restaurant and shared spaces. This combination of safari adventure, first class facilities and blissful relaxation has delivered Serengeti Bushtops' unwavering promise of Wild Luxury ever since we opened in June 2010. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Serengeti Bushtops Camp Hotel Serengeti National Park

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