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The very best of several wonderful camps

Serengeti Safari Camp, operated by Nomad Tanzania, has only six lodging tents, very comfy and well-maintained. Our party of four became a part of the family, activities coordinated by the inimitable Joseph whose fine hand is everywhere, encouraging his staff, entertaining his guests and invisibly maintaining a perfect balance between luxury and adventure.

Our guide/driver Cornelius picked us up at an airstrip and skillfully introduced us to the Serengeti by spotting a cheetah feeding on a fresh Thompson's gazelle in the shade of a heavily-browsed olea tree, a rhino and her baby across an expanse, lions and lizards in a kopje, a herd of 25 elephants wandering across our path and a 5,000-strong wildebeest and zebra crossing of the Mara River (for which we waited, watching it develop) -- and all before arriving at the camp for lunch, albeit at 3:00 pm. We stashed our bags in our new abode, had a lovely lunch and then returned to the custom Land Cruiser with Cornelius for more of the Serengeti and a spectacular sunset before returning to drinks, an elegant dinner in excellent company and a nice hot bucket shower before bed (5 gallons lasts much longer than you would imagine). Whew -- what a day! And it was only the first of three more.

We were up and out in the Land Cruiser before sunrise each day to catch photos of wildebeests and, one morning, elephants, silhouetted with acacias on a ridge line as the sun rose. We had breakfast al fresco mid-morning; cold juice, hot coffee, fruit, egg dishes with vegetables and bacon or bangers and a sweet, all carefully laid on a table covered with bright Maasai cloth. Back to the camp in the early afternoon for lunch and a nap and then out again until dusk overtook us. Cornelius introduced us to Cape buffalo with orange-beaked oxpeckers riding their backs, topi and so many other shapes and sizes of antelope, silver-backed jackals resting after a feed, the elusive and skittish bat-eared fox, nursing lions with new cubs, 2-year lion cubs in playful packs, a male lion lounging, yawning, stretching, tossing his mane and surveying his territory, a bloat of hippos in a river, towers of giraffe and so many varieties of birds that the mind reels.

We reveled in cool nights and warm days, a knowledgeable and scholarly guide with a canny turn of mind and clever sense of humor, small (6-tent, 12-bed) camp serving excellent food and drink from wake-up coffee and biscuits to the late-night nibbles with your choice of "one more for the road" and new friends from across the English-speaking world. We booked our 15-night itinerary through Bushtracks. This Nomad Tanzania portion was the very best.