Located in the Grumeti controlled area to the far west of the Serengeti, this lodge is ideal for those looking for pristine wilderness and connection with nature, whilst enjoying the elegant comforts and luxuries that this lodge has to offer. However, it does not bubble-wrap you away from nature, instead allowing you to feel a part of Tanzania’s wilderness.
The Grumeti is a fascinating ecosystem contiguous with the main body of the Serengeti National Park and each June becomes the focus for one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on the planet – the Great Migration.
This is when up to 2 million wildebeest and zebra along with various other antelope and the predators that follow flow over the Grumeti on their way north to the Mara River. Once over the river, they travel further north over the border into the Masai Mara in Kenya. However there is always incredibly good wildlife to be seen in the Grumeti throughout the year and as the conservancy is privately managed, one has this all oneself.
Sasakwa Lodge has the most beautiful views to the south-east over the Ikarongo Plains, and is spacious with living areas, verandahs, fireplaces, minibars and all the modern facilities that one expects of a place of this calibre.
The staff are 100% professional and every whim is met. Sasakwa has a fleet of twelve open Land Rovers for game drives, guided by knowledgeable guides, there are walking safaris in the early morning to look for spoor and hopefully catch a glimpse of a nocturnal mammals heading back to their den for a sleep.
With this in mind what I enjoyed most is that you don’t have to be super active and be out in the wilderness for 20 hours of the day (though you potentially could I suppose), but instead there is plenty of opportunity to spend time relaxing, unwinding and seeing the ‘bigger picture’, (and there is a spa at Sasakwa too).
The food is incredible. Loads of freshly squeezed juices and health drinks, amazing tuna Niçoise salad, fresh baked olive bread; I just can’t describe how good that was! The menus change every day and you have the choice of around five options for each course of each meal. Basically, whatever you want they will make if at all possible, that is the whole ethos of the lodge.
Sasakwa Lodge welcomes families and there are plenty of things to keep the children and teenagers entertained here! The guides are fantastic with children and will take them on bush walks and teach them the “Mini Ranger’s Course” which is a wonderful way to engage them and children of all ages!
The guides teach them tracking skills and bush survival, frogging, butterfly capture (and release), bird and tree spotting and astronomy. At the lodge they can try their hand at baking with the chefs, take a dip in the pool or play tennis, snooker or board games. Additionally, if the adults would like a private dinner or game drive, a babysitting service can also be arranged.
Sasakwa is the height of luxury with gorgeous views, superb service and the food is sublime. All of this does come at a cost, but, far from the funds just going into a corporate pot, actually Singita puts its money where its mouth is and spends a simply huge amount each year of profits and moneys raised through charitable donations from clients and others to look after and protect this land and its wildlife as well as the people who live around the land and on the peripheral edges.
Now and more so in the future the main problems that face wildfire and wilderness is the lack of available land, climate change and poaching. People need to live, they need land and they need to also respect and work with nature. The Grumeti Fund helps them to see the value of their wilderness and wildlife.
One of the ‘projects’ in 2018 was a women run in the Grumeti. Contributions made through the women who gathered to run, where supported by Sasakwa and its sister lodges and the money raised has been given to improve empowerment programs for girls and women, which are specifically focused on providing opportunities for women to become leaders in conservation. The event was so successful that they will be doing another this year in a multistage all-women run through untouched and pristine wilderness.
It’s not all about running – participants visit and engage with local girls and learn more about the Grumeti Fund’s work, they do game drives and also spend time with the anti-poaching team learning about their vital work as well as visiting the Canine Unit. Money raised goes towards scholarships for local girls in secondary school, vocational studies and university, environmental education for girls in secondary schools, training of girl mentors and girls empowerment events.
Singita’s have a strong ethos of supporting communities and conservation, and they have focused on these pristine wildernesses to protect its wildlife for the future. Too soon, it is predicted that many wilderness areas in Africa (and around the world) will be lost to ‘progress’ and the human need for land.
There is even a thought that by 2050, Africa may only have 20 national parks for wildlife left, such would be the impact of population growth and the subsequent pressure on the land. Singita wants to protect Grumeti and their other wilderness conservancies for our future and our children’s future and that costs money.
The Grumeti Fund vision is to create sustainable and eco-friendly tourism that supports hospitality but also the protection of environments. It is ambitious but it is needed to safeguard some of Africa’s most defenceless species, such as rhino, lion, elephants and their natural habitats. Singita has worked with the reintroduction of rhino, feeding programs in communities and leopard research, to name a few of the projects.
The wildlife and the wilderness that they still have now must grow together with local communities who are shown that they will benefit from conservation through partnerships. The non-profit Grumeti Fund manages to conserve and preserve the 350,000-acre property in this magical and special part of Tanzania.
If you would like more information please do feel free contact me.
Images kindly provided courtesy of Singita. Image of lions copy right to Ross Couper.