Introducing The Retreats at Sayari and Namiri Plains

By John Baumann | 19 April 2023


Offering an elevated level of exclusivity and flexibility, the new Retreats at Sayari and Namiri Plains have been created to provide families and groups of friends with a personal space from which to explore these iconic Serengeti locations.

The Sayari Retreats retain their iconic tent structure and canvas feel.

Each Retreat has a private firepit, perfect for evening sundowners.

Canvas and Calcrete

Opening their doors for the first time in July 2023, The Retreats create an exciting addition to the established camps of Sayari and Namiri Plains. Each camp features two Retreats, positioned for privacy from the rest of the camp, but close enough to make use of the spa or visit the camp shop. The design elements of Sayari Camp, with its iconic tent style imitating the shape of the flat hill tops in the surrounding area, have been incorporated into the extended structure of each of the Sayari Retreats. The strong use of canvas elements has been retained, honouring the heritage of Sayari Camp as the first permanent camp in the northern Serengeti. Similarly, the use of stone walls built from Calcrete, continues as a theme throughout the Namiri Plains Retreats. Found across the south and eastern Serengeti, Calcrete is a calcium rich by-product of volcanic eruptions from millions of years ago. The stone walls absorb the midday heat, keeping the rooms cool during the day and retaining warmth at night, all whilst intrinsically tying the design to the surrounding landscape.

A front view render of a Namiri Retreat with its private firepit

Each of the Namiri Retreats has been designed to maximise the available views.

The Serengeti

Namiri Plains, situated in the short-grass landscapes of the eastern Serengeti, holds the prime location within what is arguably the best big cat viewing environment of the Serengeti. The layer of Calcrete below the ground’s surface prevents larger vegetation from growing, creating wide open plains dotted with large granite boulders and termite mounds, from which lion and cheetah survey their respective surroundings. The herds of the migration typically pass through this area in a flurry of activity around mid-November but are accessible on a full day game drive until mid-June when they begin to push back into the northern Serengeti. A permanent water source ensures a strong variety of resident game, supporting the apex predators and preventing them from having to hunt elsewhere, creating a destination that offers incredible year-round game viewing.

A cheetah cub tests it's mothers patience on the open Namiri Plains.

The short grass plains of Namiri are the ideal habitat for cheetah.

Sayari Camp, located in the northern Serengeti, is ideally positioned to enjoy the best of the annual Great Migration. Between the months of July to October, the surrounding plains fill with thousands upon thousands of wildebeest and zebra as they cross back and forth over the Mara River in a seemingly constant state of confusion. In November, the short seasonal rains arrive, drawing the herds and mobile camps into the southern Serengeti, and turning the north into an exclusive haven of thriving resident game and lush green landscapes. While river crossings are certainly exciting, those with the experience will tell you that it’s during the green season that the northern Serengeti really comes to life. The strong population of resident wildlife includes buffalo, giraffe and black rhino alongside a variety of gazelle, keeping the big cats fed and content. Lion pride numbers swell as cubs are welcomed, and leopard den amongst the kopjes keeping their new-borns out of danger.

A top view rendering of a Sayari Retreat, detailing the full layout of the unit.

The Sayari Retreats feature outdoor showers in addition to full en suite bathrooms.

The Layout

Each Retreat comprises of two full size bedrooms with sliding doors leading out onto a spacious wrap around veranda that runs along three sides of the Retreat. The bedrooms are both en suite complete with a shower and a bathtub, carefully planned to allow expansive views from each. Keeping with the design elements of the original camp, the bathtub at the Namiri Retreats is outdoors on the deck, tucked around the corner to ensure privacy. At the Sayari Retreats, private showers on the deck offer an outdoor alternative to the indoor shower and bathtub. Between the two bedrooms is a comfortable lounge and private dining area, with sliding doors opening onto the middle of the veranda, creating a luxurious indoor/ outdoor living area. All interior spaces have been carefully appointed and furnished under the experienced hand of Caline Williams-Wynn, who’s history with Asilia includes both The Highlands and Jabali Ridge, as well as the main camps of Sayari and Namiri Plains. Steps lead off the front of the veranda, down onto the grass and to your own firepit – the perfect location for pre-dinner sundowners.

The top view of a Namiri Plains Retreat showcasing the spacious bedrooms and outdoor bathtubs.

The layout of a Namiri Plains Retreat, highlighting the use of Calcrete throughout the design.

Between each of the Retreats in both Sayari and Namiri Plains, is a swimming pool and deck, leading into a relaxed lounge and dining area. In the event that a single group books both of the Retreats, this dining area will be used as it can seat a full party of 12 people. When the Retreats are booked by separate parties, the pool and lounge area become a shared environment, while meals are enjoyed in the Retreats or al-fresco under the trees. Whether one party or two, this area is reserved exclusively for guests of The Retreats, ensuring a quiet spot or a pool-side lounger is always readily available.

An Enhanced Experience

Apart from the structural design elements making these Retreats well suited to families and groups, there are some important additional features which further enhance this curated offering. Each Retreat includes a private guide and six-seater vehicle, a dedicated chef, and a host. Think of your host as your private concierge service – on hand to double check flight arrangements, liaise with the spa to find a suitable time for your massage, or perhaps book a last-minute balloon safari. Special arrangements, whether it’s a surprise sundowner or a poolside dining setup, can all be facilitated through this specialist service provider.

A hot air balloon sails past Sayari Camp at sunrise.

Each Retreat includes the services of a host, there to assist you in getting the most out of your safari experience.

A dedicated chef allows for complete flexibility in both mealtimes and food preferences. If your game drive encounters a sighting too good to leave, your guide can simply inform your chef that dinner will need to be delayed and an alternative arrangement can be put in place. For families with young children, the flexibility afforded by a dedicated chef ensures enjoyable meals are prepared for the full family. Further enhancing this tailored offering, is the presence of a private guide and vehicle. How you structure your day is entirely up to you. Each evening, your guide will join you by the fireside to arrange a plan for the following day and put a rough schedule in place. The private vehicle allows you full control over your game viewing, whether that means dedicating a full day to a specific species or enjoying a picnic breakfast on an early morning game drive before spending the afternoon by the pool – the flexibility is yours.

A private guide and vehicle creates flexibility and offers you control of your day.

A private guide and vehicle offers you complete flexibility over your daily structure.

Itinerary Planning

The Retreats at Sayari and Namiri Plains combine perfectly with each other, to offer unique experiences in different ecosystems, all within the borders of the Serengeti National Park. For a greater diversity of experience, consider combinations with Jabali Private House in southern Tanzania’s Ruaha National Park, or the family suite at Naboisho Camp in the Mara Naboisho Conservancy. Each of these options has been carefully designed to offer families and groups of friends a tailored and exclusive safari experience.

Maa Beadwork Newsletter Signup
SIGN UP TO OUR NEWSLETTER Join our newsletter. Stay in touch and travel when ready.