The emotive experience of Dunia

By John Baumann | 22 November 2023


Dunia, run entirely by women, was always going to be a special safari camp. A truly unique experience in one of the world’s most popular game viewing destinations. From the outset, the camp gathered traction as the notoriety of its all-female team, defying operational norms and the traditional roles of women in East Africa, spread through the grapevine of the safari industry.

A lioness yawns against a cloudy sky

Dunia Camp is strategically positioned to offer phenomenal game viewing across the Serengeti.   

“To say this is an amazing camp is an understatement. The service was out of this world.” – guest, July 2023 

Location is Key

Situated in the south-central Serengeti, close to the famous Moru Kopjes, the camp has access to a wide variety of game viewing options. To the east, the Seronera Valley, with its permanent water source and year-round wildlife offering is always a reliable option, although it can be busy during the high season months given the proximity of some larger lodges and the Serengeti’s busiest airstrip. To the west, the secluded Western Corridor, with just a handful of lodges and an impressive density of resident wildlife. To the south, the Moru Kopjes in their majestic splendour, a black rhino sanctuary and further south, the wide-open short grass plains of the southern Serengeti. When The Great Migration gathers across the southern plains for the birthing frenzy of “calving season” and the buffet it provides for predators, game drives frequently depart camp with a picnic lunch for a full day adventure into the south. But from March to June, the vast herds move northwards, engulfing the grasslands surrounding Dunia and dominating the landscape. With such a prolific diversity of wildlife available throughout the year, it was expected that the wildlife offering would quickly establish itself as the key motivating factor to visit Dunia. Initially, it was, but then reviews and guest feedback gradually began to shift focus.

“We came for the wildlife, which did not disappoint, but would stay for the people. All the staff at Dunia camp are so great. Not only are they professional, they are personable, relaxed, fun and friendly.”  – Guest, September 2023

The comfortable lounge offers views across the surrounding grasslands

Furnished for comfort, the relaxation spaces within Dunia Camp are enhanced with warm and attentive service.

Our People

As the ladies of Dunia settled into their roles within camp and developed their bonds of friendship between one another, so the quality of service within camp began to climb. Guest feedback began to shift away from wildlife and more towards how guests felt whilst in camp, how they were looked after, the atmosphere of camp, and how the camp had a unique “feel” in comparison to other safari camps. The team of women seem to bring a maternal instinct into the service field, something that Pettie, the camp manager, likens to a mother caring for her child. It boils down to a level of attentiveness that allows the staff to pre-empt guest needs before the guest has even become aware of it.

“The service is truly in the details, how they communicate, and their warmth towards the guests. It feels like they are always thinking ahead about what will be comfortable for the guest.” – Ineke Smeulders, adventure and wildlife photographer.

Petronilla, Dunia Camp's inspirational manager

Petronilla leads her team of ladies from the front with compassion and empathy.

Perhaps it is because of the challenges and hardships these women have faced that has resulted in a heightened level of awareness towards the needs of others. Nearly all the Dunia women have had to rebel against traditional values and expectations, in moving away from their families and children to work in an industry historically reserved for men. In conversation, there is a common thread that binds them together, one of initial family disappointment followed by enhanced understanding when seeing how this woman is asserting her independence in pursuing her career whilst providing for her family.

“We have never experienced the warmth and hospitality of the Dunia Camp staff anywhere in the world - even in the most luxurious hotels. You can't rate it with stars, you must experience it.” – Guest, Oct 2023

Sunset drinks around the fire in Dunia Camp

Sunset drinks, "bush TV", and good company are the perfect way to end the day.

When looking at the range of feedback generated from across the Asilia portfolio, there is a consistent theme of gratitude for the people of Asilia. Our camp staff continuously go out of their way, above and beyond, to ensure each of our guests is treated with respect and value and offered a home away from home in the East African bush. Despite the consistently high praise our staff receive, it is the Dunia Camp ladies that steal the limelight. Their singing on arrival and departure is louder and more energised than any other camp, and the level of warmth and understanding they manage to exude is unmatched. While we never want to see an unhappy guest, it is not uncommon to see tears when guests wave farewell to this special corner of the Serengeti.

“While we were driving away, we even had lumps in our throats and tears in our eyes from the amazing encounter of meeting the wonderful ladies at Dunia Camp. It was truly special.” – Jenny Milne, East Africa Safari Expert

The smiling ladies of Dunia Camp

The smiling ladies of Dunia Camp, bringing unprecedented levels of service to the Serengeti.

The phenomenal wildlife of the Serengeti can be enjoyed from a multitude of camps and lodges spread out across this endless savannah, but an in-camp experience such as what Dunia offers is impossible to match. Add Dunia Camp into your next East Africa safari and forge a human connection you will never forget.

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