Camp Update from Co-Founder Rick Thomson

Written by Thomson Safaris

thomson safaris founders at serengeti nyumba camp

Greetings from Tanzania!

All spring, we’ve been busy preparing for this season’s safari guests and I wanted to share our latest development—putting a roof over your head! While Judi insists that not everyone harbors my passion for camp construction, I encourage you to look up from your dinner at our Central Serengeti Nyumba Camp and appreciate the care and craftsmanship above.

Designing our camps is a balancing act. For over forty years, we’ve delivered a sustainable, authentic safari experience without compromising on comfort. For our Central Camp’s dining area, this meant adhering to traditional building methods executed by local experts we trust to keep our guests shaded and dry.

The dining area roof had held up admirably for years, and had seen hundreds of guests pass beneath its beams, but we learned a long time ago that ensuring a smooth experience for our guests means being proactive about maintenance. It was time for a refresh, and we’re thrilled with the results!

collecting local grasses for dining tent roofResidents of Robanda Village were contracted to help cut, bundle, and prepare grass for transport to camp.

Two species of grass were used for the roof. Elephant grass from the village of Mto wa Mbu near Lake Manyara was tightly bound to form the internal “ceiling,” while 23,000 bundles of red oat grass, which tops the nearby houses of Robanda Village, forms the external layer.

dining tent roof renovationMeanwhile, we began stripping the old roof and every last straw was removed from the grounds.

Grass fundi (expert) Athumani Ally Alute directed local teams charged with bundling, installing and fastening the roof that I hope you agree is as beautiful as it is functional. It really gives me a warm, fuzzy ceiling. Sorry, couldn’t resist.

reroofing thatch in africaElephant grass from the Lake Manyara area was used to form the interior roof.

closeup of elephant grasses on roofClose-up of the red oat grass blending together to form an almost seamless structure.

lounge tent in serengetiThe finished product

Karibu nyumbani!

Judi and I take pride in our camps. Decades ago, we decided to make every decision ourselves—no outsourcing to operators or management companies. We hope you take comfort knowing that we arrived at each aspect of your adventure—from the coffee to the pillows to the roofing—through our conscious commitment to prioritizing guests, the environment and local communities. I know I do.

Safari njema!