Brewing beer in the bush? #Asilia makes it possible!


(Posted 18th December 2019)

Asilia is set to launch the first solar-powered microbrewery in the bush at the newly rebuilt luxury flagship Sayari Camp in the northern Serengeti.

To celebrate 15 years of Sayari, Asilia will completely reimagine and rebuild the luxury, eco-conscious camp in 2020. The new look property will open in June 2020, in time for the annual wildebeest crossings of the Mara River.

Sayari was a pioneer. The camp began life as a traditional mobile camp, moving north to south through the Serengeti in Tanzania, following the journey of the Great Migration. In 2009, Sayari became the first permanent camp to put down roots in the northern Serengeti, an area plagued by bushmeat poaching. With no other means of livelihood, villagers had turned to hunting the area’s abundant wildlife to make a living. The arrival of the camp secured the long-term conservation of this region and created employment opportunities for the communities living on the park’s boundary. Many of the camp’s original team were former poachers.

Since 2009, Asilia has been carbon neutral and continues to develop practical ways to further reduce its eco footprint. The new Sayari will be the home of the latest evolution with the installation of the first solar-powered microbrewery in the bush, in partnership with Wayout, a Scandinavian start-up revolutionising the brewery industry. The new brewery will make beer and soft drinks on site, as well as purifying water and producing sparkling water, all using solar power. By doing so, Asilia removes the need for plastic bottles and cans in camp, not only reducing waste, but also reducing transport. The brewery will create four unique beers for Asilia, the perfect drink for a safari sundowner.

Sayari has played a pivotal role in creating a conservation economy in the northern Serengeti. The camp is entirely Tanzanian run and, of the 55 staff, 80 percent are from local communities. A US$5 per person per night conservation contribution goes toward local community projects. To date, Sayari has donated USD$121,500 to assist local NGO Honeyguide in anti-poaching operations through a canine tracker team.

The camp’s bold new look was conceptualised by designer Caline Williams-Wynn. Caline is a long-time collaborator with Asilia and is the creative mastermind behind Asilia’s award-winning Highlands in Ngorongoro, Jabali Ridge in Ruaha National Park and the recently refurbished Namiri Plains in the eastern Serengeti. Sayari takes its inspiration from the colourful culture of the Kuria people who call the northern Serengeti home. The spacious main area will seamlessly blend inside and out, with sliding glass doors allowing for uninterrupted views of the rolling Serengeti plains. The Kuria will be depicted in striking original artworks by South African photographic artist Graham Springer. Music is integral to the Kuria culture, playing a key role not just in ceremonies and celebrations but also daily life. A music station will display traditional instruments used and a listening station will offer guests the opportunity to listen to samples of different songs recorded from traditional musicians in the villages around the Serengeti.

Another stand-out feature of the property will be the safari shop, showcasing a carefully curated selection of Tanzanian products sourced from ethical cooperatives. Keepsakes includes chic, modern jewellery beaded by Maasai women from Sidai; a Tanzanian range of organic, single origin teas from the foothills of Mt. Kilimanjaro blended with exotic spices and herbs from across Tanzania and Zanzibar; 100% raw, organic, cold-pressed coconut oil made from Tanzanian coconuts; modern fair trade handmade home decor from Tanzania, handwoven by Tanzanian, Rwandan and Burundian women artisans; and hand beaded sandals, belts and cuffs created by Maasai women’s groups in villages close to Arusha.

The 15 spacious tents (including a family tent sleeping up to two adults and three children) all have views of the rolling plains ahead. Sayari is not fenced and wildlife moves freely through the camp. It is not unusual to see zebra and wildebeest moving between the tents on their journey to cross the Mara River. The tents at Sayari reflect the iconic flat topped hill, Turner Hill, in their design. Inside, the colour palette has been inspired by the patterns in the rocks that stud the grass plain landscape, with a rich copper being the key accent colour. In homage to the Maasai culture of beading, cushions will be decorated with delicate beading sewn by local women. Spacious decks wrap around each room and the bathroom comes complete with views of the open plains. The bathroom includes a freestanding, extra-large bath with a view, as well as both an indoor and outdoor shower.

The northern Serengeti is famous for the wildebeest migration that thunders through from July to October each year. Over 1 million wildebeest cross the Mara River close to Sayari to reach the green grass in the Masai Mara on the other side. But this area actually comes into its own outside of the frenetic migration season, when the herds of wildebeest (and safari cars of tourists!) move south for the calving in the new year. Home to the Big 5 year round and herds of resident plains game, European migrant birds swell the resident bird population to over 500 species from January, making this a truly spectacular time to visit Sayari. For keen photographers, Asilia has a specialist photography vehicle stationed at Sayari which offers 360-degree swivel seats, drop down sides, bean bags and foam rests to ensure the best chance of getting the perfect shot. Game drives and walks are conducted by the nine resident guides, all graduates of Asilia’s in-house guiding course.
Jeroen Hardwerwijk, co-founder and Managing Director, comments: ‘15 years ago when we were choosing a site for Sayari, there were no roads in the area and no airstrip . We slept in our car at the ranger post. Poaching was rife; you can still see the bullet holes in the walls of the ranger post today. Today, when I land at Kogatende Airstrip and see the fleets of safari cars I am proud to know that we played a pivotal role in creating a conservation economy there. The presence of tourism helped drastically reduce the bush meat poaching, but it was only successful because we worked hand-in-hand with the local communities, creating benefits for them from the new tourism industry. This is the model that we endeavour to replicate in all our new projects.’

Sayari will open on the 1st June 2020. Rates start at US$ 815 per person per night. Artist’s impressions of the new look can be found by clicking on the following link:

Founded in 2004, Asilia is a company built by passionate people with long-standing roots in the original family-run safari companies of East Africa. Today, Asilia is a fast-growing, leading travel brand in East Africa, employing more than 900 people with a footprint of 19 camps and lodges in Kenya, Tanzania and Zanzibar. Asilia offers guests a genuine African safari through rich, meaningful and immersive wildlife experiences. As new opportunities emerge, Asilia continues to evolve, but will always be rooted in one fundamental principle: to offer genuine safaris that make a genuine difference and empower the crucial wilderness areas in East Africa to thrive, benefitting people and nature alike.

Currently, Asilia’s portfolio of camps includes:

In Tanzania: Sayari, Dunia, Namiri Plains, Olakira Migration Camp, Kimondo Migration Camp, Ubuntu Migration Camp, The Highlands, Oliver’s, Little Oliver’s, Kwihala, Jabali Ridge, Jabali Private House, Roho ya Selous, and Rubondo Island Camp.
On Zanzibar: Matemwe Lodge, Matemwe Retreat, and Matemwe Beach House.
In Kenya: Mara Bush Houses, Rekero, Naboisho, Encounter Mara and Ol Pejeta Bush Camp.