Four Season Safari Lodge is set in one of Africa's most fascinating safari areas - the Serengeti
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti: Our full report
The Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is located in the centre of the Serengeti National Park, close to the excellent wildlife area known as Seronera. This region of Serengeti National Park is recognised for its excellent game-viewing opportunities throughout the whole year – with many animals attracted to the lodge’s own waterhole. Previously known as Bilila Lodge Kempinski, the property was taken over in 2012 by the well known Four Seasons brand and renovated to their high 5 star standards.
We last visited the lodge during Four Seasons’ renovation period when we could already see signs of the smart lodge it was to become. Although not all of the work was completed at the time, here’s what we understand can be expected of the finished product:
With 72 rooms and 5 villas the Four Seasons Safari Lodge is the largest property in the Serengeti – and certainly the smartest of all the large hotel style properties. Carefully chosen for their luxurious feel and contemporary safari style, the furniture and fittings are well suited to the spacious, airy rooms. These are enhanced by modern comforts and top facilities such as air conditioning, internet access, a spa and a well kitted out gym complete with steam room.
In addition to the spa and fitness centre, the main facilities include a comfortable lounge/reception room just inside the lodge entrance on the first floor, and a large bar on the ground floor; both furnished with cushioned sofas and armchairs. The lodge’s first floor has a vast restaurant serving international cuisine prepared in an open kitchen. Large glass windows allow diners to enjoy views over the waterhole and Serengeti plains beyond. In the centre of the lodge is an atrium, open to the sky, with a central camp fire around which tables are set for a second dining area offering Boma-style meals. A cavernous wine cellar is available for private dining, and also offers wine-tasting daily with a specific focus on South African wines.
Outdoors, a large deck with small tables, shaded by umbrellas, and outdoor lounge suites is a great location for a light lunch or sundowner cocktail. A second wooden deck, dotted with sun loungers, wraps partly around an infinity swimming pool. Both overlook the waterhole. As well as good numbers of plains game, and the odd predator, herds of elephant frequently come to drink here.
The Four Seasons Safari Lodge’s spa is comprehensive with individual pavilions built as treatment rooms, many offering appealing views. A wide range of treatments by trained therapists for singles or couples are available starting at about US$120 for 90 minutes. The lodge’s Kijana Children’s Club has been specifically set up for youngsters and offers an arts and crafts room with a professionally supervised, Serengeti themed, programme and a separate movie and video games area. The lodge has a well equipped business centre for guests who need to keep in touch with their businesses, offering wired and wireless internet access, audio visual equipment and printing facilities.
Raised wooden walkways take you between the main areas and Four Season's 77 bedrooms. The 24 Savannah Rooms and 12 Terrace Suites are located on the ground floor, whilst the 36 Horizon Rooms are found on the top floor. 5 Villas have been built a discrete distance away. All the rooms are spacious, but the suites have some of the largest bedrooms in the Serengeti.
Each room has a sizeable en-suite bathroom, air-conditioning, flat screen TV, telephone, safe, hair-dryer, a mini-bar, tea/coffee making facilities, internet cable points (wireless access for all the rooms was in the planning stages), and a private outdoor area. The Terrace Suites are larger with a small plunge pool, an outdoor shower, a second bathroom and a lounge area with space that could take trundle beds - and so these rooms can sleep two adults and two children. The 5 Villas include a one-bedroomed villa, two two-bedroomed villas and a three-bedroomed Presidential Villa. As well as the usual facilities, each has a kitchen, separate lounge, small pool, and outdoor shower.
The Four Seasons Safari Lodge offers game-drives with its own resident guides, and you may share these activities with other guests. However, most visitors to the lodge arrive with their own private vehicle and safari guide, just using the lodge as a very comfortable base.
Our viewThe Four Season Safari Lodge has tried hard to blend in with its natural surroundings whilst offering a very stylish and luxurious base from which to experience the Serengeti National Park. It is the perfect choice for travellers who want somewhere with all the mod-cons of an international style hotel, and the facilities and standards you would expect from a 5 star Four Seasons property. It’s located a little way from Serengeti’s productive Seronera wildlife area, about 30 minutes game drive, but the lodge’s waterhole attracts an endless stream of animals which means there’s always an interesting spectacle here.
Ideal length of stay: Stay at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge for two or three nights to fully explore the central Serengeti, including the Seronera area.
Directions: The Four Seasons Safari Lodge is about 45 minutes from Seronera Airstrip, but the drive may take longer if you have interesting wildlife sightings on route.
Owner: Four Seasons
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: We did not try the fare at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge, but we understand that the restaurants serve Pan-African and international style cuisine. ‘Theatre cooking’ in the open kitchen will demonstrate to diners the freshness and quality of the ingredients used by the chefs. Breakfast and dinner will usually be served as a buffet, whilst light, creative lunches will be served on the deck, in the bar or in the lounge. At the Boma restaurant, guests will be able to enjoy local grill specialities, accompanied by African entertainment on occasion.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included in the accommodation price; you can expect to pay about US$5 for a beer and US$40 for a bottle of wine.
Wellbeing: Four Seasons Safari Lodge has a comprehensive Spa with six treatment rooms. Trained therapists offer a variety of treatments for couples and singles including massages, facials and manicures.See more ideas for Wellbeing in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge.
Equipment: The lodge has a kid’s club, cots and high chairs available for use by families. Child minders can also be arranged on request.
Notes: Families can be accommodated in one of two family-sized villas, in Terrace Suites which can sleep four, or in adjoining Savannah Rooms where two rooms have one communal entrance vestibule.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: Every room has high speed internet access, but you’ll need your own laptop to use this. Alternatively, the lodge’s business centre offers computers and internet access.
TV & radio: Each guest room is fitted with satellite TV.
Health & safety
Malarial area: Yes
Medical care: Four Seasons Safari Lodge has a doctor on site, and access to flying doctors in the event of a medical emergency.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Each guest room is fitted with a safe for personal belongings. During the day security guards (askaris) are ever present in the lodge grounds, and after dark guests are escorted to their rooms.
Fire safety: Fire extinguishers and hose pipes are strategically located throughout the lodge. There is also a fire break around the lodge.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is offered at an additional charge.