Lobo Wildlife Lodge has been built into the volcanic rocks of the northern plains
Lobo Wildlife Lodge: Our full report
First constructed in 1968, the large Lobo Wildlife Lodge was until recently run by the government, and its old-fashioned, stone structure still remains largely unchanged despite new management. One of just a few lodges in the Serengeti National Park to have really excellent views, this Wildlife Lodge is built in and around the distinctive Lobo Kopje, a large hill of rounded granite boulders which rises from undulating plains of the northern Serengeti.
It's a very photogenic corner of the Serengeti – some of the granite boulders in these kopjies are the size of a hand, others the size of a small tower block.
Lobo Wildlife Lodge's 74 rooms are fairly monotonously placed in a number of square, box-like adjoining blocks. All of the rooms are directly next to one another down long, white-painted corridors, which are often open on one side.
Each room is decorated in the same, no-nonsense style reminiscent of the 1970s: white, stone walls, highly polished wooden floors, twin beds with uninspiring fabrics, and stainless-steel light fittings. We find the décor largely lacks imagination – but do enjoy the big glass windows as some have great views. Electronic safes, kettles and hairdryers have recently been added to the rooms.
All of the bedrooms at Lobo have en-suite bathrooms which, like the bedrooms, are functional but quite old and dated. Each has a white tiled bath with a shower attachment, a flush toilet and a white sink set into a polished wooden surround, below a large mirror. There are clean towels and a couple of complimentary toiletries, yet despite the surfaces being clean, they are a little stained and never seem to feel spotless.
Lobo Wildlife Lodge has a dining room, a Moroccan-themed bar and a swimming pool with a stunning location overlooking the plains from quite a height. There's also a very small shop. In these communal areas the designers have often tried hard to incorporate some of the kopje's huge rocks. Integral to the dining room is the trunk of a tree, encased in a square glass tube, which reaches up and opens to the roof. We're told that until 1974, a leopard used to come down here, in full view of the diners! Meals are usually buffets, and whilst perfectly edible – they won't win any awards for their cuisine.
Despite the uninspiring accommodation here, the real stars of the show are the scenery and the wildlife. The area has excellent resident game. On a previous stay in the vicinity, over just two nights in September, we saw two separate prides of lion, as well as a fleeting leopard (we're told there are five resident leopards in the area of this large kopje) – plus a large herd of buffalo, a family group of elephants, and plenty of plains game. The best of these sightings were in the very early morning, so get going early here if you can.
The great migration passes through the Lobo area on its way south, down the eastern side of the Serengeti National Park and Loliondo Game Controlled Area, between about October and November. You may also see elements of the migration heading north around there, during August and September. So whilst Lobo works as a game destination all year round, it's particularly worth going to between about August and November. Note that because it's so far to the north of the park, the game-drive roads around here can be marvellously quiet – we had a whole-day's drive north from here, in September, on which we only saw about two other vehicles.
Being raised above the surrounding plains may make Lobo rather windswept but it's always spectacular. If you want a good-value base in the north of the Serengeti, and can tolerate run-of-the-mill food and uninspiring accommodation, then Lobo delivers – just make sure you come for the wildlife and scenery; not the luxury. Note that there are several viewpoints with particularly good views of the sunrise and sunset.
Ideal length of stay: Stay at least 2 nights here to explore the surrounding game.
Directions: Lobo airstrip is 2.5km from the lodge.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Lobo Wildlife Lodge will cater for children and vegetarians on request. They are flexible with meal times for those going out on long/early game drives. All meals are served as a cooked buffet.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: No drinks are included at Lobo – everything is paid for when you are here. A beer currently costs roughly US$3.
Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Lobo – and being a large lodge, there are some quite large areas inside that children will enjoy. It's probably one of the Serengeti's more suitable lodges for younger children.
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.
Special activities & services: None
Equipment: They have cots and highchairs.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Like any area with dangerous game, parents must supervise children constantly when they stay at Lobo Wildlife Lodge. There are some great vantage points on the rocks where you can watch the sunrise and sunset – but at most they have basic wooden fences which are not very secure!
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: On 5am – 10am and then 5pm – 12pm.
Communications: There is limited cellphone network coverage at Lobo, but internet access is only in the office, and they told us it was very slow and unreliable.
TV & radio: There is a television in the bar.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Lobo has links with the flying-doctor service.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Lobo Wildlife Lodge tells us they have two armed TANAPA guards on duty at night and two security guards 24 hours a day.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers around the property and some of the staff are trained to use them.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is not included at Lobo and costs $1–4 per item. Laundry is dried according to the weather.
Money: Lobo will exchange small amounts of US dollars, euros, pounds sterling and Tanzanian shillings.
Accepted payment on location: The lodge accepts cash payment in US dollars, euros, pounds sterling and Tanzanian shillings, as well as Visa and Mastercard, for which they add 5% commission.