Sasakwa Lodge, in the Grumeti Reserve, is one of the top lodges in the Serengeti.
Sasakwa Lodge: Our full report
Set atop Sasakwa Hill, Sasakwa Lodge is a stunning lodge and the flagship property of Singita Grumeti Reserve.
Grumeti Reserve is a privately owned reserve, on which sit three sister properties – Sasakwa Lodge, Sabora Tented Camp and Faru Faru. This reserve covers 1,500 km² of wilderness to the west of the Serengeti National Park and is run by Grumeti Reserves, a non-profit organization. So the money made here is put straight back into conservation and education for the local people who live on the edge of the reserve. Grumeti Reserves have also set up a number of health initiatives for the local community.
All of the properties in Singita Grumeti Reserve are luxurious, but Sasakwa Lodge is by far and away the most opulent. It's the kind of place that is often booked out, as a whole lodge, for visiting multi-millionaires / billionaires, their families and their entourages.
Built in the style of an English manor house, Sasakwa resembles a classic East African house of the colonial era. The main single storey building is vast – with wide sweeping verandas, stone columns and slate roofs. At the front is a red stone cobbled square and fountain, which is almost reminiscent of an Italian villa. From here you walk through into Sasakwa's main house, which faces onto wide lawns, manicured gardens and the spectacular view of the Sabora Plains. The entire main building is fronted by a wide shady veranda, furnished with wicker furniture and comfortable chairs. On a clear day you can see for miles – and during the migration when the plains are full of animals, it is quite a sight. Swarovski binoculars and telescopes are dotted around the property and you are free to use them for wildlife viewing from the lodge.
Sasakwa's drawing room is an impressive lounge and bar – with high ceilings, comfortable sofas and antique furniture. A chandelier hangs from the ceiling and there are plenty of comfortable sofas and leather armchairs to relax in. Antique-style wooden chests act as coffee tables and a grand piano sits in the corner. Neutral colours, dark wooden furniture and African art give this room an old-world feel with a stylish edge.
Adjacent to the drawing room is Sasakwa Lodge's billiard room, quite traditionally furnished and styled – with wood-panelled walls, a marble fireplace and 19th-century landscape paintings. In the corner of the room there is also a bridge table and chairs.
The dining room at Sasakwa Lodge is a spacious room with high ceilings, dark wooden floors dotted with Persian rugs and gold Victorian wallpaper. Above the vast marble fire place hangs a fantastic oil panting of a hippo, then guilt Venetian mirrors hang on the other walls. The dining room closely resembles one you might find in an English manor house.
There is also a children's playroom with a DVD player and satellite TV, and a shop where you can find wonderful pieces of art, handmade glass and beautiful jewellery.
The bedrooms at Sasakwa Lodge are all set within seven large suites, which all occupy individual buildings and continue in the style of a colonial manor house. The suits vary in size; there are three one-bedroom suites, two with two bedrooms, one with three and one suite with four bedrooms. You will never have to share a suite with someone else – though you will usually be put in a suit with the number of bedrooms that you require.
All of the suites at Sasakwa Lodge are incredibly private; each has a private plunge pool, a veranda, a lounge area, and a huge bedroom with en-suite bathroom. (Click here for more on the suites at Sasakwa Lodge…)
The activities at Sasakwa Lodge consist of 4x4 game drives, safari walks and night drives. All of these are with the lodges guides, who are very good and certainly amongst the best we have met in Tanzania. There are also lodge-based activities such as tennis (there are two courts here), billiards, badminton and archery. A well-equipped gym has running machines, bikes, weights and gym balls, and a separate yoga room. There's also a spa where you can enjoy massages and a variety of beauty treatments.
The equestrian centre is situated a short golf-cart ride away from Sasakwa Lodge. There are 16 horses here, and you can choose between English- and Western-style saddles. There is a 2.7km walled riding track for less experienced horse-riders, while keen riders with a good level of skill and ample experience can ride out onto the plains of the reserve and enjoy a horseback safari.
Between about June and August this area is alive with the wildebeest migration. However the wildlife is good here year round and if you want to experience shear and unadulterated opulence in the Serengeti, then Sasakwa Lodge is a good choice. We last visited the area in September, after the migration had passed, and had a number of great cheetah sightings.
Our viewSasakwa Lodge has impeccable service, incredible levels of luxury and fantastic guides – albeit with probably the highest price tag of any lodge in the region. For some it will feel completely over the top, for others it will be a divine treat.
Directions: You can fly directly into the Singita Grumeti Reserve – there is an airstrip about 10km from Sasakwa Lodge. (It's a good airstrip, suitable for most private jets!) You can also drive through the Serengeti to reach the Sasakwa Lodge – this would take around five hours from the park's southern gate without stopping; even longer if you were viewing game en route.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food at Sasakwa Lodge is simply fantastic – what you would expect from a first class restaurant in Europe. The variety of the menu and quality of food is easily the best we have come across in Tanzania. Though some might also call it slightly over the top.
Breakfast was a huge buffet of cereals, fruits, yogurts, fresh bread and pancakes. There were also cheese platters and cold meat platters with ham, beef, salami and duck breast.
There was also an extensive cooked breakfast menu (which reads like a novel, it's extraordinary!) – including everything from smoked salmon and scrambled eggs, to traditional Tanzania food such as ugali, mandazi (like a doughnut) and masala tea.
Lunch at Sasakwa Lodge is usually served between 12:30 – 2:30 pm and usually an a la carte menu with three or four choices for each course.
Before the afternoon game drive at 4pm, guests are invited for afternoon tea on the veranda. There is a wide selection of herbal teas, as well as traditional tea and coffee. A selection of cakes and savory snacks such as quiches, tarts and sandwiches are also on offer.
Dinner at Sasakwa is served from 8pm – where guests can enjoy a formal meal of three courses. There are a number of choices for each course, each of which was very tasty. We particularity liked asparagus and truffle oil soup we had when we were last there.
Dinner is accompanied by a wide selection of wines – your waiter will recommend which one best compliments your meal choice.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are included except for champagne and premium imported wines and spirits.
Honeymoons: Sasakwa Lodge is a top-end property with superb service, a beautiful location and spectacular service. The bedrooms are set within very private suites that have their own lounge area and swimming pool. Staying here is perfect for a special occasion.See more ideas for Honeymoons in Tanzania
Riding holidays: The excellent equestrian centre at Sasakwa owns 18 horses for riding, ranging from 15.1 to 16.3 hands in height. Riding gear is provided, groups don’t exceed six people, and they have knowledgeable guides. You can do day rides or stay out for several days on a riding safari.See more ideas for Riding holidays in Tanzania
Attitude towards children: Children over the age of ten are welcome at Sasakwa Lodge
Property’s age restrictions: To stay at Sasakwa Lodge, children must be over the age of ten years – unless you book out the whole lodge!
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: Sasakwa Lodge is a very smart lodge so is best suited to older and more mature children. That said, there is lots for children to do around the lodge, including tennis, archery, swimming and there is also a children play room with satellite TV.
Communications: Sasakwa Lodge has complimentary internet in the library and there is broadband wireless in the suites, though you need your own laptop for this. The bedrooms also have internet phones which you can call internationally on free of charge.
TV & radio: There is DSTV in the children's playroom, and all of the suites have CD players.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: Sasakwa Lodge has a doctor on site, and links to the flying doctors in
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: Sasakwa Lodge has guards to escort guests around at night. There is a safe in the rooms for valuables.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the rooms and main areas and the staff are trained to use them.
Disabled access: On Request
Laundry facilities: Laundry is included at Sasakwa Lodge, it is machine washed and tumble dried.
Money: Sasakwa Lodge can exchange pounds sterling, Euros, dollars and Tanzanian shillings
Accepted payment on location: You can pay for any extras in pounds sterling, Euros, dollars and Tanzania shillings cash. You can also pay in dollars travellers' cheques and with Mastercard, Visa, and Amex. There is no surcharge for this.