Seronera Wildlife Lodge is built around a massive rock outcrop in the Serengeti.
Seronera Wildlife Lodge: Our full report
Built around an enormous kopje, or rocky outcrop, Seronera Wildlife Lodge is in the heart of the Serengeti and on the annual wildebeest migration route. Opened in 1960, it's a mid-range international- style hotel, which has a really central location for exploring Seronera –- it's only two minutes from the takeoff point for hot-air balloon trips and five minutes from the airstrip for flights.
The main facilities of the Seronera Wildlife Lodge include a large and bright restaurant dotted with tables and chairs, where buffet meals are served. There's a small outside area where you can eat during the evening –- but in the daytime they insist everyone eats inside, as they have had a problem with mongooses stealing guest's' food! There is also a lounge area with comfortable brown leather sofas set around low coffee tables, which are filled with Maasai artifacts. Vast natural rock with painted with imitation rock art forms part of the walls, of these rooms and even the stairs leading between them. This results in a natural, cool and rustic look with lots of character. A bar in one corner of the lounge continues into an outside bar, which runs along the pool area.
The Seronera Wildlife Lodge also has a stunning swimming pool carved out of the rock of a kopje, with an attractive water feature looking out over the Serengeti plains. It's a lovely spot to relax and enjoy the view and sunsets – and is also a favourite spot for families of rock hyrax to sunbathe! When we visited in May 2011 the lodge was in the process of refurbishing the spa, shop and internet café, so these weren't ready to use, but they had just completed a state-of-the-art gym, which was very well equipped. When we visited again in July 2013, the spa, café and shop were still incomplete, and the gym had not yet opened.
Another recent addition is a viewing platform, which is essentially a large area of raised decking, affording 360-degree views over the surrounding plains.
The 78 bedrooms at Seronera Wildlife Lodge are set around a courtyard, in a two-storey terraced row. Each is quite comfortable, if not overly spacious, and decorated with lots of dark natural wood and terracotta colours. Each of the rooms has a small yet functional en-suite bathroom with toilet and hot-and-cold shower. There are no temperature controls in the rooms, but large sliding windows open up to allow the breeze to flow through. There are also tea-and coffee-making facilities, hairdryers and safes in each room.
We'd usually only recommend Seronera Wildlife Lodge as a stop on a vehicle safari through the park. It's a place to eat and sleep in the central Serengeti area if either your budget, or the space available elsewhere, were restricted. Then your activities would be to explore the Serengeti National Park with your own private 4WD vehicle and guide. It is also possible to fly in and join on one of the guided drives organized by the lodge daily, but we cannot vouch for the quality of the safari guides on such trips.
The Seronera area is at the very heart of the Serengeti National Park; it has excellent populations of permanent wildlife, but also relatively high densities of visitors all year. The great wildebeest migration passes through here around April - June, substantially increasing the densities of both game animals and visitors. It is possible to arrange hot air balloon flights from here too.
Seronera itself is well named as a 'wildlife lodge'. On our last visit we saw countless rock hyrax and lizards lounging in the sun – on the rocks, on the stairs, on the pathways, and really everywhere you looked! The manager also informed us they have a 'resident' python and leopard who visits the grounds…!
Our viewSeronera Wildlife Lodge is a comfortable, functional hotel and a bit old-fashioned. It's not small, stylish or particularly personal. However, it has reasonable prices and a great location at the heart of the park, so is a good option for those on tighter budgets – particularly around April, May and June when the migration passes though this area.
Ideal length of stay: To explore this area fully, it is worth spending three nights at Seronera Wildlife Lodge. If you spend any longer here you may find the driving routes a little repetitive.
Directions: Seronera Wildlife Lodge is 2km, or a five-minute drive, from the Seronera airstrip. Alternatively you can drive from Arusha – this is around 330km and a 4–5 hour drive.
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food at Seronera Wildlife Lodge is a combination of international and local dishes. It is usually served buffet style to cater for the number of guests at the lodge.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included. You can expect to pay around US$3 for a beer and US$1.50 for a soda.
Attitude towards children: Seronera Wildlife Lodge will happily accept children.
Property’s age restrictions: There are currently no age restrictions at Seronera Wildlife Lodge, but on our last visit they mentioned they were in the process of reviewing this. The lodge is free for those under 4 years old.
Special activities & services: There are no special activities at Seronera Wildlife Lodge. Note that although 18 of the lodge’s rooms are interconnecting, Seronera Wildlife Lodge cannot organise ‘triple’ rooms for families, as the rooms have no space for an extra bed. Even families of three will need to be accommodated in interconnecting rooms.
Equipment: There are highchairs for young children.
Generally recommended for children: This lodge is really only suitable for older children with an interest in wildlife.
Notes: Parents should be aware that this is a wildlife area and the hotel is not fenced. Children should be supervised at all times and should not walk around alone. There are also lots of stairs here and so this hotel may not be suitable for very young children. There are also lots of stairs here and so this hotel may not be suitable for very young children.
Power supply: Generator
Communications: Seronera Wildlife Lodge has a telephone, radio and fax links.
TV & radio: Seronera Wildlife Lodge has a TV in the main lounge with cable and videos They are in the process of refurbishing their internet facilities and hope to have WiFi in the future.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a well-stocked dispensary at Seronera Wildlife Lodge and an on-site nurse. They have a doctor on call 24 hours a day who is a four-minute drive away. The lodge also has links to the flying-doctor service.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are askaris (guards) who escort guests around the lodge at night as there can be wildlife on the premises.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers outside the rooms and in the main areas, and the staff are trained to use them.
Disabled access: Not Possible
Laundry facilities: Laundry is an additional charge of between US$1 - 4
Money: Seronera Wildlife Lodge can exchange currency.
Accepted payment on location: Seronera Wildlife Lodge will accept payments in cash, as well as with MasterCard, Amex & Visa, which are charged at 5%.