Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary

Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary: Our full report

18 rooms
Traveller's rating
Good (87%) From 3 reviews
Fine for all ages.
All year

Near the turning to Tanzania’s Arusha National Park, Mount Meru Game Lodge & Sanctuary has been welcoming visitors since 1959. It's an old-fashioned, family-run lodge with plenty of atmosphere, set in beautiful, mature gardens where small numbers of resident game roam.

We haven't had a chance to stay at Mount Meru Game Lodge since the owners took over the management at the beginning of 2016. When we last visited in June 2017, we were pleasantly surprised with the outcome of extensive recent renovations. The new owners have clearly carried out a lot of work and the result is clean and more contemporary, without losing any of the lodge’s character.

Among verdant lawns and huge trees, including some enormous candelabra trees, there are 18 rooms in a collection of simple, painted buildings and log cabins, all with green mabati (corrugated iron) roofs.

Although they are all individual in style, each room features large wooden-framed beds, white linen and polished, red cement floors with rugs and grass mats. There's space in most of them for an extra bed, and storage for clothes. The simple, tiled en-suite bathrooms incorporate flush toilets, a small shower cubicle, a single basin and mirror. Good-quality towels are provided, as are shower gel and shampoo. Each room has its own small veranda, but meals and fireside night-caps take place in the main house.

Two of the rooms are in a separate cottage (the Andreas Von Nagy Cottage), and are sold as suites (Mount Meru Suite and Mount Kilimanjaro Suite). They can interconnect and would be suitable for a family. Each suite has a king-size bed and there are twin beds in a room between the two suites, therefore providing three rooms in the suite. The suites also feature fireplaces, armchairs and larger bathrooms than the standard rooms. There are two other cottages with two rooms that are similarly set up for families.

The main house has a bar, lounge and dining room, with a terrace, shaded by mango trees, overlooking the lawns and the lake. The bar and dining area offer a cosy and welcoming space on chilly evenings, while pleasant seating areas are dotted throughout the grounds.

Up-close animal experiences in the grounds make this a good place for families to begin or end their safari. The sanctuary’s resident game includes zebra, buffalo, ostrich and waterbuck, as well as water birds; saddle-billed storks, yellow-billed storks and egrets abound – especially at the daily afternoon feeding. There are often terrific sightings of habituated blue monkey and striking black and white colobus from your room.

The lodge is well-positioned for various activities if you’re spending enough time in Arusha. There is a complimentary coffee tour, as well as supplementary activities that the lodge can help to arrange. These include horseriding, a game on Kili golf course, and a flower farm and market tour every Thursday and Sunday.

Our view

This is a charming old place, with great staff and food, that has benefited from considerable recent investment. It is a very attractive first or last night for safari travellers on a more modest budget in northern Tanzania, and particularly well-suited to families.


Location: Arusha, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: One night, though it might be pleasant to stay longer.

Directions: On the Usa River, about 20 minutes’ drive east of Arusha town.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Owned and run by the Von Nagy family.

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Half Board

Food quality: We weren’t able to sample the food on our last visit in June 2017, but we chatted to the manager to understand more.

Breakfast is served as a buffet with a cold selection of cereals, fruit, bread, cold meat and cheese, and hot cooked breakfasts are also available. Lunch is from an à la carte menu and dinner is either a buffet or set menu, depending on how busy the lodge is. There is a range of dishes available and Mount Meru Game Lodge has a good repuation for its food, especially the curries. A children’s menu is available.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: £10-15

Drinks included: Drinks are extra and available in the cosy bar. Guests are provided with bottled drinking water.

Further dining info: Dinner is often served on the outdoor, covered dining terrace, above a lawn with a firepit. There's also a private dining area, under a candelbra tree, above the Usa River that runs through the property.


Attitude towards children: Children are welcome

Property’s age restrictions: Children of any age are welcome.

Special activities & services: The restaurant offers a children’s menu.

Equipment: There was limited special equipment available when we visited, but the owners are planning to improve the overall level of service and facilities.

Notes: Children would need some supervision.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There's a back-up generator for 24-hour power.

Communications: The cellphone signal is good and there is free WiFi.

TV & radio: There is a TV in the bar.

Water supply: Other

Water supply notes: Water is sourced from a natural spring. The rooms have flush toilets and plumbed in showers.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The lodge has a first-aid kit and clinics and hospitals are available nearby in Usa River and Arusha.

Dangerous animals: Moderate Risk

Security measures: Askaris (guards) patrol the grounds.

Fire safety: Fire extinguishers are installed near all the rooms.


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: Laundry service is available at extra cost.

Money: The lodge offers a limited currency exchange service.

Accepted payment on location: MasterCard, Visa and Amex credit cards are all accepted, with a 5% charge.