Country Lodge

Country Lodge: Our full report

24 rooms
Best for 8+
All year

Situated on the outskirts of bustling Karatu, not far off the main road, Country Lodge is a peaceful haven set in five acres of pretty gardens surrounded by trees. It offers good value for money and is a convenient spot from which to explore Ngorongoro Crater and Lake Manyara.

Bougainvillea safari lodge, and similar in style, the newer Country Lodge (built in 2011) is actually slightly better value for money.

Its 24 bungalows are laid out in a square around manicured lawns, featuring sculpted hedges, well-tended flowerbeds and a large swimming pool in the centre.

The décor of the square-shaped rooms is simple yet bright: four-poster beds (either twin- or king-sized) are draped with white linens and mosquito nets; there's a large cupboard for storing clothes and a mirror; and a desk and two wicker chairs congregate around a tangerine-coloured corner fireplace. This is lit on the cold winter nights, while the stonewalls and painted concrete floors help to keep the rooms cool on hot days. Outdoor wicker chairs on the veranda allows you to relax during the day. The spacious en-suite bathrooms are constructed mainly from stone and have a large walk-in shower, a sink and a flush toilet.

Country Lodge's bright-and-cheery, open-plan main area consists of a reception area with zebra-print chairs, a lounge with wicker chairs adorned with Maasai-print cushions, a bar – which on our last visit was playing upbeat African tunes – and a compact dining room. The lodge has its own kitchen garden from where many of the fresh ingredients are taken, and there's also a curio shop and a simple massage room.

Country Lodge perhaps has slightly less family orientated facilities than its sister lodge, Bougainvillea safari lodge, but it is still well suited for families. At time of writing (April 2015) Country Lodge is slightly better value for money than it’s sister. This is simply because it is slightly less established than it’s older sister rather than anything to do with quality.

The lodge makes an effort to support the local community: any food not grown on site is sourced locally and staff are hired from the local area. The lodge also provides hospitality training for young locals and offers work experience to students.

Our view

Country Lodge is a bright and friendly lodge in a convenient location on the outskirts of Karatu. It offers good value for money and works well for families and those on a modest budget.


Location: Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: We recommend a stay of two nights.

Directions: Bougainvillea Safari Lodge is 300m off the main road that runs through Karatu, which in turn is about a 3 hour drive from Arusha. Alternatively it is a 45 minute drive from Lake Manyara airstrip.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Jakob Ombay

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: Breakfast and lunch is served buffet style at Country Lodge with hot and cold options, while dinner is a set meal served to your table.

The chef, Reggie, used to work at Gibb's Farm and now cooks for both Country Lodge and Bougainvillea Safari Lodge next door. Reggie and his staff will happily cater for vegetarians and children on request, as well as prepare a picnic breakfast and/or lunch if you are planning on leaving early for a full day's game drive. Unfortunately, we didn't have time to sample the food, but we have faith in Reggie’s good cooking.

Dining style: Individual Tables

Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining

Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included

Drinks included: No drinks are included at Bougainvillea Safari Lodge, but costs are very moderate. A beer costs $3, a bottle of water $2 and soft drinks cost $2.

Further dining info: Room service is available.


Attitude towards children: Children are welcome at Country Lodge.

Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions.

Special activities & services: Children are welcome to join in with a walk around the coffee plantation or a trip into Karatu.

Equipment: None

Notes: Children must be supervised by their parents at all times.


Power supply: Mains Electricity

Power supply notes: There is 24 hour electricity at Bougainvillea and there are plugs in the rooms for guests to use to charge their electronic devices.

Communications: WiFi is available in the main areas and is free for guests. There’s also cellphone reception.

TV & radio: There is no TV.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: One bottle of drinking water is provided per person per day.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: The lodge has a first-aid kit on site, and there is an American doctor based on the other side of the road.

Dangerous animals: Low Risk

Security measures: High walls surround the lodge and the entry gate is guarded 24 hours a day.

Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers dotted around the lodge.


Disabled access: On Request

Laundry facilities: A full laundry service is available at extra cost.

Money: Country Lodge can exchange small amounts of currency and accepts US dollars, euros, British pounds, Tanzanian shillings and Kenyan shillings.

Accepted payment on location: In addition to the currencies listed above, they accept Visa, but this incurs a 5% surcharge.