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.
Sasakwa 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.
- Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- Travellers usually spend around four nights exploring this vast reserve. You can combine Sasakwa Lodge with Sabora Tented Camp and Faru Faru for an even longer stay.
- 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.
- Accessible by
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.
- Sasakwa Lodge is a top-end property with superb food, 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 an exceptionally lavish Tanzania honeymoon.
- See ideas for Honeymoons
- 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 ideas for Riding holidays
- Leather-backed chairs and chandeliers, a billiards room and private infinity pools –guests at Sasakwa Lodge are ensconced in ultimate luxury: it offers one of Africa’s most opulent and exclusive safari experience.
- See ideas for Luxury
- 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
- 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.
- 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.
Fighting to reintroduce wildlife in Grumeti Reserv
Conservation of the Grumeti Reserves is the primary focus of the Sasakwa Lodge and the wider Singeta group. This is done through the Singeta Gurmeti Fund, which carries out all the conservation and community work on behalf of the group. Taking over the management of the Grumeti Reserves has been hugely successful, especially when it comes to restoring the environment to increase wildlife population.
Using the support of locals and tourists, Sasakwa managed to transform a piece of land previously dominated by illegal hunting, rampant wildfires and invasive vegetation into a 350,000 acres unique ecosystem. One way to achieve that was to offer locals a market for produce that is created or generated locally. This initiative has determined previous poachers to go into farming, and has therefore determined the local community to see the lodge as a positive partner rather than someone who is borrowing access to the resources they use.
Guests too are involved in the conservation project. One of the activities promoted by Sasakwa is visiting one of the 12 anti-poaching observation posts. The goal is to educate tourists on the scale and importance of the group’s anti-poaching work. Visitors get a chance to see how the Singita Grumeti Fund game scouts live and work, and are also presented with an infographic board showing the main areas of focus for the Singita Grumeti Fund, as well as specific facts and figures associated with the success of protecting this area.
Impressive numbers confirm the success of the lodge’s wildlife reintroduction initiative. Wildlife population has on average quadrupled, and the buffalo numbers have gone from under 600 to 6000. Most notably, the elephant population has increased by 422% since the change in management, and the lodge is now looking to introduce wild dogs to the area.
See more great sustainability projects in Tanzania
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- 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.
Guided walking safari
Hot air ballooning
- Disabled access
- On Request
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is included at Sasakwa Lodge, it is machine washed and tumble dried.
- 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.
Room types at Sasakwa Lodge
There are seven individual suites at Sasakwa Lodge, each of which is entirely separate from the rest. The smallest has one bedroom, whilst the largest has four bedrooms. You will always have the suite to yourself, however you will usually find that the size of your suite reflects the size of your group.
Apart from their size (number of bedrooms), the suites at Sasakwa Lodge are fundamentally the same, and all are decorated in the same style. As with the main lodge, the style is reminiscent of English colonial architecture. Red stone columns and small porch are at the front of the houses and an open veranda is at the back.
Once inside, the slightly quaint feel of Sasakwa's suites gives way to shear opulence. The large lounge area has a large white sofa scattered with cushions and a couple of leather armchairs. There is a huge fireplace which will be lit for you on request, a beautifully-crafted antique writing desk and a complimentary mini-bar and coffee station. Africa sculptures and artwork are dotted around.
These suites have wireless broadband internet access, although you need your own laptop to access this; each also has an internet phone, which you can use to call internationally (calls are free).
Large French windows lead onto your private veranda which is furnished with tables and chairs, as well as sun loungers. There is also a Swarovski spotting scope. All of the suites are placed along the edge of Sasakwa Hill, looking out across the Sabora Plains. Right on the edge is your own private infinity plunge-pool which is heated.
The bedrooms at Sasakwa Lodge are adjacent to the lounge area – they are spacious rooms and grandly furnished with antique furniture. When you enter the room, the first thing you notice is the vast four poster bed draped in white mosquito netting. A comfortable armchair sits in front of the fire place which can be lit on request. Whilst in the opposite corner is a writing desk.
Behind the bedroom is a dressing room area where there is plenty of space for storing cloths. Here you will also find a hairdryer and a safe for storing valuables.
The suites at Sasakwa Lodge are very opulent and almost over-the-top in their finery. But the amount of space and privacy that you have is fantastic.
The en-suite bathrooms at Sasakwa Lodge are split into three sections. The central section is where you find 'his-and-hers' sinks. Through a door you find the bathroom, and a separate door leads to the toilet.
In keeping with the theme of the lodge, the bathrooms also have a Victorian feel to them – with marble floors, lots of dark-wood and a claw-foot bath. There is also a wonderfully powerful hot-and-cold shower in the bathroom.
Stunning pencil sketchings hang on the walls and large windows let in plenty of light. When we were last at Sasakwa Lodge, we loved the brightness of the bathrooms.
Complementary toiletries are provided.
Other lodges in Serengeti Migration Area
Alternative places to stay in this same area.