Expect a warm welcome on arrival at the Serengeti Serena Lodge.
Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge: Our full report
Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is part of the international Serena Hotels group owned by the Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development. It sits amongst acacia trees in the Kyabatero Hills, north-west of Seronera. From its elevated position, this 66-room Maasai village-inspired lodge, able to accommodate more than 140 people when full and opened in 1996, has lovely views across the Serengeti plains.
The main areas are housed in two adjacent thatched buildings containing the reception and curio shop. From there, covered stone walkways, flanked by papyrus-filled streams, lead to the two-storey restaurant, the lounge and bar, and the guest rooms.
The restaurant has high-domed roofs and carved pillars and is spread across two levels. One has a wrap-around outdoor terrace that is covered and very popular with guests when it’s too warm to dine inside. The circular open-air buffet sits between these two tiers and you can see the chefs cooking in the middle; all meals are served from here buffet style. The lounge and bar are housed in a separate building with some seating areas on the mezzanine level, where there's also a TV with satellite channels. Like the restaurant, the lounge and bar have a rustic, African-inspired décor.
Stone pathways lead through the acacia trees to the two-storey thatched-roof rondavels. These are slightly 'hobbity' and rather charming from the outside, but inside each rondavel contains three modestly-sized, rather bland, modern hotel rooms: two downstairs and one slightly larger one upstairs, each with its own outside entrance. The rooms are more or less semi-circular with stone-tiled floors dotted with African rugs. Twin or double beds with carved wooden headboards and African-print bedspreads dominate each room. There is a dressing table and mirror, a luggage rack and built-in cupboards with hanging space and shelves, and a digital room safe. Sliding glass doors lead out onto a small balcony furnished with two canvas director's chairs so you can relax and enjoy the views over the Serengeti.
The bathrooms are small and functional with tiled floors, a flush toilet, a single basin with a large round mirror above and a tiled shower with glass door. White towels, towelling bathrobes and mini, hotel-chain toiletries are provided, as is a hairdryer.
Two of the rooms, #29 and #30 have enhanced access for people with mobility challenges (though the lodge's site would be a challenge in itself). There are three rondavels with interconnected rooms for families. And 14 rooms can work as triples, with either three single beds or a kingsize bed with an extra single. There's also a suite, which has a double bed in the main bedrooms and rooms for two singles in the separate lounge.
The large semi-circular swimming pool is located in the gardens and has views of the plains below. Terracotta-striped sunloungers and umbrellas are provided and there's also a changing room with toilets nearby. The viewpoint in this area is a stunning spot for sundowners.
Massages are available at extra cost (U$40/30 minutes; U$70/60 minutes), and can be taken in the guest rooms, or in the massage tent near the swimming pool.
Our viewSerengeti Serena Safari Lodge is family-friendly, with good facilities, and its central location makes it an ideal base from which to explore the Serengeti at most times of the year. If you're looking for a mid-range, hotel-style place to stay in the Serengeti, this could be a good choice. However, its popularity with tour groups means it can get very busy.
Ideal length of stay: We suggest a minimum two-night stay to explore this part of the Serengeti.
Directions: Serengeti Serena is 340km from Arusha (about 8–10 hours drive) or 60 minutes by air. Seronera airstrip is 27km from the lodge.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Aga Khan Fund for Economic Development
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: Breakfast is Continental with a selection of breads, pastries, cold meats and cheeses, and a full English breakfast is also available with eggs cooked to order.
Lunch is a wide choice of soups, salads, stir-fried vegetables, pastas, meat from the grill (chicken, sausage or fish), and curries with naan bread and different varieties of rice. A buffet of desserts and fresh fruit is also on offer.
Dinner is a selection of soups and salads to start, followed by grilled meat, such as pork chops or boerewors sausage, and fish such as Nile perch, as well as beef curry with a selection of vegetables and rice, and pasta dishes with a variety of sauces. A vegetarian option is also available. Dinner concludes with a dessert buffet and a spread of cheese and crackers.
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor and Outdoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included. Soft drinks start from US$2, beers are around U$4 and wine costs from around US$30 a bottle.
Further dining info: Room service is not available
Attitude towards children: Children of all ages are welcome at the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
Property’s age restrictions: No age restriction
Special activities & services: Early meal times can be arranged and baby-sitting facilities are available. The swimming pool is ideal for children and a qualified lifeguard is on hand. Nevertheless, adults must supervise small children.
Equipment: Babycots and highchairs are available as well as children’s games.
Generally recommended for children: We recommend the Serengeti Serena for children. Interconnecting family rooms are available and the lodge caters well for children of all ages.
Notes: Children will need to be closely supervised by their parents as the lodge is not fenced and game wanders in freely throughout the day and night.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: Power is available 24/7.
Communications: WiFi is available throughout the lodge. Cellphone reception is available in the main areas but not in most of the rooms.
TV & radio: There is a TV in the main lounge as well as in the only suite.
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: Guests are provided with bottled drinking water and bottles can be replenished on request at no charge.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: There is a doctor on site. The nearest hospital is in Arusha, which is an hour away by air.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: The lodge has guards on duty 24 hours a day and there is also a resident TANAPA ranger on site.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers in the main areas as well as at the guest rondavels.
Disabled access: In Place
Laundry facilities: Laundry is available at an additional cost. The cost ranges from U$0.50 for a pair of socks, U$1 for a pair of shorts or a T-shirt to U$2 for a sweater or a safari suit.
Money: Digital safes are available in each room. The lodge is able to exchange small amounts of U$ dollars, euros, British pounds and South African rand.
Accepted payment on location: Mastercard, Visa and Amex are accepted at no additional charge.