The Serengeti Sopa is a brightly coloured lodge in the central Serengeti.
Serengeti Sopa Lodge: Our full report
The 73-room Serengeti Sopa Lodge, located in the south-western section of Tanzania’s Serengeti National Park, is spread out along the top of a hill with views across the Serengeti plains. This is one of the larger lodges in the Serengeti, and frequently busy with large tour groups.
The Serengeti Sopa Lodge is part of the Sopa chain which also includes the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge and Tarangire Sopa Lodge. This lodge is accessed up a steep, rocky track in a bushy part of the Serengeti National Park.
The main areas, decorated in bright colours, are light and airy and include the reception, lounge, dining area and bar. There is a strict no-smoking policy in all the public rooms. At the front are large floor-to-ceiling windows and French doors with views over the Serengeti. The main bar features a terracotta cement floor, different hues of earth-coloured walls and wrought-iron upholstered chairs and tables. There are large windows on three sides maximizing the fantastic views beyond. Outside, the shady terrace has more tables and chairs. The dining room has a long buffet area to one side, where most meals are served.
Serengeti Sopa has a small gym (with cross-trainer, bench press and step machine, and great views to gaze on as you sweat), a TV room and a curio shop. In front of the lawn, the large swimming pool (it wasn’t quite sparkling clear when we last visited in April 2015), surrounded by cream-coloured sun loungers and sun shades, is overlooked by a sizeable and well-stocked pool bar.
There are 69 standard rooms and four suites at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge. Both room types are located in two wings on either side of the main area. Behind each pair of rooms, accessed from long
The standard rooms are located on two floors and are all very similar – with the same bright colours used in the main areas. The rooms are quite simple and functional and slightly lacking in character – but they are spacious and comfortable and are fronted with huge glass windows to make the most of the views. The rooms are entered via a lobby furnished with a table and chair, and a minibar which is filled on request. The bedroom has two double beds with mosquito netting, hanging space for clothes, a digital safe, a hairdryer and sliding doors leading out to the balcony. The bedroom also has sisal carpets on the floors. The en-suite yellow bathrooms are decorated in bright-blue mosaic tiles and have a flush toilet, single basin and a spacious shower.
Eight of the standard rooms are inter-connecting.
The four suites are double-storey and much larger. These rooms are entered via their own lobbies, very much like the standard rooms. There is a lounge on the ground floor, with bench seating and a small café-style table plus a tea and coffee bar and sink. A spiral staircase leads to the bedroom and bathroom upstairs. These rooms have plenty of space to relax, including numerous sofas and a kingsize platform bed. There are two balconies in the suites: one off the lounge and another, very small, shadeless balcony upstairs off the bedroom. In addition there’s a curiously conceived outdoor space at the back of the bedroom, leading off the double-shower room.
As with the standard rooms, the suites have a minibar, hairdryer and hanging space for clothes, and they also have a standing fan for hot evenings, which is absent from the standard rooms. The en-suite bathroom is equipped with a huge bath, double basins and large twin showers.
The main activity at the lodge is game drives. You’ll need to arrange these with your own private vehicle and guide, as the lodge does not provide their own guides.
Our viewThe Serengeti Sopa Lodge is a fun and bright – albeit not very stylish – large lodge. It is located in a great part of the Serengeti and is ideal for seeing the migration passing through around May, as well as having good resident game all year round. The staff here are very friendly and, considering its size, it feels quite personal. It is also good value and family friendly, so for those who prefer the idea of staying in a hotel-style lodge, with all the amenities of a large hotel – rather than a smaller intimate tented camp – this is a really good option.
Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights is ideal, especially during the migration, to explore this part of the Serengeti.
Directions: The Serengeti Sopa Lodge is a one-hour drive (61km) from the Serengeti Nabi Hill gate and about a 40-minute drive (45km) from Seronera airstrip.
Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer
Owner: Sopa Lodges
Food & drink
Usual board basis: Full Board
Food quality: The food at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge is usually served buffet style and is of a reasonable standard. It isn't particularly fancy, but it is always tasty and filling. Most guests staying here spend a full day game viewing in the park and the lodge provides a packed picnic lunch.
The breakfast is always a buffet with cereals, fruit, yoghurt and bread. There is also a full-English selection of cooked breakfast items such as bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomatoes and eggs cooked to order.
For the main meals, where there are fewer than 60 guests at the lodge, the service is plated.When more guests are in-house, a buffet system is standard. Lunch is a three-course meal, with choices for each course. On a previous visit to the Serengeti Sopa Lodge we had choice of chicken wings with a sweet chilli dip, or soup to start. Then the main course was a choice of chicken supreme, fish, a beef burger, or tomato pasta. For dessert we could opt for either a chocolate mousse or a fruit platter.
Dinner is usually à la carte and served to the table. Occasionally they have special themed nights. On a previous visit we had a really tasty Africa buffet night, which included Ethiopian beef stew, chapati, ugali (thick corn porridge) and kachumbari (tomato and onion salad).
Dining style: Individual Tables
Dining locations: Indoor Dining
Cost of meal e.g. lunch: Included
Drinks included: Drinks are not included, but you can expect to pay about US$4 for a beer or US$30 for a bottle of wine.
Further dining info: Serengeti Sopa Lodge can do room service on request, but there are no phones in rooms so it has to be arranged in advance.
Attitude towards children: Serengeti Sopa Lodge welcomes children of all ages
Property’s age restrictions: There are no age restrictions at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge.
Special activities & services: Games are available in the main area and there is also the swimming pool to keep children entertained during the heat of the day.
Equipment: The Serengeti Sopa Lodge has cots and high chairs. Childminding is available, but parents should note that the staff housekeeping staff are not professionally trained in childcare. The Serengeti Sopa Lodge can also do special meals for kids.
Generally recommended for children: Yes
Notes: The Serengeti Sopa Lodge is very friendly and welcoming towards families, it also has a great pool which children will really enjoy.
Power supply: Generator
Power supply notes: Power is available 24 hours a day.
Communications: Free WiFi is available in the main areas and in some of the nearby rooms.
TV & radio: The Serengeti Sopa Lodge has a TV room with satellite television
Water supply: Borehole
Water supply notes: Drinking water is supplied. Hot water for showers is available from 5–9am and from 5-9pm.
Health & safety
Malarial protection recommended: Yes
Medical care: The Serengeti Sopa Lodge has a lodge medic whose services are free. They also have links to flying doctors for more serious cases.
Dangerous animals: High Risk
Security measures: There are plenty of askaris (guards) dotted around the property and on duty 24 hours a day. Guests are escorted to their rooms at night in case of wildlife wandering around. A Tanapa (Tanzanian National Parks) ranger is permanently located at the lodge.
Fire safety: There are fire extinguishers dotted around the main areas and between rooms. Evacuation cards are posted in all the rooms with the assembly point indicated. There is also a fire-break around the lodge.
Disabled access: In Place
Laundry facilities: Laundry is available at an extra charge.
Money: The Serengeti Sopa Lodge can exchange small amounts of cash.
Accepted payment on location: You can usually settle your bill at the Serengeti Sopa Lodge in US dollars, British pounds, euros and Tanzanian shillings cash. You can also use Visa and MasterCard at no additional charge.