Serengeti Sopa Lodge

Serengeti Sopa Lodge: Our full report

Rooms
69 rooms; 4 suites
Traveller's rating
Excellent (100%) From 2 reviews
Children
Fine for all ages
Open
All year

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. It is one of the larger lodges in the Serengeti, and is frequently busy with big tour groups.

Serengeti Sopa Lodge is part of the Sopa chain which also includes the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge and Tarangire Sopa Lodge. Large yet fairly personal, it is accessed up a steep, rocky track in a bushy part of the Serengeti National Park.

There are 69 standard rooms and four suites at the lodge. All are located in two wings on either side of the main area, and accessed from long, open corridors.

  • The standard rooms – eight of them inter-connecting, so suitable for families – are set on two floors. All are very similar: simple, functional and rather dated. On the plus side, though, they are spacious and comfortable, with huge glass windows to make the most of the views, and sliding doors that lead out to a balcony.

    Each room is entered via a lobby furnished with a table and chair, and a minibar that is filled on request. In the bedroom, with sisal carpet on the floors, you’ll find two double beds with mosquito netting, along with clothes hanging space, a digital safe and a hairdryer The en-suite bathrooms are decorated in bright-blue mosaic tiles with yellow walls, and have a flush toilet, a single basin and a spacious shower.

  • The four suites are double-storey and much larger than the standard rooms. They, too, are entered via their own lobbies, but here the décor is incredibly brightly. There is a lounge on the ground floor, with bench seating and a small café-style table plus a tea and coffee bar and a sink. A spiral staircase leads to the bedroom and bathroom upstairs. Both the lounge and bedroom have plenty of space to relax, including numerous sofas and a king-size platform bed, and both have a balcony – though the one upstairs is very small and shadeless. In addition there's a curiously conceived outdoor space at the back of the bedroom, leading off the double-shower room.

    The suites are kitted out in a similar way to the standard rooms, with the addition of a standing fan for hot evenings. The en-suite bathroom has double basins, large twin showers and a flushing toilet – and there is a large bath actually in the bedroom!

The main areas – including the reception, lounge, dining area and bar – are light and airy, and decorated in bright colours like the suites. At the front are large floor-to-ceiling windows and french doors with views over the Serengeti. Note that there is a strict no-smoking policy in all the public rooms at Serengeti Sopa.

The main bar features a terracotta cement floor, different hues of earth-coloured walls and upholstered wrought-iron chairs and tables. There are large windows on three sides, maximising the fantastic views beyond, and a shady terrace has more tables and chairs. The dining room has a long buffet area to one side, where most meals are served. The hotel has good wheelchair access throughout.

In front of the lawn, a large swimming pool, surrounded by cream-coloured sunloungers and sunshades, is overlooked by a sizeable and well-stocked pool bar. The lodge also 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.

Serengeti Sopa is in a particularly good spot to see the wildebeest migration passing through around May, and has good resident game all year round. It
does not have any of its own guides, however, so you will need to organise game drives with your own private vehicle.

Our view

Serengeti Sopa Lodge is a fun and bright – albeit not very stylish. It is in a great part of the Serengeti to watch the migration and to enjoy resident game with your own vehicle and guide. The staff are very friendly and, considering the size of the lodge, it feels quite personal. It is also good value and family friendly, so for those who prefer a hotel-style lodge – with all the amenities of a large hotel – to a smaller intimate tented camp, this is a really good option.

Geographics

Location: Serengeti Migration Area, Tanzania

Ideal length of stay: 2–3 nights is ideal, especially during the migration, to explore this part of the Serengeti.

Directions: Serengeti Sopa Lodge is a one-hour drive (61km) from the Serengeti Naabi Hill gate and about a 45-50-minute drive (45km) from Seronera Airstrip.

Accessible by: Fly-and-Transfer

Key personnel

Owner: Sopa Lodges

Food & drink

Usual board basis: Full Board

Food quality: We last visited Serengeti Sopa Lodge in December 2016 and had a great lunch, and in the past we have found the food to consistently be of a reasonable standard, not particularly fancy, but tasty and filling . For the main meals, where there are fewer than 60 guests at the lodge, the service at lunch and dinner is plated. When more guests are in-house, a buffet system is standard.

The breakfast is always a buffet with cereals, fruit, yoghurt and bread. There is also a selection of hot items such as bacon, sausage, baked beans, tomatoes and eggs cooked to order.

Most guests spend a full day game viewing in the park, and are provided with a packed lunch. For those staying at the lodge, lunch is a three-course meal, with choices for each course. In December 2016, we had chicken satay with a sweet chilli dip and then clear vegetable soup to start. The main course was a choice of beefburger and fries, pan-fried red snapper or chilli chicken quesadilla. For dessert we could opt for either a strawberry mousse or a fruit platter.

Dinner is usually à la carte and served to the table, although it will be a buffet if the lodge is full . Occasionally they have special themed nights. On a previous visit we had a really tasty Africa buffet, which included Ethiopian beef stew, chapati, ugali (thick corn porridge) and kachumbari (tomato and onion salad).

The lodge can arrange for special meals such as bush lunches, private poolside dining or BBQ nights (for 50+ guests), all at an extra cost of US$40–70 per person.

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. Drinking water is supplied in bottles, which are brought in from Arusha.

Further dining info: Serengeti Sopa Lodge can do room service on request, but there are no phones in the rooms so it has to be arranged in advance.

Children

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 TV room and there is also a swimming pool to keep children entertained during the heat of the day. Childminding is available, but parents should note that the housekeeping staff are not professionally trained in childcare. The Serengeti Sopa Lodge can also do special meals for children.

Equipment: Serengeti Sopa Lodge has cots and high chairs.

Notes: The pool is large with an expansive lounge area, requiring parental supervision of children. Some rooms have high balconies of which parents should be aware.

Infrastructure

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: Serengeti Sopa Lodge has a TV room with satellite television.

Water supply: Borehole

Water supply notes: Bathrooms are fully plumbed. Hot water for showers is available from 5.00–9.00am and from 5.00–9.00pm.

Health & safety

Malarial protection recommended: Yes

Medical care: Serengeti Sopa Lodge has a resident health professional whose services are free. They also have links to flying doctors in case of medical emergency.

Dangerous animals: High Risk

Security measures: There are plenty of askaris (guards) around the property 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 in the main areas and between the rooms. Evacuation notices with the assembly point indicated are posted in all the rooms. There is also a fire-break around the lodge.

Extras

Disabled access: In Place

Laundry facilities: Laundry is available at an extra charge of around US$1 per item.

Money: Serengeti Sopa Lodge can exchange small amounts of cash in US dollars, euros and British pounds.

Accepted payment on location: You can usually settle your bill in US dollars, British pounds, euros or Tanzanian shillings cash. You can also use Visa, Mastercard and Amex at no additional charge.

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