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“A decent safari stopover with minor limitations” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Serengeti Simba Lodge

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Serengeti Simba Lodge
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Ikona Wildlife Management Area, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Warsaw, Poland
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
78 hotel reviews
Reviews in 69 cities Reviews in 69 cities
63 helpful votes 63 helpful votes
“A decent safari stopover with minor limitations”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

We have stayed there during the safari and it was good place to rest.
Initially, we were bit scared to the idea of tents nearby Serengeti (and btw, there is no fence whatsoever, so do not unleash Your imagination too far ;), but even in the rain it was great place to sleep and rest after the games; we had no time for pool, but is seemed to be clean as the rest of hotel and tents, too.
Be aware that the lodge is Eco-type, which means minimum usage of electricity - this limits some non-critical activities and you need to be aware of that, eg, almost no internet access (the whole hotel connection is via modem); the light in the tents is VERY weak so if You want to read anything, that might be problematic. Also if You want to CHARGE any device (mobile, camera, etc) - please be aware that electricity is in the room for charging 6pm-9pm only (unless somebody at reception forgets to switch it off;)))
Last topic - Eco-lodge means You might have trouble with hot or even warm water for shower... I do not care, but my lady was puzzled.
The restaurant - it was OK, but definitely not a major highlight of the day.
Overall - a good choice, although it requires approx 20 min drive to reach the park.

ps I would probably give 4*, but after stay in Explorean Ngorongoro that would just not be ok.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
auroraafrica, Marketing Manager/Guest Relations at Serengeti Simba Lodge, responded to this review, October 7, 2013
Dear Protagonist,
Thank you for taking the time to review Serengeti Simba Lodge. We appreciate your understanding that our commitment to the environment means some concessions although we try to ensure all the creature comforts are available. We do regret that the occasional fully rainy day will impact the solar hot water.

We've recently installed a new satellite internet that will provide wi-fi in the common areas and we hope be a huge improvement over the former system.

We're glad you found us a good choice for your stay in Serengeti

Annie Birch, Marketing ~ Simba Portfolio
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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140 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (35)
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Sydney
Top Contributor
96 reviews 96 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 48 cities Reviews in 48 cities
28 helpful votes 28 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 14, 2013

We stayed at the Serengeti Simba lodge for 5 nights and included a private vehicle and safari guide. The rooms are gorgeous and well equipped. As you would expect in the Serengeti, the hot water and power are limited by soar energy and the generator is only turned on at certain times of the day. However, this is well explained on check in and on the website and added to the charm. The food was quite good, mostly Indian food and the packed lunches were more than sufficient. The manager Bill was also our driver and a top bloke. The last day when we were tired we wanted to return to the lovely pool for a swim he hijacked us to a gift shop, this made me quite sour at the time, but other than that, our wish was his command. We also had another guide, a young man named Steve. He was very knowledgeable but his purpose was unclear. I hardly saw him watch or scour the park for animals and he seemed content just to ride along looking for other 4WD instead of searching out the wildlife himself. Bill was the better spotter of the two and he was also driving. Another problem was the lack of wifi. It is all right to be off the grid for a while, but the website for the lodge clearly states that they have wifi. They didn't have it, had very slow intent at the reception compute - which they allowed me to use to try and work out flight problems...but proved inadequate...AND they were making no real attempt to solve their lack of connection. If the website advertise wifi...they should have it.
However, my largest problem, and through no fault of the lodge, is the Serengeti itself. After being on the Mara north conservancy and having previously visited a reserve attached to Krueger, I expect and want an up-close experience with the animals. The Serengeti is overrun with pushy 4WD drivers, especially the large bus-like ones...that push, block views and are generally idiots about the way the go around the park. Added to this, if you can't go off the roads...well...there were few photos we took even worth looking at twice. Overall, there are much better animal experiences to be had at other National Parks.

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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auroraafrica, Marketing Manager/Guest Relations at Serengeti Simba Lodge, responded to this review, October 7, 2013
Dear Aussie Canadian,

Thank you for your review. We know you were looking forward to your stay with us for a long time and are happy that we were able to meet most of your expectations and that you enjoyed Serengeti Simba Lodge.

Regarding wi-fi - although this is not any help to you, we've recently installed a new, dedicated satellite system at the lodge. We had never advertised that we had wi-fi (even on the website it says "internet access") because the previous system was so unreliable and until recently there was no viable alternative open to us. We realize internet access is a must and we now do have free wi-fi in the common areas and we are hopeful that this new system will serve our guests much better.

Regarding your assessment of the Serengeti - as you said this is out of our control. You are well travelled in Africa and have experienced private game reserves which are quite different to National Parks. Serengeti has become very popular recently and I agree with you some of the drivers are very badly behaved. I'm very sorry you were disappointed in general with Serengeti National Park. This situation can be avoided to some extent by coming in the "off season" months when there are significantly fewer visitors in the park.

We're happy you chose to stay with us and that Bill did a good job for you. Thank you again.

Annie Birch, Marketing ~ Simba Portfolio
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Vancouver, Canada
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 13, 2013

My friend and I stayed at the Simba Lodge for 5 nights during our safari trip through the north of Tanzania. After climbing Kilimanjaro, this lodge was the perfect place to relax, as there is a pool, and the hotel is situated at the top of a hill where the rooms overlook the Serengeti Plains. The staff at the hotel were extremely helpful, as they would wake us up each morning with fresh coffee and tea served in our room. The staff were integral to the experience at this lodge, as they took care of every request I made (wake-up calls, phone calls to the airline, use of the laptop with wifi, laundry). The rooms were very clean and spacious, and the bathrooms had hot showers. We went on a safari each day that we were at the lodge, and saw tons of wildlife in and around the park. We also took a night safari offered by the lodge, and managed to find a pack of hyenas eating a wildebeest just 10 minutes away. When touring the Serengeti, I highly recommend staying at this lodge, as you will surely have an amazing experience.

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reno, Nevada
Top Contributor
306 reviews 306 reviews
120 hotel reviews
Reviews in 125 cities Reviews in 125 cities
260 helpful votes 260 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 11, 2013

We were traveling with an organized tour group.

Overall, the hotel is very nice, but was much further away from the Park than we preferred - approximately 1/2 hour to the gate then another 1 hour drive into the Park for animal viewing.

Our room was very nice and I enjoyed the outdoor shower. The food was okay but not great and for the two days we were there on safari, they packed us box lunches.

The employees were all very nice and very professional.

The Lodge uses solar energy most of the time with the generator working from 6:30-9:30 in the mornings and evenings. I would recommend bringing a headlamp or flashlight along.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 2 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
auroraafrica, Marketing Manager/Guest Relations at Serengeti Simba Lodge, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Dear Linnbada -

Thank you for your review. It means a lot to us to have such a positive review from an active traveller like yourself. We're sorry our location impacted your experience. The national parks of Tanzania limit the number of lodges allowed in the park and the government bodies have created the Ikona Wildlife Management Area, where we are located, to protect the animals outside the park (they don't pay attention to the boundaries), provide a corridor for the migration and allow for employment opportunities to communities near the parks. We're proud to be a part of this new process.

The Seronera area in central Serengeti draws the majority of wildlife at the time of year you were staying because of a permanent water source. During other seasons the animals are much more dispersed because of seasonal rivers and water holes resulting from rainfall. Your drive timings are spot on; most people do not realize how much time is spent in a vehicle on safari in Tanzania and how rough the roads can be.

Thank you for mentioning that prospective guests should bring a headlamp for reading in bed or assisting due to the strength of the solar lights in the accommodation. This should be a standard item on any packing list for a safari in Tanzania.

We're pleased you were satisfied with your overall experience at Serengeti Simba.

Annie Birch, Marketing ~ Simba Portfolio
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Copenhagen, Denmark
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed September 3, 2013

This wonderful lodge was our home for two nights - on top of the hill, top service, and top quality accomodation plus a wonderful view. After a full safari-day on the plains of Serengeti you really looked forward relaxing by the pool, take a shower in the out-door bath attached to the room, and enjoy the buffet-dinner and good RSA-wine

  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service

Review collected in partnership with this hotel

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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
auroraafrica, Marketing Manager/Guest Relations at Serengeti Simba Lodge, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Thank you for taking the time to post your thoughts about Serengeti Simba here on Trip Advisor. We're so glad you and your family had a wonderful time here and enjoyed our amazing view.

Annie Birch, Marketing ~ Simba Portfolio
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, England, United Kingdom
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 28, 2013

Cannot comment enough about this amazing lodge. Out of all 3 of the hotels we stayed at during our safari trip, this was by far the best. In terms of view, food, service, hospitality- this is hands down the best of the best! From the moment we arrived, we were welcomed with open arms. The staff are extremely friendly, the best part of this hotel. Everyone takes care of you and are always willing to go the extra mile for you.

Our room was the furthest and literally on the edge of a hill. This was an experience in itself. We stayed in the Zebra hut which overlooked the Serengeti Plains. If you look closely, you will get to see few animals walking around the plains. Its absolutely breathtaking. The hut has an outdoor shower- we loved it - very private and the water is piping hot. There are certain times to have showers as the whole lodge works on Solar power so lights are quite dim in the actual hut and the power does go off after 9pm which was fine as everyone has an early start the next day anyway- they do provide us with a torch just in case. The room is very spacious and the little toiletries they had provided were the best amongst all the lodges we stayed at. The bed was very comfortable, needless to say I slept like a baby even with all the animal noises which just adds to the experience.

They had a buffet laid out for us with a vast variety to choose from. I obviously went back for more. Food was of high standard and the service was brilliant. There is a constant smile on everyones faces which was good to see. The choices for dessert were amazing also.

We were advised to not be out of our huts after 9pm as it does get very dark and there is a likelyhood you will see some animals (hyenas, wildebeest, elephants, zebras) walking around. I did experience few scares in the middle of the night, you can hear them clearly and around you. They do have guards around the huts for our protection which was nice to know. Walking back to our room late night, you get to actually experience the whole "living out in the wild", as the only thing protecting you is the guard with his bow & arrow.

We were advised to wake up early to view the sunrise as we had the best views so thats what we did. It is extremely cold in the mornings especially if you want a shower- there is a bath tub inside however. We woke up to a beautiful view of the sunrise, slowly creeping in and becoming night to day. By far the best experience of my life.

The breakfast buffet was again amazing, cannot fault it at all. Out of all our picnic boxes, Seregeti Simba Lodge provided us with the best one.

The service is by far the best we have ever had. The managers were extremely friendly and through dinner we got to learn more about the lodge and the safaris we were on.

Again, cannot recommend this lodge enough. Thank you for making our stay wonderful.

Room Tip: Ask to stay in Zebra as thats the furthest away without any other huts in front of you or beside you...
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
auroraafrica, Marketing Manager/Guest Relations at Serengeti Simba Lodge, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Thank you for the wonderful review. It's a real pleasure to know that we rated so highly with you and you had a super experience at Serengeti Simba Lodge. We appreciate you taking the time to share your thoughts with the Trip Advisor community

Annie Birch, Marketing ~ Simba Portfolio
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Senior Reviewer
7 reviews 7 reviews
7 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 25, 2013

We stayed 2 nights here on a fly in safari. We were picked up by our guides from Simba Lodge (Steve and Bill) at the airport and went straight on our game drive. For about 6 hours we were treated to a whole host of wildlife- giraffe, lion kill, leopard, zebra, hippo, elephant, etc. Both Bill and Steve had excellent English and we were told about each of the species in more depth than we were expecting. Steve had an answer for every question we had. They were incredibly professional and knowledgeable and we felt in safe hands- especially being about a metre away from a lion! We had a second game drive the day after and saw even more wildlife and thoroughly enjoyed every minute. Both Bill and Steve had every intention of making the most out of our short time in the Serengeti and we spent longer on our drives than we thought just so that we could see as much as possible.

We stayed in 'Rhino' stone lodge- like a little cottage- have stone built, half tent. A lovely hot shower outside, lovely toiletries and a view to die for! It was our honeymoon and it was just what we wanted. The food was good and we enjoyed having Steve and Bill join us for dinner and breakfast- it was a chance to find out more about Tanzania and for them about the UK.

We liked being escorted back to our rooms by staff with a bow and arrow or rifle- made us really feel out in the wild!

Room Tip: Go for a stone lodge. Rhino room had a perfect uninterrupted view. Just beautiful
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
auroraafrica, Marketing Manager/Guest Relations at Serengeti Simba Lodge, responded to this review, September 21, 2013
Lucyandben: Thank you for your wonderful review. We're so glad we were able to fulfill your expectations and that you found so much to enjoy about staying with us.
Annie Birch, Marketing Simba Portfolio
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Additional Information about Serengeti Simba Lodge

Address: Ikona Wildlife Management Area, Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Serengeti National Park
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free High Speed Internet ( WiFi ) Free Parking Restaurant Suites Swimming Pool Airport Transportation
Hotel Style:
Ranked #25 of 82 Specialty Lodging in Serengeti National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Number of rooms: 21
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Located outside Serengeti National Park’s Ikoma Gate with endless views across the plains. Built of local materials and using solar power and hot water in the rooms, this lodge is unique to the area. Reception, lounge, bar and dining incorporate a natural rocky outcropping (kopje) into the design. Fifteen creatively designed large canvas rondavels reveal the romance of a tent with the security of a permanent structure. Each bathroom has an outdoor stone shower. Family rooms are in a ‘stone house’ with equally impressive views. ... more   less 

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