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“Close, but not quite perfect” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge

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Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Mbingwe Valley, Serengeti National Park N/A, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
New York City, New York
Senior Contributor
23 reviews 23 reviews
20 hotel reviews
Reviews in 19 cities Reviews in 19 cities
23 helpful votes 23 helpful votes
“Close, but not quite perfect”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed March 5, 2013

Overall, the lodge was great. Good food. Great atmosphere. Decent service (I'll get to why it was decent and not excellent).

We were placed in a cottage that was a good walk from the main area. And, we were on the lower floor. This was a theme with the Serena lodges. For the price we paid, you'd think they'd put us in a better located room for at least some of the lodges.

The room itself was fine, except that there was no fan. I called and I did get a fan, but it required a couple phone calls. So, no far away room, no fan in Africa, and I have to badger to get the fan.

Service was really great except for one pet peeve. I don't like it when people ask about my ethnic background. I don't think it's appropriate for hotel staff to ask me "what tribe" I'm from. I shouldn't have to explain my background, which I did after my response of "New York Yankees" didn't go over well.

From my accent, I'm obviously American or Canadian. The color of my skin shouldn't come into play. If it does, then I question the integrity of the establishment. Did we get the far away rooms because I am skinned?

Room Tip: Request an upper level room and one that's not on the outskirts of the grounds.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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491 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
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Manitoba
Senior Contributor
40 reviews 40 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 3, 2013

The cottages are incredible to stay in. Try to ask for a top floor as each unit has two rooms on the bottom and one room on top. Wildlife come right up the hillside especially in the morning. The food was great, but what I found most incredible was the hospitality of the people in all aspects of the building from the front desk, to the bar, to the restaurant to the gift shop. We were there over New Years and this was a great place to be as they dressed us in traditional wear. A cultural group was brought in to dance and drum. A must stay if you are going to the Serengeti. We were here for three nights.

Room Tip: Mentioned it in the review. Go for an upper floor of a unit.
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  • Stayed December 2012, 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
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Ontario Canada
Top Contributor
330 reviews 330 reviews
40 hotel reviews
Reviews in 67 cities Reviews in 67 cities
637 helpful votes 637 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 2, 2013

Stayed at the Serena Serengeti three nights on our 9 day safari. This was our third Serena and for us the best so far. They all have different attentions but this one here was very special to us mainly because of the wonderful staff. I had learned a bit of Kiswahili before leaving for our trip and had a blast speaking the language with the staff. They recognized the effort and were very happy that I took the time to converse with them. The service was A+ at all times, no matter where we were at the lodge. Food was always delicious with different items available every day. We had lost weight during our Kili climb so we enjoyed putting the weight back on with such different but great tasting food. The location is breathtaking, we would arrive from our safari just in time to see the sunset from our 2nd floor balcony. What a perfect end to a perfect day! The room itself is very beautiful and there was a turn down service every night (closing the drapes, the mosquito net, etc). The wildlife is very close, we heard elephants one night, saw dik dik and a pride of over twenty lionesses at 5 o'clock in the morning on the way to our balloon ride, this maybe a ten minute drive from the lodge. So cool!!! Loved every minute at the Serena Serengeti.

Room Tip: The second floor rooms have a wonderful view of the savannah.
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  • Stayed January 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
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London, United Kingdom
Contributor
16 reviews 16 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 9 cities Reviews in 9 cities
14 helpful votes 14 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed March 1, 2013

My wife and I enjoyed a 6-night safari in Tanzania in June of last year. We chose June because of the wildebeest migration - the weather was great (in the 80s F), and we literally saw hundreds of thousands of animals over the 6 days. Really quick background/side note. We arranged the trip through a UK company called luxury-safaris. They were amazing and extremely helpful with organizing everything and working within our budget. I believe that the tour/guide company with which they set us up was called Warner Safaris - if that's correct, see if you can get Dynamite as your guide for the week. The guy is incredibly nice, knowledgable, and he truly cares about the animals and conserving the area (he would stop the car in the parks if he saw any piece of trash, hop out, pick it up, and then carry on). Luxury-Safaris partners with Serena lodges, and they were all great! We felt like we were in “Out of Africa” because during the day we’d get absolutely filthy bouncing around in the safari jeep through the dirt. Then at night, we’d come back to the lodge to get cleaned up, have pre-dinner drinks with our group, a four-course dinner, and after-dinner drinks before heading to bed and repeating the process again the next day.

During our check-in briefing at the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge, the receptionist explained that there are no fences around the property and the animals are free to come and go, and often use the pool for drinking water. Therefore, we were not allowed to walk around alone at night, but had to call a guard to escort us - pretty cool! And that night after dinner, we did see an owl next to the pool, dik-diks running around, and even a serval cat.

This lodge is really nice. The "huts" look very traditional and not at all out of place from the outside. On the inside, they are clean, luxurious, and comfortable, with huge glass doors to the balcony, so you can wake up with an incredible view of the sun rising over the Serengeti. The food was great (buffet style), drinks are reasonably priced, and the staff are all extremely friendly.

If I could, I would fly back to Tanzania tomorrow and do this trip all over again. Just go - you will not regret it!

  • Stayed June 2012, 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
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Toronto, Canada
Senior Contributor
41 reviews 41 reviews
9 hotel reviews
Reviews in 15 cities Reviews in 15 cities
24 helpful votes 24 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

stayed here for 2 nights in feb. the rooms were excellent and modern. super clean, and very spacious with sliding door to mini patio. has mosquito net around the bed.....hot showers any time! we had some problems with our toilet not flushing properly, but the staff were very responsive (like immediate!) and fixed the issue right away. great job!

the food is buffet style.....(go for fresh juice in the morning! pineapple particularly good! if you get it at any other time..you pay.) with good selection. dinner also has a nice selection too. good was solid (no complaints..but nothing wow-ing either).

they have free wifi in the main bar/lounge area, just ask front desk for code. lots of seats with free coffee. a lot of ppl smoke on the outdoor lounge area though. also beware of old ladies facetiming with their children while walking around the lounge area as well.

can also pickup stamps at the gift shop as well (expensive..but convenient)

overall, very happy with this place.... which is a must considering the place is pretty expensive.

Room Tip: chose a room close to the main building....upstairs suite if possible since each hut has an upstairs...
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 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.
Top Contributor
73 reviews 73 reviews
30 hotel reviews
Reviews in 39 cities Reviews in 39 cities
48 helpful votes 48 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

Six of us (three couples) stayed at this lodge for 3 nights. This was the last stop on our Safari. We stayed at two other Serena Lodges (Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro). Each one is set on a beautiful location. However this lodge felt really special. As there is no fence separating the lodge property from the Serengeti National Park, you experience the feeling of being in the wild. During our stay the lodge was not overcrowded with guests.

Our check-in was prompt and we were given wi-fi passwords as well as instructions for calling the reception for a guard, if we wanted to walk to and from our room to the main lodge after sunset, as animals roam freely on the property after dark. We did see gazelles, monkeys and dik diks during day time while having a drink on the verandah.

Our rooms were nicely furnished. The regulation mosquito net and insect spray were there. But the best part of the room was the balcony, where you can look at a large expanse of the park as far as the eye goes. I never got tired of standing there and taking in the beautiful site, specially at sunrise.

The food and service was excellent. Lots of choices for all tastes. The picnic lunches were substantial but on the bland side. The servers and the chef were very accommodating for special needs of some of the members in our group.

To sum it, all of us enjoyed our stay at the lodge. If I get a chance, I will gladly go back and stay there again.

Room Tip: Upper level rooms will offer you views from the balcony, that you will cherish for a long time.
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  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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.
Gloucestershire England
Top Contributor
58 reviews 58 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 30 cities Reviews in 30 cities
36 helpful votes 36 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 19, 2013

The rooms are charming with balconies and views over the plain. Upstairs rooms would have even better views. There's a decent sized pool, and a lookout point from which you can see lots of game in the distance. The unfenced grounds are interesting. The resident leopard - which we didn't encounter - has eaten all but 3 of many dikdiks so may have to move on soon. After dark you must be escorted to and from your room! Sadly there were no visiting elephants, lions or buffaloes during our brief stay but we saw evidence of their visits within yards of the attractive dining area. The resident naturalist, Hagai, is excellent. We recommend a walk with him to learn about the vegetation and how the Maasai use it for all sorts of purposes.

  • Stayed February 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge

Address: Mbingwe Valley, Serengeti National Park N/A, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Serengeti National Park
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #45 of 77 Specialty Lodging in Serengeti National Park
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 66
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Inspired by a traditional African village this extraordinary lodge presents a vibrant design concept rich in indigenous craft and cultural detail that is without compare. Set high on a hill with rolling visas over the teeming plains of a natural amphitheater it also enjoys a ringside seat for the greatest show on earth, the annual migration of the wildebeest. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Serengeti Serena Safari Hotel Serengeti National Park

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