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“So-so room, nice property” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Samburu Serena Safari Lodge

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Samburu Serena Safari Lodge
PO Box 48690, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya   |  
Hotel amenities
Nashua, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
249 helpful votes 249 helpful votes
“So-so room, nice property”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 18, 2008

Samburu Serena was one of three Serenas on our trip (we also stayed at Ngorongoro Serena and Mara Serena).

While we really loved the common areas of the lodge, the setting along the river and the monkeys and baboons on your doorstep, the rooms here were our least favorite of the three Serenas.

The room was decorated nicely, but it was fairly small and had two separate twin beds. The beds were very hard.
The bathroom was very tiny with a very small shower. It was hard to turn around in the shower and with the limited space and only a shower curtain it was nearly impossible to not get the whole bathroom floor wet.
However, there was good water pressure and hot water.

There is no TV (which is fine, because you just want to relax after all the exciting wildlife you see on safari!)

It was very hot in Samburu during the first week of October, especially compared to Tanzania and the Mara . There is no air conditioning and there was no breeze inside the room so it was very warm in there.
There was a ceiling fan, but we had to move the beds out from the wall to get underneath the fan in order to feel it.
It did cool down a little at night, so it wasn't too bad.

The common areas of this lodge are really nice!
There are many covered lounging areas that are just wonderful to sit and relax. There are even a few outlets, so if you bring your laptop, you can plug in. It was nice to come back and take a look at all the great photos we got each day, while having a glass of wine or a beer and munch on the finger foods they set out each evening before dinner!
The setting by the pool just off the river is wonderful!

The food was pretty good, with a large buffet. I can't imagine that you wouldn't be able to find something you like. The desserts, however were always a bit of a disappointment.
The food situation was pretty much the same at all the Serenas.
Beer was about $4US, wine $8-9US per glass.
There was wi-fi interenet, cost $4-5US per hour or $21US for 24 hours.
It was reliable.

The staff was friendly and helpful and they get laundry done very quickly. If you drop off in the morning by 10am they have it back to you that same evening.
Pants and shirts were about $2-3US a piece.

Samburu is definitely a unique park, the scenery is very lovely and the special species of giraffe and zebra are an added bonus. We also loved seeing the gerenuks, which we saw nowhere else.
But Samburu is hot and dusty and we didn't see near as much wildlife as we did in Tarangire, Ngorongoro or the Mara.

So, we'd say this lodge was just average. The setting is nice, but the rooms were only OK. Not as nice as Mara Serena. I saw someone posted a photo of a much larger room than we had. If you get the large room, with a larger bathroom, then it would be pretty nice.

  • Liked — The common areas and setting
  • Disliked — Small bathroom, room too hot
  • Stayed October 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (3)
Date | Rating
  • English first
  • German first
  • Swedish first
  • Any
English first
Hong Kong
2 reviews
Reviews in 2 cities Reviews in 2 cities
4 helpful votes 4 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 26, 2008

Very nice hotel!

Friendly staff, clean room & food is not bad. There is a river outside our room - a crocodile there & we saw over 10 monkeys walking outside our room (one by one)!

No worries, the monkeys are not attacking people at all. We took photos & they played around & walked pass.

Bird feeding near restaurant in breakfast time.

The swimming pool there is nice too.

  • Stayed July 2008
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 11, 2008

We stayed at the Serena in June as the first part of our Safari Honeymoon in Kenya. It was a great welcome to a beautiful country. Lovely lodges, clean and tidy, Elephants outside your door (literally), amazing food and very friendly staff.

Would certainly recommend it as part of a honeymoon as the game drives are slightly shorter (approx 3 hours each) than elsewhere in Kenya, so it helps factor in some relaxation. Would therefore recommend it for 2-3 nights but not much longer.

Must see the 'Samburu 5' as the Grevy's Zebra and reticulated Giraffe are stunning (as are the Gerenuk etc.). We saw hundreds of Elephants all marching down the dry river bed which was a truly magnificant sight.

Book the Bush Walk with William, it was great fun and really interesting.

Thoroughly recommended.

  • Liked — Location and food
  • Disliked — Nothing
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Singapore
Senior Contributor
31 reviews 31 reviews
18 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
20 helpful votes 20 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed June 23, 2008

Fantastic Lodge! There weren't any insects crawling or flying around in the room, probably because we did spray some insect repellent before leaving for our safari in the evening. The room overlooked the river banks, and it was quite an authentic feel of the African wilderness.

The crocodile(s) that visited us on two nights were of a ferocious size and we were able to see them at such close proximity (ever prepared to run away of course).

The swimming pool was a little dirty, but that's already the best the hotel management can do to keep it clean. (it's an outdoor pool in the middle of an african savannah, what can we expect?)

The meals were cooked by friendly chefs, and my mum was even allowed into the kitchen to cook! (i know it's against hygiene standards but they were packing up for the night already so I guess they were a bit more relaxed on those rules) Fantastic experience and everyone should come!

  • Liked — Wild!
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 4
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
reading
Top Contributor
101 reviews 101 reviews
78 hotel reviews
Reviews in 88 cities Reviews in 88 cities
119 helpful votes 119 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed March 19, 2008

we stayed at 5 serenas during our tour and this was our all around favorite. the hotel was very slow with less than 10% occupancy due to all the political turmoil. one day we were the only vehicle in samburu. they recycled the food quite often with the low tourist numbers and i ate tuna for 5 meals in a row, but all the food tasted good and was cooked to order on the grill. the room could use a little updating with very worn bed spreads and very hard twin beds. also room was very hot at night as electric was turned off at night stopping ceiling fan. the service was very good. we had one scary episode at a town enroute to samburu. the towns population was predominantly muslim and several locals surrounded the vehicle and were very verbal regarding their hatred of our kikuya guide to the point that we feared for his safety. the degree of their hatred was really alarming as it was directed at our guide not on a personal level but just because he was kikuya. they then went on to tell us to vote for obama.

  • Liked — service/pool
  • Disliked — twin beds/
  • Stayed March 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 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.
UK
Contributor
13 reviews 13 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed February 29, 2008

We have booked though a superb Travel agent our trip to Kenya and stayed in a few Serena Hotel which I must say were really TOP.

I will write some separate reviews for all Serena Hotels w have stayed, this one in the Samburu national Park was our first stay and it was superb, the road to come here from Nairobi is an experience in itself. You think it’s bad when you are outside Nairobi but believe me you haven’t seen half of it yet, those guys drive on dirt tracks which we would only attempt in a big 4 x 4 and slowly but after a hole week driving from the north of Samburu down to the Masai Mara which was called the Cheetah Safari can only recommend it.

For my next trip I will maybe only see 2 national parks instead of 4 and fly between instead of driving as it takes your body by surprise being hard banged against window, seat, bags etc. when being battered in the back.

The Samburu Serena Lodge was really nice here our Pros and Cons:

Pros
- Lovely setting, nice people, lovely Hotel, superb little
huts/rooms, a fantastic pool which was a really nice welcome
- Good food, nice cocktails
- Mega clean bathrooms (as in all Serene Hotels)

Cons:
- Didn’t like the Hotel to feed a massive crocodile which was living next to on the bank this is really not the way forward only so we tourist can see a wild animal
- Wine unfortunately on the hole Safari wine was quite expensive beer and cocktails are the way forward

Otherwise I am sure you will have a lovely time in any Serena Hotel, we lovely the Samburu National Park you see less animals then in the Masai Mara but the Samburu tribe was one of the most welcome village I have ever meat, you can book the trip with you guide and you will go in a break between the trips into National park. The Samburu danced for us showed us around and were not at all pushy to buy, of course you pay a so called entrance fee to visit them which is being explained to you will help to buy medicine, schooling etc. for the hole village.

All in all it was a trip of a lifetime, if you want to see more pictures or our Itinerary just send me an email

  • Liked — clean and nice
  • Disliked — superb settings
  • Stayed July 2007, traveled solo
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
    • 4 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Tenerife, Spain
Senior Reviewer
8 reviews 8 reviews
6 hotel reviews
Reviews in 7 cities Reviews in 7 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed February 12, 2008

Hi all !,
This is my most favorite Lodge and reserve !
We have stayed here twice, as the first time wasn´t enough,(mind it still isn´t ) ! We stayed here for 2 nights again, 2 safari drives each day,( inclusive of the 1on our arrival)Plus a long 1 on the day that we left !
The Lodge is great in every way, we have stayed as 2 people and a group of 3 people, the rooms were big enough for the 3 of us with no problems.
The lodges had single beds ,wardrobe of sorts,nice size bathroom, and still a good amount of space left for all your things.
The lodges were all decorated nicely and were comfortable,even out on the veranda.
The mossy nets pulled down every night for us and the rooms were kept spotless by the staff each day.
The views from the lodges, over looking the river and up to the mountains are fantastic, you feel that you are out there, in the middle of know where with out a soul around you,(free as a bird.)
I wish i was back there again now !
The staff here catered for your every need, they can not do enough for you, if you need anything or ask for help for anything, it is done there and then ! You could not ask for more!
Again, the staff really look after the children, they love having them there, I did notice, My 12 yr old son had all the drinks and food first from the staff before we could even order our drinks! (it felt good to have 5 mins,just for someone else to play mam for a bit) !
They do try to encourage the children ( on the parents OK first) to get involved with feeding the birds in the morning, to watch the wild life( from the safety of the wall) over looking the river and for anything else that they think the children would like to do of interest for them !
I can not praise the staff enough here for everything that they do.
I love to hear Jambo first thing in the morning, from any member of staff, it puts a smile on your face first thing, and it lasts all day(Jambos as well) ! lol
The Safari drives here are out of this world,We saw more here on each occasion, than on all the other locations on our Safari´s,inclusive of the Masi Mara !
I know this reserve is smaller than allot of the others, but then it does condense the wildlife in that smaller area, getting to view more in your time span.
The animals seem to be on every bend in every direction, and in greater numbers, plus you get to see animals like the Reticulated Giraffe,Oryx, Genuk and the Grevys Zebra, I know you can see these animals in most places, but the different species are great !
The roads to the reserve are bad,from which ever direction you come from, but it is definitely worth it !
On my next safari i will add Samburu again,as i can´t get enough of this place, mind you can´t go wrong either !
I hope this helps in trying to arrange your next safari !!!!
Taffy

  • Liked — Everything !!!!
  • Disliked — Having to leave !!!
  • Stayed December 2007, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 6
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.

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Additional Information about Samburu Serena Safari Lodge

Address: PO Box 48690, Samburu National Reserve, Kenya
Location: Kenya > Rift Valley Province > Samburu District > Samburu National Reserve
Amenities:
Business Center with Internet Access Restaurant Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #10 of 13 Specialty lodging in Samburu National Reserve
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Situated on the fertile banks of the Uaso Nyiro River at an altitude of 700 meters, in the center of the Samburu Game Reserve Kenya, Samburu Serena Safari Lodge echoes the robust rhythms of river front life. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Samburu Serena Safari Hotel Samburu National Reserve
Samburu Serena Safari Lodge Kenya/Samburu National Reserve

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