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“Nice but not fancy” 4 of 5 stars
Review of Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

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Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
4.0 of 5 Lodge   |   Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Colorado
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
35 hotel reviews
Reviews in 40 cities Reviews in 40 cities
37 helpful votes 37 helpful votes
“Nice but not fancy”
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2012

We recently stayed at Ngoro Serena Lodge on our Tanzania safari. The rooms are nice and clean but not fancy. The bathrooms roomy. Each room has a view of the Ngorngoro Crater. We stayed here in the middle of our 10 day safari and it was a welcome change from the tented camps. While the tent camps are luxurious there is something to be said for unlimited hot water for your shower.
The view from the bar is beautiful. The bar prices are average for a place such as this,around $10 for cocktails, less for a glass of wine.US dollars are accepted.
The food here was disappointing. It was mediocre at best but then again it is a large, all inclusive facility and it 's hard to cook for the masses.All meals are buffet style. The desserts were a weak point.
Some of the other lodges at the crater are supposedly more luxurious but they do come with a luxurious price tag as well. Just remember, TIA ( this is Africa) and you will be fine. Unless you absolutley want to spend the big bucks, this a comfortable place.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 stars Service
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642 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 stars
  • Service
    4 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 stars
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Maine
Top Contributor
229 reviews 229 reviews
146 hotel reviews
Reviews in 141 cities Reviews in 141 cities
137 helpful votes 137 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2012

As with the other 10 properties we use in E. Africa, we are torn between rating based on E. African stndards, or when comparing to American/European/Asian hotels, so we split the difference - this Serena is nice for E. Africa with a great view (maybe even 4*), but the rooms are at best 2* co..mpared to American hotels. The location is great, a reasonably easy and smooth ride from Arusha - unlike the road from there on to the Serengeti. the lodge is close to the bumpy road down into the gorge and so convenient for early morning drives. As noted, the views from all rooms, as well as restaurant and bar are spectsacular - over the cauldera - with binoculars one can even make out specks of animules. The buffet (and some a al carte service) is adequate, but not great, and b ar service is slow at best - but again the view is great. The biggest disappointment is in the rooms - bare bones at best, with poor reading lighting and with NO amenities (no safe, frig, coffee, etc) and no pool or other lodge amenities. At least the high (7000+ft) altitude eliminates the need for a fan or A/C. Note that when paying bar/etc bill, Serena (and their other properties in Tanz) convert the charge from shillings to US $ at a fairly unfavorable exchange rate before charging your credit card, a practice seldom seen outside Tanz. Bed hard but not the worst we had; there is considerable noise from the hallway getting into rooms. Some wildlife is around - dik-dik, waterbuck, eagles, etc, and the occassional elephant, etc. Of course the BIG attraction is proximity to the cauldera, and that is great - too bad the rooms aren't more up to western standards, but overall, not bad.

  • Stayed October 2012, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 2 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Turin, Italy
Senior Reviewer
10 reviews 10 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 8 cities Reviews in 8 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

We stayed in this lodge in 2010 and we came back this August. It is really a great place. The windows of the restaurant and the terraces of the rooms let you have a sight to one of the most incredible and fascinating places of the world: the crater of Ngorongoro.
The rooms are warm and clean and the food is excellent. Even the curio shop is very useful (if you have forgotten anything at home, don't worry: you'll find it there).

  • Stayed August 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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jersey, ci
Senior Reviewer
9 reviews 9 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

Staying here was another wonderful experience contributing to a memorable first safari!
We were on the edge of the caldera with magnificent views from our window including a beautiful sunrise - well worth getting up for! Entertainment by local Masai dancers was
amazing, as was the presentation about the caldera when we arrived, preparing us well for the game drive next day. Catering was out of this world - everyone was taken into consideration whatever their preference/ allergy/religion. The buffet style service for starters & dessert was brilliant. Staff were polite & helpful & really jolly people, interested in where you had been & what yoiu had seen during the day. We hope to return to Tanzania in the near future & would
ONLY stay in a SERENA lodge on account of value for money,comfort & good food but most of all because of the staff.

Room Tip: Rooms on lower level with a wooden deck outside gave more chance to exit quietly for wildlife photos...
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  • Stayed August 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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Winter Haven, Florida
Top Contributor
183 reviews 183 reviews
36 hotel reviews
Reviews in 57 cities Reviews in 57 cities
43 helpful votes 43 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 29, 2012

We had a great stay at this Lodge overlooking the great Ngorongoro Crater. The views were breathtaking, especially in early mornings and evenings. The lodge was well laid-out, rooms were well appointed and very clean. Our room and patio overlooked the crater. The staff was helpful and pleasant and eager to help. There was an excellent bar area with a large fireplace in the middle, a great place to congregate. It was warm here during the days, and very cool at night. They had hot water bottles in our beds at night! They also had a radiator to help knock off the cool air. Entertainment in the lounge/dinning area preceded dinner each evening. All the meals were very good.

  • Stayed September 2012, 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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Lisbon
Top Contributor
219 reviews 219 reviews
139 hotel reviews
Reviews in 148 cities Reviews in 148 cities
133 helpful votes 133 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 19, 2012

We stayed in several lodges in Kenya and Tanzania and the Ngorongoro Serena was the best for us. As everybody says it has a wonderfull view with the rooms located in order to see the Ngorongoro Crater.
The room and bathroom could be better but were nice enough, the bar and dinning room also nice.
About the food and service they were excellent. The restaurant is not buffet and we were afraid about the service, but no, it was quick and the food also very good. In fact we didn´t like the wine but in this case was my fault once I did a wrong choice.
Congratulations to the staff of the Ngorongoro Serena, once the lodge and Ngorongoro itsef exceeded our expectations.

  • Stayed September 2012, 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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Denver, Colorado, United States
Top Contributor
64 reviews 64 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
19 helpful votes 19 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 16, 2012

We staid in a number of lodges and camps in east Africa. This is one of the very best, from our perspective. LOCATION, location, location. On the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater with a view across the 12 mile caldera. Simply spectacular. Very nice rooms and baths. Very good food and excellent service. Also had nightly entertainment that was fun in the bar area before dinner. Highly recommend this place.

Room Tip: I think that all the rooms have a crater view. Might wish to stay closer to the restaurant if walki...
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  • Stayed September 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
Was this review helpful? Yes
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Address: Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #12 of 29 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge 4*
Number of rooms: 74
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Perched on the jagged rim of the crater, wreathed in morning mist, camouflaged in river-stone and cloaked in indigenous creepers, the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a triumph of ecological and architectural fusion. Sensitively constructed so as to take nothing from its environment whilst affording endless vistas over the heat-shimmering reaches of the crater below, the clustered boulder-built buildings of the Lodge hug the crater rim, linked by rope-lashed timber walkways that skirt the buttressed roots of ancient, liana-hung trees. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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