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“Not impressed” 3 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
Boston, MA
Top Contributor
84 reviews 84 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 52 cities Reviews in 52 cities
77 helpful votes 77 helpful votes
“Not impressed”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 19, 2013

Our travel agency moved us into the Serena lodge for 2 nights at the last minute after the Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge was overbooked. From our arrival, we could see right away that this hotel was very different to the other lodges we had stayed at during our Safari. It had a more corporate feel (even though the other lodges are also not owned independently) and was also significantly larger than any of the lodges we had stayed in earlier.

The view of the crater was beautiful, and the food at Serena was quite good, but other than that we could not shake the feeling of being in a crammed cruise ship with poor service.

Two of our friends had to change rooms right away because their toilet was not working--this was not a very welcome development after a whole day of traveling from the western Serengeti. Also, the advertised "free WiFi" was a travesty. Hotels in Tanzania do not understand the concept of bandwidth, and offer "free WiFi" to their guests but do not realize that if 80 people are sitting in the bar checking their email, their small bandwidth does not have the capacity to accommodate everyone. When I complained to the concierge about this, he explained to me that something must be wrong with my iPhone and that he suggests I restart it as no other guests had complained to him about this issue. When a member of our group ordered a vodka martini at dinner, the waiter brought him a glass of vermouth and we were then charged for this and had to complain. Finally, and most upsettingly, we were woken up after our first night and asked if we need help with our bags. Confused, we responded that we are staying for two nights; however, the concierge informed us that our booking was only for one night. We spent the next 45 minutes trying to deal with our tour agency, the hotel concierge, and Serena's head office to figure out what went wrong. The concierge was not willing to budge, so rather than leaving for our game drive, we frantically ran back to our rooms to pack. While we were packing, though, we received a call from the concierge telling us that the HQ had confirmed our second night. Although everything worked out in the end, the miscommunication between Serena's office and the hotel left a sour taste in our mouth.

The rooms were alright, a little bit small in the triple compared to other lodges and tired out even though the hotel is quite young, but fine. Showers had hot water that was consistent, so that was much appreciated.

If I were to come back to Ngorongoro C.A., I would choose a different lodge next time.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 2 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
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710 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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English first
Bound Brook, New Jersey
Top Contributor
141 reviews 141 reviews
56 hotel reviews
Reviews in 72 cities Reviews in 72 cities
69 helpful votes 69 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 18, 2013

Great location on the edge of the crater about 25 min. from the entry to the crater. One of the exits is closed for renovations and the return trip at present is 70 min. The rooms have a nice view and are well appointed. The bar seen is lively with entertainment from locals at 7:00pm. The service was very good. The food was ok not exceptional. The wifi worked fine and there is plenty of hot water.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with friends
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 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
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Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
33 reviews 33 reviews
31 hotel reviews
Reviews in 28 cities Reviews in 28 cities
31 helpful votes 31 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

Ok, so there is really only one reason you stay here (or any of the limited number of options on the crater rim), and that is for the view. As all have said, it is absolutely spectacular. When you are planning your safari, and intend to stay here, make sure you ask to arrive in time to relax and enjoy the sunset and sunrise, as it is truly fantastic.

The rooms are quite basic, but well appointed. They go out of their way to provide little touches (hot water bottles in bed at turn down, for example), but the rest of the venue feels a little commercial and less than intimate. Given the size and location, I'm not particularly surprised, and didn't consider it a breaking point.

Food was of a quite good standard, and the service was friendly if not overly helpful. But the views make up for it all!

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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berkshire, uk
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
6 helpful votes 6 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

The hotel is in a perfect location on the rim of the crater, the views are amazing. The rooms were comfortable although they had the feel of a youth hostel. The food was not that good and the service was very poor while we were there. The hotel is about 1 1/2 hours from the park entrance which is standard and the road wasn't too bad, the hotel is quite near the road which takes you down into the crater. The animals were easy to spot in the crater it is well worth a visit, really recommend a crater safari.

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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
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Hong Kong
Senior Contributor
43 reviews 43 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 12, 2013

Our party of 8 stayed one night at 22 July 2013. The hotel has a very good view of the crater (like some other hotels around the crater, apparently). Outside the dining room the balcony affords a good view, better than that from the bar level balcony which is one level down.

Rooms bear the Serena reputation. But dining experience was marred by their seating us at a table for six, with one seated at one end at a sofa but me seated near the corridor. I had to move or duck my head over 30 times due to waitors/waitresses wanting to get past, aside from guests.

I spoke to the manager and said I was happy with lunch time table seating (because we arrived late at 2 pm and plenty of table were available). He duly apologised, giving me the well-trained glib reply about taking my comment in a positive spirit and he would do something etc.

The next morning at breakfast time, I thought there would be an improvement. The manager just took me to the same table and he said he could not do otherwise as all tables were reserved. I saw other groups of 8 seated well but mine was an exception. What was apparent was that Serena was fully booked, well patronised, and so the restaurant manager just had to make so.

While Serena was generally of a high standard, I think they should do better with incidents like mine.

Oh, Serena exchange rate for USD was closest to the official exchange rate.

Stayed July 2013, traveled with friends
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Rowley
Senior Contributor
45 reviews 45 reviews
13 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
17 helpful votes 17 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 7, 2013

Stayed two nights at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge and enjoyed the spectacular view of the crater below. Lodge is located on the west side of the crater rim at elevation 7546 feet above sea level. Crater floor is approx. 2000 feet below and the view if the sunrise is not to be missed. The rooms all had great views and were very comfortable. Saw two black rino's in the crater along with many other species of animals. Only downside of the crater safari was the large number of other safari travelers. Twice we were unable to pass groups of over 50 safari vehicles stopped by the side of the road. Did not encounter these crowded conditions at any other location.

  • Stayed July 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 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Vancouver, Canada
Top Contributor
72 reviews 72 reviews
24 hotel reviews
Reviews in 34 cities Reviews in 34 cities
50 helpful votes 50 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed August 2, 2013

I highly recommend Serena Safari Lodges to everyone, but this one was my favorite! The view of the crater was amazing. The food was top notch and the dessert table left you salivating. The entertainment and lounges were comfortable and the wifi was free in this particular lodge, while most other Serena lodges charged a hefty sum for internet. No pool at this lodge but spent most the day on safari. This was where I saw the last of the Big Five...the black rhino! Amazing!

  • 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 1
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 #13 of 31 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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