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“Great location, decent rooms.” 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
Nashua, New Hampshire
Top Contributor
76 reviews 76 reviews
73 hotel reviews
Reviews in 71 cities Reviews in 71 cities
251 helpful votes 251 helpful votes
“Great location, decent rooms.”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed October 14, 2008

We stayed here for 2 nights for our visit to the Crater.

We were fairly pleased with this lodge. It was just about as expected. Great setting, OK rooms.
The setting is spectacular, right on the rim overlooking the crater!
We had a room on the second floor (#55) with a wonderful view. It looked to us like every room on the second floor would have a great view of the crater.
Not sure about the ones on the first floor.

The rooms were pretty nice, a bit scuffed up but clean, fairly large with a desk area, good storage space, and a balcony.
Our room had one double bed (really two twins pushed together) and one twin bed.
The beds were very hard.
The bathroom was very large, with an oversized shower. The water never did get very hot, we never even turned on the cold water for the shower.
There was a hairdryer. No TV, no air conditioning, but you definitely did not need AC. It gets very cool up there.

The hotel offers internet for $5 per hour or $25 for 24 hours.

We had dinner and lunch in the huge dining room. We were very pleased with the buffets! They had a fantastic salad bar! Lunch was a full buffet, with many meat dishes, sides, pasta, rice, fruits, cheeses, etc. You also had a choice of two soups from a menu.
For dinner you ordered off a menu for your soup and entree, and the buffet was still available but with less items available, but still the great salad!
Beer was $5, mixed drinks - $8-10, bottled water - $3.
When the restaurant was crowded for dinner service was very slow.

They packed us a filling breakfast to eat down in the crater next to a hippo pool! This was wonderful!

We were able to exchange money at the reception desk and they gave you an increasingly better rate with the more you exchanged.

We were overall pleased with this lodge and would recommend staying here as it has such a good location.

  • Liked — Location
  • Disliked — Hard beds, lack of hot water
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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593 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
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (121)
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English first
Paris, France
Top Contributor
103 reviews 103 reviews
49 hotel reviews
Reviews in 63 cities Reviews in 63 cities
92 helpful votes 92 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 1, 2008

We have staying here for one night in August. The rooms are not very large but have a large bathroom with shower and a nice terrace where you get a nice view on the crater. Good food and service but a little too much international hotel style without real cachet.

  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Bergen, Norway
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
2 of 5 stars Reviewed September 18, 2008

First, my impression of the hotel is based on the fact that I had the pleasure to stay at the Ngorogoro Sopa Lodge in June 2008
That's why I was disappointed when I came to Serena.

The view is not half of the one at Sopa Lodge.
You don't get the amazing sunset.
You DO get a beautiful sunrise, but at that point you are too busy eating your breakfast in a hurry so that you can get down in the crater and spot some wildlife.

Food is mainly bland, however breakfast is not bad.
Service is good by Tanzanian standards, but some waiters are trying too hard...

Interior is dark and dodgy and seems more like a hotel in the Alps than some place in Africa, although they have thrown in a pair of Masai people and artifacts for show...

No pool (it IS cold up there, though)

And then - most guests are in their fifties ++++
I would not recommend this hotel to anyone younger.
I'm 32 and me and my friend joked about being in an old people's home.

My over all impression is that this is an average hotel pretending to be an exclusive hotel.

  • Liked — View and breakfast
  • Disliked — Price
  • Stayed September 2008, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 stars Service
    • 3 of 5 stars Business service (e.g., internet access)
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Shanghai
Top Contributor
52 reviews 52 reviews
48 hotel reviews
Reviews in 37 cities Reviews in 37 cities
57 helpful votes 57 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 27, 2008

We stayed here for two nights in two adjacent rooms (children next door) - check in was swift and the rooms were warm with wonderful views of the crater (if there is no mist, sunrise is spectacular), the bathrooms are OK (nothing special) but there was no hot water when we arrived however a plentiful supply was restored within about 90 minutes (felt a bit irritated by this at the time but we were tired and dusty and hungry and I can't eat whilst mucky!) There are no nets as mozzies are not found at altitude but one of my sons was bitten 12 times during one night (what was that due to?) Lovely bar area with open fires and far reaching views. Food (all buffet) was of a good quality with good service. The hotel is clean and well maintained with efficient and likeable staff - so no complaints there! My husband and I particularly enjoyed a two hour hike to the rim of the crater (not too onerous) with another couple (Hi to Mark and Debbie who were on honeymoon!) accompanied by the hotel naturalist (well worth it for the views) but we were marginally bemused by hiking for two hours with a guide who was armed with nothing but a bird wildlife book - were we to batter any dangerous wildlife with the book? Caused us to laugh anyway!! Enjoy!

  • Liked — Location, staff, views
  • Disliked — Nothing really!
  • Stayed August 2008, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 4 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Ft. Lauderdale, FL
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 4 cities Reviews in 4 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 15, 2008

We stayed at this lodge in the middle of our safari, it was the first place we could get internet access or make a phone call, You have to call the front desk to place the call, then they call you when they connect. I waited 30 minutes and called the front desk again, and they told me my line was busy. It turned out I didn't have phone service to my room. They tried to fix the phone line, but were unable. When I returned to the room later, they had left my door unlocked. They did have me make the phone call in the middle of the lobby, loud and crowded, then charged $35 for 7 minutes. Food was okay, drink prices slightly higher than the rest of the Serengeti but considering where it's located, not bad. The room was more than adequate with a beautiful patio and view of the crater.

  • Liked — view of the crater
  • Disliked — room service
  • Stayed June 2008, traveled with friends
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 4 of 5 stars Check in / front desk
    • 4 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 stars Service
    • 2 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.
washington DC
Contributor
14 reviews 14 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 14 cities Reviews in 14 cities
10 helpful votes 10 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 1, 2008

My family and I went on Safari and stayed at the Ngorongoro Serena for 2 nights. We absolutely loved the location. Lovely views of the crater, and we literally had animals (including an elephant) crossing as such close proximity. Amazing.

The rooms had a spectacular overlook of the crater. They were small, but comfortable enough and heated (which was necessary in the cold July evenings). The bathrooms were large (no tubs) and clean.

The food was included in our package and terrific. The first evenign we ordered off of a limited menu and the second evening was full buffet. Everything tasted absolutely fresh and delicious. The dining service was top-notch. My mother needed to bring dinner to the room for my grandmother and she only had to mention what grandmother requested and it was freshly prepared and delivered beautifully to grandma. Soup, which was left cold one evening b/c my mother was delayed for dinner was replaced, without even our requesting it! So many other small moments made this the best service I've experienced in a long time.

As great as the dining service was, the service at reception was the complete opposite. They refused to confirm our airline reservations (despite my sister who's living and working in TZ insisting that all hotels at all levels do this regularly) stating "we don't do this. Talk to your driver (the safari guide). Or you can call yourself." What? They forgot to give us our requested wake up calls. They forgot to have our laundry delivered.

My father noticed that lots of service personnel were trainees. Hopefully this was the reason for the problems and there'll be better results after training is complete.

All in all - a great stay and overall I would recommend the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.

Stayed July 2008
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Concord, Ma. USA
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
8 hotel reviews
Reviews in 11 cities Reviews in 11 cities
13 helpful votes 13 helpful votes
3 of 5 stars Reviewed July 17, 2008

We were traveling with our children (6, 9 & 11) so we needed connecting rooms. Not sure if this is why we ended up at the very end (74 &75) of the bottom floor but... The view was good but not as good as it could be and the walk to the restaurant was a bit long.

We also stayed at Serengeti Serena and Zanzibar Serena and this one was the least-nice. This lodge is a little old, but as everywhere in Tanzania, the staff was wonderful and the common areas were really comfortable. The views around the crater are all wonderful, so it is not such a biggie if you don't have the best view from your room. This lodge also seemed a bit crowded - not sure if that is always the way. The scene in the bar before dinner was pretty happenin' with a great acrobat show and also a Massai dance.

We visited a Massai village privately earlier in the day which was absolutely fascinating. They are talking about moving the Massai people from Ngorongoro at some point so be sure to immerse yourself in the Massai here - it is not to be missed.

Wildlife in the crater is really amazing. We came here from the Serengeti and it is different. We saw 2 lion hunts and the black rhino but no Leapard...

Staff as in all of Tanzania is WONDERFUL. They so appreciate if you speak even a little Swahili and will do everything to make you happy and comfortable. They are a wonderful people (and beautiful) and they mean every kind thing they say.

My unsolicited advice: If you are traveling all the way to Tanzania, don't miss going to Zanzibar and staying at Chumbe island! Also Akorn Destination Mgt. (tour company to dignitaries and the stars) is the BEST - if you are considering touring Tanzania and want a worry free and carefree trip, contact them!

  • Stayed July 2008, traveled with family
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 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.

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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 #10 of 25 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$$$
Hotel Class:4 star — Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge 4*
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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