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“Ticks most boxes, but just didn't feel right” 3 of 5 stars
Review of Bougainvillea Safari Lodge

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Bougainvillea Safari Lodge
Ngorongoro Road, Karatu, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Ranked #6 of 25 Specialty lodging in Karatu
Melbourne, Australia
Senior Contributor
25 reviews 25 reviews
23 hotel reviews
Reviews in 21 cities Reviews in 21 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
“Ticks most boxes, but just didn't feel right”
3 of 5 stars Reviewed August 17, 2013

Stayed here for 1 night on the way through to Serengeti National Park. This hotel (and others in the area) are used because they can avoid many of the expensive park fees that others have to pay further into the National Parks. As a result, they are much better value than the others.

The main section of the hotel feels basic and dated, and though the gardens are lovely, they were nothing special.

The rooms are simple enough - clean and quite spacious, with a nice balcony to sit out on. But they are not luxury or high quality by any standard - from the bathrooms to the bed, they are of just an average standard.

One major selling point in the cooler months is the open fire in each room, and this was a major plus for us. I asked the staff if we could eat in our room, and they went over and above in providing us a wonderful experience. They built a fire, brought us each course over a couple of hours, and truly made it a special night. They are to be commended for this lovely touch.

  • Stayed May 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 3 of 5 stars Location
    • 3 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 3 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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156 people have reviewed this hotel

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    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 (18)
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English first
Antwerp, Belgium
Contributor
19 reviews 19 reviews
14 hotel reviews
Reviews in 16 cities Reviews in 16 cities
18 helpful votes 18 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed August 8, 2013

We just stayed at the Bougainvillea for 5 nights... Quite a long stay when on safari. But as we're travelling with two young children (age 2 and 4), we wanted a central location from where we could organise our trips.

Everything went as planned and even better : all our plans could be changed instantly if we needed them to. From the first e-mails I had send to ask for information, to the good-bye's when we left... All was done in a 'hakuna matata'-way! Specials thanks to Daniel and Francis to coordinate our stay there as well as the very proffessional game-drives we did through Lake Manyara NP and Ngorogoro Crater. If our kids were too tired of travelling or sitting in cars, they were able to change the program with a smile! When we arrived, they even gave us the option to still stay in a family room instead of two rooms with connecting doors. This saved us quite some dollars and as we had discussed it differently before, they could have just given us the bigger and more expensive option.

Dinner is always a treat and tastes like home-cooking. Whatever people have written before me (that is positive) about dinner is true...

The entrance/reception/bar/restaurant is a meeting point, where everybody sits at the fireplace in the evening before dinner, looking back at all the great stuff they've seen during the day.

The rooms aren't fancy, but very spacious and clean. And most importantly : they come with a fireplace that will be lit for you upon request. The cold nights (Karatu lies at +- 1400 meters altitude) make this not really a luxury, although the cosyness a fireplace brings makes it feel like one!

We also chose this lodge for the swimming pool. Given the fact that our toddlers would fancy a play-break in the water from time to time, we found it a good choice. We weren't blessed with the warmest weather, but we swam and the pool -as well as all other areas- was well maintained.

The biggest plus of all might even still be the general positive vibe you get when staying here. Everybody is genuinly friendly and interested. The entire staff makes you feel most welcome...

Our guide/driver was Peter. I must say, he defintely added value to our game-drives. He's not only a skilled 4WD operator, he had good knowledge about all the critters we encountered. Which we also did mainly thanks to his well trained eyes!

We'd defintely contact Bougainvillea next time we'd go on a Safari in Tanzania!

Room Tip: Explain your wishes and let them tell you which room suits you best!
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  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 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
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Drenthe
Contributor
15 reviews 15 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 13 cities Reviews in 13 cities
8 helpful votes 8 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed July 31, 2013 via mobile

We liked the place, but thought it was a bit too Western. Everything was perfect though. A nice big room with a wonderful bathroom and hot water. We weren't sure we liked the idea of all the dishes being brought to our table at dinner and having to take what we wanted, but of course it meant you could have all you wanted and it all tasted great. The staff was friendly and there were a souvenir shop and swimming pool. We didn't check out the latter one, though. A good place to stay at when traveling between Manyara and the Serengeti.

Stayed July 2013, traveled as a couple
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West Bloomfield, Michigan
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 10, 2013

We stayed at Bougainvillea our second night of our safari and were thrilled! The location is excellent (in between Tarangire and Ngorogoro). The bungalows are spacious, clean, and comfortable. There are numerous windows, and can easily be closed for a quiet, restful night. The showers are spacious, and the seating area is quite large. There is even a lovely porch!

The food was very good, but dinner isn't served until 7:30pm. It gets dark at 6:15pm, so there was definitely some time to kill. We ended up heading to the main lodge a little early and having a drink in their very comfortable lounge.

We stayed in Tanzania for 2 weeks, and this was the only room we slept in where we did not see a single bug/mosquito!

Would definitely recommend to others!

Room Tip: We had two bungalows, and both were beautiful!
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  • Stayed July 2013, traveled with family
    • 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.
Greensboro, North Carolina
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 6 cities Reviews in 6 cities
1 helpful vote 1 helpful vote
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 9, 2013 via mobile

We stayed one night at the Bougainvillea. The food was delicious. We liked how they served the food and they were very generous with the portions.The rooms were impeccable and very spacious. The pool was nice too although the water was cold.

  • Stayed July 2013
    • 4 of 5 stars Value
    • 4 of 5 stars Location
    • 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.
Jersey, United Kingdom
Reviewer
5 reviews 5 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
2 helpful votes 2 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed July 1, 2013 via mobile

We stayed for 2 nights and found the whole place very charming. The food was amazing. Such lovely fresh produce which appeared to have been served very simply but wow what flavour. The avocado and salsa starter we had on our first night was so delicious. Would certainly recommend staying here.

  • Stayed June 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Virginia
Top Contributor
61 reviews 61 reviews
11 hotel reviews
Reviews in 22 cities Reviews in 22 cities
32 helpful votes 32 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed June 28, 2013

I will start with arrival: The staff was very friendly and I enjoyed the banter with the man at reception. He had a good sense of humor.

Grounds: Gorgeous and lush. Absolutely lovely in every way. It's also well lit at night.

Room:Overall the room was lovely and full of character. To be perfectly honest the room was slightly more rustic than I imagined after looking at photos but it was comfortable. I was traveling alone; however, as a couple it is probably more romantic. The bed was very comfortable and I appreciated the extra blankets as it was chilly the evening I arrived.

The bathroom lacked any sort of ammenities such as shampoo or body wash but a small cake of soap was provided. That wasn't a big deal since I brought my own but for those who don't, you may want to prepare accordingly.

Dinner: Wow. Very nice! The appetizer I was served as absolutely delicious and I wish I knew how it was prepared. The staff during dinner was wonderful and helpful. They attended to my needs quickly. I really enjoyed dinner.

I also appreciated that the staff prepared breakfast and lunch boxes for me since I was leaving very early (6AM) for safari. They even had tea waiting on me in the lobby.

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled solo
    • 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
    • 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 Bougainvillea Safari Lodge

Address: Ngorongoro Road, Karatu, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Karatu
Amenities:
Free Parking Restaurant Room Service Swimming Pool
Hotel Style:
Ranked #6 of 25 Specialty lodging in Karatu
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $$
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Bougainvillea Safari Lodge, located a few minutes from the Ngorongoro Conservation Area gate, offers comfortable accommodation, excellent food and friendly service at a reasonable price. Manager and executive chef Reggie Bayo has many years of experience and his food is legend on the northern safari circuit. Each comfortable room has a fireplace; family cottages and triples are available. There is a comfortable lounge and bar as well as a swimming pool and gift shop. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Bougainvillea Safari Hotel Karatu
Bougainvillea Safari Lodge Tanzania/Karatu

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