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Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed July 24, 2013

Stayed two nights in this unusually built and ethically beautiful lodge. Located at the lip of the Ngorongoro Crater with a breath-taking view of the crater and many animals that inhabit it (viewed through a telescope, located in the hotel) The thick undergrowth below the rooms, has a warning not to venture out without an armed escort and should be taken very seriously. I found Cape Buffalo within a few feet of me, grazing just below the stone balcony of the hotel...took some amazing photos.
The rooms are ethnically decorated and have murals on the walls depicting various animals. The lounge/restaurant/bar areas are welcoming and even provide some local entertainment at night.The temperature drops drastically at night and one needs to be well clad. I was pleasantly surprised on entering my room after dinner, to find it nice and cozy with two oil heaters turned out. A further surprise greeted me when I got into bed....a warm hot water bottle! However a friend got a rude shock when he found a furry warm thing touching his feet in bed...when he jumped out of bed, with alarm, he found that it was merely a friendly hot water bottle!
Would like to recommend to the management of the all the Serena Hotels/Lodges that I stayed in, to please place an electric kettle with some tea bags/coffee, to facilitate a hot cuppa, because all safaris start early and one cannot go to the restaurant to have tea/coffee, return to dress and then go back for breakfast.
A good, clean and comfortable hotel, with ethnic frills...acceptable food and service.

  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled solo
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2  Thank ParvezKhokhar
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed July 24, 2013

The hotel is very comfortable and clean, it doesn't feel that different than a nice hotel in the U.S., except for the exceptional view. The food was buffet-style but pretty decent. The service was excellent throughout. We mostly stayed in tented camps other than this place, so while it was comfortable, it was not nearly as exciting or authentic-feeling as the tented camps. That said, it was nice to be in a real building for a couple of nights. There was also a pre-dinner acrobatic show, which was ok, but which I probably would have been ok without seeing as well. This is a great place if you just need a break from the wilderness to relax without being challenged very much.

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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Thank Y D
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 23, 2013

Stayed 2 nights here during Kenya / Tanzania safari. The hotel itself is good, but not outstanding - one of those hotels which does everything well, but without those little extra touches which would make it really special. The rooms are comfortable and the food good, but not exceptional. My wife in particular did appreciate the hot water bottle in the bed (it does get chilly at night at this height). The bar and restaurant area did get rather crowded. What is exceptional is the view over the crater which is fabulous. The sunrise over the crater on our first morning is without doubt one of, if not the most, spectacular sight I have ever seen - I would stay in the most dreadful hotel for that view. Game viewing in the crater is good, but not as good as we experienced in the Masai Mara or Serengeti National Park.

Room Tip: The rooms situated on the top floor give even better view.
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  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank docverns
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 21, 2013

This is a beautiful property and you will not regret spending a night here. The food was good and for approximately $25 USD you can pay for your guide to dine with you. Each room had a balcony with an amazing view of the crater. In the early morning, you can watch the local people herding their flock down the crater for grazing. The gift shop was better than what we saw at other properties we visited. One caution is to be aware of the bill at check-out. The hotel tried to charge us approximately $16.00 USD for one coke when it should have been $1.60 USD. The staff member at the front desk was very rude and adamant that their calculations were correct. She was not willing to discuss the issue and kept repeating the bill was for $16.00 USD. Overall, we would stay here again if we were in the area and would be very cautious to ensure the final bill is accurate.

Room Tip: Check your bill carefully before you pay to avoid unnecessary charges.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank clownlady
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 18, 2013

We just stayed at 3 Serena properties, Ngorongoro, Serengeti, and Lake Manyara. Probably a circuit lots of tourists do.

The rooms increase in size in the above order. At Ngorongoro the rooms are very basic and somewhat cramped. The bathrooms have a large washbasin/toilet area and a largish shower area. Unfortunately, the rooms and baths have not been updated since they were built and are beginning to show their age. The shower was calcified and emitted water in various streams in random directions. Some sprays were very cold and some very hot.

The location of this hotel cannot be beaten. The views from the rim are outstanding, and just waking up and seeing sunrise over the crater was one of the highlights of the trip. The negative of the layout of course is that the rooms are all arranged in a single line, so it can be quite a walk to the common areas. This is true of the other 2 Serena properties we stayed at, and with our luck, at each location the walk was very long. Good exercise after all the food but it can be tiring for older people.

Also, in comparison to the other two locations, the food, while similar, was lacking in quality. The service is also extremely slow. If you want coffee to arrive around the time you get dessert, order it at the beginning of your meal. The hotel was nowhere near full, yet a simple request for coffee after dinner took 15-20 minutes to be fulfilled.

The nature walk was informative but spent too much time on the Maasai encampment instead of describing the crater and its environment. Also, $15 for a 1 hour walk is a bit pricey.

The fireplaces are lovely and the entertainment was very good. One night they had a traditional band, the other night they had Maasai singers.

Room Tip: All rooms are great, nice to get one that is closer to the common areas. The corridors can be dark...
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  • Stayed: July 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank R J
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 16, 2013

You won't regret staying here. If only for the continual fireplaces burning that give it that special charm.

In short, terrific views, great service and good variety of food.

Also, the nightly shows near the bar are terrific (so is the educational talks at night).

I would recommend the lodge.

Tim

  • Stayed: June 2013, traveled with family
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Thank Tim30549
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed July 15, 2013

I have had the best time of my life. I would recommend it to everyone. But you have to keep an open mind when you are on a safari. Do not expect to be like home.

This area is the one place we saw all the animals in once night

We loved the free wifi access.

Room Tip: Stay near the front desk.
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  • Stayed: May 2013, traveled with family
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Thank AshithPatel
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 #6 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range: $394 - $824 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
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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