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Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed August 28, 2013

After staying in some spectacular unique lodges, this place had a rather sterile, corporate feel to it. However, the view of the crater is stunning, and the hot water bottles in the bed at night are a nice touch. If you need the touches of civilization such as a hair dryer this is the place.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with friends
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Thank Gustie80
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Reviewed August 28, 2013

We stayed here just one night and arrived after dark and left as the sun was rising so in truth we had no time to appreciate the views. This was a main regret of ours, it seemed spectacular, each room lines the rim of the crater to get a great view and there is a little balconey to sit and enjoy, the lodge is nice, seems newish, the bar area comfortable the dinner good, nice basic buffet much like in all the Serena lodges, ditto breakfast. I cant add to what others have said if you stay here you wont be disappointed I think.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank 855lisaw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

We spent two days at the Ngorongoro serena safari lodge, and both were excellent. There were great views from the rooms which meant we could see wildebeest and Elephants through binoculars. The rooms have good heating and comfortable beds. However there aren't many activities on site. Having said that if you take a full day safari then that shouldn't bother you.

  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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Thank 990Sam990
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 27, 2013

This is a very large hotel that can feel eeirily empty even when full, especially outside of the early morning and evening meal rush. Built ostensibly out of volcanic rock, the structure is everywhere encased in rocks of the shape and hues of cannonballs which gives a stolid and forbidding look to the construction. The hotel is more like a long motel with very long outside corridors stretching out either end of the semi-enclosed dining and reception area. Rooms on three floors run the length, facing out at the crater, and are separated from each other by tiering and heavy dividing walls between balconies which feel enclosed and smaller than they are due to all the stone. The bottom floor rooms are to be avoided as the floor level is somewhat recessed in the crater bank and many have their view party or mostly blocked by the ground rising in front. Second or third floor rooms are generally equal but a few stray trees along the lip will block the views of certain unlucky 2nd floor rooms. The view however is nice but unless you have very high power binoculars you will not be gazing at game as the crater floor is a long way down and the vista sweeping if weather dependent. The rooms are otherwise pleasant with adobe walls and native paintings although one might regret the waste of floor space with a closet area hall and large unusable part of the bathroom taking up about 1/3rd of the footprint. With all the rooms facing front, the corridors connecting them to the hotel run along the back at each level and, though covered, are open to the weather and thus are more like walkways. Fog is a common feature on the crater lip and the walk between the rooms and main building along the seemingly always deserted walkways can be spooky. The main building area is also only semi enclosed (although that does include most of the sitting area and the upstairs dining room). Bar and meal buffets can be heaving, but the food is quite good with a large selection and one does have the option of working outside of the hours of the "mass migration" of tourists in and out of the crater each day. Overal the value is reasonable and the facilities pleasant "for a change" on a long trip, it is however a hotel and would be a disappointment for a whole safari bearing no resemblance to the indulgent exclusivity and experience of the "tented" camps. Nor would one want to spend too much of ones safari on the crater lip in any case: it is a long rough drive in and out and the crater floor, though offering many things, is prone to clustering land-cruisers at any sighting and can seem quite caravan like.

Room Tip: Avoid the lower floor and ask for an unobstructed view if possible
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  • Stayed: August 2013, traveled with family
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1  Thank thepshap
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed August 25, 2013 via mobile

Amazing view from our room over the crater. Very welcoming staff, good food and loved the hot water bottle in our bed at night!!!
A nice local touch was the entertainment in the bar before dinner.
Only thing I would mention is that the shop was pricey!!!

  • Stayed: August 2013
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Thank Mootymeister
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank Victor K
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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
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1  Thank JamesV1941
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
Phone Number:
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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