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“Great Location but that's about it” 3 of 5 bubbles
Review of Ndutu Safari Lodge

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Ndutu Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
New Delhi, India
Level Contributor
32 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 17 helpful votes
“Great Location but that's about it”
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 26, 2014

Im not sure what exactly dint work for me at this lodge. but something dint. Ndutu was some of the best animal sightings on the trip so that made us very happy about our stay there but Im trying to write an objective review about the lodge.
The chalets aren't luxurious and don't have any kind of safari / africa like feel to them. Our was a triple room more like a dorm with basics in there. The verandah / porch didnt have any chairs also to sit out on. The Bathroom fittings were old and even the tissue paper quality was rather poor. There were damp toilet rolls in the bathrooms. The most putting off factor is the water. Im someone who loves my showers and even more so after a long safari day, The water was such that u just didnt feel like getting under the shower. The soap would just not come off and you do not want to get that water in your mouth by mistake. Now i understand their constraints and how they get water from the lake and its salty. Im not sure if that is the case with all lodges in the area. But this was certainly not nice.
The food was ok - one meal was definitely poor and others were ok. There isnt any choice or options. You get served and that is it. I didnt get sick by the food but just didnt enjoy it as much. Didn't take any box meals so cant comment on that.
At the dining hall the staff only served you. They weren't friendly or chatty like everywhere else where meal times were a time to talk and chat and socialize with everyone. The staff at the reception were friendly and helpful - they'd ask how our day was every time we returned. We reported a problem with the flush (you needed to flush it a good 3-4 times and hard before it actually flushed) and the shower drainage and they came to check it out. The problems remained but they did promptly try to attend to our request. The managers / owners didn't come and talk or mingle with us - maybe that's not the norm here but somehow it was everywhere else we stayed at in Tanzania. Again this was not something that spoilt out stay.
We were told there is no wifi though the phone did show a wifi network available. There is a nice camp fire in the evening and some people sit around it. so that was nice.
Something about a lodge stands out for which you remember it - the food or the view or the ambiance of the rooms or evenings spent chatting with the management. Nothing stood out other than the great animal sightings which one cant credit the lodge for. So that's my take - its ok but not outstanding or memorable. And for the cost its not value for money. Maybe other options in the area should be carefully considered esp with regards to the water.

Room Tip: Not sure if there is any difference. We had chalet 15 and it was fine in terms of location - close t...
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Puneet B
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Afisa N, Manager at Ndutu Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Dear Puneet
I am sorry that your experience at Ndutu Lodge was such that you felt the need to write this review.
Having read your positive comment in our guest book it would seem that your review now contradicts your positive statements.

I quote: "Thanks for a wonderful stay. Lovely food and warm hospitality. Thanks Again"

If you really had such a bad experience at Ndutu then you should have spoken to one of our management team so that your greviences could be addressed.

Some people find that Ndutu Safari Lodge is not for them. If your trip is well researched you will know in advance that we do not offer shallow unnecessary trappings of five star luxury, and would have been able to choose a Hotel more suited to your needs.

All the best
A
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416 reviews from our community

Traveler rating
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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (61)
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English first
Bampton, United Kingdom
2 reviews
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 21, 2014

I've returned to Ndutu Lodge repeatedly for over fifteen years. It was brilliant when I first visited and its still brilliant now. Ndutu is the perfect blend of necessary, but not superfluous comfort and charm. It is small and independently run (not a large lodge that's part of a soulless chain) and combines the amenities of a permanent lodge with the feel of a tented camp. The location is perfect in Acacia woodland leading down to the eponymous lake. There are no fences or barriers, so you feel you are not only in, but part of perhaps the best area in the southern Serengeti / NCA. The wildlife in the vicinity is always fabulous.

The staff are helpful and friendly and the restaurant serves traditional 'home cooking style' food with a contemporary twist and made from ingredients, fruit and veggies sourced locally (Karatu valley). There's nothing frivolous or fancy, simply tasty, real food. What more is required in the heart of the African bush?

A final flourish are the gorgeous genets (NOT cats, but carnivores belonging to the family Viverridae) that make their home in the lodge. These beautiful creatures are fed in the lodge and wander around happily in the rafters of the lodge at night. Totally endearing.

If you can't live without gold taps and chandeliers and all the other shallow unnecessary trappings of five star luxury, then this place is not for you. But if you want all the comforts anyone could realistically require, a relaxed friendly ambiance and a location to die for, then Ndutu Lodge is perfect. There is no finer base for a safari in East Africa.

Room Tip: They are all good.
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  • Stayed April 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Nick G
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Afisa N, Manager at Ndutu Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Dear Nick
Thank you for coming on here to review Ndutu Safari Lodge, and thank you for coming back time and time again. We know that we have a terrific following of Ndutu fans who appreciate Ndutu Safari Lodge for the tradtional and simple experience it offers.

These latest negative reviews are quite a surprise, not because we are perfect but because the comments given to us personally and written in our guest book are 100% complimentary. I am also amazed that guests with complaints will never come and discuss the problem face to face and give us the opportunity to make things better for them. I can only conclude that they should have done their research more carefully and chosen places approproiate to their needs.

We look forward to seeing you again next year for your 16th year of visiting Ndutu.
Karibu sana
Ainslie
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Littleton, Colorado
Level Contributor
36 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 25 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 8, 2014

I expected to like this lodge much more than I did based on the reviews I had read. Instead, I found it just average.

One mosquito net was hung when we got there and the other 2 beds didn't have nets. I asked for the nets to be hung and they were. Then I noticed holes in one of the nets and told an employee there were holes. He said, "No, there aren't." I said I would show him. Then he said they would change the net the next morning. That wouldn't really help us our first night. The manager heard about it and got the net changed right away.

The manager never introduced herself or said she worked at the lodge even when I spoke to her. I thought she was another guest at first.

The room was fine (a bit cramped for 3), the location is nice, the genet cats in the dining room are fun (they were fighting in the roof one morning during breakfast which was fun to listen to). I just didn't feel the lodge was anything special. Dinner here is not a buffet but is served to you at the table.

  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 3 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 2 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Adventurer43
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Afisa N, General Manager at Ndutu Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Hello there
Thank you for writing a review on TA for us and thank you for commenting positively in our gues book at the lodge.
I'm sorry the manager was not more specific explaining who she was, but I am glad that she was able to rectify the problem with the mosquito net immediately for you. The good thing at Ndutu is that the mosquito here are simply grass mosquitoes, are not the malaria carrying ones so a net is not really necessary. There is also spray supplied in each room and a quick spray before going to dinner in the evening ensures that you are not bugged during the night.
Some people do find that Ndutu Lodge is not the place for them, and that is fine, everyone has different tastes, however as you would have read in our guest visitors book, the majority of guests love Ndutu Lodge and cannot wait to return. I do hope that you will return one day too, so that we can hopefully make it a more positive experience for you.

All the Best
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This response is the subjective opinion of the management representative and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Nashville, Tennessee
Level Contributor
202 reviews
51 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 128 helpful votes
4 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 5, 2014

We spent 3 nights here in March 2014. My family (wife and 2 daughters- age 11 and 14) were in the tail end of a 2 week northern circuit safari. The location is very good with tons of wildlife around. The game drives are really good in the area.

The chalets are very nice. Good, reliable water and electricity. Few bugs and no malaria in the area.

The staff is very friendly and willing to help. The service is nice. The bar is nice.

The food area is great with the resident Genets hanging around at times. The quality of the food is not very good. It was average for the places we stayed, but overall the Tanzanian food was not good. This was my third african country and the most disappointing food. Ndutu did not offer any choices during lunch or dinner. It is a set, one choice menu.

This is worth the visit for the location and facilities. The food is average in quality. We would stay here again.

Room Tip: This fills up early. Make reservations well in advance.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with family
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
2 Thank Stephen H
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Afisa N, Manager at Ndutu Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Hi Stephen
We appreciate you taking the time to review our Lodge and are pleased that you enjoyed your stay. Am disappointed to hear that the food was not to your liking. We do not pretend to offer extraordinary cuisine, rather simple home cooked meals, which going by the comments in our guest book, the majority of guests are happy with. Each high season have a visiting chef from the USA who comes for a short time to help with fine tuning recipes and to lift the standard so I am sorry you didn't benefit from that.

Karibu tena
A
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Centennial, Colorado
Level Contributor
31 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 8 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed April 3, 2014

I'm not quite sure why but this was my favorite lodge of the five lodges that we stayed in while on an 11 day safari. It wasn't the fanciest and the service and food wasn't the best but it was just comfortable. Maybe it was the guests who stayed here. Everyone was very friendly. Or maybe it was because of the wild genet cats who appeared on the dining room rafters every evening. Anyway, I really liked this place.The rooms were fine with a small porch where you could see the lake. There was nice common area in the main lodge. The manager or owner was always around making sure that everything was going OK. The game drives were great. Lots of cheetahs and lions. You'll like this lodge.

  • Stayed February 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Charles L
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Afisa N, Manager at Ndutu Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Hi Charles - so glad you loved the lodge so really hope you can come and visit again one day! So long as you don't want a super luxury Lodge with unnecessary bells and whistles, Ndutu is a great place to stay so Karibu Tena!

All the best
A
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Dunfermline, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
26 reviews
21 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 15 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 26, 2014

This was our second visit to the lodge, this time we chose to spend 7 nights there, and we were in no way disappointed. The location is superb, being just at the edge of the Serengeti park but without the restriction of having to stay on the existing tracks, so one could follow (at a reasonable distance) the abundant wildlife this area has to offer.
As distinct from the Ngorongoro crater, which resembles a vast zoo, this area has all the wildlife you could want and at suitable times of the year, it is possible to see the great migration-a wonderful spectacle.
The lodge is a permenant collection of about 30 detached or semi detached rooms each with shower and WC and a short walk from the main building, and the owners/hosts are charming...thanks to Eva and her team!
Food quantity was always more than adequate, well presented and excellent.
We had excellent sightings of amongst others, lioness with cubs, cheetah with 5 cubs, buffalo, wilder beast, zebra etc.
Spend as long as you can here, you'll not be disappointed!

Room Tip: All have the same views, no preference.
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  • Stayed March 2014, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank Kingeyre
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Afisa N, Manager at Ndutu Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Hi there

We appreciate that you have taken the time to review our Lodge and are very happy to know that your time here was so enjoyable.

We really are in an extraordinary part of the world, and our staff do their best to make your stay and pleasant as possible. We have many guests who return year after year becuase it is one of their favourite places.

Do spread the word and do come back again!

All the best
A
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Elkton, Maryland
Level Contributor
267 reviews
89 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 119 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed March 25, 2014

Spoke with the owner of this lodge and thanked her for not installing Wifi! We all spent the evening sitting around a campfire enjoying each other and talking with people from faraway lands. The water is very soft here so getting soap off of you is a challenge but they seem to have made great strides in the hot water department since I was last here as it was plentiful.
We had our laundry done here also and it was reasonable. Star gazing was the biggest hit of the night next to just relaxing. The food was planty and hot and the beer cold. There is a computer you can use in the office and I would bet that they will give in to Wifi before long but I hope they don't.

Room Tip: Ask for a room in the high 20's they are the farthest from the lodge and you don't have peop...
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  • Stayed January 2014, traveled as a couple
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Value
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Location
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Rooms
    • 5 of 5 bubbles
      Cleanliness
    • 4 of 5 bubbles
      Service
Helpful?
Thank coopervanning
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Afisa N, Manager at Ndutu Safari Lodge, responded to this review, May 10, 2014
Hi there
Yes, isn't it amazing when you actually can sit and talk to one another without the impolite interruptions of wifi / cellphone users. We want people to come to Ndutu Lodge and have the opportunity to get away from the modern way of being 100% accessible 24hrs a day, and have the opportunity to listen to the sounds of the bush and spend time star gazing and practicing the lost art of conversation with other travellers.

All the best
A
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Additional Information about Ndutu Safari Lodge

Property: Ndutu Safari Lodge
Address: P.O. Box 6084, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Business Center with Internet Access Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 39 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Hotel Class:3.5 star — Ndutu Safari Lodge 3.5*
Number of rooms: 34
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Ndutu Safari Lodge, shaded by majestic acacia trees, is situated in the south-eastern part of the Serengeti. The Lodge has thirty four cottages, all built with local materials, with individual verandahs facing Lake Ndutu. Tucked away from the madding crowd, Ndutu offers peace and tranquility. Stay close to the lodge and enjoy our resident wildlife or go for a drive to explore the surrounding plains or marsh area. After sunset return to the homely warmth and hospitality of Ndutu Safari Lodge. Karibuni. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ndutu Safari Hotel Arusha
Ndutu Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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