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“Well in contention for my all time favourite place in Africa.”
5 of 5 bubbles Review of Ndutu Safari Lodge

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Ndutu Safari Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Isle of Man, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
342 reviews
237 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 415 helpful votes
“Well in contention for my all time favourite place in Africa.”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 14, 2010

We (loving understanding Spouse and I) first visited Ndutu was back in 1993 and whilst not returning regularly we do love the place. I have experienced it in dusty dry September and damp wet February. It never Palls. So we booked a whole 8, yes eight, nights here this trip for a special occasion. Being Peak season this was booked up, pencilled in at least, a full eighteen months ahead. This did not Faze the booking office at all and we were 'in!'
We were not disappointed. How could we be?
For those who have not visited this place it is the 'usual' Dining and Bar area with outside seating around a fire if you wish to admire the stars with a cold drink or two whilst also watching the green or red reflected eyes of the many animals that wander by. Do NOT pass the warning signs without settling your Bar bill first. The Lodge is set back from Ndutu Lake but is on the main route for many animals from Lion and Elephant down to the resident Dik Diks.

The dining area beams are home to a family of Genets who appear each evening to entertain diners.
The Tents of our first visits are now replaced by small Bungalows, some detached, some Semi Detached. The ones we have used are very well appointed and everything works well as we would expect.
Electricity is by Generator and facilities exist near the Bar for those indispensible Batteries to be charged up. The Bar is of course well stocked and whilst prices are on the expensive side this is no doubt due in part to the Transport distance. Even water has to be trucked in.
The Lodge is in the Ngorongoro Conservation area NOT the Serengeti National Park so you need to watch for the border posts to avoid inadvertant 'trespass'. Of course the two million plus Wildebeeste who use this area for calving in February are unaware of this. They just come for the lush new mineral rich grass to make good milk for the calves they need to nurse. So much easy meat on the hoof of course means a seasonal bonanza for the carnivores. The plains are the haunt of many Animals (2.5m wildebeeste can't be wrong) from Lion, Cheetah and, Leopard to the rarely seen lesser cats as well as Hyena and Jackals.
I have to mention the Birds. Ndutu is home to three or four of the Tanzanian Endemics, all of which come to the Birdbath outside the dining Area.
All in all this is close to being my favourite place in Africa despite strong competition. It is just so nice.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
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Helpful?
7 Thank mfuwe
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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423 reviews from our community

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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
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English first
Kennett Square, Pennsylvania
Level Contributor
6 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 12 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed February 4, 2010

Like Stumbling Upon an Oasis in the Desert...

We pulled into the parking area during a passing thunderstorm and were welcomed with smiles and umbrellas and shown to our room with no delays. The location is outstanding with beautiful views in every direction. Water, trees, vegetation, flowers and lovely plantings mix with thatched roof, stone, wood beams and warm lighting. A campfire burns in the evening and adorable birds perch on backs of chairs for the days' discussions and the occasional piece of popcorn perhaps? Just a wonderful feel here. Lends itself to comfortable interactions or none at all, whichever you prefer.

Nice nice folks and amazing fare for dinner. A fun bar and seating areas enough for all. Charging for phones etc. near bar. Excellent gift shop and the reason you came here in the first place; Wildlife! We saw an elephant wander past the dining area, buffalo, hares, dik diks, and birds birds birds in high def colors!

I would put this first on my list for future travels.

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
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Helpful?
5 Thank Scintillate
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Kalix, Sweden
Level Contributor
33 reviews
31 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 221 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed January 25, 2010

We spent two nights at Ndutu Lodge in the beginning of January 2010 and had a very good time.

We loved our little, beautiful and cosy cottage and the view of the beautiful surroundings: the acacia savannah and woodland with the lake as a backdrop. Lots of birdlife in the gardens, small animals like grass mice, a few wildebeests and in the evening, a curious genet cat came to visit the bar.

Excellent food & friendly staff. Interesting game drives with lots of lions, elephants, hyenas and so on. Also got stuck in the black cotton soil mud & had to help others, so lots of digging involved due to heavy rains at night, but saw the beginning of the wildebeest migration with thousands of wildebeest, zebras (even little ones) and thomson gazelles on the plains between Lake Ndutu and the Ngorongoro crater, which was amazing!

We had a nice stay & would definitly recommend this lodge!
Annika&Peter

  • Stayed January 2010, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank Annika32
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
State College, Pa
Level Contributor
122 reviews
60 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 121 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 22, 2009

The Ndutu Safari Lodge is a cozy small lodge in the more arid region south of the formal Serengeti National Park. We were there in mid-November before sufficient rainfall generated quantities of green grass and other vegetation. Therefore, the area looked rather bleak in regards to promises of wildlife. However, pockets of birds and other fauna including lions, cheetah, hyena, giraffe and antelope were soon discovered. And, columns of migrating wildebeest, zebra and others were seen on various drives. Manager Marleen (Molly) Koppen is very personable and made us feel right at home. The little stone cottages on each side of a central dining/lounge pavilion are rather cozy and even romantic in themselves. Each cottage is tastefully decorated, is clean, reflects an environmental tone in regards to water usage, and has a porch facing the lake.
The staff was quite friendly and helpful. Food was excellent. One lunch that came to mind included cream of celery soup, brown bread, egg rice, chicken cooked in coconut sauce, peas, carrots, tossed salad and a crepe filled with fruit. Nicholas, our guide, was able to dine with us (we had only to handle the cost of his beverage). I recall tea, coffee and biscuits available during the day. One highlight of each evening meal was the appearance of 3 or 4 genet cats on the rafters of the lounge.
Ndutu Safari Lodge has Internet service, laundry service, a nice gift shop, a camp fire area for sharing stories with fellow travelers during the pre and post-dinner hours, a map of the area and a colorful poster showing some of the more common birds of the area. Also, we really appreciated and enjoyed the bird baths near the lounge/dining area. Various starlings, weavers, cordon bleu, doves and colorful Fischer’s lovebirds were there in numbers. And, dik-dik, impala and even two hyenas frequented the area near the dining area one morning. Elephant, Cape buffalo and other herbivores must frequent the grounds at other times of the year based on dried droppings here and there.
About the only negative I recall was the presence of mosquitoes the one afternoon as we sat on the cottage porch. I was surprised given the dryness of the area but there they were! Nicholas said they were not the malaria carrying type but they were a nuisance. An application of repellant might have made a big difference. Still not a major issue for us.
We definitely would return to Ndutu Safari Lodge particularly at another time of year for a different perspective when vegetation is more abundant.

  • Stayed November 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
3 Thank wegoustay
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
London
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 7 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed December 21, 2009

This was our first lodge we stayed at during our 4 days safari in Ngorongoro and Serengeti. I was highly imprerssed with the eco-friendly Ndutu Safari lodge. The rooms are tidy and cosy perfect for after a long tiring game drive. The highlight of this lodge was the incredibly delicious food...a wonderful gastronomic experience. This lodge is unlike others I have visited before on Safari. It has a very personal touch and the management are very hospitable. The Manager made us feel very welcome and spoke to us about her experiences at Ndutu lodge. It was interesting to hear of her encounters with their local favourite male bull elephant aptly named Nditi. After a hearty meal we settled for a hot coffee/tea under the star-lit sky around a warm fire place. I cannot fault Ndutu one bit...It is only a pity we could stay just 1 night. Not to miss if you are on safari.

  • Stayed December 2009, traveled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
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Helpful?
3 Thank Jadu99
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Leeds
Level Contributor
74 reviews
10 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 56 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed September 5, 2009

My fiance and I did a 1 week safari in Tanzania, we stayed in camp sites and cheap hotels and when we got here it was absolute paradise!
We booked trhough the safari company, asking to change a campsite in the middle of Serengeti for something better positioned for when we were going to visit that area. So for us it was really cheap, because we didn't pay to go inside the Nationa Park and we could spend more in the accomodation just outside, with all wildlife around us anyway!
We went there at the end of January when the wildbeast migration was suppose to be in the Ndutu area (one of the very few accomodations around the area beween the Ngorongoro conservation area and the Serengeti National Park). The rains were late and the wildbeast migration was just arriving, but It turned out pretty well.

Location:
- The area is amazing, you don't need to go inside the park in this period of the year to see plenty of wildlife. A good thing of the area is that you don't have to stay on a track and your jeep can drive freely around and go really close to the animals!! Here we stayed 3 days and we had the best gamedrives ever! We saw all sorts of animals, lots of lions and cheetas.
- Stunning views all around and from the lodge. We had breakfast watching amazing colourful birds and also elephants passing by!

The Lodge:
- The atmosphere is amazing, relaxing and charming.
- I liked the decorations and the style of the lodge. A chilling area with sofas during the day and seats around a fire for the night, drinking beer and talking about what we have seen during our gamedrives.
- Same feeling in the room, nicely decorated. Altough the water is not the water that we are used to, it's kind of slippery, probably full of minerals, not sure. But it's clean and that is the water that you find in most of the places in Tanzania. They have done amazingly just to have water in the midle of nowhere!!
After having been camping for a few days I though I found an oasi, I finally washed my hair, but the only incovenience was that you don't have plugs in the room. As they don't have a lot of electricity, there are specific places where you can charge batteries or use the hairdrier :-)
- Everything looked clean and the service was good. Food was really nice and personel always kind and smiling.

We definaitely recommend this place and we would like to go back there soon, maybe staying a bit longer!

  • Stayed January 2009, traveled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank VenturiniFrancesca
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Brussels
Level Contributor
132 reviews
79 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 72 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed August 8, 2009

Very, very nice place. Charming management. Rooms (hard construction) very clean, nice restaurant with genets waiting for a piece of food (and to be takne on picture). The waiters will not hesitate to call all the eating guests to see an event outside: we had the chance to observe lions hunting a young giraffe. Nice atmosphere around a campfire outside. The bed we had was not really comfortable (rather thin mattress on simple planks) with a pretty strong back pain as result.... But ready to come back in another season...

  • Stayed July 2009, traveled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank VaclavBrussels
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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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 37 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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