The Serengeti National Reserve, Tanzania
Set high on the saddle of a tree-clad ridge, commanding panoramic views across the Serengeti, this lodge is the ultimate fusion of traditional African architecture and world-class style. Winner of numerous awards from the world travel press, it is perhaps the finest venue the Serengeti has to offer.
Centrally located adjacent to the famous Western Corridor and Grumeti River, the lodge has been designed to blend completely into the living landscape. A series of traditional domed ‘rondavels' are widely spaced throughout the grounds, which are cooled by groves of acacia trees and watered by sparkling streams. On the very edge of the ridge is a ‘vanishing horizon' pool, which looks out over the ‘endless plains' after which the Serengeti is named.
Situated close to the world-famous 2-million-year-old paleolithic site of Ol Duvai, ‘birthplace of mankind', the lodge has been styled to offer a showcase of cultural performance, heritage and traditional art, which is best illustrated by the lavish Makonde carvings which decorate both the rooms and the stunning domed dining room.
As for wildlife, the Serengeti National Park offers not only all the members of ‘The Big Five' (elephant, rhino, lion, leopard and buffalo), but also the annual ‘migration' of over one million wildebeest and their attendant cast of predators.
• Traditionally-carved, domed dining room
• Individual ‘rondavel' rooms with private balconies
• Vanishing horizon pool overlooking the plains
• Scenic safari bar with timbered terrace
• Private bush camp overlooking the migration
• Central barbeque area and water gardens
• Game drives daily
• Wedding planning and honeymoon venue
• Gift shop, business centre, WiFi
• Conference centre
• Extensive selection of sports and activities
• Cultural dance and music
• TV room with satellite TV.
The Lodge is in the Serengeti National Park, 335 kms from Arusha.
By air: the airstrip is adjacent to the lodge and a ‘meet and greet' and transfer service is offered.
The Serengeti National Park
The vast and sensational Serengeti, covering 14,763 sq km of endlessly rolling savannah plains, is Tanzania's first-established, largest and most famous park wherein tens of thousands of hoofed animals roam in a constant and unremitting search for the fresh grasslands upon which their survival depends.
The million-plus wildebeest are the predominant herbivore and also the main prey of a huge cast of large carnivores, principally lion and hyena. Whilst the annual migration is the Serengeti's most famous attraction, the Park is also renowned for its lion, many of which have been fitted with radio-transmitter collars so that their movements may be tracked, and additionally for its wealth of cheetah, zebra, giraffe, Thomson's and Grant's gazelle, eland, impala, klipspringer, hippo and warthog.
Rooms and suites
Each charmingly presented room is accommodated in a two-storey (one up, one down) stone-built, traditionally-thatched ‘Rondavel'. Looking out over the plains, each has its own private balcony, private entrance, spacious bedroom, natural stone bathroom and intricately carved furniture.
Room facilities include:
• Telephone and WiFi
• Laundry, valet and shoeshine services
• Mineral water and toiletries
• Bathrobe and slippers
• Snacks and drinks room service
• Safe and hairdryers (from reception)
• 24-hour medical service
• Children's meals, beds, babysitting
The Serengeti Suite
Our suite offers a spacious bedroom luxuriously appointed with a king-sized double bed with walk-in mosquito net, sumptuous furnishings, dressing area and marble ensuite bathroom. The elegantly appointed sitting room , meanwhile, enjoys panoramic views and is tastefully and relaxingly furnished while offering: a fully stocked mini-bar, digital multi-channel TV and direct dial telephone. 24-hour room service is available and fruit and wine will be laid out to welcome our guests. The suite is set slightly apart from the rest of the rooms and enjoys its own private access.
Dining at Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
Linked by shaded walkways and clustered around the roaring furnace of the central circular barbecue arena (operational breakfast, lunch and dinner), the high-domed halls of the two-tier dining room are supported by massive papyrus-topped pillars and embellished with sumptuous traditional ‘Makonde' carvings. Outside is a circular terrace, which looks out over the grounds towards the swimming pool.
The balloon safari and bush breakfast
Up up and away over the Serengeti
One of the most magically memorable of the Serengeti experiences, a balloon safari allows you to drift in silence above the splendour of the plains, to dip down to visit the hippo pools of the Grumeti River, and to enjoy a bird's eye view of the wildlife theatre as it is enacted below you.
Awakened by an early-morning cup of tea (around 5.30 am) you will be driven to the balloon take-off point, where you will meet your fully-qualified balloon pilot and watch as the team inflates the vast rainbow-coloured balloon. As dawn breaks, the balloon slowly rights itself, the guests are helped into the wicker basket (a typical balloon carries around 8 passengers and is equipped with seats and safety belts), the sandbags are cast off, and the balloon rises majestically into the cool of the morning air.
Driven by the wind, and guided by jets of hot air from the gas-burners (which allow it to rise or fall according to the pilot's direction), the balloon will fly for a period of around 45 minutes (trailed by a team of ground vehicles). Eventually, it descends to a gentle controlled-landing on the plains. To celebrate, the ground crew offer the guests a glass of chilled champagne, while the pilot prepares their personal ‘flight certificates'. Later, everyone sits down to a full English breakfast, which is traditionally cooked on the burners of the balloon. After breakfast, guests can enjoy a leisurely game drive back to the lodge.
The Bush Breakfast
The real ‘Out of Africa
One of the classic safari highlights, the bush breakfast is an experience not to be missed. Typically, guests are awakened by a very early morning cup of tea; they then set off on a game drive, which is timed to offer the very best chance of spotting ‘The Big Five'.
Setting off ahead of the guests, our hospitality team will arrive at the chosen breakfast spot in time to set up table, chairs, campfire and ‘bush kitchen'. Upon arrival, the guests are typically met with a glass of chilled sparkling wine and fresh-pressed orange juice. They can then sit down to enjoy a uniquely scenic full English breakfast. Meanwhile, our chef will cook their choice of sausage, bacon, eggs, tomatoes and toast. After breakfast, there's another game drive back to the lodge.
The Bush Dinner
Dine in the wild and taste safari-life at its best
Nothing is quite so essentially ‘Safari' as the traditional ‘bush dinner', especially when it is enlivened by the presence by a group of scarlet-clad Maasai morans (warriors).
Typically, the Serengeti Bush Dinner takes place at a scenic location on the plains, or at our own dedicated bush dinner site, which stands high on a hill overlooking the migration corridor. Timed to coincide with the setting of the sun, which on the Equator is around 6 pm, the bush dinner will commence, either with a game drive, or a short stroll to our hilltop site.
Arriving at the chosen location, with fabulous views across the plains, they will find that table and chairs have already been set up, and that a campfire, lanterns, and bush kitchen await them.
Beginning with sundowners around the campfire, we are proud to entertain our guests with Maasai dance and song while their 5-course dinner is prepared on the blazing charcoal BBQ. The choice of meat, fish and poultry will be supplemented by vegetarian choices, salads, fruit and desserts from the main lodge, and a full safari bar will be provided.
An essential part of traditional safari life, the concept of having drinks whilst watching the sun go down dates back to the time of the great safaris of the 1920's, all of which featured the serving of elegant ‘bush' cocktails against the unforgettable backdrop of the African sunset.
Timed to commence as the sun starts its descent, which on the Equator is usually around 6 pm, the Serengeti sundowner begins with a gentle drive to a scenic spot where chairs, lamps, campfire and bush bar with cocktail snacks will already have been set up. Musical entertainment can also be provided.
Conferences, meetings and events
Few venues can deliver the impact of the Serengeti Conference Centre, which offers a series of interlinked conference areas, private bars, scenic terraces and exclusive dining options. Satellite events can also be staged around the fabulous vanishing horizon pool or in the Lodge's exclusive hilltop bush camp - overlooking the annual migration of the wildebeest.
The facilities include:
• A tented space with external terrace and lawns where delegate reception procedures can be hosted
• Modern, modular events furniture, which can be tailored to your specifications
• PA system, LCD overhead projector, podium, flip charts and marker pens
• Delegate pads, pens/pencils, individual mineral water supply
• Business support (secretarial services, photo-copying, WiFi and a full range of global communications)
• ‘Meet and greet' services
Weddings and honeymoons in the Serengeti
Like your wedding and honeymoon, the memories of your Serengeti experience will remain with you forever. As a wedding venue, the Serengeti is unique. Set against the backdrop of the ‘endless plains' after which the Serengeti is named, it provides the ideal opportunity for a classic Out of Africa wedding. The wedding reception, meanwhile can take the form of a stylish BBQ around our stunning vanishing horizon pool, an elegant event in our elegant domed dining room, or a romantic safari dinner for two out on the plains.
We have extensive experience in planning and staging a wide variety of weddings and receptions, we can also take care of all the necessary formalities; from provision of registrar and certificates to working with you to determine the type of cake, reception and entertainment you would like.
We also offer some unique family and friends accommodation packages, ‘his and hers' pre-wedding preparation options, and a choice of honeymoon options.
• A traditional Maasai wedding with local chief, dancers and choir
• Bush, garden or poolside wedding ceremony
• Individually tailored ‘bush brunch' or ‘savannah barbecue'
• Individually themed champagne reception - at the lodge or in the bush
• Tailor-made wedding cake
• BBQ reception around the pool
• Private candle-lit honeymoon dinner for two
• Luxurious honeymoon suite supplied with wine and tropical fruit
• Cultural dance performance for you and your guests
• Photography and videoing of your special day
• Special accommodation packages for the entire wedding party.
Family time at the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge
We can arrange for adjoining rooms for the accommodation of families. We can also offer triple rooms or additional beds. Cots and baby-sitting services can be provided (prior notice appreciated).
All our meals are generous buffet-styled presentations, with something to suit absolutely everyone. High-chairs can be provided, as can baby-friendly food. We are also delighted to offer slightly earlier children's meals (as early as 12 noon and 6.30 pm) - tailored to suit your children.
The lodge offers its own swimming pool (supervised by a qualified life-guard but not suited to small children other than under parental supervision).
We also offer a wide selection of board-games and books on Africa and the wilderness. Our professional nature guides also offer nightly talks and video presentations on wildlife.
What to do and see
The choice of things to do and see at the Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge includes:
• Spectacular game drives around the stunning Serengeti ecosystem
• Gentle nature trails around the Lodge in the company of our resident naturalist
• Balloon safaris over the plains followed by a champagne breakfast at the bush-landing site
• A full safari breakfast, cooked in the bush
• A ‘Bush Barbecue' lunch, evocatively staged on a bluff overlooking the Mbingwe Valley, venue for the annual wildebeest migration
• Bush dinners on the plains
• Atmospheric ‘Sundowners'
• Traditional displays of dance, music and cultural performance.
• Nightly wildlife and cultural talks, videos and film shows.
• One-night stopovers at neighbouring Mbuzi Mawe tented camp
• Maisha health, beauty and wellness facilities
• Swimming or sunbathing at our ‘vanishing horizon' swimming pool.