Ngorongoro Crater Serena Lodge Review

Nestled high up on the walls of the mighty volcanic caldera is an architectural masterpiece. The river-stone clad walls of the Ngorongoro Crater Serena Lodge are intertwined with indigenous creeping vines, and workmanship alone would make this lodge an exceptional stay. 

Combine with this the fact that this special place is perched like a nest along the craggy edge of the prehistoric Ngorongoro Crater, and you have something truly staggering.

Mind-Blowing Architecture 

Ngorongoro Crater Serena Lodge

The lodge is a triumph of engineering and ecological fusion, constructed with the purpose of blending into its environment effortlessly. The buildings are linked together by wooden walkways made up of massive timber poles lashed together, winding between the ancient roots of the indigenous trees. 

The cherry on the top is not, however, the view of the building but the view from it. Guests can lie in bed at night and watch in awe as the Milky Way dances above the depths of the crater below, bursting at the seams with wildlife.

Rooms are strung out along the Crater Edge, each one with its own private balcony. The restaurant has a glowing, constantly lit fireplace at its heart where guests can enjoy their pick of the very best local and international food. 

A wide range of activities is available for travellers, both active and relaxing. Guests can tackle a full day safari on the floor of the vast crater below or kick it back in style and sip on sundowners as the sun sets over the volcanic amphitheatre. 

Location and Views

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Located on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, the lodge is a regular recipient of international awards and is one of the finest hotels in the Ngorongoro. It overlooks what is known as the Land That Time Forgot. 

The lodge is also conveniently situated in close proximity to an airstrip, and the nearest major city of Arusha is only 177 km away.

Activities Ngorongoro Crater Serena Lodge

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  • Game drives into the Crater allow guests to descend into an area filled with over 25 000 large mammals. Viewing highlights include the world’s densest population of lions and the highly endangered black rhino. A half day crater tour starts from US$100 and a full day safari is priced at US$180. 
  • Extensive selection of sports and activities.
  • Cultural dance and music. The crater is a conservation area inhabited by the Maasai Tribe, who have a rich cultural heritage and some unique traditions.
  • Cultural experiences include guided tours of the local Maasai villages, Swahili language lessons, traditional instrument lessons and local cooking lessons.
  • Day trips to Olduvai Gorge. Recently some of the most significant Paleolithic finds have been made here which is why the area is now known as the Cradle of Mankind.
  • Bush dinners, breakfasts and lunches. Guests can engage in the incredible experience of taking a meal in the heart of the East African wilderness.  
  • Massage services and body stretch lessons.
  • Visit the Empakaai Crater. Just 40 kilometres north of the Ngorongoro Crater this relatively unknown collapsed volcanic caldera has a deep alkaline lake. Enjoy hiking down into the crater through the thick, mountainous forest searching for birdlife and big game along the way.

Amenities

  • 24-hour room service
  • Babysitting service
  • Child-friendly dining and entertainment options
  • Each room has Wi-Fi and 24-hour room service
  • Multilingual secretarial support
  • 24-hour global connectivity

Dining

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  • The design of the main restaurant stays true to traditional Tanzanian culture, creating a fully immersive dining experience. The ever-glowing fireplace, stone-built architecture and walls adorned with flickering torchlights and cave paintings create a unique ambience.  
  • The kitchen serves a wonderful array of both local and Western cuisine. Guests can also enjoy exploring this intricately designed space with massive windows and double doors leading out onto terraces with views over the Crater.
  • Other dining options include the chance to have breakfast or lunch inside the Crater. In the summer months a bush dinner is also available where tables are set up on the Crater rim.

Facilities

  • Tented conference center.
  • Gift shop and business center.
  • Wedding and honeymoon venue.
  • Extensive viewing terraces.
  • Infinity swimming pools.
  • Rock built dining room and bar with a central fireplace.

Rooms

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There are 75 rock-built rooms available for booking with two different types of rooms offered at the lodge. 

The standard rooms, priced from US$334 per night, are elegant spaces that command sweeping views over the Crater edge. Each room comes with its own private balcony and although there are no self-catering facilities, other comforts are provided such as a coffee and tea-making station.

The Kimba suites, starting from US$843 per night, boast large and luxurious rooms. Kitted out with a King size bed and walk-in mosquito net, as well as a dressing area and stunning en-suite bathroom, finished with natural stone. The wonderfully appointed sitting room has magnificent panoramic views across the crater and the kitchen comes with a fully stocked mini-bar.

The rooms do have the tendency to be a little cold but the staff have attempted to remedy that by providing guests with hot water bottles at night.

Room Amenities 

  • Free Wi-Fi
  • Mosquito nets
  • Telephone
  • Power outlet for hair dryer 
  • Shaver sockets

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