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, while 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. The interior, radiating out from the primeval log fire glowing at the heart of the Lodge, blends the concentrated hush of a game-viewing hide with the ochre, rust, and charcoal images of a prehistoric cavern. Lit by flaming wall-lanterns, clad in gigantic volcanic boulders and decorated by the iron spears, bright-beaded robes and intricately carved artifacts of the Maasai creating a very unique lodge. All of the 74 guest rooms and suites have been elegantly decorated with brass lamps and leather headboards & Afro- Arabian artifacts. Dining combines international & Pan-African fare, often served in the bush where barbeque cuisine is a delight. Take part in game drives and hikes around the rich Ngorongoro Crater, full of life and discoveries.
Regularly voted one of the best hotels in the world, the Serena Safari Lodge Ngorongoro clings to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the largest and most perfect volcanic crater on Earth. Long and low, the lodge is built from local river stone and camouflaged with indigenous vines. Designed to blend completely into the landscape, it is entirely invisible from the floor of the Crater 600 metres below. Known as ‘the Eighth Wonder of the World' the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa's best-known wildlife arenas. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers a unique biosphere, which has remained virtually unchanged since the dawn of time. Deep within the Crater, enclosed by towering walls, some 25,000 large mammals wander the plains, lakes and forests of ‘the land that time forgot', dominated by enormous bull elephants, rhinos and lions. Hugging the contours of the jagged Crater rim, the lodge takes its inspiration from the so-called ‘Cradle of Mankind', the prehistoric site of Olduvai Gorge, which lies close by. Linked by arched stone passages and timbered decks, its walls are decorated with stylized prehistoric cave paintings and lit by flaring torches. At the stone heart of the lodge burns a glowing fire, which is kept constantly alight. Decorated with cave paintings, the rooms are strung around the Crater rim. Each has its own rock- enclosed balcony, and all enjoy completely uninterrupted views of the volcanic amphitheatre far below.
Strung around the Crater rim, each with its own rock-enclosed balcony, the rooms feature brass lamps, embossed leather headboards, wildwood mirrors, Maasai carvings and stylised prehistoric cave paintings. Each room enjoys uninterrupted views over the Crater's unmatched splendour. Room amenities and facilities include direct dial telephone and WiFi, laundry, valet and shoeshine services, mineral water and toiletries, bathrobe and slippers, 24-hour room service, safe and hairdryers (from reception), and 24-hour medical service.
The Kimba Suite enjoys a perfect view of the crater. The spacious bedroom is luxuriously appointed with a king-sized double bed with walk-in mosquito net, sumptuous furnishings, dressing area and natural stone ensuite bathroom. The elegantly appointed sitting room: enjoys panoramic views and is tastefully and relaxingly furnished while offering: a fully stocked mini-bar, digital multi-channel TV and direct dial telephone. The room also features a generous stone-built balcony overlooking the Crater. 24-hour room service is available and fruit and wine will be laid out to welcome each guest.
The split-level rock-built dining and bar area features a wall of windows, which look down on to the constantly changing vistas of the crater below while double doors lead out on to a broad viewing terrace. Clustered around a glowing central fireplace, the space is decorated with prehistoric cave paintings and lit by stylized torches. Breakfast and lunch are presented in buffet-style and feature a wide range of international choices. In typical safari style, offering a ‘full English Breakfast’ as well as European options while the lunch menus will typically include meat, poultry, fish and vegetarian options. The table d’hôte dinner menus feature a salad buffet, soup, entrée, pudding, cheese and biscuits and tea or coffee. Vegetarian options are always available. The majority of the meat and dairy products, as well as the fruits and vegetables are sourced from the communities that surround the conservation area. The wine list offers a broad selection of old- and new-world wines, and local and imported beers and spirits.
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 Warriors. Typically, the Ngorongoro Bush Dinner takes place at a scenic location on the rim of the Crater, with stunning views over the plains below. Timed to coincide with the setting of the sun, which on the Equator is around 6 pm, the bush dinner will commence with a short drive to a panoramic spot on the Crater rim. Here, tables, chairs and lanterns will already have been set up, and a campfire will have been lit. Beginning with sundowners around the campfire, the staff are proud to entertain 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.
Morning wildlife walks around the lodge with a resident naturalist include a full safari breakfast, cooked in the cool of an acacia grove on the Crater’s floor, an open-air ‘Crater Barbecue Lunch’ by a hippo-filled pool on the Crater’s floor, and an action-packed selection of adventure hikes around the Ngorongoro Crater and the volcanoes of the nearby Crater Highlands. Enjoy authentic displays of Maasai dance, song, performance and music, or a day trip to Olduvai Gorge, the ‘cradle of mankind’, and site of one of the most important and controversial. Touring the palaeolithic finds in recent history include a visit to neighbouring ‘Empakaai ‘, a 300m deep crater dominated by a flamingo-frosted soda lake, and visits to a selection of authentic Maasai villages, all of which belong to the national Cultural Tourism Programme and allow unique visits to Maasai homesteads, traditional cattle markets and women’s handicraft groups.
(Kampala, Lake Mburo National Park, Bwindi)
(Nairobi, Masai Mara)
(Serengeti, Ngorongoro, Zanzibar)
They say the human race originated in East Africa, which explains why a land so unlike anything you’ve ever experienced feels so much like home.
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