Unless you plan a one-day safari from Arusha, Tanzania, chances are that you are staying overnight in the Serengeti National Park.
With options from camping to “glamping”, 5-star retreats and modest resorts, there are many choices as to where you could stay.
We are middle-of-the-road people, not backpackers nor luxury travelers, simply Average Joes trying to enjoy what we can in this life.
Many tour operators in Tanzania will give you the choice of where you would like to stay in the park, with many options along the middle ground like the ones below.
With Serena Hotels leading the way in comfort and affordability, the most popular pick in the park was Serena Serengeti.
This guide is designed to help you tell your Tour Operator at which Lodges you wish to stay for the duration of your trip. PIN IT for future reference!
Lobo Lodge – NORTH END
The best part of Lobo Lodge is that it actually feels like a lodge. Built in the ’70s, the lodge offers a post and beam look, with wooden vaulted ceilings and a tree growing in the middle of the dining room.
The lodge is in good condition even if it has not been updated since its construction. The warm wood feels like a toasty cabin and has some rustic touches that contribute to the experience.
Hot water and power are available between 5:30 and 9:30 am as well as 6 pm to midnight. There is no air conditioning, but it is still cool at night.
They offer a buffet breakfast and an a la carte dinner where you order from a set menu. Like the other lodges, they pack a boxed lunch for you for the road.
Lobo Lodge is very remote and is located pretty far north in the Serengeti. We heard that it was common for people to fly in here. There were few guests here at our time of stay, which allowed a more intimate, family feel. Everyone was eager to serve you and ensure that you were having a stellar experience.
Both drinks and water were reasonably priced at this location compared to other places, although you will have to pay for bottled water as is standard in the lodges. Wireless internet is available in the dining room, but I would not rely too heavily on having a strong connection here.
There is an excellent view from the room, and from the deck of the lobby, there is a nice hike to the top of the hill. This was our favourite part of Lobo Lodge!
LENGTH OF STAY: one night
Track down the Wildebeest Migration (it took us almost to Kenya!) and the zebras that go with them. The northernmost location of this lodge allows you to see the Mara River Crossing.
Serena Serengeti – CENTRAL
Serena Serengeti was a resounding favourite among our fellow travelers. This lodge is more like a resort in the middle of the savannah, with cute little huts on the side of the mountains that serve as your room and a blue pool that would be refreshing on a hot day.
Serena Hotels is a popular chain that comprises of 36 luxury resorts and safari lodges across Eastern Africa and South Asia. In Tanzania, they are known for good food and hot water throughout the day.
They offer a buffet breakfast and dinner, and an a la carte lunch. The lunch boxes put together by Serena were always delicious, and we looked forward to seeing what goodies we had on the road.
The Internet is widely available throughout the resort, including in your rooms, by the pool, and in the dining hall.
LENGTH OF STAY: minimum 2 nights
As Serena Serengeti is located in the heart of the park, it is really a great spot to spend 2 nights of your safari.
This way, you will have at least two days to scope out Cat Country, watch the prey head down to the river, and track down the Wildebeest Migration.
Serena Ngorongoro – NGORONGORO PARK
If you are looking to spend a couple of nights in the crater, I would recommend this lodge.
Serena Ngorongoro is very busy and very popular, and with good reason. It was the most luxurious of all of the lodges, and every room had stunning views.
Unlike the hut style of its sister hotel Serena Serengeti, Ngorongoro offered more of a lodge experience with vaulted ceilings and beams.
The food was good, including delicious boxed lunches, which is common at Serena hotels, and Ngorongoro offered a buffet breakfast with menu options for eggs if you wished, as well as an a la carte dinner with a salad and dessert bar.
Keep in mind that it will be cooler than the other parts of the Serengeti. It was 17 degrees Celsius (62.6 degrees Fahrenheit) when we were there in July.
LENGTH OF STAY: at least 1 night.
While you could easily cover Ngorongoro Crater in one day, I would recommend a two-day Ngorongoro pass. This will give you another opportunity to see the elusive rhino that only lives in the Crater.
Ask your Tour Operator if you could do a game drive in Ngorongoro one afternoon, stay the night at Serena Ngorongoro, and then head back into the Crater the next morning.