Lodge preference in Tanzania

Aug 14th, 1999, 04:12 PM
Leigh Ann
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Lodge preference in Tanzania

I am traveling to Tanzania in Jan. 2000 and doing a 1 week safari, Kili climb, and several days in Zanzibar. At present, we plan to stay at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge and Serengeti Serena Lodge. Are these considered the best, or can you suggest overwise? Still looking for 2 pax to join us!
Aug 15th, 1999, 09:29 AM
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The Serengeti Serena is a work of art. You will understand when you see all the hand carved wood - closet doors, towel racks and posts in the restaurant.
It is so beautiful. The Ngorongoro Sopa is also first class - very large, lovely rooms. When you experience the roads there you will be amazed at how the resorts were built and also how they are supplied with food. Don't know about the Ngorongoro Serena but it is I think,as good or better than the Sopa. Have a wonderful time!
Aug 15th, 1999, 11:37 PM
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I don't know for Tanzania, but in Kenya the Serena hotels are better than the Sopa hotels. I think you made a very good choice.
Aug 16th, 1999, 10:36 AM
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We stayed at the Serengeti Serena lodge in March. It was fine. Modern amenities. I believe the Sopa lodge is older, but seemed to have more character - built into the rocks, very different. Didn't see the rooms though. We also stayed at the Ngorogoro Crater lodge. By far the highlight of the trip. Service was excellent, food was great. Rooms, view and the main lodge were amazing. Would go back in a heartbeat!
Aug 16th, 1999, 01:27 PM
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I thought Serengeti Serena Lodge was nice, although I seem to remember the water - or at the least the hot water - running out. This was nothing usual for Tanzania for when I was there some time ago nothing was really first class and plumbing was often a problem. I also liked the Lobo Lodge. Since we were camping most of the time, these places seemed like heaven. Gibb's coffee farm was also worth a visit.

Aug 17th, 1999, 06:34 AM
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My husband and I stayed at the Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Lake Manyara Serena lodges when we were in Tanzania this past June. Each lodge have different architectural styles and the room details are very interesting. Service is pretty good. However, I would recommend that you keep all valuables on your person at all times or check them in with the front desk for safekeeping.
Aug 18th, 1999, 03:58 PM
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We stayed at Ngorongoro Serena Lodge last January. The rooms have a nice view into the crater. They are large with a nice balcony. Each contains two beds, two chairs, and a small desk. The bath is large with sink, toilet and shower. The floors are all tile. So as far as the rooms go, it isn't bad. However, the doors have virtually no locks. We were warned by our guide to keep any and all valuables with us at all times. He said the place has a real reputation for missing valuables. We did return to our room unexpectedly one afternoon to find two young uniformed men inside. They had no apparant reason for being in the room and left when we returned. It seemed a little fishy to me. We sent laundry out and only about half of it returned. When we complained, there was a lot of discussion that we hadn't really turned in that much laundry. However when I produced my list with descriptions of the items,they were found. The food was not the best we ate in Africa. Most looked great, but just didn't meet the flavor test of other camps we used. I will say that the vegetarian choice for dinner was quite good - and I'm not a vegetarian. All in all, I would rate it a 5 on a scale of 1-10. Do find out how you will travel to the lodge. The road up is treacherous and long. Some itineraries say they fly "to the crater" when in fact they fly to Lake Menyara and then drive several hours to the lodge. Others fly directly to the crater airstrip only minutes from the lodge. Do ask. Also, be aware that the lodge has no phone or fax communications. We were told that they did only to find out that they communicate in a relay manner via radio to another lodge. January is a wonderful time to be in Tanzania. If you would like my whole travel report, just drop me a private email.
Aug 18th, 1999, 04:05 PM
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Remember one thing: you will be in Tanzania. Things there are not as well run as they are in Kenya. The Serena lodges are bankrolled by the Aga Khan. He employs a Swiss firm to run the lodges and they send out teams of inspectors to critique the physical plants and the staffs' service. We know because we ran into one of those teams at the Ngorongoro lodge while we stayed there. Tanzania for a long time was run like any other totalitarian state under the reign of Julius Nyrere and his people. Once freed of their yoke, the people had no concept of "customer friendliness" or "service." Consequently, when the Serena lodges were established in Tanzania, their entire staffs were sent to Nairobi for training and re-education in customer service. You have chosen well; the Serena lodges are about as good as the best in Tanzania -- and you are going to have a wonderful time. But do keep a lock on things.

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