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NGONGORO SERENA SAFARI LODGE

About the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Regularly voted one of the best hotels in the world, this unique lodge 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.

Getting there

The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, lies immediately adjacent to the Serengeti National Park and 180 kilometres from Arusha.

By road: transfers by road from Arusha take approximately 4 hours.

By air: there is an adjacent airstrip and a ‘meet and greet' and transfer service is offered.

Facilities

75 rock-built rooms with panoramic private balconies Rock built dining room and bar with central fire Extensive viewing terraces Game drives into the Crater daily Wedding planning and honeymoon venue Gift shop, business centre, WiFi Tented conference centre Extensive selection of sports and activities Cultural dance and music TV room with satellite TV.

Dining at Mbuzi Mawe Tented Camp

The central tented lounge features a stylish bar and a selection of wildwood seating. The dining room is presented in classic tented style with a panoramic terrace looking out over the plains. The camp also offers a circular barbeque and campfire area.

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 camp.

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 Mbuzi Mawe Bush Dinner takes place at a scenic location on the plains. 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 game drive.  Arriving at the chosen location, with fabulous views across the plains, our guests will find that a table and chairs have already been set up, and that a campfire, lanterns, and bush kitchen awaits 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 camp, and a full safari bar will be provided.

Sundowners
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.

Rooms and suites
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.



Destination
Kenya | Uganda | Tanzania | Zanzibar
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Excursion | Short Safaris | Long Safaris | Flying | Balloon | Budget camping | Luxury Camping | Birdwatching | Family | Honeymoon | Tailored | Exclusive |
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Gorilla Search
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Safaris | Mountaineering | Flying | Balloon Safaris
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Excursions | Safaris

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Mt. Kilimanjaro | Mt. Kenya | Mt. Meru


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