With Tanzania being one of the best countries to experience an authentic African safari, where better to head for than the luxuriously appointed Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti. This hotel located in the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the Serengeti National Park. With 77 rooms in total breaking down into 60 guest rooms, twelve suites and five freestanding villas, the property is styled with a contemporary African design, centred around a two-story great house.
There are three dining options including Kula’s Restaurant for an African inspired and international menu, the Boma Grill for a taste of Africa around an open firepit and the Maji Bar for cocktails and tapas. This being Four Seasons, custom dining arrangements can also be arranged for a torchlit wilderness dinner in the bush protected by Maasai warriors or in-room dining from a tailored menu. Recreation wise, there is the full-service Serengeti Kani Spa with six freestanding treatment rooms, a freeform outdoor infinity pool overlooking an active watering hole frequented by elephants and a fully equipped 72 square metre fitness facility offering yoga, fitness and meditation classes. There are also two boutiques for souvenirs and forgotten essentials, a Games Room, Library and a guide service. The Kijana Klub meanwhile welcomes children and teens with a range of activities whilst there is also an interactive Discovery Centre which is part museum with exhibits and a lecture hall for everyone to learn more about the local wildlife, environment and culture.
Activities are numerous and include on site birdwatching, wildlife observation and walking safaris whilst off site, enjoy similar activities within all-terrain vehicle excursions or even a hot-air balloon expedition.
With a central location in the Serengeti National Park, an area of around 15,000 square kilometres of space, this is where the so-called Big Five still roam freely across the savannah – the lion, the leopard, the buffalo, the elephant, and the rhinoceros – alongside wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, elands and over 500 species of birdlife. Even better, Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti has been ingeniously constructed on a series of raised platforms and walkways next to an animal watering hole where elephants come to quench their thirst.
The Serengeti National Park was one of the first to be recognised by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site back in 1981, being among those proposed earlier in 1972. It had already been given Protected Area Status in 1940, becoming a National Park in 1951. Whilst protected, it is unfenced unlike other parks, allowing animals the freedom to roam across the savannah and neighbouring country’s borders.
Located in the wide-open plains of Central Serengeti, Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is just a 45-minute transfer from the Seronera Airstrip (SEU) with connecting flights coming from three airports within Tanzania – the domestic Arusha Airport (ARK), Julius Nyerere International in Dar es Salaam (DAR) and Kilimanjaro International (JRO).
For the local airlines, there is a luggage weight restriction of 15 kilograms per passenger and these must be soft-sided bags rather than hard shell suitcases. There is also the option of charter flights that impose no such restrictions and which can land at Seronera Airstrip within daylight hours.
Four Seasons has prepared a handy “Before you go” document with instructions about what to wear, what to bring and how to stay healthy as well as handy tips – well worth a read.
With 77 rooms - 60 guest rooms, twelve suites and five freestanding villas - the property is styled with a contemporary African vibe and enjoys a neutral colour palette highlighted by splashes of vibrant earth tones in the fabrics, rugs, cushions and accessories.
There are four categories of guest room – all similarly sized at 55 square metres of space – but the two premium types will be the two with the water hole views. The Horizon Room and Horizon Room Water Hole View on the upper floors offer wide terraces with sweeping views over the Serengeti with the latter having that prized animal view of animals quenching their thirst.
The Savannah Room and The Savannah Room with are located on the ground floor with the former having panoramic views over the plains and the latter enjoying eye-level views of the animal’s watering hole.
Facilities and amenities include thatched grass roofs; air-conditioning; black out blinds; private minibars; flat screen TV with cable; in room safes with laptop charging facility; tea and coffee makers and premium Wi-Fi. In the bathrooms, there are makeup mirrors and separate vanity spaces, hair dryers and an iron and ironing board on request.
The two suites are sized at 88 square metres of space and again have either the savannah view for the Terrace Suite or the water hole view for the premium version. The Terrace Suite offers a separate lounge area and a terrace with a private plunge pool with outdoor shower. Both offer kiddie accommodation in the form of trundle beds set up in the living area.
There are three freestanding villas available at the resort starting with the one-bedroom at 121 square metres, the two-bedroom at 172 square metres and the enormous Presidential Villa at 242 square metres.
All the villas have the look of a private residence and feature private pools, outdoor showers and full kitchens, enjoying elevated Serengeti views over the plains. Wrap around floor to ceiling windows make the most of that 365-degree view over the savannah and lets the sunshine in. In the two-bedroom version, the living and dining room separates the two bedrooms for added privacy with the infinity pool ideal for watching the colours of Africa glow brightly before your eyes, cocktail in hand.
The Presidential Villa has ample space for a large family or group of friends to enjoy and can accommodate up to six adults or four adults and two children. With elevated views over the watering hole, the open plan living area allows for relaxed dining with meals conjured up by a private chef. There is also a private study, a lower-level gym, a poolside BBQ and complimentary spa treatments on demand. With breathtaking views from every window, including the bathroom, the 24/7 butler will take care of any and every whim in an instant.
When you come to the Serengeti, it is the animals you have come to see and Four Seasons offers a range of safari activities including a half-day or full day game drive with an expert driver-guide or a full day Ngorongoro Crater Safari to the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera across the Serengeti Plains, past Maasai villages and onto Olduvai Gorge. Other choices include the Moru Kopjes, Gong Rock and Maasai Rock Painting Safari to become better acquainted with Maasai culture; a visit to a Maasai village; a drive along the Seronera River; a trip to the Southern Serengeti and Ndutu and to the Western Corridor. The area can also be explored by a Serengeti Balloon Safari, a walking safari with the Lodge’s resident naturalist accompanied by Maasai guides and armed national park rangers for security, a Connected Souls three-day Photo Tour with Paul Joynson-Hicks or a sunset Kopje meditation with the Lodge’s resident yogi.
Where better to relax after a day’s safari than at the full-service Serengeti Kani Spa with its six freestanding treatment pavilions for single or couple occupancy, all featuring private steam showers and outdoor bathtubs. As one might expect, the treatment menus are inspired by Africa and include among other things, a Tree of Life Journey, Kifa Massages, Earth Energies Exfoliations, Flora Facials and Ancestral Rituals. The Spa offers treatments for the under 12s and there is a full range of fitness classes available including yoga, Pilates and meditation. The 24/7, 72 square metre Fitness Centre has a range of cardio and strength machines alongside a free weights area with workouts enhanced by the views out across the plains. Personal trainers are available on request.
The inviting freeform outdoor infinity pool is also extremely popular for cooling off from the heat of the day. It overlooks the animal watering hole often visited by a family of elephants for a unique perspective on these magnificent beasts.
The Lodge’s Discovery Centre serves as both a lecture theatre where guests can watch some of the best wildlife documentaries and an interactive museum where the Great Migration can be studied alongside other exhibits to learn more about the local wildlife, environment and culture. There are several experts on hand to explain more about the conservation work being undertaken and the region in general including a Lodge Naturalist, local wildlife experts, a photographer in residence for vital snapping tips and Maasai warriors. There are several wildlife research projects being undertaken, promoted via the Centre including a Cheetah Watch where guests may submit their cheetah photos to the Serengeti Cheetah Project to help monitor these elusive animals in the Serengeti. Guests may also help The Serengeti Lion Project, via the Snapshot Serengeti website, classify the different animals caught in the more than 200 remote camera traps on the tundra.
The Kijana Klub welcomes children and teens of all ages in a separate space just within the Lodge’s main building. Kiddies will be shown how to explore the African bush safely by spending some time with a Maasai guide, can plant trees or even partake in cookery classes. The complimentary brand programme, Kids for All Seasons, aims to educate the young about Africa with activities taking place in the surrounding environment. The Klub itself has an arts and crafts section; a foosball table; a selection of board games; DVDs; a small library and a gaming section with Xbox 360 and Wii. Other activities include Kids Yoga, film nights, Swahili language lessons, nature walks along the walkways and interaction with the local Maasai.
There are two boutiques for souvenirs and forgotten essentials, a Games Room, Library and a guide service.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti allows you to visit on safari with all the added benefits of a luxury resort and its welcome accoutrements – a range of restaurants, wellness and spa facilities and best of all in the African heat, air-conditioning on tap. With a clever design of elevated platforms, this low-level property allows guests to sit at relatively close quarters with a range of animals coming down to the watering hole to drink, including a family of majestic elephants – an unbeatable experience.
Designed with cultural sensitivity and decorated in the colours and art of Africa, the brand also appreciates that they need to support and protect the environment they find themselves in. To that end, they have been recognised as an award-winning responsible tourism operator, supporting a range of local charities through the good tourism times and the bad. Their brand ethos and community work is only to be admired.
There are three dining options including Kula’s Restaurant for an African inspired and international menu, the Boma Grill for a taste of Africa around an open firepit and the Maji Bar for cocktails and tapas.
With concertina windows opening out to the pool and savannah beyond, Kula’s Restaurant truly offers a meal with a view. From the plentiful morning buffet to a dinner menu of African favourites and international classics, diners may select their preferred options from live cooking stations.
Boma Grill meanwhile encircles an open-air firepit for a true taste of Africa with grilled dishes with a local twist served within a night showcasing the culture of the Maasai. There is everything from Savoury Banana Soup to Grilled SA Beef Striploin, Coconut Zanzibar Prawn Curry to Spiced Okra & Chickpea Stew.
For all day dining with an elevated view over the pool and the animal watering hole, head to the decked Maji Bar and Terrace. A casual menu of pizzas, salads or African tapas vie with classics with a twist such as Octopus Ceviche, Zanzibar Prawn Linguini, Serengeti Mozzarella Sticks or the Savannah Sundae to round off the meal perfectly.
Some may prefer in-room dining with a wide menu of choices available or custom experiences can be devised including the most popular torchlit barbecue dinner in the heart of the bush, a table set up in the middle of the infinity pool overlooking the animal watering hole or in the Lodge’s wine cellar, The Vineyard, where a seven-course menu accompanied by South African wines will be served.
Four Seasons Safari Lodge Serengeti is committed to sustainability and preservation programmes through local partnerships, sustainable practices, guest education and more. They tread lightly on the planet and recognise their responsibility in minimising their impact on the environment to preserve the future of the Serengeti National Park.
Funded by a percentage of every game drive, walking safari, some boutique items and guest donations, the Discovery Centre Fund has been put in place to support community and wildlife projects in and around the area of Serengeti. For example, the brand includes long term commitments to both the Rhino Conservation Project and Frankfurt Zoological Society’s Serengeti De-snaring project to stop animal poachers. The vulnerable children in the area are not forgotten either and the fund supports a Safe House in Mugumu providing shelter to girls at risk of female genital mutilation.
Local suppliers are key and the Lodge ensures that 75% of the Lodge’s overall suppliers come from Tanzania and within the boutique, 90% of items for sale hail from Africa with 60% from Tanzania. The boutique also showcases items from Shanga Shangaa, a socially conscious for-profit enterprise that employs local people with disabilities, creating beautiful pieces from recycled glass and other items. There are also pieces of handmade beaded jewellery and accessories from Sidai Designs and Maasai Womens Development Organisation, actively supporting the Maasai community.
Providing training for the future tourism leaders in Tanzania is another aim of the fund with the Lodge offering visits and internships for talented young people from such organisations as the National College of Tourism, Serengeti Tourism College STC), IBES, The Vocational Educational and Training Authority and the College of African Wildlife Management. Since 2020, the Lodge has also offered two-year full scholarship courses for two individuals from STC.