Tucked in a pocket of forgotten forest and hidden beneath a canopy of flat-topped acacia trees, the charming Ndutu Lodge is more than just a place to sleep, it is an experience! Situated on the banks of Lake Ndutu, just south of the Serengeti Plains, this charismatic Lodge exudes charm and offers an atmosphere that is beautifully elegant in its basic simplicity.
Down-to-earth and close to nature, you will feel free to celebrate the simple pleasures of life here. Expect warm and attentive service with a smile. Expect fresh and delicious food. Expect unpretentious and unfussy accommodations that simply epitomize the word "safari". Ndutu is just one of those places that will get under your skin.
Ndutu Lodge , otherwise known as Ndutu Safari Lodge (or simply Ndutu), was founded in 1967 and celebrates a colorful history. The Lodge was originally created by George Dove, who fell in love with Ndutu's pristine location that offered easy access to the Serengeti plains. Ndutu quickly became a favorite stopover for many distinguished authors, photographers, filmmakers, wildlife biologists, and other interesting personalities. Renowned wildlife researchers Jane Goodall and Hugo van Lawick used Ndutu as a base for much of their research about wild dogs, hyenas and jackals in the area.
In 1986, Ndutu Lodge was completely renovated - attractive stone cottages eventually replaced the original tented accommodations. A conscientious effort was made to use indigenous materials that blended in harmoniously with the natural surroundings. Over time, Ndutu has been transformed into the endearing place found today.
Ndutu Lodge has established a solid reputation over the years and continues to attract many repeat guests. The consistent draw, aside from Ndutu's charming atmosphere, is its superb and beautiful location. The Lodge is situated just a few hundred yards from the shore of Lake Ndutu, and only a few miles from the banks of the larger Lake Masek. The area boasts some of the most beautiful acacia woodland to be found on the fringe of the expansive Serengeti plains, and stunning visions of these quintessential African trees silhouetted against a vivid sunset or sunrise will surely linger in your memory for a long time to come.
The woodlands surrounding Ndutu offer refuge to a number of resident animals all year long, however Ndutu Lodge shines brightest in the heart of the green season; the surrounding plains are transformed to a verdant hue and wildflowers bloom in dense clusters as the great wildebeest and zebra migration flood the surrounding range. Many lucky guests have witnessed thousands of wildebeest taking the cold plunge to cross the glittering waters of Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek!
It's true that Ndutu Lodge offers an excellent place to base your safari game drives, but don't be surprised if at times the wildlife simply comes to you! You may witness entire families of elephants gliding along the nearby shoreline of Lake Ndutu, splashing in the waters or indulging in a refreshing mud bath. Keep an eye out for the iridescently hued lovebirds that often flit in the sunlight of the open-air dining room each afternoon. Be sure to look for the mysterious and beautiful genet cats that appear like clockwork in the banana rafters of the lounge each evening, and watch for their ghost-like presence gliding along lantern-lit pathways in the dark of night. And listen for the deep throb of lions roaring under a profusion of stars as you share safari stories around a roaring bonfire.
Authentic ambience, charming personality, comfortable accommodations, great food, attentive service, an excellent location, and superb wildlife viewing; you can find all this, and more , at the one and only Ndutu Lodge!
Ndutu Lodge (elevation 5,330 feet) is located in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) just south of the Serengeti National Park. The Lodge is unobtrusively situated just a few hundred yards south of Lake Ndutu and a few miles west of Lake Masek. The Lodge offers an excellent base from which to explore an extensive range of habitats, including soda lakes, woodlands, swamps, and grasslands.
Ndutu resides in the southern plains of the Serengeti ecosystem, although the immediate area around the Lodge and lakes is blanketed with an unexpected forest of flat-topped acacia trees. This acacia tree woodland sprawls out from both lakes for a few miles in each direction. The woodlands are surrounded on all sides by the famous short grass plains of the Southern Serengeti ecosystem, and Gol Kopjes is located approximately 1.5 hours away.
Naabi Hill is located about a 1 hour game drive directly northeast, while Kusini Tented Lodge is located about 1.5 hours to the west, and Olduvai Tented Lodge is located about 1 hour to the southeast. Being located in the NCA is actually a benefit, as you do not need to adhere to the Serengeti Park rules (i.e. off-road driving and walks/hikes are permitted). You will have to hire a ranger at Ndutu to go on walks or hikes around the lake.
The Lodge offers a great base for game viewing in the green season and provides for a rewarding stopover in the dry season due to presence of resident animals in the acacia tree woodlands surrounding Lake Ndutu. During the green season, the majority of the wildebeest migration congregates on the southern short grass plains surrounding Ndutu Lodge. From December to May, the great herds are usually located in about a two-hour game drive radius from the Lodge. They may be as far west as Kusini, north to Naabi, south past Matiti Hill (especially large concentrations of breeding females are usually found here) and east through Gol and Barafu and into the Eastern Serengeti.
There is also the well-documented Masek lion pride that is usually seen throughout the year in the dry riverbed areas surrounding both Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek. The Masek pride has been documented for many years and their history is filled with violent male takeovers. One of the more publicized animals at Ndutu is a bull elephant with one tusk named 'Tabasco' that seems a constant fixture in the Ndutu Woodlands.
The main facilities are the highlight of Ndutu Lodge and consist of a superb open air bar and restaurant area which look out over the lake. The open-air lounge offers an inviting atmosphere to indulge in a drink and socialize with other guests after a day out 'in the bush' on your private safari. The restaurant accommodates a full house with twenty or so tables and you will have the same friendly waiter for the duration of your stay. There is a particularly good gift shop on the premises where you can browse a unique selection of hand picked treasures, and could very well be the best shop at any of the Lodges in the Serengeti.
Ndutu Lodge consists of 32 thatched bungalows extending on either side from a central, open sided bar and restaurant area. The majority of the bungalows are not isolated but are constructed in blocks of two. Each unit has its own semi-private veranda which looks towards the lake, although the views are somewhat obstructed by the acacia tree woodland. Luxury it is not, but charm and character more than make up for what might be lacking in opulence here.
The stone cottages are large, well furnished and come with either two twin beds one queen size bed. When the Lodge is at capacity in the height of the busy season, it can get a little noisy with guests coming and going on the loose stone walkway outside. The aim of the Lodge's most recent renovation was to use local materials which blend in with the surroundings.
The wooden furnishings consist of a nightstand and small writing desk and chairs complete with very informative pamphlets about the history of Ndutu and the local wildlife including the Serengeti Cheetah Project. The bathrooms are en suite with hot water showers. The water is pumped from a nearby waterhole and contains dissolved minerals. Don't be alarmed if there is a slightly "soapy" feel to the water - that's just the presence of the minerals.
Food and Drink
The meals at Ndutu Lodge are simply excellent. The Lodge is affiliated with Gibbs Farm, which is about a 4-hour drive away in the fertile farmlands of the crater highlands. Fresh produce is trucked down to Ndutu regularly from Gibbs producing superb dishes. Breakfast consists of a small buffet section with fresh fruit and breads, while separate orders are taken for eggs. A breakfast box can be arranged the night before for you early morning safari enthusiasts.
Lunch and dinner are not buffet style here, but rather are served on a fixed 3 to 4 course basis. You may either have a superb lunch at the Lodge or if you choose an all day game drive format, an Ndutu picnic box will be provided. Dinner is excellent and represents some of the best dining to be had in the Serengeti. There is a large selection of very reasonably priced beer, wine and spirits available at an additional cost. A drink tab will be run for the duration of your stay and you can simply settle upon departure.
- Private game drives into the surrounding woodlands and the awe-inspiring Serengeti plains, including the serene GOL Kopjes
- Picnic breakfasts and lunches
- Well stocked safari boutique and gift shop
- Walking safaris around the shores of Lake Ndutu
- Laundry service is available at an additional fee
- Good selection of wine, beer, and spirits at an additional fee