Seronera Wildlife Lodge is a large tourist hotel and offers simple but comfortable rooms, friendly service, good food and excellent wildlife viewing opportunities. The Seronera Wildlife Lodge may be the simplest and least visually appealing out of all the lodges in the Central Serengeti but its location at the heart of the Seronera River Valley is unbeatable. The Seronera River Valley, with its abundance of resident animals including all the big carnivores, is a must see no matter what time of year. The Seronera Wildlife Lodge is recommended for those seeking simple (no frills) accommodations and maximum wildlife viewing. However, if luxury is a bigger priority over game viewing, then the other two lodges in the Central Serengeti including the Serengeti Serena Lodge and the Serengeti Sopa Lodge may make a better choice. For those seeking the ultimate luxury adventure and something a little more rewarding then a large buffet line, the Private Luxury Camp may be the best choice.
The superb location of the Seronera Wildlife Lodge, in terms of close proximity to some of the best game viewing in Africa, is of no accident. The Seronera Wildlife Lodge was the first lodge constructed in the Serengeti National Park and the best location in the Seronera River Valley was chosen. The lodge site dates back to April 1925 when Leslie Simpson, a retired American mining engineer and big game hunter, built a semi-permanent camp where the Seronera Wildlife Lodge now stands. The site was picked based upon the profusion of resident animals including lions, which were frequented hunted. Hunting has been illegal since 1937 when the Serengeti became a permanent game reserve and the infamous Seronera lions have thrived ever since. The following was written on a 1928 safari while based at the aforementioned Seronera Camp and best sums up (though exaggerates) this wonderful locale:
‘From our camp we could look across a wide sweep of plain which ran into a low range of hills whose tops peeked over the horizon. As we gazed over this rolling veld which was hemmed in on the left by large hills, and on the right by trees which melted in to the skyline, we could always see many thousands of animals. Here in our front yard Tommies, Grant’s gazelle, topi, kongoni, wildebeest and zebra kicked up their heels in play or stampeded in flight from real or fancied danger. On the farther plains were eland and giraffe, while the wooded hills sheltered mountain reedbuck, waterbuck, steinbuck, duiker, dik dik and impala. In the dongas lurked not only the big cats, the lion, leopard and cheetah, but many lesser carnivora. Scattered all over this tremendous area were troops of ostrich, thousand up thousand of hyena, jackals, bat-eared foxes and warthogs. Once in a while a black rhino or a herd of buffalo or a few roan antelope would pay our front yard a visit. At no time night or day were we out of sight or hearing of animals.'
The one big draw back with the Seronera Wildlife Lodge, along with the other two lodges in the Central Serengeti, is that it is a large tourist hotel. Depending upon your specific tastes, this could either be a positive or negative characteristic. There are two other lodges in the Central Serengeti including the Serengeti Serena Lodge and the Serengeti Sopa Lodge. The Serengeti Serena Lodge is a little bit nicer then the Seronera Wildlife Lodge in terms of quality of accommodations, service, amenities and food.
The Seronera Wildlife Lodge is certainly a very nice lodge but it does fall short in comparison to the other smaller luxury lodges and tented lodges located in other areas of the Serengeti. However, the choice of permanent lodging is relatively poor in the Central Serengeti considering that this area offers some of the best wildlife viewing in the park. For those seeking more intimate and adventurous accommodations in the Central Serengeti, we strongly recommend private medium camping or private luxury camping. The Central Serengeti does offer the best private camping options in all of Northern Tanzania. For the adventurous, one or two nights camping in this area may make a better choice then one of the large ‘hotel style’ safari lodges including the Seronera Wildlife Lodge.
We highly recommend to diversify the types of accommodations throughout your safari by including smaller luxury lodges, tented lodges or private camping as well as the larger properties like the Wildlife Lodges. The smaller lodges do provide a more intimate, natural and authentic safari experience and can be much more rewarding for some people. However, we recognize that everyone is different and our goal is to provide individually tailored safaris to assure that you get the most rewarding experience possible. Please feel free to talk it over with your Africa Dream Safaris representative as to which lodge in the Central Serengeti makes a better match for your specific tastes.
Seronera Wildlife Lodge was built in 1965 and shortly thereafter was acquired by the Tanzanian government. In 1993, TAHI (owned by ARCCO) acquired a 40% ownership in the lodge. In December 2003, the lodge was 100% privatized and was purchased in full by a wealthy Tanzanian gentleman. A South African Management company manages the operations Seronera Wildlife Lodge. Unfortunately, Seronera Wildlife Lodge has not had any refurbishments since it was originally constructed in 1965. At about 40 years old, the lodge and rooms are tired and dated and in desperate need of refurbishments. With a little remodeling, the Seronera Wildlife Lodge could be truly spectacular.
The Seronera Wildlife Lodge (altitude of 4,987 feet) is located at the heart of Central Serengeti. The Seronera Wildlife Lodge is located 2.5 miles northwest of the Seronera Airstrip. The Seronera Wildlife Lodge is well positioned to easily access the Seronera River Valley game loops. With an early 6.00AM departure from the lodge it is possible to be game driving the Seronera River at dawn in hopes of seeing the famous Seronera lions in action or at least the remnants of a kill made during the night. In summary, to the north and west of the Seronera Wildlife Lodge are the woodlands and to the south and southeast of lodge are the plains.
Longer game drives are also possible from the centrally located Seronera Wildlife Lodge to more remote areas of the park including the famous Serengeti eastern plains and the GOL Kopjes. The GOL Kopjes are approximately 28 miles to the southeast or a 1.5-hour drive away. This drive is only recommended during the green season when the eastern plains are green and packed with game. Additionally, the western corridor of the Serengeti can be reached on an all day game drive (2 hours or 45 miles each way). This is of great benefit if you’re on safari between May and July as the prolific wildebeest herds may be located in the western region of the park during this time. However, during this period, we recommend a stay in the Western Serengeti in conjunction with one in the Central Serengeti.
A stay at the Seronera Wildlife Lodge is usually incorporated into our fly-in and drive-back itineraries towards the beginning of your safari. You will most likely either be arriving directly from the nearby Seronera Air Strip during the green season or from the Western or Northern Serengeti during the dry season. It is about a 2-hour drive to the Seronera Wildlife Lodge from either the Western Serengeti or Northern Serengeti. It is about a 1-hour drive south to the Naabi Hill park gate.
Seronera is derived from the Maasai word siron meaning the place of the bat-eared foxes. Accommodations consist of 75 rooms with doubles and twins available. The rooms at Seronera Wildlife Lodge are constructed in three ‘motel style’ wings with each wing diverging from the main reception and dinning area. Each wing is 2-stories high and your room is accessed via an internal ‘motel style’ hallway. As mentioned, the rooms are very basic but clean and comfortable. The rooms are small and furnished with just a nightstand, chair and bed. There are poor views from most of the rooms. This is certainly not the lodge to pick based upon relaxing in your room. Rather, a stay at Seronera Wildlife Lodge is best enjoyed out game viewing the surrounding valley.
The main lodge areas are much more charming then the rooms. The décor, on par with the rooms, is still something out of the 1970’s but the friendly staff and beautiful kopje themed lobby and dinning area more then make up for this. Throughout the lodge, you will find hyrax’s and agama lizards clambering on the giant kopjes that adorn the main lodge structure.
The lobby and reception area at Seronera Wildlife Lodge is on the ground floor and at the bottom of the kopje. Ascending a maze of stairs from the lobby takes you to the lounge, bar and dinning areas. These are massive and cavernous areas but pleasantly designed around the massive kopje.
Food and Drink
The meals at Seronera Wildlife Lodge are surprisingly good. Meals are either served buffet style of fixed course depending upon the number of guests. Over 50 guests on any one night and buffets will be served for each meal.
Breakfast boxes can be arranged for early morning game drives or you can enjoy breakfast in the dinning room. Breakfast consists of eggs, breads, fruit, mixed nuts, yogurt and pancakes. Similarly to breakfast, you have your choice of dinning in for lunch or enjoying a lunch box if you plan a full day adventure game drive. Dinner is also very good and is served with 4 courses. A typical arrangement would include greens or corn fritters, soup, rice, potatoes and your choice of chicken, pasta or beef plus fresh fruit skewers or chocolate cake.
There is a good variety of beer, wine, soft drinks and spirits available at an additional charge at Seronera Wildlife Lodge.
The Seronera Wildlife Lodge is located in the central area of the Serengeti ecosystem and accordingly, it is this area that will be the topic of discussion below. See the Serengeti National Park guide for a complete analysis on the entire Serengeti ecosystem, including the famed migration and all the game viewing highlights.
The Central Serengeti consists of the plains woodland border and transition zone. In this area the great Serengeti plains gradually diffuse into gentle rolling hills and woodland habitat, which dominates the western and northern regions of the park. The lions share of the lodges are located in this region as well as the park headquarters and the various research facilities. All these facilities are located here for good reason as not only is this area centrally located but it also supports an amazing abundance of resident wildlife.
The Central Serengeti is home to the beautiful Seronera River Valley. Several perennial rivers run through this valley enabling many resident animals to thrive year round. The combination of location and resident prey attracts the largest populations of predators in Africa. It is this amazing abundance and diversity of easily seen large predators that attracts thousands of visitors and hundreds of researches to the Seronera River Valley each year. There is simply no better place in Africa to observe these large carnivores and since many are resident, excellent encounters are available year round regardless of the season or where the great migratory herds are located. It is not unusual to see all four large predators (lion, hyena, leopard and cheetah) during the course of a day in the central Serengeti.
The only draw back with game viewing in the Central Serengeti is the fact that the majority of the lodging is located in this area. The immediate game circuits around the Seronera Valley are well traveled and, depending on the month, you will likely encounter several other vehicles. The months of July, August, late December and early January see the most visitors in the Central Serengeti and careful planning is important if you plan on traveling during these months.
- Private game drives
- Walk next to the hippos at Retina Hippo Pool
- Balloon safaris
- Picnic lunches
- Full day game drives to the GOL Kopjes
- Visit the Maasai Rock paintings and hike up ‘Gong’ rock in the Moru Kopje