Transfer from Kilimanjaro International Airport to Mountain Village Lodge
Mountain Village Lodge offers a haven of calm and serenity just outside the hustle and bustle of Arusha, Tanzania’s premier ‘Safari Town’. Set in the flowered gardens of a coffee planter’s farm house and surrounded by rolling groves of wax-green coffee bushes, Mountain Village offers wide timbered decks with panoramic views over Lake Duluti. The 42 stone-built rooms are housed in a half-moon of traditional ‘rondavel’ circular dwellings with views over a bougainvillea-cloaked slope descending to the lake’s shores. Each ‘rondavel’, neatly thatched in ‘Makuti’ stems and lined with close-weave basketwork, has been arranged to cluster in a village-style grouping around the shade of an ancient forest tree whilst the lavishly ‘Makonde’ carved doors radiate off the cool of a central flowered courtyard. Charmingly appointed with spacious bathrooms, individual verandas and curved French windows giving views onto the tranquil lakeside beauty, the rooms have been decorated in the traditional safari style and feature net-draped beds, soft lamps, intricately carved furniture and pastel-patterned drapes. At the end of an action-packed day, guests can also take in a stroll around the flowered gardens, watch flights of snow-white egret returning to their forest roosts, explore the lake by canoe or follow the nature trail that loops around the lake and into the groves of neighboring coffee estates. The dining room overlooks the lake’s flower-fringed slopes and features an open-air bar area, a relaxed candlelit atmosphere and menu choices that include traditional safari favorites and internationally themed menus alike.
Travel overland from Arusha to Manyara National Park (approximately 1 hour 30 minutes)
Tour of local markets and school
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge is located on the edge of the Mto Wa Mbu escarpment, overlooking the Great Rift Valley and the stunning Manyara soda lake. Designed to reflect the brilliance of Lake Manyara’s unique birdlife, the Lodge draws on an inspirational architectural motif that melds swooping avian curves with the gentle concentric patterns of traditional Maasai ‘Bomas’ (encampments), whilst the vibrantly colored frescoes lining the walls are designed to depict the colorful intricacy of bird migratory patterns. The 54 circular, closely-thatched rooms echo the traditional Maasai 'Boma' style of construction whilst featuring a vibrant interior design concept that reflects the Maasai people's abiding love of brilliant scarlet-and-indigo checked 'Shukas' (cloaks) and bright yellow, white, blue and orange beadwork. Each room has a private veranda and breathtaking views of the shimmering reaches of the flamingo-frosted Lake. Perched high above the Lake with endless views over the floor of the Great Rift Valley, the circular dining room and bright murals of the open-air bar area feature fabulous avian-inspired frescoes, colourful Maasai artefacts and a unique domed basketwork ceiling hung with carved gourds and nest-shaped lanterns. Easily the most dramatic of all the swimming pools in the Serena Group’s stable, the Lake Manyara Pool, which has received significant architectural acclaim, lies below the lodge, on the very edge of the escarpment with mesmeric views across the still waters of the lake and the age-old majesty of the Great Rift Valley. There are daily excursions into the Great Rift Valley and to the National Park, walking safaris and nature walks with experienced escorts. The extraordinary birdlife has made this place world-renowned among ornithologists, who come to observe the masses of pink flamingos and great birds of prey. Tree-climbing lions are another lure. Beyond the superb standards of hospitality offered, there is a spirit of tranquility that prevails.
Proceed by road from Lake Manyara to Serengeti National Park (approximately 3 hours)
Excursion to Olduvai Gorge to view the famous footprints of early man
Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is set high on a tree-clad ridge with commanding panoramic views over the Serengeti plains. Drawing its inspiration from the circular Rondavel dwellings and winding paths of a traditional Maasai village, the lodge features thickly-thatched, stone-built rooms, spaciously set amongst groves of indigenous trees that are cooled by sparkling streams and papyrus-fringed ponds. Each room, with its own view of the vast Serengeti plains, features en suite natural stone bathrooms with showers, wildwood balconies, rope-lashed staircases, leopard-print drapes and intricately carved furniture. The circular bar, its roof supported by massive carven figures of warriors, maidens and elders, looks out over the sky-blue, 'vanishing horizon' swimming pool towards the miles of savannah that lie below. Linked by shaded walkways and clustered around the roaring furnace of the central barbecue arena, the high-domed halls of the two-tier dining room are supported by massive papyrus-topped pillars and embellished with sumptuous Makonde carvings suggesting the audience chamber of a tribal king whilst the cuisine features time-honored safari favorites, local specialties and internationally themed dishes alike. The Serengeti is a natural paradise and home to one of the greatest wildlife spectacles on earth - the annual migration of millions of wildebeest, zebra and gazelle. Optional activities include game drives, Maasai Village visits and balloon Safaris over the Serengeti.
Proceed by road from the Serengeti to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (approximately 2 1/2 hours)
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is perched on the jagged rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. Today the volcano and surrounding landscape are part of a vast conservation area inhabited by the Masai tribe as well as an extraordinary variety of big game and bird life. Ngorongoro Serena Lodge is a triumph of ecological and architectural fusion. Sensitively constructed so as to take nothing from its environment whilst affording endless vistas over the heat-shimmering reaches of the Ngorongoro Crater, the clustered boulder-built buildings of the lodge hug the crater rim, linked by rope-lashed timber walkways that skirt the buttressed roots of ancient, liana-hung trees. Strung around the Ngorongoro Crater rim, each with its own rock-enclosed balcony, the 75 rooms, all en suite with showers, feature brass lamps, embossed leather headboards, Maasai carvings and flamboyant prehistoric wall motifs. Each room is fully air-conditioned and enjoys uninterrupted views over Ngorongoro Crater’s unmatched splendor. The Maasai inspired, split-level dining and bar area features a two-tier wall of windows looking down on to the constantly changing vistas of the crater below, a traditional circular fireside meeting area, and a recurrent motif of massive 'prehistoric' cave paintings. The atmosphere is relaxed and candle-lit whilst the menu choices include traditional Maasai fare, long-time safari favorites and internationally themed menus alike. Optional activities include game drives on the Ngorongoro Crater floor, day trips to Olduvai Gorge , the 'cradle of mankind', and site of one of the most important and controversial Paleolithic finds in recent history, a visit to neighboring Empakaai Crater, a 300-meter deep crater dominated by a flamingo-frosted soda lake or visits to a selection of authentic Maasai villages. At Ngorongoro Serena Lodge visitors coexist in perfect harmony with the natural environment and the wildlife that inhabits.