Four Seasons Safari Lodge – Serengeti, Tanzania

REVIEW:

What’s not to love about the Four Seasons Safari Lodge in Tanzania when it has so very much going for it, including a luxury 5-star rating that it has certainly earned over the past six years it has been open.  This is a property that offers a bucket-list experience in a gorgeous setting with modern amenities and top-notch service.

The lodge, which sits on elevated ad connecting platforms and walkways, contains 77 guest rooms, 12 of which are suites with plunge pools and 5 of which are private villas with personal swimming pools. The extremely clean and modern accommodations come complete with contemporary African decor inspired by the Serengeti, and four-poster beds with rattan headboards and tie-back curtains for privacy. Locally made fabrics and artwork add to the authenticity and ambiance of the rooms, while air conditioning, ceiling fans, and high-speed Internet access add to comfort and convenience.

The Terrace Suite (947 sq ft) comes with or without a waterhole view, located on the ground floor and contains 1 king bed and 2 twins, plus a double trundle in the living area.  This room can accommodate 3 adults or 2 adults and 2 children. The Horizon Room (592 sq ft) comes with or without a waterhole view, located on the 2nd floor with a king bed or 2 twins and the possibility of a child’s bed, accommodating 3 adults or 2 adults and 1 child.

And finally, The Savannah Room (592 sq ft) comes with or without a waterhole view, located on the ground floor and with beds options the same as the Horizon Room.  Next level luxury includes 2-bedroom villas and the Presidential Villa with 3-bedrooms, 3 bathrooms, full living and dining areas, and a private infinity pool, as shown in the lead photo above.

Safari Lodge amenities include 3 onsite restaurants including Kula’s for a buffet breakfast and live cooking stations for dinner; Boma Grill for grilled favourites around an open-air firepit; and Maji Bar and Terrace, which is an outdoor lounge where guests can view the waterholes while sipping on cocktails and enjoying African tapas, homemade pizza, and salads.

There is also a spa offering six treatment pavilions, and kids and teens facilities.

Day or night, human visitors to the lodge are not the only guests; more importantly, at peak times there is a variety of African wildlife that ventures onto the property, including but not limited to elephants, zebras, and baboons.  To enhance the chances of capturing such precious sightings, guests can emerge from their rooms and swim to the edge of their plunge pool, or step out onto raised sundecks, both of which provide wide open views of the Serengeti, including any indigenous wildlife that has stopped by for a drink from one of two onsite watering holes.  Four Seasons ensures that guests won’t miss any animals that happen to visit under cover of darkness by employing night viewing video cameras that stream the outdoor action onto the in-room TVs.  They also ensure that memories are captured by providing rental cameras, just in case guests have accidentally broken their equipment or left it at home.  To take it a step further, they even offer wildlife photography lessons.

If viewing the wildlife from the lodge isn’t enough, the lodge provides a safari-style ‘game drive’ through the Serengeti so guests will have the opportunity to witness zebras, giraffes, wildebeest, gazelles, impalas, and Africa’s Big 5, which consists of lions and elephants along with leopards, rhinoceros, and buffalo.

The phrase ‘Big 5’ was derived from African game hunters and refers to the 5 most difficult and dangerous animals to hunt, mainly because they fight back. But we’re big believers in shooting these animals ONLY with a camera, which is what these game drives are for. Guests are protected by local Massai tribesmen who know the area well.  However, if a game drive feels a little too close to the action, guests can opt for a hot air balloon ride over the Tanzanian plains.

Back at the lodge, facilities and services expand beyond couples and family vacations to include 80-person event space dedicated to business meetings and conferences, as well as destination weddings, with multilingual staff to assist guests from around the world.

PROS:  Location, Location, Location.  You simply can’t beat the view or the fact that the onsite waterholes are a draw for African wildlife, allowing guests the kind of up-close encounters that dreams are made of, even if you never set foot in a safari jeep for a game drive.  Rooms are spacious and clean, with a variety of options and price points.  Plenty of amenities all on site. Staff members are friendly, and the service is first rate.

CONS:  The price!  It goes without saying that overnight rates at a lodge such as this are very expensive, and out of reach for most families working with a vacation budget. Savannah and Horizon Rooms start at $1700+ per night (USD) and increase during peak season, Terrace Suites draw upwards of $3000 per night, and villas can climb to $12,000 per night.  Although the food is excellent, it might be a problem area for picky or non-adventurous travelers who don’t like to stray too far from simple, tried-and-true American cuisine.

**Do Not Forget that travel to Africa requires an advance medical consultation with your doctor or clinic in order to ensure you have all the necessary vaccines and treatments before you travel. It is also advised that you research the weather conditions for the time of your trip so you can pack accordingly, especially if you plan on going on safari. The climate of the Serengeti is subtropical, with a dry and cool season from May to August, a warmer and dry season in September and October, and a rainy and hot season from November to April.  Generally speaking, it is said that late June to October offers the best wildlife viewing.

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