When you’re staying at a Four Seasons hotel, you know it’s going to be pretty posh. But when you’re staying at a Four Seasons hotel out in the middle of the African bush, it’s harder to know what you’re in for. Let’s just say that being situated smack dab in the middle of nowhere doesn’t mean that the Four Seasons couldn’t turn their property (previously the Bilila Lodge Kempinski, which Four Seasons took over and renovated in 2012) into a high-end, luxury resort, the likes of which the Serengeti has never seen.
Every day guests can expect to see elephants stopping by the watering hole for a drink before lumbering off again. The sight is truly spectacular.
Why to stay here: The Four Seasons Safari Lodge in Tanzania is a luxury resort. So if you’re a safari purist looking for a rustic experience, if roughing it is more your style, then move along. This isn’t the place for you. This lodge has flat screen TVs, plush accommodations and fine dining (as well as the only elevator in an East African safari lodge). It’s also kid-friendly (children must be at least eight years old) making it a great option for families looking for comfort and safety. The Four Seasons Safari Lodge is an oasis in the middle of the savannah, greeting guests with all the comforts you could ever want in a hotel, let alone one out in the middle of the bush. Winding, elevated wooden pathways meander through the property, connecting the guest rooms to the spa, one of the resort’s three restaurants and the main lobby. In total, there are 60 guest rooms, 12 suites and five villas, making this the largest property in the Serengeti. There are also two animal watering holes. Every day guests can expect to see elephants stopping by for a drink before lumbering off again. The sight is truly spectacular.
The guest rooms: The guest rooms are extremely spacious (the walk-in closet is huge!) and the bathroom is pure decadence, with a deep soaking tub that overlooks the savannah and a separate rain head shower. The rooms have touches of contemporary African design, like local textiles and artwork and the luxurious four-poster beds are protected with a gauzy mosquito netting. But the comforts don’t stop there. All the rooms are air-conditioned and have high-speed Internet access. But one of the best features is the aforementioned flat screen TV, which has a live web cam of one of the property’s watering holes. So even if you’re not outside surveying the wildlife, you can still see what’s going on out there. Love it! Each room also has an elevated, open-air sundeck – take a seat out there and you just never know what you’ll see walking by.
Eat: The property has three great places to eat: Kula’s Restaurant, Boma Grill and Maji Bar. Kula’s Restaurant serves up delicious fare made from locally sourced ingredients as well as sweeping views of the Serengeti. Boma Grill is a real treat, where guests dine around an open-air firepit while watching a Masai dance. And the Maji Bar is the place to stop for cocktails and light nibbles throughout the day.
Noteworthy feature: There’s a focus on education at the Four Seasons Safari Lodge, both for adults and kids. The Discovery Centre is a state-of-the-art facility on the lower level of the hotel’s main structure. It’s part museum exhibit, part lecture theatre and is the first lodge-based conservation research and education platform in the Serengeti. Guests are encouraged to participate in conservation efforts, like accompanying a guide out into the bush, setting up cameras to track and identify animals, then viewing the photos the next day. This photographic technique enables researchers to study the wildlife and learn more about their behaviour. For kids, the Four Seasons Safari Lodge offers the Kijana Klub. This supervised club is complimentary and offers children and teens access to an arts and crafts room as well as a film and video games area.