Travel: 72 Hours in Tanzania at Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge and Lake Duluti Serena Hotel
Located over 400 kilometers from Nairobi by road, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge is between five to six hours’ drive from Nairobi. The amount of time you will spend on the road will depend on a few factors such as; the time spent on the Namanga border crossing, this is the Kenya–Tanzania border point, the vehicle you are using to ply from Nairobi to Lake Manyara and the traffic along the Nairobi-Arusha road.
Getting there – Different Options
If you intend to use public means, there are a number of options to choose from, but the shuttles which operate between Nairobi and Arusha are the safest bet of getting you to Arusha. These shuttles can be accessed on Monrovia Street, opposite Jevanjee Gardens and for our trip we used Riverside Car Hire and Shuttle Services.
Most of these shuttles leave Nairobi at 8 am in the morning or 2 pm in the afternoon. It might be a little difficult to get a public service vehicle past 2 pm because on the Tanzania side, they do not allow PSV’s to operate at night.
The other option to get you to Lake Manyara would be through air, for this you would have to connect via Kilimanjaro International airport from either Wilson, through charter flights, and/or Jomo Kenyatta International Airport. Once you are in Kilimanjaro you can either connect by road or through a connection charter flight. Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge has an airstrip which operates only during the day time.
If this is your first time in Tanzania, you will need to have a yellow fever certificate and your travel documents, either a passport or temporary permit for Kenyan’s. No visas are required for Kenyans to enter Tanzania.
Once you cross the border, it will take you almost one and a half hours to reach Arusha town. Arusha is a diplomatic hub since it hosts the secretariat of the East African Community and as such there are a number of nice places to visit. However, in our case we had a scheduled entourage to Lake Manyara, which is 124 KM’s from Arusha City.
The journey to Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge by road is quite fascinating, this is because you get to see, feel and experience the different landscapes. The road is quite impressive and as such, if you have some time, this mode is highly recommended.
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Mto wa Mbu, Tanzania
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge is located on the edge of a towering terracotta escarpment which gives it, spectacular if not, panoramic views over the glittering alkaline waters of Lake Manyara.
The Lodge is grouped around a central ‘vanishing horizon’ pool, this highly unusual lodge features a simple timbered reception area, built in traditional African style, which is accessed via a bridge over a small stream. Beyond reception, lies the central dining room, bar and veranda, below which lies the pool. Perched on the very edge of the cliffs, with stunning views of Lake Manyara National Park is the pool bar and observation point. Dotted around the grounds, all with views over the lake, are a series of circular two-storey ‘rondavels’, which house the rooms.
Designed, by PTA – Peter Thomas Associates, to reflect the brilliance of Lake Manyara’s unique birdlife, the architectural motif melds swooping avian curves with the gentle concentric patterns of traditional Maasai ‘Bomas’ , while the vibrantly coloured wall frescoes depict the colourful intricacy of bird migratory patterns.
Activities and Cultural Interaction
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge offers a unique blend of safari opportunities, peace and tranquillity, wildlife discovery, and ornithological richness. There is an unprecedented range of high-adventure sports, which include mountain biking – arranged/indicated in advance, archery and high altitude nature walks, while cultural activities include tours of the neighbouring villages and dance displays by the local Iraqw and sukuma people.
There is also a dance troupe that comes to the lodge every day in the evening to entertain guests from 6 – 7.30 pm
a) Guided Nature Walks / Bird Watching
If you love nature, then a nature walk with Yotham – the resident naturalist should be something on your cards if you are visiting Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge. These walks normally take place early in the morning from 9.30 am after breakfast and usually take two hours. During this nature walk, you will see unique flora and fauna found in that part of the world and Yotham will keep you engaged by asking you questions before sharing the facts. You will learn the history of the rift valley among other things.
The nature walk transverses around the Lodge and you will be able to see the airstrip, the escarpment and the lake from the edge of the escarpment.
b) Viewing the Lake / animals from the Swimming Pool Lounge
The swimming pool is the central and unique feature of the Safari Lodge and from the lounge pool you can view the landscape below, where you can view the Lake using the string binoculars available at the lounge area.
The pool also attracts a wide range of birds, which come to quench their thirst there and as such if you are a bird watcher, this is a unique place to view birds from.
c) Visit to the Lake Manyara National Park
A visit to Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge would not be complete without a visit to Lake Manyara National Park. The Park is synonymous with tree climbing lions, something that the lions adapted to due to the terrain over time. However, apart from the tree climbing lions there are other animals to view as well from a manmade viewing point, the hippo pool.
d) Visit to Ngorongoro Crater and Tarangire National Park
Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge sits on the northern tourist corridor and one of the top destinations by tourists from across the world is usually the Ngorongoro Crater. This is primarily because it has been listed as one of the Seven Wonders of the World.
If you visit Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, and wish to visit Ngororo crater, a day trip can be organised for you by Mustafa – the Lodge Manager and his team, and Tarangire National Park.
Lake Duluti Serena Hotel, Arusha
On our way back to Kenya, we passed by Lake Duluti Serena Hotel for Lunch. The Hotel is 20 kilometers from Arusha and 60 kilometers from Kilimanjaro International Airport.
The Hotel currently stands in what used to be coffee plantation and very impressive landscaping with a magnificent view of Lake Duluti which can be viewed from the main hotel and cottage-styled rooms.
If you are flying into Arusha through Kilimanjaro International airport, this is a perfect destination to cool off as you wait to transact business in Arusha and/or if you are on a layover.
The main attractions/activities one can indulge in, while at the hotel include; walking, mountain biking, canoeing on the lake, and trips to the nearby Arusha and Mount Meru national parks.
1. Information on the issuance of temporary pass, for those without passports to travel to Tanzania, from the directorate of immigration’s, Kenya.
2. Location of shuttles to Arusha, on Monrovia Street opposite Jevanjee Gardens.
3. Download Tanzania Road and Air Packages.
Disclosure: This trip was facilitated by TPS Serena Kenya and Tanzania
Entry filed under: review, Tembea Kenya Series, Travel, Wildlife. Tags: arusha, Kenya, Lake Duluti Serena Hotel, Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge, Mto wa Mbu, Ngorongoro, tanzania, TPS Serena, TPS Serena Kenya, TPS Serena Tanzania.