St. Augustine once said the world is a book and those who do not travel read only one page. Traveling has a way of opening your eyes and mind to what else exists in the world. You get to meet new people, discover new cultures and get a better understanding of who you are a s person. However, not many people get to travel as much as they would like to for various reasons. It is too expensive, too far or some just don’t know where to go. It is for these reasons that Serena Hotels have rolled out the Serena Caravan campaign. The aim of the Campaign is to show there are so many destinations in Kenya and the East African region that are pocket friendly and you can easily drive to.
First destination; Lake Manyara Serena Safari Lodge in Tanzania. For this trip, Serena gathered a group of journalist and online personalities that would document the whole journey from flag off to destination as a way of showing that it is doable, what is required of you, what to look out for along the way. The team gathered bright and early on the Friday of 6th November at Nairobi Serena Hotel for an early breakfast and were later flagged off by the team from Serena Hotels.
Standing high on the edge of a towering terracotta escarpment with panoramic views over the glittering alkaline waters of Lake Manyara, Lake Manyara Serena Lodge makes for the perfect weekend getaway with family or friends. With a perfect road network starting from Nairobi to Namanga where you will need to clear with imigration, then to Arusha and finally Mto wa Mbu where the Lodge is located, it makes for a smooth 5 -6 hours drive to the Lodge with some interesting scenery to take in as you drive. Crossing over the border for a weekend has never been this easy. Be sure to carry your passport and yellow fever immunization card with you.
At the lodge, the first thing that strikes you is the beautiful views. At 1000meters above sea level, the lodge offers some of the most scenic views overlooking the town of Mto Mbu and the lake Manyara National Park where the famous Lake Manyara sits. The view stretches out into plains and hills and Mt. Meru, the second highest mountain in Tanzania.
If you can get over the view, then you better be prepared to have your breath taken away by the beautiful infinity pool. Perched on the very edge of the cliffs, with stunning views of Lake Manyara National Park providing a gorgeous back drop, the pool is visually stunning. Infinity pools are usually the most beautiful man made pools in existence and the one at Lake Manyara Serena Lodge has been voted top 100 best pools in the world.
The lodge buildings housed in individual thatched circular buildings that are a tribute to local architectural traditions of the Maasai community. The buildings are strung out along the edge of the cliff so as to allow for maximum views. Inside the lodge buildings you’ll find vibrantly colourful frescos that depict the patterns of migratory birds, the swirling motifs of Maasai bomas and local landscapes.
There are plenty of activities to do once settled at the Lodge. Start off the day with a hearty breakfast. Our team was spoiled to a garden breakfast, which not only offered a great assortment of fresh juices and fruits, pastries, coffee, tea or even champagne depending on your preference, but also one of the most beautiful views you will ever have when dining (the garden breakfast is available on request at an extra fee). After, squeeze in an hour or so of exercise and learn about the Flora and Fauna of lake Manyara Serena Lodge ecosystem with the resident naturalist Yotham as he takes you on nature walk.
The nature walk should wind up at the Archery range. If you have a competitive streak in you, then archery is a must try. The sport which was recently introduced makes for a great way to spend time at the lodge. Leaving the shooting range might prove a little hard as you get caught up in the action. The Lodge Manager Mustafa Mbinga notes that Archery has grown popular among their guests particularly those visiting Nairobi. If you are new to the sport, don’t worry as the lodge has well trained instructors that will take you through the safety measures and how to go about archery.
You can also try your hand at learning how to play traditional musical instruments, polish or learn Swahili or go for jogging and so much more. Just because you are on holiday is no excuse to slack off.
For lovers of adventure, the Lake Manyara National park is perfect for animal sighting. The park famous for its tree climbing lions is also home to elephants, Zebras, bush bucks and gazelles. The park also has one of the most scenic hippo pool you will encounter anywhere. Once at the hippo pool, you can alight from your vehicle to get a closer look at the hippos and for bird lovers, there is a lot of in terms of birdlife.
After the game drive, wind down your evening with a few cocktails at the pool bar as you listen to music and watch dance performed by the Iraqw community before settling in for dinner.
When it comes to food, Lake Manyara does not disappoint. Keen on making each meal an experience, the lodge gives a twist to their menus by introducing theme nights that showcase foods from various surrounding communities.
The lodge also offers a wide variety of Indian dishes ranging from the mild to the very fine Indian cuisine which is popular with the Asian community. For lovers of everything barbecue, enjoy Barbecue dinner served in one of the most scenic parts of the lodge giving you a view of the entire landscape of Lake Manyara and its environs. And if you like what they serve so much and would like to try it out back home, the chefs do offer cooking lessons.