Serena Hotels in Africa

by Joanne Thomas
Giraffes in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve

Giraffes in Kenya's Masai Mara National Reserve

girafes masai 01 image by Luc PATUREAU from

Serena Hotels is a chain of 33 luxury safari lodges, hotels and resorts in Africa and Asia. The large majority of the chain's properties are located in Africa, offering upscale, luxurious accommodations and attentive hospitality in national parks and wildlife reserves, in major cities, on beaches and lakefronts and in some areas of outstanding natural beauty. The company also offers comprehensive safari packages for its hotels, camps and lodges in wildlife-rich destinations.


Serena Hotels operates nine properties in Kenya, including four safari lodges, one mountain lodge, a city hotel and a beach resort. The Nairobi Serena Hotel, a member of the elite Leading Hotels of the World group, serves business and leisure travelers in the heart of Kenya's capital. Its facilities include fine dining restaurants, a heated swimming pool with a pool bar and a health club and spa. The Serena Beach Hotel and Spa, about 20 miles south of Mombasa, takes its inspiration from a 13th century Swahili town with its Arabesque architecture and tropical gardens. It sits on a sandy beach overlooking the Indian Ocean and offers guests complimentary water sports including snorkeling, catamaran sailing and introductory scuba lessons. Serena offers luxurious safari lodges in Kenya's most coveted wildlife destinations: Masai Mara National Reserve, famous for its annual wildebeest migration; Amboseli National Park with its Mount Kilimanjaro backdrop; Samburu National Park; and Tsavo West National Park, where the historic stone Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge overlooks a water hotel frequented by elephant herds. Sweetwaters Tented Camp features 39 luxury tents surrounding a water hole in a private nature conservancy -- Ol Pejeta -- on the plains of Mount Kenya. The conservancy includes a black rhino sanctuary and the only chimpanzee sanctuary in Kenya. The conservancy is also home to Serena Hotels' Ol Pejeta House, an exclusive ranch house with four guest rooms, plus a private guest cottage. Serena's other Kenya property is Serena Mountain Lodge, which sits on a forested slope of Mount Kenya. The timbered lodge is raised above the canopy on stilts, providing an unmatched view of a water hole and salt lick that attracts elephants and buffalo.


Serena Hotels' nine properties Tanzania consist of safari lodges on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, in Serengeti National Park and overlooking Lake Manyara; two tented camps in the Western Serengeti; a luxury camp in the Selous Game Reserve; a thatched lodge on the banks of the Rufiji River; a mountain resort at the foot of Mount Meru; and an inn in the ancient Stone Town of Zanzibar. Guests of the safari lodges and tented camps can go on daily game drives, see cultural dances and musical performances and take a hot air balloon ride over the landscape, all of which can be arranged directly through Serena Hotels. The Serengeti Serena Safari Lodge is notable for its guest accommodations in two-story "Rondavels,"round stone cottages with thatched roofs and private balconies. Mountain Village Arusha takes its architectural inspiration from a colonial coffee farm; the 12 guest suites at the Mivumo River Lodge are housed in timbered, thatched chalets, each with a private wildlife viewing deck and a plunge pool.


Serena Hotels have two properties in Uganda: the Kampala Serena Hotel and the Lake Victoria Serena Resort. The Kampala Serena Hotel, a member of the Leading Hotels of the World group, is centrally located in the Ugandan capital. Its 152 guest rooms all have a private balcony or terrace, satellite television and wireless Internet access. The water-themed 72-acre property includes a Bedouin-tented outdoor terrace, a Moorish Palace-inspired spa and expansive water gardens. The Lake Victoria Serena Resort replicates a Roman villa and features a golf course and marina on the lake shore. Its facilities include cocktail bars, a spa, spacious terraces, rose gardens and a huge outdoor swimming pool.


Serena Hotels' two Rwanda properties are the Kigali Serena Hotel and the Lake Kivu Serena Hotel. The Kigali Serena Hotel's 148 guest rooms surround a granite atrium containing displays of Rwandan art, a swimming pool, an expansive sundeck and a buffet restaurant. Lake Kivu Serena Hotel sits on the sandy shores of Africa's sixth largest lake. Its bar, terrace, cafe and restaurant all overlook the lake, where guests can enjoy fishing, swimming and boating.


The Polana Serena Hotel -- the only Serena Hotel in Mozambique -- was constructed in 1922 on a tree-lined boulevard in Maputo, the capital. It offers 142 guest rooms and suites, many of which face the ocean, as well as three restaurants and a health club and spa. Guests enjoy access to a swimming pool and three on-site gift shops. Activities offered by the hotel include a sunset cruise around the bay, a cultural tour of the city and boat trips to remote rural islands.


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  • girafes masai 01 image by Luc PATUREAU from