andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge: a design-lover’s safari retreat in the heart of the Serengeti

Have drinks beside the River Serengeti or take a dip in the plunge pool  (andBeyond )
Have drinks beside the River Serengeti or take a dip in the plunge pool (andBeyond )

Dotted delicately along the banks of a Grumeti River offshoot in the Serengeti’s remote Western Corridor, pods of hippo wallow and bluster just metres from the andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge, while characterful troops of olive baboons preen and parade as you sip your morning iced coffee.

With its iconic wildebeest migration, the Serengeti lures-in safari-goers in huge numbers, but this lesser-visited part of the national park – filled with sprawling lion prides and rare wizard-like colobus monkeys – feels blissfully wild and isolated, as if you’re the only humans on earth.

But what is the andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge, Tanzania, like?

Style

&Beyond Serengeti River Lodge Hotel style

&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel night view tree.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel night view tree.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - exterior.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - exterior.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - exterior 2.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - exterior 2.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel shop.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel shop.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - food.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - food.jpeg: (&Beyond)

This is not your average khaki-and-cream safari lodge. In fact, the aesthetic here errs giddily towards maximalism. The first thing you’ll notice are the Afro-futuristic Kitenge cloth accents – sofas are upholstered in the bold fabric, it’s used for umbrellas, placemats, and cushions, and even woven into a colossal chandelier hanging above the central circular bar.

Playful touches are plentiful, from bright beaded lizard wall-hangings to metres-long crocodile sculptures.

There is a particularly beautiful way in which the design of the lodge mimics the oxbow curve of the river it overlooks, too, and the whole space has a soothing, soporific quality.

The lodge’s 10 sustainably built suites are palatial in size compared to most in the Serengeti, with lofty ceilings woven from banana fibre and sky-high double doors that can be pulled wide open to reveal a glittering private plunge pool.

Each suite is festooned with artsy flourishes (glass sinks in the shape of lily-pads; snake-like murals adorning the over-bed canopy) but, as with the rest of the lodge, it’s the small details that make the most impact, from the tub with a view of mud-drenched hippos, to the bottles of homemade Hibiscus Fizz in the minibar for your own personal sundowner moment.

Food & Drink

Food and drink a Serengeti River Lodge

&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - outdoor evening firepit.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - outdoor evening firepit.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - hot tub.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - hot tub.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel- food cook.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel- food cook.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - food platter.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - food platter.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel bar.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel bar.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - chef.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - chef.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - safari drinks.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - safari drinks.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - outside drinks by river.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - outside drinks by river.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - dining area.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - dining area.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - pizza.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - pizza.jpeg: (&Beyond)

Head chef Jackson is particularly proud of his breakfast trays and fresh juices (the watermelon is hard to beat), but careful attention is paid to every meal, whether it’s served under winking stars at the lodge’s boma, or out on game drives with views of grazing giraffes and zebra.

Meals are fresh and satisfying – short-rib sliders, curries, crispy prawn cakes, and dukkah-spiced breads – all served with prestige South African wines.

But a special shout-out must be given to Jackson’s homemade fudge (a must-have during ‘high tea’ in the afternoon), which is as crumbly and as creamy as it comes.

Facilities

&Beyond Serengeti River Lodge Hotel facilities

&Beyond Serengeti River Lodge Hotel  - massage.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti River Lodge Hotel - massage.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - firepit.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - firepit.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - yoga.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - yoga.jpeg: (&Beyond)

As well as a full-moon-shaped communal pool, there’s a beautiful gym on-site with rowing machine, treadmill, and views of the Nile crocodiles basking open-mouthed on the riverbanks.

Charming yoga teacher George leads ashtanga and meditation classes and can also turn his hand to beauty treatments for those who want to sport a manicure or blow dry with their khakis.

Extracurricular

Serengeti Safari andBeyond

safari 4.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
safari 4.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - safari drinks.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - safari drinks.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
on safari giraffe.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
on safari giraffe.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
on safari tanzania.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
on safari tanzania.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
Serengeti lioness and cubs.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)
Serengeti lioness and cubs.jpeg: (andBeyond safari)

Morning and afternoon game drives take you deep into the heart of the Western Serengeti, where secretary birds stalk the plains on absurdly spindly legs, lion prides take down mighty buffalo, and cheetahs survey their hunting grounds from the tops of termite mounds.

Short walking safaris around the lodge will please those just as interested in the leopard tortoises as their predatory namesakes, but those looking for something truly special should book a dawn hot-air balloon flight with Serengeti Balloon Safaris. From 15,000 feet above the ground, you’ll get a unique, birds-eye view of the Serengeti, ogling as hyenas lumber through the bushes, willowy giraffes cross the plains, and dazzling lilac-breasted rollers soar like tossed gems through the air below you.

It’s a magical, peaceful experience, topped off with a Champagne breakfast in the bush once you land.

Which room?

&Beyond Serengeti River Lodge Hotel rooms

&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - suite.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - suite.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - room.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - room.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - bed.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - bed.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel bedroom 3.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel bedroom 3.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - room and hot tub.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - room and hot tub.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - suite bathroom.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel - suite bathroom.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel suite interior.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel suite interior.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel childrens bedroom.jpeg: (&Beyond)
&Beyond Serengeti Lodge Hotel childrens bedroom.jpeg: (&Beyond)

All suites are beautiful and room five comes with an extra bedroom that is ideal for families and mixed groups.

But those wanting sheer seclusion should request room one. It’s set slightly further from the lodge, meaning you can enjoy intimate from-room wildlife sightings while feeling like the only guest in camp.

Best for…

World-leading design and wildlife on your doorstep.

Rooms at andBeyond Grumeti Serengeti River Lodge start from £930 per person per night; andbeyond.com