Imagine a secluded retreat of pure luxury and
delight. An impossible venue where every fanciful whim is transformed
into reality. A place of natural beauty and endless space where
troubles dissolve and time stands still. Does this place exist?
Indeed, it does. Welcome to the one and only Bilila Lodge Kempinski.
Breathtaking vistas, luxurious accommodation, fine cuisine and impeccable service all come to mind when describing the new shining star of the Central Serengeti. Bilila (pronounced Buh-lee-lah), opened its doors in June 2009. This five-star dream hideaway is pure bliss, a decadent oasis of unexpected luxury dropped in the middle of the raw Serengeti wilderness. Fantasy turned to reality, Bilila is designed for such a high standard of luxury that it will drop the jaws of the most discerning world-travelers.
The stone-built lodge, comprised almost entirely of indigenous materials, is seamlessly integrated in harmony with the alluring environment that surrounds it. Space and light, which reign supreme in the Serengeti ecosystem, seem to be the all-encompassing theme here. The Lodge is perched on the crest of a hill, and brilliant views stream in through the picture windows that overlook the surrounding acacia woodlands and distant blue hills. Open interior spaces spill effortlessly into outdoor spaces with expansive verandas boasting magnificent views of the bush below while birds of prey wheel in the clear sky above. Sunlight speckled infinity pools overlook the wilderness, including a natural spring fed watering hole where animals of all shapes and sizes come to quench their thirst.
No detail has been overlooked in designing the spacious and elegant guest suites which all boast air conditioning, high speed internet, flat screen TV with over 50 satellite TV and radio channels, DVD with multi media player and 24 hour room service from the main lodge. Furthermore, the main lodge offers guests a library, fitness center, game room, medical clinic and wine cellar with an extensive selection of world class wines. Bilila also offers the Serengeti’s largest and most luxurious spa with private treatment rooms and sublime massage pavilions staffed by professional Thai therapists.
Bilila is also the only lodge in the Serengeti to offer luxuries like an elevator, game room with full sized billiard table, golf cart transport to the more distant suites, its own cell phone transmitter and individually controlled AC in the suites. Service is attentive, caring and discreet yet not at all pretentious. The staff is friendly, energetic and completely devoted to ensuring guests are 100% satisfied.
But don’t let the posh accommodations, world-class service and lavish amenities of Bilila fool you! You are still deeply immersed into the raw wilderness of quintessential Africa here, with all its inherent adventure, excitement and natural beauty. The stunning Seronera River Valley with its teeming wildlife is easily accessible from here, as are the dry blackened hills of nearby Lobo Valley and mysterious woodlands of the Northern extension.
“To depart on a safari is not only a physical act, it is also a gesture. You leave behind the worries, the strains, the irritations of life among people under pressure, and enter the world of creatures who are pressed into no moulds, but have only to be themselves, bonds loosen, anxiety fades, the mind closes against the world you left behind like a folding sea anemone.” Elspeth Huxley
Although its location is classified as Central Serengeti, Bilila
is actually situated roughly halfway between the Central Serengeti
and the Northern Serengeti. After turning west off the main road
that joins the northern and central regions of the Serengeti National
Park, there is a 3 mile drive through the woodlands before you discover
Bilila discreetly built around and incorporating the dramatic Pombofu
The Lodge is about 20 miles northeast of the Seronera Airstrip and about 27 miles southwest of the Lobo Airstrip. It is approximately a 1-hour drive from Bilila to the Seronera Valley and 1-hour and 20 minutes to the Lobo Valley.
Longer game drives are possible from Bilila to more remote areas of the park including the famous Serengeti eastern plains and the GOL Kopjes. With the GOL Kopjes being approximately 2.5 hour driving time to the south, this is recommended during the green season only when the eastern plains are packed with game. The southern plains are really not feasible from Bilila and accordingly, during the green season the Lodge is best combined with a lodge or camp in the South Serengeti. During the dry season, the Mara River at the extreme north of the park may be reached on an adventurous 3-hour game drive and, again, is best combined with a lodge or camp in the North Serengeti.
The Central Serengeti, with its abundance of resident animals and Big Cats, is a must-see at any time of year. In contrast to the exceptional wildlife viewing, the choices available for upscale lodging in the Central Serengeti have always been scant. Up till now, that it. With the new addition of Bilila, there is finally a 5 star luxury lodge in the area! The stunning views combined with impeccable service, thoughtful detail and delectable dining make Bilila our top pick for luxury lodge-style accommodation in the Central Serengeti. As an aside, it is worth mentioning that the Central Serengeti still offers the best private camping options in all of Northern Tanzania, and two nights at a private luxury camp with all its inherent privacy, adventure and authenticity may be a better fit than any lodge for some clients.
Accommodations at Bilila consist of 72 light, airy and spacious
suites located in two wings which sweep to the left and right of
the central lodge building. Each arc-shaped building graciously
follows the natural contours of the land. With their savannah colored
walls, thatched roofs and locally sourced and crafted stone walls,
each building blends seamlessly into the landscape. To the far right
of the property you can find the 2 family chalets, one-bedroom villas
and a sumptuous Presidential Villa rightfully claiming to be the
finest in Tanzania.
Each of the 72 well-appointed suites is defined within one of two categories: Savanna or Deluxe Room (ground floor) and Horizon or Club Room (second floor). The suites comprise a sleeping area with an exceptionally comfortable hand-crafted king-sized four poster bed (twin also available), luxurious linens and billowing mosquito nets. Two plush chairs with small table at the base of the bed offer unimpeded views through the floor-to-ceiling glass doors that give way to screen doors. Step through the screen doors to your private teak deck with fabulously comfortable chairs and your own telescope for viewing the wildlife and ethereal beauty of Banagi Hill and splendid Serengeti plains beyond.
To the one side of the bed is a large flat screen satellite TV with with over 50 satellite TV and radio channels, a DVD with multi media player and an elegant writing desk with lamp and compact consol offering power outlets, an adapter plug for your electronic devices and a complimentary internet port. An international direct dial telephone with voice mail is also available for your convenience.
To the opposite side of the TV is a spacious, recessed dressing area which includes generous shelving and hanging space for your clothes, a personal safe, a dresser with large mirror and a mini-bar with electric kettle (should you feel like a quick cup of tea or coffee).
Immediately in front of the dressing area is a spectacular bathroom with free standing tub offering exceptional views of the Serengeti. The separate shower is spacious with beautiful stone walls and gleaming fixtures including a rain shower. The vanity has a marble counter top with twin basins overlooked by a six foot high mirror with lighting intensity options. There is a separate plumbed loo.
Luxury bathroom amenities are made with natural ingredients and in keeping with attention to detail a hairdryer, comb, shaving mirror, weight scale, robe and slippers are also included. Electricity and hot water are available 24 hours a day.
To balance the modern conveniences, the suites are all tastefully decorated with handpicked local and regional artworks while the richly textured bed covers, curtains, hand-beaded cushions and other fabrics have been collected from all over Africa.
The walk from the main lodge to the suites could be considered lengthy for some. Guests needing special assistance have the option of a golf cart. Let us know at the time of reservation and we’ll secure the best option for you. There are several suites specially designed for guests with needs such as wheelchair accessibility etc.
Corner Suites and Villas
All Corner Suites and Private Villas have expanded teak decks with
private infinity pools overlooking the Serengeti plains.
For those seeking the ultimate accommodation, the secluded private villas include a master bedroom and guest bedroom each with en suite bathroom, a large open plan featuring a lounge/dining room with sliding doors which open onto a private sun deck and your very own infinity swimming pool. Also included is a fully equipped kitchenette with complimentary soft drinks and butler service.
The Main Lodge and Public Areas
Bilila has been designed to blend harmoniously into the undulating
landscape of the Central Serengeti woodlands – colors merge
with the land and local products have been used extensively. Of
interest is that the cooling thatch for the roofs was made from
over a million traditional “chelewa” brooms while the
pale fawn colored stone for the walls was sourced from nearby Mugumu.
The interiors have a soothing architectural flow while the color
palette reflects the natural hues of the African landscape. The
creations of local artists add colorful highlights while wildlife
paintings from Europe’s finest artists adorn the walls. As
you walk in you are greeted not only by staff offering water-chilled
hand towels and fruit juice but also by two life sized, hand-cast
bronze Maasai statues.
The main lodge incorporates a central dining room, a lounge where a mouth-watering high tea is served every afternoon and a bar offering rare malts, cognacs and cigars. Also included is a wine cellar with an acclaimed selection of fine wines and a sommelier to assist you in your choice.
Bilila also offers a library, game room, spa, fitness center, gift shop, fine jewelry shore, conference center and children’s play area.
The outdoor area includes a beautiful azure infinity swimming pool which overlooks a waterhole visited by elephant, giraffe, zebra, wildebeest and other animals during the dry season. Plenty of comfy chairs and loungers make this an ideal spot to relax.
One of the most striking features of the main lodge and suites is the extensive use of floor-to-ceiling glass doors and windows that constantly draw your eye to one of the most spell-binding views in the Serengeti.
Food and Drink
Dining options are varied and include the elegant main restaurant
offering top-class Pan-African and International cuisine. "Theatre
Cooking" in the open kitchen shows the freshness and quality
of the ingredients used in Bilila’s kitchens.
Light meals can also be enjoyed in the lounge area and poolside. The private dining room and wine cellar can be reserved to celebrate a unique occasion while the outdoor Boma serves grill specialties to the accompaniment of Maasai singing, dancing and a demonstration of their jumping skills being a favorite.
Guests planning an early morning game drive can request a picnic breakfast and still enjoy a “sunrise grab and go” continental breakfast in the lobby before leaving. Breakfast is typically served mixed buffet style consisting of cereal, fruit, yogurt, granola and muffins and a separate order is taken for hot items including eggs, pancakes, sausage and bacon.
Both lunch and dinner consist of 3 to 4 delicious courses. They are both generally served a la carte with buffets offering extra variety from time to time. Lunch boxes are also available for guests planning a full day adventure game drive.
A typical lunch menu might consist of the following: 1st course - fresh bread basket, French onion soup; 2nd course – African tapas platter including chicken brijani, lamb shish kebab, rice, Indian vegetables, mixed salad, cucumber and yoghurt, humus and salsa: 3rd course - choice of fresh fruit salad or mini chocolate followed by freshly brewed Tanzanian tea or coffee.
A typical dinner might consist of the following: an extensive selection of anti pasta served buffet style with the main course being a choice of African herb crusted saddle of lamb complimented with potato gratin, turned vegetables and rich port wine and rosemary jus OR Nile perch served as a steamed fish parcel with vegetable carpazzio and light lemon vinaigrette OR Fettuccine ai Funghi (fettuccine pasta topped with a rich and creamy mushroom and white wine sauce. Freshly brewed Tanzanian tea or coffee.
Vegetarian and other special dietary requirements, such as kosher, can be accommodated with advance notice.
- Easy access to the Seronera River Valley and Lobo Valley
- Sleeping accommodations consist of 72 luxury suites
- Luxurious private villas, family villas and presidential villa available
- Handicap accessible rooms available
- Golf cards available to transport guests to rooms and throughout property
- Main building consists of lounge, living room, bar, formal dining room, casual dining space and open air veranda, fireplaces, game room and gym
- Spa and wellness center onsite (Anantara Spa)
- Health club and gym onsite
- Infinity swimming pool overlooking Serengeti
- Library and game room
- Internet services
- 24 hour laundry service available
- 24 hour room service available
- 24 hour electricity and hot water
- Room service available
- In-room digital safe
- In-room hairdryer
- In-room tea and coffee making facility
- In-room CD/DVD player
- In-room direct dial telephone with voice mail available
- Satellite TV and radio channels
- In-room mini bar
- In-room air conditioning (privately controlled)
- All rooms have a view over the Serengeti
- Suites with private plunge pool and butler service available
- Kitchenette in family villas
- Meals served at flexible times
- Private dining available
- Credit cards accepted