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Lodge Overview

Lobo Wildlife Lodge offers simple but comfortable rooms, incredible views, friendly service, surprisingly good food and is located in an unbeatable position for dry season wildlife viewing in the game rich Lobo River Valley. The most notable feature of the lodge is that it is built on top of and around a massive kopje or large granite outcropping. The kopje is integrated throughout the main lodge area and creates a unique and natural ambiance especially when the resident baboons are clambering around. However, the real highlight of the Lobo Wildlife Lodge has to be the spectacular views of the Lobo Valley from the swimming pool and dinning terrace. It is possible to see a good portion of the Lobo Valley and if you are courageous enough to climb higher up the kopje an even better view awaits. With a pair of binoculars it is possible to see buffalo, impala, topi, giraffe and elephant.

The Lobo Wildlife Lodge is the best value in the Northern Serengeti and is the nicest out of all the Wildlife chain lodges in Tanzania. The Lobo Wildlife Lodge may be substantially less expensive then the other two lodges in the Northern Serengeti, Migration Camp and Kleins Camp, but it is located in the best location for game viewing in the Northern Serengeti. The Lobo River Valley is the premier area for wildlife viewing in the Northern Serengeti. Though the Lobo Valley isn’t as raw and wild as other parts of the Northern Serengeti, it does contain the highest concentration of resident animals in the Northern Serengeti including lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephant, giraffe, buffalo and impala. We highly recommend Lobo Wildlife Lodge for anyone seeking simple (no frills) accommodations and superior wildlife viewing during the dry season. For those seeking a more intimate, authentic and luxurious bush lodge, Migration Camp (located about 1 hour to the Northwest of Lobo) is a much better choice.

Lobo Wildlife Lodge is only recommended during a portion of the dry season from early July through mid November when game viewing is good to excellent in the immediate area. July (northward migration) and October (southward migration) are the absolute best times to visit. During these months, the migration should be in full swing and hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra should be passing through the immediate area as they make their way to or from the Serengeti plains.

The scenery around the Lobo Wildlife Lodge is stunningly beautiful. It is of stark contrast to the open Serengeti plains further south. The topography consists of gentle rolling hills, acacia tree woodlands and large granite outcrops. You will likely encounter few other visitors out on game drives but rather miles upon miles of pristine wilderness. Wildlife viewing in the Northern Serengeti is more raw and wild as compared with other areas of the park and we think it’s a little more special.

Lobo Wildlife Lodge was built in 1969 and shortly thereafter was acquired by the Tanzanian government. In 1993, TAHI (owned by ARCCO) acquired a 40% ownership in the lodge. In December 2003, the lodge was 100% privatized and was purchased in full by a wealthy Tanzanian gentleman. A South African Management company, ‘Hotels & Lodges Limited’, manages the operations Lobo Wildlife Lodge. Unfortunately, Lobo Wildlife Lodge has not had any noticeable refurbishments since it was originally constructed in 1969. At over 35 years old, the lodge and rooms are dated and in desperate need of refurbishments. With a little remodeling, the lodge could be truly spectacular. However, this is as always a double-edged sword as the Lobo Wildlife Lodge is the only standard priced lodge in the Northern Serengeti and remains a superb value.

On a day to day basis, the lodge is run and managed by Isidory, who is a friendly Tanzania man doing his best make sure everyone is quite content with their stay at Lobo Wildlife Lodge.

Location

Lobo Wildlife Lodge is located on the eastern edge f the Northern Serengeti. The lodge is situated in the middle of the Lobo River Valley, which contains an abundance of resident wildlife. Approximately 25 miles to the north is Kenya and the Masai Mara National Park. The border has been closed since 1977 to vehicles and you are not allowed to drive into the Masai Mara from the Serengeti. The Central Serengeti, specifically Seronera, is located about 30 miles to the south.

There are only two other lodges (Migration Camp and Kleins Camp) in the entire Northern Serengeti and one of them (Kleins) actually resides just outside the official border. Migration Camp is located to the northwest and is about a 1-hour drive away at game drive speed. Kleins Camp is situated about 1 hour to the northeast.

Access

Lobo Wildlife Lodge is usually incorporated into our fly-in and drive-back itineraries at the beginning of your safari. You will most likely be arriving at Lobo Airstrip (15-minute drive) on your regional flight departing from the Arusha Air Strip. A night or two at the beginning of your safari is a superb way to kick off your adventure before traveling to other areas of the Serengeti and onwards to the Crater and the other great parks of Northern Tanzania. Flying into the wild Northern Serengeti on your first safari day is a superb introduction to Tanzania. From Lobo Wildlife Lodge, it is about a 2-hour drive south to the Seronera area of the Central Serengeti. It is a fairly long drive to the Central Serengeti but this is more than made up for by the stunning scenery and abundant wildlife. Keep a look out for lion and cheetah off from the main road as they are regularly sighted.

Lobo Wildlife Lodge can also be incorporated into your itinerary at the end of your adventure in the Serengeti. The lodge does make an excellent spot to unwind, relax and enjoy your last night or two on safari.

Accommodation

Accommodations at the Lobo Wildlife Lodge consist of 75 rooms. There are doubles, twins and triples available plus one presidential suite. Lobo Wildlife Lodge very rarely operates at or near capacity due to its remote location. This certainly makes the lodge more appealing, as it never feels very crowded especially in comparison to the large lodges of the Central Serengeti, which have a more ‘busy’ and ‘touristy’ feel to them.

The rooms at Lobo Wildlife Lodge are built at the base of the kopje in two ‘motel style’ wings with each wing diverging from the main reception and dinning area. Each wing is 3-stories high and your room is accessed via an internal motel style hallway. As mentioned, the rooms are very basic but clean and comfortable. The rooms are small and furnished with just a nightstand, chair and bed. There are views from most of the rooms looking out to the Lobo Valley or the area behind the lodge. Buffalo are frequent visitors to the grazing area beneath the rooms and can be regularly spotted from your room. However, there is no balcony but just a window to observe from. This is certainly not the lodge to pick based upon relaxing in your room. Rather, a stay at Lobo Wildlife Lodge is best enjoyed out game viewing the surrounding valley or enjoying the views and wildlife from the main lodge areas.

The main lodge areas are much more charming then the rooms. The décor, on par with the rooms, is still something out of the 1970’s but the friendly staff and beautiful kopje themed lobby, pool and dinning area more then make up for this. Throughout the lodge, you will find baboons, hyrax’s and agama lizards clambering on the giant kopjes that adorn the main lodge structure.

The lobby and reception area at Lobo Wildlife Lodge is on the ground floor and at the bottom of the kopje. Ascending a maze of stairs from the lobby takes you to the lounge, bar and dinning areas. These are massive and cavernous areas but pleasantly designed as a large granite kopje forms the length of the entire east wall. Just off from the dinning room, is an outdoor patio, deck and swimming pool. This area offers some of the best lodge views in all the Serengeti. Make sure to bring your binoculars because you can see the entire show from here. If you are courageous enough, you can climb higher up the adjoining kopje for stunning views of the entire Lobo Valley.

Food and Drink

The meals at Lobo Wildlife Lodge are surprisingly good. Meals are either served buffet style of fixed course depending upon the number of guests. Over 50 guests on any one night and buffets will be served for each meal. Regardless of the style, the food is excellent and on par with most of the more expensive lodges in the park.

Breakfast boxes can be arranged for early morning game drives or you can enjoy breakfast on the outside patio next to the dinning tent. Breakfast consists of eggs, breads, fruit, mixed nuts, yogurt and pancakes. Similarly to breakfast, you have your choice of dinning in for lunch or enjoying a lunch box if you plan a full day adventure game drive. Dinner is also very good and is served with 4 courses. A typical arrangement would include greens or corn fritters, soup, rice, potatoes and your choice of chicken, pasta or beef plus fresh fruit skewers or chocolate cake.

There is a good variety of beer, wine, soft drinks and spirits available at an additional charge at Lobo Wildlife Lodge.

Game Viewing

Lobo Wildlife Lodge is located in northern area of the Serengeti ecosystem and accordingly, it is this area that will be the topic of discussion below. See the Serengeti National Park guide for a complete analysis on the entire Serengeti ecosystem, including the famed migration and all the game viewing highlights.

The northern region of the Serengeti is a vast pristine area of wooded rolling hills interspersed with open grassy patches and large granite outcrops. This region extends north about 55 miles from Seronera in the Central Serengeti to the Masai Mara Game Reserve in Kenya. Most visitors to the Serengeti never see the northern region. It is only rarely visited and remains an unexplored and untouched wilderness packed with stunning landscapes and abundant wildlife.

We find it ironic that the most popular game viewing regions in East Africa are the Central Serengeti in Tanzania and the Masai Mara reserve in Kenya. Thousands of visitors a year flock to these two great areas, which belong to same ecosystem. Lying right in between these two areas is the Northern Serengeti, which receives very few visitors. Wildlife concentrations are lower in the Northern Serengeti and the thick woodlands do make game harder to see but this is more than compensated by the beautiful landscapes and the fact you will have the majority of your wildlife sightings all to yourself.

The Northern Serengeti supports a good number of resident herbivores including giraffe, eland, topi, impala and Thomson’s gazelle. This area is home to the largest remaining concentrations of elephants in the Serengeti. These graceful giants were poached heavily in the 1980s and less than a hundred remained by 1987 in the northern Serengeti. With the world ban on the ivory trade imposed in 1989, poaching came to an abrupt halt. Since the ivory ban was enacted, elephant numbers have been slowing rising in the Northern Serengeti through immigration from the Mara, natural recruitment and from expansion of agricultural communities outside the park forcing those animals inside the Serengeti. The great buffalo herds of the north faced a similar fate but they too are returning and a few large herds are usually sighted around Lobo in the northern Serengeti.

Predators are also abundant in the Northern Serengeti, though not to the extent seen in the Central Serengeti. The thick bush and woodlands of the Northern Serengeti do make it more difficult to spot predators. However, lions and hyenas are regularly seen. Cheetahs are distributed fairly thinly in the northern woodlands but they are commonly seen since they are active during the day. Leopards are spread fairly constant throughout the woodlands but they are more elusive here in the Northern Serengeti.

The northern woodlands of the Serengeti ecosystem are home to the enormous migratory herds of wildebeest and zebra during the dry season. However, the great herds usually reside in the extreme north of the park spilling over into the Masai Mara during the height of the dry season. The smaller wildebeest herds can usually be accessed with game drives to the extreme north. The zebra herds are more dispersed and are more easily seen. Game viewing is at its best it the Northern Serengeti when the great herds are migrating through the area to and from the Masai Mara and the extreme northern Serengeti. The northern migration usually makes its way through the northern Serengeti in July, appearing on the Mara watershed in Kenya in early August. The southern migration through the northern region usually takes place in mid to late October. However, these events and the exact timing fluctuates from year to year and is entirely dependent on current rainfall patterns.

An interesting note: The small kopje behind the Lobo Wildlife Lodge is frequently used by female lions as a den site to give birth to their cubs. This has been a recurring pattern noted by the lodge staff for years though they are note sure if it is the same lion or not. A female lion becomes secretive during her last weeks of pregnancy, leaves her pride and then gives birth in the dense vegetation of a kopje or riverbed. Each female has a preferred den site, often the spot where she herself was born. After giving birth, the mother spends most of the next few weeks alone with her cubs, but leaves them periodically to go hunting. As soon as her cubs are old enough to move around on their own (about 6 weeks), the mother brings them out to join the pride. Since female lions have been known for years to give birth in this kopje, it might be perhaps that there have been several generations of lions (grandmothers, mothers and daughters), each in turn returning to the site where they were born to give birth to the next generation.

Activities

  • Private game drives
  • Picnic lunches
  • Sundowners
  • Game viewing from the lodge
  • Mara River full day adventure game drive