Tanzania Safari – Day 4 – Karatu to The Serengeti

October 12, 2017

OUR ACCOMMODATION IN KARATU

Between Lake Manyara and The Serengeti lies the small ward of Karatu, population approximately 18,000. Karatu’s ideal location means that it is a popular place for tour groups to stop for the night on the way in and out of the Serengeti and our group was no different. As I mentioned before, we choose the lodge option for our safari. So while the rest of our group headed off to camp, we were dropped off at the Ngorongoro Farm House.

Stepping onto the grounds of the Ngorongoro Farm House is taking a step back in time.  Set inside a working coffee plantation, the lodge is nestled amongst beautifully manicured grounds and rustic buildings. The staff greeted us with a welcome juice made from fruit grown on the grounds. Accommodation consists of individual bungalows with four-poster beds, verandah, and fireplace.

Ngorongoro Farm House Bungalow
Outside our bungalow at the Ngorongoro Farm House
Ngorongoro Farm House Grounds
Grounds of the Ngorongoro Farm House
Ngorongoro Farm House Grounds
Ngorongoro Farm House Grounds

All meals were included during our stay. Dinner was a buffet that consisted of a combination of salads, meats, curries, and desserts. Absolutely delicious! Another group was celebrating a birthday and the entire staff formed a long conga-like line signing a version of the Jambo song.

Ngorongoro Farm House Dinner
Ngorongoro Farm House Dinner
Ngorongoro Farm House Main Hall
Ngorongoro Farm House Main Hall

After dinner we set in the lounge watching the bonfire outside and sipping coffee. The colonial era atmosphere was truly magical.

Ngorongoro Farm House
Outside the main hall at the Ngorongoro Farm House

One of the options available to us was to have a fire lit in our bungalow’s fireplace. It was a bit chilly so we decided to have one lit. We could actually hear them chopping the wood outside. The warmth from the hearth filled our bungalow, cutting the evening chill and bringing a wonderful day to a perfect close.

Ngorongoro Farm House Fireplace
Lighting a fire in our Ngorongoro Farm House bungalow

The next morning, we enjoyed the buffet breakfast – cereals, fresh fruits, omelette, and bacon. After breakfast it was time to prepare our packed lunches to enjoy while on safari. Outside of the main hall, there is a station set up where you can choose items to include in your lunch. Roasted chicken, smoked salmon, eggs, cake, breads, cheeses, chicken salad, fruits, and juices were all available to choose from.

Ngorongoro Farm House Breakfast
Ngorongoro Farm House Breakfast

Our lunches packed, we checked out of this perfect place and rejoined our now reduced group.

THE ROAD TO SERENGETI NATIONAL PARK

The drive to Serengeti National Park is long and once past the entrance to the Ngorongoro Crater, it is very, very rough. You find yourself wondering when it is going to end. Really, I have been on a lot of unpaved roads in my life. I am familiar with what it is like to be on a road that has degenerated into a washboard. Nothing could have prepared me for this road.

Vehicle breakdowns are frequent and, unfortunately, we were not immune. The constant bouncing and jarring caused us to have a short (due to an exposed wire) and a flat tire. The various drivers are all so supportive of one another, stopping whenever a vehicle is broken down to help out.

Flat Tire Serengeti
Our flat tire on the road to the Serengeti

At one point, a car drove past with Tanzanian flags on the hood while we were waiting for our flat to get fixed. All of the drivers chased after it and talked to the passenger for some time. It turned out to be the Minister of Tourism. They were asking him to repave and fix the road. I agree, having a better road can only server to being in more tourists!

The Maasai were everywhere. We could see their villages and herds of cattle along the side of the road. The Masai were forced to move out of the Serengeti when it became a national park and now their villages surround it.

Masai Cattle Serengeti
Maasai cattle on the road to the Serengeti
Masai Serengeti
Maasai on the road to the Serengeti

The road to the Serengeti is part of the main road between northern and southern Tanzania. Long-haul buses, crowded and often over-loaded, make the trip daily. I cannot imagine what it would be like to travel this road on a bus.

In the end, rough road or not, I was on my way to the Serengeti!

10 Comments
    1. I love how they chased the Minister of Tourism! That’s one way to get your point across!

    1. Very nice post
      Sad that a whole tribe had to be displaced, and I still keep seeing the Masai Tribe in photos. The stories of the drivers working with each other cooperating is so endearing in an other wise dog-eat-dog world. What’s also nice is the tourism minister being accesible to peeople. Unfortunately corruption is rife in most parts of the world, and Africa is on the higher side. I only hope more money is put in to make tourism more relevant to the local communities.

    1. What a cool and cozy place to stay. Oh wow I didn’t know these Masai people had to move out. That’s so sad to see. It shouldn’t be happening. Africa is such a beautiful place but I agree so much corruption is still there. That’s so unfortunate.

    1. What a wonderful accommodation you had the enjoyment to stay at! Hopefully they do fix the road so others coming don’t have to endure the same difficulties.

    1. That lodge looks so luxurious and lovely. Could you hear animal noises during the night? I agree that it’s really frustrating travelling on bumpy roads, especially when the vehicle breaks down. It always makes me realise that we take smooth, easy roads for granted in our developed countries.

      1. We were about to hear bats and a few mysterious night birds from the lodge. I think all the larger animals stay away from the working farm. The following night, when we were staying in a tented camp in the Serengeti, we heard lions outside our tent! I write about it in the next post.

    1. The lodge seems lovely!! Also, the car breakdown.. man! I would have totally freaked out! Were there any wild animals roaring anywhere near? :p

    1. Love that there was a fireplace! Why does it seem that while someone isn’t traveling, nothing goes wrong then as soon as you venture out into the jungle you get a flat tire?! Looks like you handled it well.

    1. Lighting the fire made me laugh 😂😂 but overall how gorgeous! It sounds and looks like you had a really incredible time. Everything looks stunning and your pics are gorgeous. The accomadation looks so luxe! I 100% need to try this. Thanks for sharing a great post

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