Serengeti Sopa Lodge
Serengeti National Park, Tanzania
Serengeti Sopa Lodge honors its setting in the great plain of the Serengeti with Africa’s traditional generosity of spirit and hospitality, carefully chosen African motifs, and especially by its openness to what Cyril Connolly called “an immense, limitless lawn,” where “the light is dazzling, the air delectable; the magic of the American prairie here blends with the other magic of the animals as they existed before man. There is a lightening of spirit….” Serengeti Sopa is a true and enthusiastic celebration of the Serengeti.
Serengeti Sopa is set amidst acacia woodlands on the edge of an escarpment overlooking the vast expanse of the kopje-studded Plain. The delightfully open dining area’s floor-to-ceiling windows open to the Plain’s dazzling light (and its cuisine adds to the Lodge’s overall lightening of spirit). Its beautifully decorated lobby is a fine place to relax after game drives, and its full range of amenities—gym, gift shop, swimming pool, outdoor dining, etc.—are up-to-the-minute modern.
The Lodge’s 65 rooms are furnished with local fabrics and art, decorated in the same soothing mustard and blue terracotta colours as the impressive public areas. Each room has a lounge and mini-bar, en-suite bathroom, and each features a verandah opening dramatically to the game-thronged Plain below.
Though game drives with our Micato Safari Director —for whom the Serengeti is a familiar backyard of a vast and ever-eventful sort—are the natural focus of our time here, the Lodge offers a wide range of activities, including optional early morning hot-air balloon excursions (which we highly recommend as an unforgettable experience of the awakening Serengeti Plain).
About those game drives: we set out with our Safari Director, typically in the morning and in the cooling afternoon, on rolling 4-wheel drive explorations in peaceful search of the plant’s greatest collection of free-roaming animals. The Serengeti’s signature rock outcrops, called kopjes, seem to have been created by a cosmic bonsai master, great places for the Serengeti’s lions to bask and warm their fluffy white bellies in the sun. The other four of the Big Five—leopard, Cape buffalo, rhino, elephant—are all in prominent residence (as are mile-long streams of zebras and wildebeest, especially but not only during the fabled Great Migration). We all have our favourites, Big Five, Little Five, and all the many hundreds of species in between, but few of us ever forget the sight of monumental, surprisingly muscular giraffes, like “a family of rare, long-stemmed speckled gigantic flowers slowly advancing” as the great Isak Dinesen wrote. Or “the morally edifying quality in the very aspect of an elephant,” as Ms. Dinesen said. “On seeing four elephants walking together on the plain, I at once felt that I had been shown black stone sculptures of the four major prophets.”