Serengeti's Best: Lemala Kuria Hills
Our flight was a bit too early (yes, that also happens in Africa), so our driver was still preparing our welcome set-up. When we approached him, he genuinely apologized for not heading to the plane and helping us with the luggage immediately. He prepared a lovely breakfast table with cookies, fruits, cake, coffee, tea and of course, white wine. Knowing Lukas and me, neither of us two refused a glass. So we were sitting in the bush right next to an unprotected runway where planes arrived and departed more frequently than in Dar Es Salaam (it gets super busy in Kogatende around lunchtime). Minutes later, we packed our stuff together and boarded the Lemala branded car to head straight to our first game drive. Basically at Lemala, you have two game drives: one after breakfast/before lunch and one in the afternoon before dinner. During the hottest period of the day between noon and 4 pm you better do like all the animals do: having lunch and a siesta. I mean at that stage of our trip we were still impressed by the Wildebeests. Quickly after we realized they are all over the park, they, of course, became less surprising. At around 1.30 pm, we arrived at the lodge where we were warmly welcomed by an array of staff members along with the general manager. They greeted us with refreshing towels, a welcome drink and then accompanied us to the main tent.
It was the manager who introduced us to the rules and regulations of the lodge. To not be in any danger during the stay, we had to walk with a staff member whenever we wanted to get back to our villa. Speaking of which, our one-bedroom tented villa was simply out of this world. I can gladly say that the accommodation at Lemala Kuria Hills definitely is one of the finest in Africa, with spacious layouts as well as a terrace with private plunge pool. Lukas even stayed at some of South Africa’s most beautiful lodges and admitted that this was the most luxurious safari accommodation he ever stayed at. Our bedroom with twin beds and writing desk was located in the centre of the villa with an open living room that had a sofa and a chair.
Furthermore, we had access to the terrace with two sun loungers, a dining table and chairs for two as well as the cold pool. There was a spacious wardrobe at the entrance and a super lovely bathroom with double vanities, separated toilet, walk-in shower as well as free-standing bathtub overlooking the Serengeti. Another highlight of the room: the outdoor shower and the fantastic smelling toiletries by a brand from the Zanzibar island. I have to highlight the excellent housekeeping team who kept the villa in perfectly fresh conditions.
When you are planning a safari in Africa, you will soon realize that every lodge comes with an all-inclusive package. It’s simply impossible to have credit card terminals everywhere in the lodge, and the logistics are simply too complicated. That’s why they ease processes and just include everything. So beside breakfast make sure to free space for lunch, an afternoon snack and sumptuous set dinner menus. South African wines are also included along with a few European and Australian ones. However, Lukas recommendation is to give the South African wines a try since they are truly underrated. Service at Lemala is outstanding, they always greet you by your name (everyone without exceptions) and even remember your preferred drinks. Honestly, that’s what I am missing in European hotels, and it is not getting better anytime soon.
On top of that, they even offer complimentary cocktails and drinks from the bar, so the only thing that’s not included are premium wines and spirits. If you don’t feel the urge to pop a bottle of Dom Perignon, you may be fine. Since we loved the service, the only cash we needed was for the tip at the end of the stay - which we left with pleasure since every staff member goes above and beyond!
All of our game drives were done by the same guide Miraji. While all of the guides seemed to be high-class, we were so happy to have Miraji. He has an excellent knowledge of the wildlife and managed to keep Lukas and me entertained even if we didn’t find the big lions. Indeed, he was funny, always on time, spoke excellent English and set up a fantastic lunch for us. Miraji simply loves his job and working for Lemala - as a guest, you feel that and enjoy the game drives at its best. All of the rides are done in private vehicles. Every villa has its own driver and car - another unique amenity of Lemala. Overall, we had a superb time and can highly recommend Lemala Kuria Hills. It is very expensive but compared to what you get and what they offer, it’s an absolutely fair price. Considering other lodges charge the same and don’t even offer half of the luxury.
Disclaimer: During our safari in Serengeti North, we were guests of the Lemala and stayed at Lemala Kuria Hills for editorial purposes. Opinions are our own as usual and have not been influenced. Luxury Executive is a blog published by tourism experts and all reviews purely focus on the hotel and destination.