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Review: Impala Hotel

Tuesday, July 24th, 2007

I’ve given myself some time before posting this review, as I’ve been churning it over on how to write it.

The question is not did I enjoy my time at the Impala Hotel in Arusha, that answer is easy — I did not. The real question for the review is, was it a good value and on this I am torn. I’ve waited some time before posting the review because I feel it important to balance the issues of ‘expectations’ — you can’t expect the same as if this were a hotel in Europe. I also didn’t want to write with “fresh off the plane” prejudice. I wanted to take into account the resources available in Arusha and the ‘frame of reference’ that needs to provide. This is not a well off area and so a ‘luxury’ hotel (as it bills itself) here needs that taken into account.

Now that I’ve been in Africa for 2 weeks and seen a variety of other places, I feel more solid in my critique.

[read on]

Review: Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Now, I should start this review with the preface that we were only there about 12 hours, if that, as we arrived around 7 and left early the next morning.

The lodge was the most “hotel-like” we stayed in, although you still went into open air to get from section to section. The main bar area was like a ski lodge, with big picture windows looking out into the crater, and a large central fire place to gather around. Everyone was playing cards or games and just sitting around drinking. There were young acrobats for entertainment who were pretty damn impressive. [read on]

Review: Serengeti Serena Lodge

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

This place is just weird. Uber-high quality and posh, but weird.

The ‘bungalows’ for lack of a better word, are supposed to be, I think, like Disney-fied Masai huts, but the end result is you feel like you’re in homes for Hobbits from Lord of the Rings. [read on]

Review: Tarangire Tented Camp

Sunday, July 22nd, 2007

Of the three luxury lodges we stayed in, all very different, in some ways Taragire Tented Camp was my favorite.

First, the view is amazing. It overlooks a valley with a couple of rivers in them and you can see impala, zebra, wildebeast, and elephants all traipsing around at wee size, but still totally visible. Almost like action figures. We didn’t see any predators there, other than vultures. It doesn’t look real. You feel like you’re looking down into this “toy” or artificial valley created just for your pleasure viewing, like something out of Star Trek or Harry Potter (oh, HP update — don’t think I’ll find a copy of the new one here in Arusha, I think it will have to wait until Kampala. Am avoiding all news sites until I get a copy). [read on]