Superbly situated in the lee of Mount Kilimanjaro and sheltered by the volcanic splendour of the Chyulu Hills, this classic stone-built lodge overlooks its own water hole, which is visited daily by elephants, buffalos and a wide variety of plains game. One of the first lodges ever to be built in a national park, the lodge is cool, tranquil and hushed for optimum game-viewing. It is also ideally placed for visits to all the park's prime attractions.
Faced in volcanic stone and utilising the natural rocky outcrops of a valley known as 'the place of the young rhino', from which it takes its name, the lodge features a thatched central dining area and a rock-built bar, with a viewing terrace looking directly down on to the waterhole.
All the spacious ensuite rooms have their own verandas, some overlooking the waterhole, some the Chyulu Hills, which are one of the world's youngest volcanic ranges. As for activities, the lodge offers numerous game drives, guided walks, bush breakfasts, volcano climbs and trips to Mzima Springs, a set of crystal-clear ponds, fed by the melt waters of Mount Kilimanjaro, in which the many hippos can be viewed from a submerged chamber. We appreciate the fact that we enjoy a unique privilege: we have the honour of hosting one of the few lodges to be permitted within a national park - an area that is otherwise exclusively dedicated to the preservation of its wilderness and wildlife. We also appreciate the support of the human community that surrounds this wilderness area, on whom we rely for the provision of staff members, guides, dancers and entertainers. Consequently we host a number of eco-programmes, all of which are designed to support and sustain the natural and human community of which we are a part. Such programmes vary according to need, but presently they are as follows:
We work with the Kenya Wildlife Service (KWS) in carrying out an on-going tree-planting programme for the park. Our staff also regularly join with KWS to have 'litter collecting days' so as to keep the park in a pristine condition.
We have built a classroom block for the local school as well as providing desks, teaching equipment and sports equipment.
We have provided training programmes on the importance of using clean water to reduce the incidence of diarrhea; we also supply clean drinking water for the local community. In the interests of reducing the incidence of malaria, we supply mosquito nets to the local community.
We create both temporary and permanent jobs for the local community. We also offer training and work-exposure programmes for school leavers.
We encourage interface between our guests and the local villages - hosting tours and promoting the sale of handicraft items.
We showcase Maasai dance, costume, singing and cultural craft as part of our corporate undertaking to support and sustain the cultural heritage of our nation.
We support local orphanages and hospitals, mostly via the provision of food stuffs, but also by means of voluntary support visits by our staff.
In terms of its own ecological 'foot' print, the lodge abides by a code of responsible practice in relation to: energy conservation (inverter systems have recently been installed so as to reduce the lodge's use of diesel-fuelled generators), waste recycling (glass, plastics, 'wet waste' and the distribution of food-waste to local pig-farmers), sewage disposal, air emissions, non-CFC use, pesticide-use, noise reduction and visual pollution. Wherever possible, local produce is featured on the menus.
In order to promote the overall health of their workforce, Serena has also established the Employee Wellness Programme, which aims to address the holistic health needs of not only Serena's staff, but also of the communities that surround their lodges. In essence, the programme is devoted to reducing the incidence of accident and illness in the workplace, promoting healthy lifestyles, maximizing potential, and promoting optimum quality of life.