Maybe you are a discerning traveler who has journeyed around the world seeking the ultimate in luxury accommodations. Maybe you are looking for an extraordinary way to celebrate that honeymoon, graduation, special anniversary, or milestone birthday. Or MAYBE you are simply looking for that one shining highlight to crown all of your other experiences in Africa. Regardless, we've got good news - you have finally found it here. Behold, the one and only Crater Lodge.
The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, simply known by many (and referred to here) as the Crater Lodge, is the popular pick for not only the finest lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater but in all of Tanzania. Whimsical architecture, rich décor, and remarkable views combine to create a castle in the sky of your wildest dreams. So many adjectives come to mind but still fall short of describing this palatial estate. Opulent, stunning, posh, luxurious, intimate, winsome, extravagant, eccentric, secluded, exotic, lavish, rich - but alas, words alone cannot properly capture this venue that we call Crater Lodge. Even pictures don't do it justice. You simply have to experience the extravagance first hand to understand what all the fuss is about, because so many other elements come into play.
The stunning views of the yawning Ngorongoro Crater alone are priceless. Combine this with the impeccable service (like a private butler), lavish details (like dozens of roses strewn throughout the room), and delectable dining (complete with chandeliers, candles, crystal and silver) and you may have the crowning highlight of your entire African safari right here.
In spite of its "Versailles-like" ambience, this Lodge exhibits no trace of pretentiousness or conceit. The staff is warm, caring, and thoughtful. It is their most sincere desire that you have the best time of your safari right there at their beautiful Lodge, and they definitely go the extra mile to make it so.
The buildings are situated into three intimate guest camps. No matter which camp you find yourself in, you will certainly enjoy your private suite with all the luxuries of a royal palace. Each thatched rondavel comes complete with private butler service, a cozy sitting area with crackling fireplace, dozens of fresh roses, an elegant bath, chandelier lighting, intricately carved furnishings, plush window treatments, soaring spaces, and magnificent picture windows with stunning views of the Crater below.
Leather, velvet, crystal, banana leaves, and dark woods fill the space with rich textures, soothing tones, and a luxurious ambience. Splashes of silver and gold ornaments dance in the flicker of the fire. In spite of the obviously flamboyant surroundings, a great deal of the charm of Crater Lodge is in the personalized service and thoughtful details - every seemingly trivial deed, whether it be your meal presentation, the drawing of your bath, even your laundry service , is done with an extra finesse and flair that has become the hallmark of Crater Lodge.
The Ngorongoro Crater itself is a dramatic amphitheatre of life, surrounded by the steep jagged walls of the collapsed volcano that created it. So you've gotten up early and asked the staff to pack a picnic breakfast to not miss any action? Good choice! There is a special atmosphere in the Crater at the light of dawn not to be missed. You'll notice the top of the rim is chilly and clad with mist in the early morning. As your land rover descends the winding road from the top of the ridge to the Crater floor, you'll gradually emerge from the clouds and notice a steady shift in both temperature and scenery.
The leafy forest and morning chill are slowly but surely replaced by sparser vegetation and warmer air. Eventually the landscape melds into the tawny grasslands of the Crater floor, which are teeming with big game. Early morning in the Crater is a time of spellbinding beauty and special solitude (since many of the less ambitious tourists are still sleeping.) Luminous clouds that hung low in the night now roll dramatically above and pile up against the emerald Crater wall, just not quite high enough to escape the rising sun. Shafts of morning sunlight filter through the billowing clouds and create bold shadows that shift and dance below. As the sun rises the air continues to warm. The whistling breeze sweeps down the steep walls and over the grasses at the Crater floor, seeming to whisper of ancient memories of the fiery volcanoes that created this mythical place.
There is dramatic scenery to behold here, and yes the geological history is very intriguing, but the real stars of this show are the ANIMALS! For as far as the eye can see, you will be surrounded by generously sized herds of all types of animals, all taking haven in what has been called "Africa's Garden of Eden." Gazelles and buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, elephant and even the rare black rhino live in concentrated numbers here. There is a realistic chance that you will actually be able to see cheetahs hunting in such a confined area. The lions in the Crater are certainly not tame, but they are somewhat used to vehicles, and you may just find them seeking shade in the shadow of your land rover! Hyenas and other smaller carnivores like the serval cat also make this beautiful place home.
Travel to the western edge of the Crater and enter the magical Lerai forest. Ancient trees draped in vines rise up from a deep leafy carpet of ferns and wide banners of tropical leaves. Look for sly leopards perched high in the tree boughs, hiding in the leaves and dappled light. Also watch for elephants ambling through shady thickets. Emerge from the forest and keep your eyes open for a sighting of the rare black rhino! During a delightful picnic lunch you'll be able to stretch those legs and watch for hippos spouting water in the spring pool nearby. As the sun continues to rise throughout the day, you'll want to shed that sweater and maybe peel off those zippered pant-legs. Get your cameras ready as you journey to the sparkling soda lake and witness thousands of pink flamingoes preening and reflecting in the still waters - a fantastic sight.
The Crater Lodge is perched on the edge of the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara National Park. It lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 3000 square miles of pristine African wilderness. The Lodge is set just a few miles to the west of the Crater ascent road. The Ngorongoro Crater is the center piece of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 3000 square miles of pristine African wilderness. The Crater floor is a natural refuge for thousands of indigenous African animals and many species of insects and birds. Lush highlands surround the Crater, rolling away to the golden volcanic plains and glittering soda lakes of the Great Rift Valley.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge comprises three separate and intimate camps: North Camp (12 suites), South Camp (12 suites) and Tree Camp (6 suites). Each suite consists of a double rondavel with one section being the bedroom and sitting area and the other being completely dedicated to the carnivorous bathroom. The eccentric and creatively decorated interiors combine silver, gold and ruby colors under banana-leaf ceilings. Furnishings and fixtures are bewildering and include a beaded chandelier, voluptuous raw silk curtains, various antiques and hand crafted wooden structures. Every room comes with Crater Lodge's exclusive butler service. Your butler will discreetly tend to your every need including serving you meals in suite, stoking your fireplace or mixing you drinks.
The rooms at Crater Lodge are massive and magnificent. First of all, every part of the room provides breathtaking views of the below Crater with floor to ceiling glass windows. With a pair of binoculars it is possible to see the whole show from here. The oversized beds are fitted with fine linens, a velvet duvet, electric blankets and each rests upon a unique hand crafted four-poster bed frame with a spectacular headboard. Just off from the bedroom is the sitting area complete with fireplace, two large leather backed chairs, small table and footstools. Directly in front of the bedroom is your own private wooden viewing deck.
The second section of your suite consists of the bathroom area, which is separated by an intricately carved wooded divider. The highlight of this section is the glorious bathtub and above are two-dozen red roses placed in an ornate vase. Of course, just like everywhere else, the view from the bathtub is superb as it looks down on the Crater floor through a small window. There is a separate shower in a bamboo structure with twin hand basins. Lastly, there is a private bathroom and yes; there is even a view from here.
The main guest areas are just as impressive as your suite and consist of a library, lounge and formal and informal dining rooms. They offer a great place to mingle with other guests and share the safari highlights for the day. There is a particularly good gift shop and art gallery located on the premises. Also, Internet access is available at an additional cost. For your safety, you will be accompanied at night when walking to and from the main Lodge. Large male buffalos are regular visitors to the grounds of the Crater Lodge and extra caution is required when walking around the property.
The Lodge is situated at the rim of the Crater at an elevation of about 7,000 feet. It can get quite cold at night and in the early morning so make sure to pack appropriate attire. On the contrary, expect highs on the Crater floor where you will be spending the majority of your day in the upper 70s and lower 80s so it's best to layer your clothing.
There are three separate 'camps' at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and each has its own separate facilities (lounge, library, dining room, etc.): North Camp (12 suites), South Camp (12 suites) and Tree Camp (6 suites). North and South Camp are identical. Tree Camp is set apart from the others a bit, the rooms are slightly different, and overall it is well-suited for small groups.
Food and Drink
The food at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is simply wonderful; extravagant, delectable, and stunningly presented with Crater Lodge flair.
Breakfast is served mixed buffet style in the informal dining room. It consists of a large assortment of fruits, cereals and breads. Orders are separately taken for eggs, bacon, ham, etc. However, if you wish, your butler is happy to serve you either breakfast in bed or in front of your cozy fireplace. Our standard itineraries typically include an early morning game drive (6AM) in the Crater. This is a superb game drive and includes an amazing bush breakfast from the Crater Lodge. After an hour or so game driving in the early morning or when you get hungry, you will stop to indulge in a grand safari breakfast by Ngoitokitok Springs.
The best option for lunch is to arrange a picnic down on the Crater floor either by the hippo pool or the small scenic lake. Alternatively, lunch is also offered at the Lodge. Dinner is quite a production and a fairly formal affair. It is offered in the formal domed dining room complete with glamorous chandeliers, flickering candles, glittering crystal and weighty silver. Dinner is delicious and consists of Pan-African cuisine. Once again, you always have the choice to have a more private and romantic meal in the comfort of your room. This is actually a very good option as your butler can set up quite a spread in front of your cozy fireplace. There is a good variety of beer, wine and cocktails available and most are included in your safari package.
- Private game drives into the wildlife-teeming amphitheatre of the Ngorongoro Crater
- Explore the famous archaeological site and museum at Olduvai Gorge
- Maasai boma cultural visit
- Visit the bizarre shifting sands
- Bush breakfasts
- Picnic lunches
- Well stocked safari boutique and gift shop
- Internet access at an additional fee
- A full library of books on Africa and a wide range of board games
- Full housekeeping services
- Hairdryers in all rooms
- 24 hour electricity
- Crater Lodge massage services at an additional fee
- Laundry service is included in your safari package
- All beverages such as soft drinks, beer, house wine, spirits are included in your safari package