The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world’s most famous wildlife destinations. It is a an eco-system quite unlike any other with its huge densities of big five, plus so much more. Although Tanzania open for tourism now, this usually busy destination is beautifully quiet. A couple of nights in the area with one full day on the Crater floor is definitely worth including in any Northern Tanzania itinerary.
Nomad are one of Tanzania’s top safari operators and they stylishly combine sustainability, luxury and the essence of safari. Their Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is situated in such a way that each of the rooms have a view into the Crater whilst the main lodge area gives you a beautiful look over the Serengeti.
Here there are seven en-suite rooms which include two family units that each comprise of two large bedrooms and a shared adjoining bathroom. Each room is beautifully furnished and feels like a home away from home.
As well as visiting the famous Crater for the day, Masai tribe visits are also a popular activity and give you an incredible insight into the lives of the tribes that inhabit the area.
Accompanying Entamanu is the private camp used for exclusive use only and the style of the Entamanu Private is carried through from that of the main camp. Stylish, cosy and luxurious. Made up of four rooms, two standard and two family rooms, it is the perfect place for larger groups or families to start their Tanzania holiday.
The exclusivity means you can tailor make your day to exactly how you want it, whether you want an early start or a long lie in, your private guide and activities are arranged around your needs! If exclusivity is what you are after, then combining Entamanu Private with Nomad’s Mkombe’s House in the Kogatende region of the Serengeti makes for the perfect itinerary. As well as a private guide and vehicle, your every need will be catered for with a private host and chef who will organise your days based on exactly what you want!
Arguably the most uniquely designed lodge in Northern Tanzania, Asilia’s Highlands is the perfect way to begin your Tanzania adventure. Unlike other camps, the Highlands is situated on the sides of the Olmoti Crater, giving glorious views across the never-ending undulating scenery. The sunsets from the eight canvas and glass bubble style rooms are stunning. Each room is lavish and opulent and as with all stays near the Crater it can get chilly, but the wood-burning stove in the middle of the room ensures a warm and peaceful sleep.
The road to the Highlands is slightly longer than the camps situated on the Crater Rim itself, but the extra half an hour is worth it! In this remote setting there is a tranquility that is hard to come by in modern day life. Although two nights by the Crater would be enough at any other lodge, here you could extend to three nights. Apart from the traditional Masai visit and the Crater drive, there are a plethora of beautiful hikes through the surrounding landscape that are certainly worth staying an extra day for.
&Beyond’s Crater Lodge
By far the most opulent lodge by the Crater is &Beyond’s Crater Lodge. It is their flagship property in Tanzania, and nothing has been left out here. Larger than the previously mentioned camps, Crater Lodge has been divided into three camps, each consisting of ten rooms. Yet the larger size does not result in a loss of personalisation or quality. Each room is lavishly furnished, from glittering chandelier’s to crystal goblets, every amenity you could wish for is provided.
With great honeymoon and long stay offers, it is definitely worth combining Crater Lodge with another of &Beyond’s properties in the Serengeti, such as their mobile camp Serengeti Under Canvas or their permanent lodge Klein’s which sits in its own private concession on the Eastern boundary of the National Park. There you can expect off-roading and night drives, something which isn’t allowed in the confines of the Park itself.
There is no escaping the fact that staying near the Ngorongoro crater can be quite expensive, especially considering the park fees, descent fees and the extra permits needed to enter the crater itself, but there are some great options if you are on a bit of a tighter budget.
The Ngorongoro Farm House is one such property and offers excellent value for money. Although it is not located on the rim, its location in Karatu still gives you the feeling of solitude and peacefulness. It is a drive-in property so the only way to get there is to have a guide from Arusha who will accompany you on this leg of the trip. The drive from Arusha gives you time to stop in Lake Manyara and explore the National Park for an afternoon, it really is worthwhile and a great addition to any trip.
The lodge itself is situated in the coffee plantations and the lush hill sides which provide beautiful views across the landscape. Made up of around fifty cottages spread throughout the plantation, the lodge certainly does not feel as big as it is. The rooms are spacious and airy and friendly staff ensure your every need is taken care of. With the additional option of visiting the Hadzabe tribe or nearby Lake Eyasi, it is definitely a worthwhile option to consider for the start of any Tanzania itinerary.
Marc Harris is Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey. Tanzania Odyssey is a leading tour operator that has specialised in Tanzania since 1998.