by Melanie Du Toit on October 18, 2017
5 min read

Located on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater with magnificent views over the wildlife-speckled caldera, the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge could not enjoy a better setting. This exceptionally luxurious &Beyond property is located in the largest intact caldera in the world and on the road that leads into the Serengeti National Park. I recently had the pleasure of visiting this incredible lodge and destination and here’s what I came back with:

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge's al fresco dinners with a view

Image credit: andBeyond

Rhino Rating: 

5/5

Where?

Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Why?

The lodge is one of few inside the Ngorongoro Crater, giving guests the opportunity to get to the crater floor and on safari before anyone else. Also renowned for its luxury and exceptional service, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge has earned the nickname ‘Africa’s Versailles’.

Who?

The Romantics

Rose petal baths and privacy ensure that honeymooners and lovebirds will be over the moon with the beauty and timeless elegance of the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

The First Time Safari-Goers

The dense wildlife population makes animal spotting easy while the impeccable service and otherworldly beauty of the lodge itself are sure to impress.

The Whole Family

The kids’ programme and dedicated Family Suite also make the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge a superb option for families.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Review

Image credit: andBeyond

At a Glance:

Labelled the ‘Versailles of Africa’ and not to be outdone by the striking scenery, the architecture of the lodge combines an exterior that calls to mind a traditional Maasai homestead and an interior reminiscent of an elegant baroque chateau with velvet curtains, gilded mirrors, and glistening chandeliers. Maasai warriors patrol the grounds, where zebra and buffalo are regular visitors while your personal butler caters to every whim.

The road which leads into the southern part of the Serengeti National Park and up towards its northern reaches runs straight through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, making it a perfect combination holiday in the lap of luxury while still making guests feel like they’re at the ends of the earth.

The Ngorongoro Crater is home to one of the densest lion populations on earth and the floor is populated year-round with lion, hyena, and plains game. The rainy season sees migratory birds flock to the area and giraffe and elephant sightings are guaranteed this time of year (although they’re spotted year-round, too).

Flamingos in the Ngorongoro Crater during the rainy season

Image credit: andBeyond

Best Time To Go:

Every season in the Ngorongoro Crater offers something unique to safari-goers, making this a superb year-round destination coupled with the bespoke luxury on offer at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.

In the dry season, the wildlife clamour around the water sources and the foliage thins but in the rainy season, the crater welcomes giraffe and elephant from the surrounding forest, a seasonal flamingo population, and a crater floor featuring a green carpet awash in blooming wildflowers.

The best part? The lodge is one of few inside the Ngorongoro Crater, giving guests the opportunity to get to the crater floor and on safari before anyone else.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge review on safari

Image credit: andBeyond

How to Get There:

The closest airport to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is Lake Manyara airstrip. The transfer between Lake Manyara airstrip to the lodge is 1.5 hours by car and can be easily organised through &Beyond and the lodge.

Visa Information:

All travellers entering Tanzania will require a visa although citizens of select countries may be issued a visa upon arrival. We encourage all prospective visitors to contact their nearest Tanzanian Embassy or Consulate to find out whether they need to apply before or not.

Facilities & Amenities:

The lodge has an onsite safari shop, wine cellar, Wi-Fi in all guest areas, complimentary laundry services, a Gym-in-a-Basket, private butler service, childminders and in-room massages at an additional cost, and a WILDChild kids programme to keep the little ones entertained.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge review

Image credit: andBeyond

Rooms:

The 30 spacious suites are divided into three camps: the North and South Camps, and the Tree Camp perched right on the crater’s rim. The suites at the North and South Camps are the epitome of opulence decorated with large chandeliers, silk curtains, Persian rugs, and unique ceilings constructed with banana leaves. The suites at the Tree Camp are cosier and feature floor-to-ceiling windows with an uninterrupted view over the crater.

We stayed in South Camp during our visit to the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. From the moment we first were given a tour of our room by our personal housekeeper, Margaret, to every moment we returned to it after a day on safari, it looked pristine. After a game drive, we walked into a suite warmed by a cheerily crackling fireplace (it can get chilly in the crater) only to be greeted by a hot, drawn bath surrounded by floating rose petals.

Activities on Offer:

Included in Price

  • Game drives into the Crater to view all of its wildlife
  • Walks within the lodge grounds

Additional Cost

  • Crater floor banquets
  • Day trips to Olduvai Gorge and Shifting Sands
  • Choice of three different types of walking safaris ranging in length from a  few hours to a full day
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Review Dining Area

Image credit: andBeyond

Dining Experience:

Just because you may feel like you’re miles from everything doesn’t mean that the service or quality of food is. Breakfasts are a sumptuous affair of fruit platters and cold cereals while the chef is on hand to plate up a choice of two steaming hot breakfast options.

Lunch can be enjoyed while exploring the Crater floor at a picturesque picnic spot next to the pond crowded with hippos or at the lodge on a shared platter for two.

Dinner is no doubt the highlight with three courses elegantly plated and accompanied by a song and a dance (imagine braised fillet and Duck Confit). As for dining venues? Anywhere you please, from a wine cellar or deck overlooking the Crater or a banquet on the Crater-floor itself.

Price Range:

From $1,000 per person per night which is inclusive of accommodation, three meals daily, soft drinks, house wines, local brand spirits and beers, teas and coffees, refreshments on lodge activities, laundry, morning and afternoon game drives, and emergency evacuation insurance.

Are you packing your bags already? Get in touch with one of our expert consultants today.