The best camps by the Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most famous wildlife destinations in the world. It’s an ecosystem unlike any other with its massive densities of Big Five, and so much more. Although Tanzania is now open to tourism, this generally bustling destination is beautifully calm. A few nights in the area with a full day at the bottom of the crater are definitely worth including on any northern Tanzania itinerary.
Nomad is one of Tanzania’s top safari operators and stylishly combines sustainability, luxury and the essence of safari. Their Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is located in such a way that each of the rooms has a view of the crater while the main area of the lodge gives you a beautiful view of the Serengeti.
Here there are seven en-suite bedrooms which include two family units each comprising two large bedrooms and a shared adjoining bathroom. Each room is nicely furnished and gives the feeling of being home away from home.
Aside from visiting the famous crater for the day, Masai tribal tours are also a popular activity and give you an incredible insight into the life 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 taken from that of the main camp. Stylish, comfortable and luxurious. Comprised of four bedrooms, two standard rooms and two family rooms, this is the perfect place for large groups or families to start their vacation in Tanzania.
Exclusivity means you can customize your day however you want, whether you want an early departure or a long break, your private guide and activities are organized according to your needs! If you’re looking for exclusivity, combining Entamanu Private with Nomad’s Mkombe’s House in the Kogatende region of the Serengeti is the perfect itinerary. Along with a private guide and vehicle, all your needs will be met with a private host and chef who will organize your days according to what you want!
The highlands of Asilia
Arguably the most unique lodge in northern Tanzania, Asilia’s Highlands is the perfect way to start your Tanzania adventure. Unlike other camps, the Highlands are located on the sides of the Olmoti Crater, offering magnificent views of the endless hilly landscape. The sunsets from the eight canvas and glass style bedrooms are breathtaking. Each bedroom is lavish and opulent, and as with any stay near the crater, it can get chilly, but the wood-burning stove in the middle of the room ensures a warm, peaceful sleep.
The drive to the Highlands is slightly longer than the camps on the Crater Rim itself, but the extra half hour is well worth it! In this remote setting, there is a tranquility hard to find in modern life. While two nights at the crater rim is sufficient at any other lodge, you can extend it up to three nights. Besides the traditional Maasai tour and the crater route, there is a plethora of beautiful hikes through the surrounding landscape that are certainly worth staying for an extra day.
& Beyond’s Crater Lodge
By far the most opulent lodge on the Crater is the & Beyond’s Crater Lodge. It is their flagship property in Tanzania, and nothing has been forgotten here. Larger than the camps mentioned earlier, Crater Lodge has been divided into three camps, each consisting of ten rooms. However, the larger size does not mean loss of personalization or quality. Each room is richly furnished, from the sparkling chandelier to the crystal goblets, all the amenities you could want are provided.
With great honeymoon and extended stay deals, it’s definitely worth combining Crater Lodge with another & Beyond property in the Serengeti, like their Serengeti Under Canvas mobile camp or their Klein’s permanent lodge in its own private concession at the eastern edge of the National Park. There you can expect off-road and nighttime rides, which is not allowed within the boundaries of the park itself.
There’s no escaping the fact that staying near Ngorongoro Crater can be quite expensive, especially considering the park fees, descent fees, and additional permits needed to enter the crater itself, but there are some great options if you’re on a tighter budget.
Ngorongoro Farm is one such property and offers great value for money. Although it is not located on the edge, its location in Karatu still gives you the feeling of seclusion and tranquility. It is a drive-in property so the only way to get there is to have an Arusha guide who will accompany you on this part of the trip. The drive from Arusha gives you time to stop at Lake Manyara and explore the national park for an afternoon, it is well worth it and a great addition to any trip.
The lodge itself is set in coffee plantations and lush hillsides which offer lovely views of the landscape. Made up of around fifty cabins spread across the plantation, the lodge certainly doesn’t feel as big as it does. The rooms are spacious and airy and the friendly staff make sure all your needs are taken care of. With the added option of visiting the Hadzabe tribe or nearby Lake Eyasi, this is certainly a worthwhile option to consider for the start of any Tanzania itinerary.
Marc Harris is Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey. Tanzania Odyssey has been a leading specialist tour operator in Tanzania since 1998.
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