Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
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TravelPod Member ReviewsNgorongoro Sopa Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Was too luxury for us
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Really nice break from the dust of the crater. The service was top notch.
This review is the subjective opinion of a TravelPod member and not of TravelPod.com.
Historical Traveler Reviews Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Much better than I expected
Our travel agent had recommended Serena as the better hotel (see seperate review), however due to lack of rooms we had to move to the Sopa for our last night. I actually much preferred it. The rooms were far larger, better furnished, with a beautiful huge window with rocking chairs overlooking the crater.
View of the awesome sunset much better from this side of the crater.
On paper, the menu was extremely creative but didnt really deliver - OK, but nothing special.
Bar area more atmospheric than Serena.
Small swimming pool but we didnt get the chance to use it so cannot comment on the quality.
Ideal Location Spectacular View
This by far was one of the best lodges I stayed at whilst in Tanzania. You have a warm welcome at reception (drink and cold flannel to refresh after the travelling) The view from reception over the crater is amazing. We had quite a trek to the room which was a little bit disappointing but once you get inside its like a little haven.
The rooms are in need of a slight Refurb but there are two big, dare i say, queen size beds, mini fridge, dresser, wardrobe and fully equipped large bathroom. There is also a rocking chair (although I sat in ours once and never again i.e. Refurb bit!!) with full floor to ceiling windows overlooking the crater. The beds were very comfortable and I have to say it's the only place I remember having so many blankets on a bed and actually using them all (it gets quite nippy at nights.... Should guess really in the reception area of each room there is a radiator!!).
I found it a little too busy for my liking within the main area of lodge but then with so few lodges around the crater rim they do book to full capacity almost all the time. It has a comfy bar area and small gift shop also a coffee bar. There are seats lined up in from of reception to watch the view.... There is a pool for those brave enough I remember reading that it is "Refreshing in the Summer and Bracing in the Winter"!! The food was average it wasn't nothing spectacular but it was edible enough.
The lodge also has its own access road down into the crater so within 5 minutes of leaving the lodge you start your descent to the crater floor.
I would definitely come back.
Spectacular view, nice hotel
The Ngorogoro Sopa lodge is a very large hotel on the eastern rim of the Ngorogoro Crater. The views are spectacular and it is the only lodge on the crater rim with a view of the sunset (the other crater-rim lodges are on the western side). The hotel itself was nice, though we prefer smaller, more intimate accomodations. The rooms could definitely use some updating. The windows in our room did not open, the paint in our bathroom literally fell off in large pieces when we showered and we had a problem with ants in the bathroom on the first night (nothing a little insect repellant couldn't fix). In general though, the rooms were very spacious and nice enough. The food at the lodge was good - better at dinner than breakfast. We stayed for 3 nights and all meals were buffet except for one night (Friday). The property has a very nice lounge with ample seating (inside and out) for watching the sunset, relaxing before/after dinner or enjoying a drink after a wonderful day in the crater. There is a very chilly pool for those who feel the need to take the plunge - we did not! The staff at the Sopa was fantastic - very friendly and accomodating. All in all, we enjoyed our stay. If you are planning on staying at a lodge on the crater rim, we would recommend the Sopa as a nice lodge, but especially for the location and the view.
Stayed at this lodge for 2 nights, rooms are a little tired but the food is excellent and plentiful. The staff are very friendly and helpful. The setting after a long days game drive to sit and watch the crater whilst drinking a cold beer is amazing. Some wildlife in the grounds mongoose, monkeys and a variety of birds.
You will get escorted to your room each night in case there are larger animals around. The pool is bracing and the weather every morning was cloudy and misty a light jacket may be in order. No mozzies when we went, the altitude may give some people some breathing difficulties but only slight. Overall an excellent place to start the safari. The view is worth it alone
Excellent hotel and great value
This hotel was one of our favorites while on safari. The rooms while not as nice as the serena or crater lodge are quite spacious and very clean. The hotel has the perfect location with the most amazing bar and restaurant with panoramic views of the crater. You can sit in the bar and sit by one of the four fireplaces while enjoying a nice glass of wine or safari beer. The restaurant has the best bread and food cooked by their well trained Masai chef. This hotel was a great experience for us and I would easily reccomend it to anyone.
We stayed here for two nights as part of a week long safari with Eclipse Direct (the second week was spent in Mombasa). As other reviewers have stated the ride here was bumpy and long but well worth it. We were greeted with hot towels and juice and our rooms were well equipped and comfortable. The views into the crater were breathtaking and looking through our binoculars we could see herds of game roaming the crater floor. The staff are very attentive and friendly but not in a false and smarmy way (if you know what I mean). The game drive into the crater the next morning will be etched into my brain forever....when anyone asks, I have to tell them that the emotion I experienced was something akin to the film Jurrasic Park when they first got into the landrover and started to see the fauna and flora...as we descended into the crater at early o'clock, a herd of elephants appeared and crossed our path with small babies and massive matriarchs and I was more than a little intimidated. Our guide, Livingstone, was amazing and we saw all of the big five and more besides before we had even got to the Serengeti! All in all, I am amazed that anyone is able to provide this level of service in the middle of the African bush. At the bar we heard guests complaining that their beers weren't cold enough...the fact that they weren't warm was an achievement!!! We loved the place and can't wait to go back.
Superb lodge with great views of the crater
We stayed here for 2 nights as part of a safari in Tanzania (all Sopa lodges we stayed at). For standard, I would say this was the best lodge, as the rooms are lovely with a sitting area with two rocking chairs by the window with great views over the crater. Our room had two double beds, and the beds were so comfy, it was very hard to crawl out at 6am in the morning for your game drive! Although this lodge is the other side of the crater than the others, it has its own road to get in and out of the crater floor, so you don't tend to get that many safari vehicles using this route. As you are 7000 ft above sea level, it was a bit cooler at the lodge and although there was a swimming pool, it was too cold to swim, and it did tend to rain in the afternoons (but not in the crater itself), but we didn't need the raidators on in our room though! This lodge is a great place to watch the sunsets over the crater aswell. The food was good - there was a menu to choose from and the staff were very friendly and made you feel very welcome. Watch out for the elephants/buffalos walking outside the lodge of a night - but great to watch in your rocking chair in your room!! A great place to stay.
Return to Ngorongoro Sopa Crater Lodge
We had a two night stay at the Sopa Crater Lodge during our June 2004 Tanzania/Kenya trip. We were looking forward to staying there again as the 2002 experience was very positive. When we planned that trip I heard from a colleque who takes groups to Tanzania that we were fortunate staying there being that the access road into the crater is quite close and comes into the east side of the crater while vehicles from other lodges require a lengthier drive. I recall pulling into the entrance way to be met by staff with cold juice and hot towels. The lodge has a spacious lobby, two gift shops, a huge bar/lounge, and area for tea time and a very large, high ceiling dining room. That room, circular in shape has huge, long beams coming together in the center of the high ceiling. Outside walkways were taste fully bordered with flower beds. The pool area and grassy patio area behind a high stone wall made for great viewing of sunsets. Our room was just about the farthest from the main lobby. We had maybe a 100 yard walk down a stone/brick paved walk. View from our sun room was that of the nearby rainforest with sign that large animals frequented the area (a pile of cape buffalo dung was immediately under the window and the guests in the adjacent room had elephants at their window. We later saw cape buffalo. The food was excellent. One meal I particularly recall was baar-be-que ribs as an appetizer, wonton soup, tilapia w/veggies, and a chocolate brownie for desert. As we walked back to the room a staff member pointed out a chamelion on a bush, a hyrax in the tree, huge beetles and an owl in the courtyard tree. Entering the room we noted the heat had been turned on (it gets cold on the crater rim particularly as fall was upon us). We did not need mosquito netting. The breakfast buffet was quite impressive with quite an array of fruits, pastries, juices, meats, etc. One chef prepared custom omlets and paper thin pancakes. Our first morning it was windy, misty and chilly.
Our second dinner was even better than the first (Even though a fisheries biologist I really don't care for tilapia but wanted to try it). I had sweet/sour chicken wings, bean/beef soup, rolls, roast pork, double chocolate cake and a Kilimanjaro beer. One of the fellows in our group had a birthday and the lodge staff came in (turned down lights( singing in Swahili, then in English, with sparklers and a birthday cake. What a great setting. The lodge more than met our needs. We wanted a clean, quiet place with reasonable food and opportunity to see wildlife. We were not disappointed. Thus, we were looking forward to staying there again.
In June of 2004 much was the same at the Sopa Crater Lodge. The cold juice, hot towels, friendly staff, and excellent food. We took advantage of the laundry special. For 5,000 TZ schillings (about $4.60 at the time) we got washed and folded all the clothing we could stuff in the Sopa laundry bag. Our notes indicate 1 pr slacks, 2 shirts, 3 hankies, 5 pr socks, 6 underpants, 4 bras, and 1 t-shirt. For another $6.60 we got 2 pr pants, 2 pr shorts and 3 more t-shirts. I remember sitting at the patio wall having a cold beer and photographing small birds and two mice while others awaited the sunset. The lodge is in a great setting and nicely landscaped. We would return in a "heart beat" if budget allowed.
Looking for a great lodge while on safari - This is it!
Before coming to Tanzania, I had no idea what to expect in the way of hotels and expected something quite primitive. I was presently surprised by all of your lodges while on safari. They were all unique and had character. Each room/lodge provided everything you would need. If you come to Tanzania, expecting the Holiday Inn or a JW Marriot, you will be sadly disappointed. Go to Tanzania for the experience with no pre-conceived notions and you will high enjoy yourself! A safari in Tanzania is one of the greatest vacations and an awe-inspiring experience!
The Ngorongoro Crater Sopa Lodge was my favorite lodge on our entire safari. It was simply beautiful with an amazing view from your room and an even better one from the lobby and dining room. My husband and I really enjoyed our 2-night stay. The staff was very nice and the manager checked with guests to ensure their visit was satisfactory.
Each room was large with a large bathroom. There was a sitting area when you entered and two queen beds in the main room. All the lodges must generate their own electricity, so the lights are usually dim. There is also hot water available for a limited time at night and in the morning. You are dusty after all day on safari and want a bath when you get back, so we had no problems. A blow-dryer was in the room. Although it did not work great, it was better than nothing. There is a "balcony" enclosed with windows and held two rocking chairs, which were great to relaxing and reading a book after a long day bouncing over dirt roads. The windows don't open on the balcony (two windows will open in the short hallway), but at this altitude it gets quite chilly at night and you will need the heater before you need to open any windows. We needed our jackets and pants at night and in the morning for this part of the safari. The rooms are grouped together in fours to form a hut structure, which are quite unique and nice. The walls are a little thin and we could hear our neighbors. We had our laudry cleaned here. You drop it off in the morning and it is returned at 8 pm, so if you need anything for dinner that night beware.
The lodge is located on the edge of the crater, so wildlife can be seen all around. Once I stepped out of our room and saw a monkey running across the pathway. One night at about 3 am, my husband and I heard an extremely loud bird outside our room causing quite a commotion for about 15 minutes. In the morning, outside our window was a pile of feathers. The bird had been eaten by something during the night. While having tea one afternoon, a marabou stork was walking around quite near the guests, looking for something, anything to eat. (Marabou storks will eat just about anything and are quite ugly and large, but harmless.) At night, escorts walk you to your room in case any animals are around. At the high altitude mosquito nets were not required.
The lodge, itself, was quite impressive with courteous staff. At check-in, you are warmly greeted and given fresh juice and a warm washcloth. This was exactly what I needed after the long extremely and bumping trip to reach the lodge. After a long day on safari, you can come back to tea or coffee and snacks. Upon check-out, you will be greeted right outside your door by one or two people waiting to carry your bags. Don't forget to tip. The lodge (like all Sopa lodges) has a sit down menu for dinner with a few choices for each course, except soup. You either want soup or don't want soup. The food was excellent. One night, we had entertainment by the staff with singing of African songs during dinner. There is a lovely pool, but it was quite chilly so we avoided the water.
The lodge has a nice size gift shop. One piece of advice... My husband and I wanted to buy some souvenirs and thought we would have time to stop in Arusha, but we did not have time and never stopped in town. If you want to buy souvenirs, don't wait; just buy them at the gift shops. I was glad that I did buy a few things (silver jewelry, cravings, etc.) at the lodge gift shops.
The location of this lodge is key. It is located near one of only entrances and exits to the Ngorongoro Crater, which means you have more time on safari. The Ngorongoro Crater closes at 6pm. Other lodges may have a 30 minute drive to just arrive at the entrance road.
Overlooking the Great Basin
We had two nights here on a Kuoni Tour (see also my reports today on Serengeti and Tarangire Sopa Lodges).
You are up on the crater rim at 8000 feet, with the vast array of animals 2,000 feet below you, so it gets cold here, and there are low clouds/mists covering the hotel, especially in the mornings. Evening sunsets can be remarkable.
Large, busy, usually full hotel, awful road up to it, but then that's the same with all the game parks, this was quite muddy though it was early June and after the main rains, and with supply lorries going up and down, and across on the main route through the Serengeti to Lake Victoria, things were pretty sticky in the mud, with several delays!
Food the best of the three Sopa Lodges we stayed at, and rooms probably the best as well. Remember you are in a remote place in a very poor (average income US$1 per day) third world country, where English is not the mother tongue, and then you realise that you are actually getting good food and service. Don't be stingy with the tips for the staff who carry your bags, etc, and your safari drivers, whose knowledge and ability to find that special viewing is usually excellent - our;'s was!
TripAdvisor Reviews Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Travel Blogs from Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The habitat changes on our drive to Ngorongoro , as we drive through Naabi Gate the landscape changes to the volcanic plains and the grass is greener and very short. The wildebeest are happy here as they can see their predators for miles away. Thousands and thousands of wildebeest and zebra share the same habitat - zebra have good memories as they …
NgoroNgoro to Serengeti
We left the Sopa Lodge at approximately 7:30am, there was a 20k drive along the rim of the crater to where we first saw this spectacular site. We did not encounter any elephants along the way which can be a problem if they are blocking the narrow road.Our driver pulled off the road and filled up with fuel in an …
Eka (Kenya) to Ngorongoro
We had a driver collect us from the EKA Hotel early morning and drive us to the border of Kenya and Tanzania. Here we had to cross once again through Immigration and Customs. At immigration the fellow complained to us something about our papers were not in order. I just said that is not right look again. He went …
In the morning we left our wonderful hotel Sopa Lodge, which was located just on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater. We wanted to get down the crater early, before it would get too hot to see as great a number of animals as possible. I was planning to spend most of this day at the bottom of the crater of an extinct volcano Ngorongoro. Ngorongoro Nati...