Amazing A review of andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Spent two nights at this fabulous lodge located on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The lodge is divided into three sections or camps: North Camp, South Camp and Tree camp. The interior of the suites at each location are exactly the same, as is the pricing. For a while, the Tree Camp suites cost $50.00 more than the others because those suites were perceived by some to be more private. The lodge abandoned this surcharge about two years ago. Each camp has its own dining room, accommodating only a small number of guests for each camp (about 25), in addition to a lounge. Every room faces the crater, but some have more obstructed views than others, which depends on the height of your room and the height of the trees (Room 21 is known to have the least obstructed views). As you enter the property, the manager at the camp you are staying in is radioed about your arrival. As you exit from your car, you meet your butler (ours was named Patrick) who hands you a damp cloth, a drink, and lets you know that he is available to you throughout your stay. The manager then escorts you inside, has you fill out some documents, and asks you sign a waiver absolving the lodge from any responsibility in the event that you are injured on the property. You are, after all, in the middle of a conservation area teaming with wild animals. There are some animals that roam the property, namely water buffalo, who can charge at you if you're not careful. In fact, one day while I was walking back to my room in the daylight hours from the gift shop, the staff insisted that I jump into one of their 4x4's to travel the short distance back to my camp because a buffalo was grazing about 50 feet away from me. The same water buffalo was outside our room when we arrived and although we were tempted to go out on our balcony to take pictures, we were warned again about staying inside until he left. The rooms, by the way, are spectacular, both inside and out. From the outside, they look like dwellings for a hobbit (think Lord of the Rings) and are constructed with local materials and thatched roofs. Once you step inside you are immediately wowed by the décor, the uniqueness of the design, the height of the ceilings, the quality of the materials and the views of the crater. The room is very spacious, with a bathroom area that is open to the bedroom, The king size beds are oversized and very comfortable. Each has a duvet and a heat blanket which your butler will prepare for you while you are at dinner as nights tend to be chilly. Each room also has a cozy area with two leather club chairs facing a fireplace, a crystal decanter with complimentary sherry, and a box of treats containing fudge, chocolates, little cookies and lemon jellies. The bathroom is fabulous with both a freestanding tub, a shower and two sinks. The toilet area is discreetly tucked away in a separate room. The toiletries are of the highest quality. All food is included in the price of your room and is generally quite good. There is a set menu for every dinner, but the staff try to cater to all special requests and dietary restrictions. Breakfast can be served on your balcony where your butler can set up a small table and chairs so you can enjoy the sights and sounds of the morning. Your butler will also have a hot bath prepared for you when you return from your game drive with a path of rose petals on the floor leading the way to the tub. Beware, however, that once you fill the tub with hot water, it takes about five hours for the hot water to be available again (not sure why...maybe because they use a method of reheating that is more eco-friendly?). The lodge staff are incredibly helpful and genuine in their dedication to providing you with exemplary service and I am pleased to say that they succeed in every respect.