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“Absolute luxury” 5 of 5 stars
Review of andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

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andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
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5.0 of 5 Hotel   |   Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania   |  
Hotel amenities
Wales
Senior Contributor
30 reviews 30 reviews
10 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
15 helpful votes 15 helpful votes
“Absolute luxury”
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 19, 2013

We stayed here for 2 nights with friends as part of our trip this year. The location is superb, our two lodges were next to the main building and looked right out over the crater. We had zebra grazing on the lawn right in front of us. What an experience to lie in your bath tub which had been prepared for us whilst we were out on the game drive and filled with bubbles and decorated with rose petals and look out through the full length window into the crater. Oh and don't forget the bottle of champagne place in the ice bucket as well. If you were cold your butler would light the log fire in your bedroom and the wonderfully comportable beds have electric blankets to make sure you stay nice and cosy at night (it is high so nights can be cold) The lounge and dining room also have log fires burning in the evening, you really feel you have been transported back to an earlier elegant age. The food is exquisite and all of the staff are so friendly and knowledgable. The one problem at the moment is that the road back out of the crater is closed so there is a long drive back to the lodge at the end of the day but the road should be open again before too long

Room Tip: Try to get lodge 3 or 4 as they are right next to the main building and have unrestricted views of t...
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  • Stayed October 2013, traveled with friends
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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411 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 stars
  • Location
    5 of 5 stars
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 stars
  • Service
    5 of 5 stars
  • Value
    4 of 5 stars
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 stars
Traveler tips help you choose the right room.   Room tips (78)
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English first
Melbourne, Australia
Reviewer
3 reviews 3 reviews
3 hotel reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
5 helpful votes 5 helpful votes
4 of 5 stars Reviewed October 10, 2013

This place really has to be seen to be believed. Their literature describes it as "Maasai meets Versailles" but it struck me more as Tolkien meets Versace! If a Hobbit ever won the lottery this is where he'd live. It is utterly luxurious. From the main building with it's chandeliers, over-stuffed furniture, mirrored walls and bar, open fires and attentive staff to the rooms which echo all of that and add oversized fantasy showers and rose petal strewn baths.

The view across the crater is awe inspiring and being so close meant that, with an early start, we were in the crater well before the crowds. We descended through the clouds and the morning fog and witnessed a Wagnerian sunrise from the floor of the crater. Hippo, Rhino, Elephant, and lions were all there to greet us.

Now the bad points. Given how much it costs to stay here the food is truly terrible. We even saw one guest at dinner spit out his first mouthful declaring the food inedible. The problem (and it is one we encountered at a few of the "high end" lodges we stayed at) is that the kitchen was clearly reaching for a European style haute cuisine but had no idea about how to actually achieve it. The flavours were at best bizarre and at worst truly unpleasant. They need to take a lesson from some of the other lodges we stayed at (Lake Manyara Tree Lodge and Nomad Lamai) and let the chefs cook what they know.

I also have to say that whilst the luxury and opulence were enjoyable in themselves I had a very real sense that it didn't feel like Africa. Once inside our room with the thick velvet drapes drawn we could have been anywhere.

  • Stayed October 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 3 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Orlando, Florida, United States
Senior Contributor
29 reviews 29 reviews
16 hotel reviews
Reviews in 20 cities Reviews in 20 cities
22 helpful votes 22 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed October 7, 2013

The location of the NGORONGORO CRATER LODGE is unbelievable. Watch the zebra play on the front lawn with the Crater as a back-drop. Our individual lodge was filled with old world charm and no luxury was spared. How wonderful it was to return each day from an excursion to find the soaking tub filled with warm scented water and champagne chilling, on the side. Dining each night was an event and the atmosphere was conducive to making new friends. I highly recommend the lodge as a MUST visit location in Africa

  • Stayed September 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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Easton, Maryland
Senior Contributor
32 reviews 32 reviews
12 hotel reviews
Reviews in 17 cities Reviews in 17 cities
9 helpful votes 9 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 30, 2013

Six of us traveling through Africa together chose to stay at this amazing lodge for 2 nights as part of our "and beyond" experience. We will be forever grateful that we made this choice. Staying here is a not to be missed African dream.
The staff, the ambience, the food and, most important, the game viewing are all over the top.
On arrival, we were presented with a smiling welcome from the staff which included warm towels to clean our hands and faces from the dusty drive out from the airport.
Our rooms, created to resemble African bomas, were a delight from the moment our butler opened the door. We were greeted by wood burning fireplaces, bouquets of roses, a selection of port and sherry, a bed with heated sheets for the cool nights on the crater's rim & a bathroom to delight the most discriminating travel. Topping it all off was a balcony overlooking the crater itself.
The main lodge provides a beautifully appointed dining room and a library/gathering room where cocktails and pre-dinner nibbles are served each night. Our guides gathered there with us to relive our day's discoveries & to plan the next day's activitie. This lends a special intimacy to each evening.
The surprise of a rose strewn bathroom with hot bath drawn and a split of champagne waiting on ice beside the tub after our day of incredible game viewing in the crater was the piece de resistance of this amazing lodge. We thought our up- close encounter with a pride of eight lions was the prize of the day but the warm tub was an even bigger reward.
The all-inclusive price is worth every penny! You leave this paradise already wanting to return.

  • Stayed September 2013
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
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This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Wauwatosa, Wisconsin
Senior Reviewer
6 reviews 6 reviews
4 hotel reviews
Reviews in 5 cities Reviews in 5 cities
11 helpful votes 11 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 28, 2013

The following is my husband's review of our recent trip, including commentary regarding Ngongororo Crater Lodge. I post it here in it's entirety, although it is not Lodge specific, as I cannot find a spot to post a review of &Beyond as an entity.

To his comments I would simply add that this lodge is the definition of fantastical: from design to location to service it is perfect. My husband touches upon the highlights in his comments, but I would add that this is the only place in the world that I have been called from dinner to observe the elephant at the dining room door and then, the next morning, greeted at the entrance to the main hall by a tree hyrax screeching from the roof. And that's before you get to the floor of the crater to see the animals you came there to observe. It is an amazing Inn in an amazing setting. Words cannot suffice to express what a great place this is.

And now the epic review:
My family and my brother’s family, six adults and three children in total, went on an eight day African safari in June, 2013. Anika Oosthuizen of & Beyond planned our trip. We went to three different camps: Bateleur Camp Masi Mara, Serengeti under Canvas, and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. We had a spectacular time. I can wholeheartedly recommend & Beyond and Anika. They did a wonderful job. We saw countless animals (including all of the big five). The staff treated us like royalty, and the trip ran like clockwork. We never had to think about, let alone worry about, our schedule or travel logistics. We were able to relax and enjoy the show.
It is difficult to convey in words how superb the animal viewing was. We were able to drive within twenty yards of giraffes, lions, cheetahs, elephants, and most other animals with such frequency that, by the end of the trip, it had become almost routine. On the drive from the airstrip upon our arrival at the first camp, Bateleur, we saw elephants, giraffes, a pride of about fourteen lions (one of which was lounging in a tree), and countless other quadrupeds. That evening, still on our first day, we saw two lionesses from the same pride hunt, kill, and (with the help of the other hungry pride members) rapaciously devour a warthog. Within two days, we had seen all of the big five, including the elusive leopard and the rare rhino. I cannot imagine better animal viewing unless it is staged.
The use of the word “camp” to describe the accommodations is a misnomer. To be sure, at Bateleur and Serengeti under Canvass, you sleep in a canvas walled structure. However, this is where the comparison to what one typically envisions as a camp ends. Inside each tent are a proper full sized bed, cabinets, and all the other furniture that one expects to find in a luxury hotel room . The butler at Bateleur placed two rubber hot water bottles below the sheets at night. As a result of what is surely a mighty logistical challenge, each tent at Serengeti under Canvass had flush toilets, running water and a shower.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is one of the best hotels I have ever visited, and I travel extensively on business worldwide. The rooms, which overlook the crater, are at least five hundred square feet, and come fully equipped. Upon returning from the safari, the butler draws a hot bath, complete with rose petals, in the traditional claw footed tub. My wife almost refused to leave. Where else can you sit in the loo and gaze onto one of the UN World Heritage sites?
The staff at each camp was friendly, highly trained and professional. It is worth noting that they are also locals. The staff took care of us very well; spoiled us, in fact. I felt like I was living in Victorian England. Each morning, a butler arrived to your room with delicious hot coffee (hot chocolate for the kids), biscuits and the warm “jambo jambo” greeting. Oh, and then you went to breakfast. I like my cocktails, and I was therefore delighted to learn that anytime was the right time for a gin and tonic. The food, especially the soup, was outstanding. I ate so much that I gained weight.
The guides deserve special mention. I learned that they must attend and pass a rigorous field course before they can serve as game guides. Their training showed. But for their sharp eyes, we would not have seen several different animals, including the leopard. They were able to find and identify everything. My brother is an avid birder. He drove me half insane on the trip with his incessant questions about the birds. I was astonished to discover that the guides at each camp knew the birds better than he did. They were happy to accommodate and fuel his avian obsession.
I will admit that, although I consider myself to be adventurous and have travelled extensively, before the trip I was somewhat apprehensive about safety and logistics. I was traveling with my wife and three kids (aged 16, 14, and 12) in and out of Nairobi. My apprehension was unwarranted. Upon arrival at the airport, we were greeted by a friendly man who took us to our hotel. From that moment onwards, & Beyond looked after us completely until we were standing in line at the Nairobi airport for our return flight eight days later. I did not have to worry about any travel arrangements. I was able to shut my mind off, and let others take the lead. Anyone who travels with kids will appreciate how significant this is, especially given the complexity of travelling between the three camps using primitive airstrips and twice crossing the border between Kenya and Tanzania.
I should also note that, to its credit, & Beyond will arrange to take you on a side trip to see a local village. I did this with my kids so that they could see what life is really like in east Africa, lest the superlative service on our safari create a false impression. I recommend this to anyone who has the time.
The bottom line is that anyone interested in an African safari who has the means should use & Beyond. Although the price may seem high at first blush, the reality is that it is a great value for what you receive in terms of game viewing, service, accommodations, food and drink, and travel management. Why skimp when such an option is available?

  • Stayed June 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 5
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Scottsdale, Arizona
Reviewer
4 reviews 4 reviews
Reviews in 3 cities Reviews in 3 cities
3 helpful votes 3 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 27, 2013

From the moment your safari vehicle pulls up in front of the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge to the moment you leave, you will feel like your "friends" are so glad you have arrived. Just about the entire staff is outside waiting for you when you arrive to greet you with warm hellos and a nice chilled drink the moment you step out of your vehicle to the moment you depart….they want to treat you like royalty and they do indeed! What a spectacular setting and the views are awesome! The rooms will take your breath away as they are so spacious and gorgeous, which is especially welcoming after a long day on safari. Each room is assigned a private butler who is available to do anything you may need. My husband and I had a room together and our 21 year old son had his own room…each room had an individual butler available at a moment's notice. While we were at dinner our butler turned on the electric blanket on the bed so when we crawled in it was nice and cozy….a nice little touch. The food was good, but I would NOT say the best we had. The service however was wonderful everywhere, including in the restaurant. What a beautiful and memorable place to stay!

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled with family
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 5 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Seattle, WA
Senior Contributor
42 reviews 42 reviews
39 hotel reviews
Reviews in 35 cities Reviews in 35 cities
62 helpful votes 62 helpful votes
5 of 5 stars Reviewed September 20, 2013

This location is a juxtaposition in safari and swank. We also visited andBeyond Serengeti Under Canvas and andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge so look for our companion reviews of those properties.

Safari: We arrived at the Lake Manyara airstrip in mid-morning and ended up sharing a safari vehicle with 2 South African couples who were travelling together. The drive to the Lodge on the crater rim took about 1.5 hours and was not a game drive in any sense. By the time we got to the crater lodge, our guide tried to dissuade us from taking an afternoon game drive because of the limited time we'd have to spend in the crater floor - the cars have to enter the park by 330p and have to be back at the top of the crater rim no later than 6pm. However, my husband and I decided that we really wanted to try and get as much game viewing as possible into our 2 days at Ngorongoro so we asked to go on the drive anyway, we left the lodge at 240p and made it to the entry gate with 10 minutes to spare. To get into the crater, you take a one way road from the top down to the bottom and it's a 40 minute drive from the lodge. There is some road construction on the crater rim, which means that the one way road out of the crater which is closest to the lodge is closed and you have to take the long way around, meaning once you decided to leave the crater, it takes 1.5 hours to get back to the lodge.
I am so glad that we decided to do the afternoon game drive in a rush. We saw lions, lion cubs, a crazy screaming baboon, a rhino, a bazillion zebra, wildebeest, and elephants. The rhino we saw was so far away from us that our super zoom camera captured him only as a dot with a horn, but I guess that was better than nothing. On the second day of the safari drive, we saw some lions feasting on a kill and a bunch of hyenas eagerly awaiting their turn to devour the leftovers. Of the 3 andBeyond safari locations we traveled to, this one was the most crowded. That has both benefits and drawbacks. It's good because if you see a bunch of safari vehicles clumped together, you can be pretty sure there's something interesting to see. But on the other hand, the more vehicles there are, the harder it is to see because there are so many people gathered around. This was the only safari location we travelled to where the vehicles stuck strictly to the well-travelled roads and never went off-road in search of a closer view. I'm guessing the area is pretty heavily patrolled to make sure the guides don't go off-road.
An interesting thing about the animals in the crater is that they are EXTREMELY comfortable with cars being around so they don't run away from cars or the road when you approach. As a result, you can often get some really great close-up shots of the animals because they just don't care if you're close to them.
A note about sharing safari vehicles with other people: When we got in the safari car at the airport and found we were sharing with 2 other couples, the guide asked us what our safari interests were. My husband and I were interested in game viewing (lions, zebras, rhino, etc) and the other folks were interested in bird-watching. That made me very concerned because our two interests just didn't match. Plus, if the car was a democracy, then the 4 bird people would always outvote the 2 game people. Fortunately for us, the bird people didn't want to do a game drive on that first afternoon so we got the car to ourselves. That made us much more ok about sharing a car the next day with people who had such divergent interests from our own. However, I have to give andBeyond MAJOR PROPS. Apparently our guide also shared the concern about our interests being so different from the bird people's because he told us that they had found another car/guide for us so we got to go out on our own again the second day instead of having to share with the bird people. We didn't have to ask for it and we didn't have to pay anything extra for the private vehicle - andBeyond just took their own initiative to recognize the differing interests and address a potential problem before it arose.

the lodging: The Lodge is an unusual combination of traditional Masai design and luxurious French-style furnishings and décor. There is so much detail and opulence that you almost feel guilty experiencing such luxury in a third world country. The rooms are spacious and the bathroom in particular is particularly huge. The one drawback to the room is that it got extremely cold. This is likely because there were lots of little cubbyhole windows that you could open from various parts of the room to see outside. There was a fireplace in the room, but when you wake up in the morning, it is C-O-L-D. The first morning, we woke up, we scurried around the room freezing our butts off and hurriedly dressing. On the second morning, the moment I woke up, I called reception and asked them to send someone to start a fire in our room so that when we eventually got out of bed, it wouldn't be arctic temperatures. The room temperature was kind of a big problem for us, but everything else about the room was great.

the food: Amazing. Delicious and beautifully presented, although not particularly unique. White glove service all the way.

One night before dinner, there was a traditional Masai dance ceremony. When we asked our butler what the dance meant, however, he said he didn't know. However, he sent over another butler who told us what the dance meant. Seeing the ceremony was pretty cool, though it went on a bit long, considering we were all standing up for it.

Although no one needs this much luxury, it was a great experience and certainly worth it for the great service and wonderful safari sightseeing we experienced.

  • Stayed August 2013, traveled as a couple
    • 5 of 5 stars Value
    • 5 of 5 stars Location
    • 5 of 5 stars Sleep Quality
    • 3 of 5 stars Rooms
    • 5 of 5 stars Cleanliness
    • 5 of 5 stars Service
Was this review helpful? Yes 2
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Address: Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities ( Kid / Family Friendly ) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 3 Hotels in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range (Based on Average Rates): $
Hotel Class:5 star — andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 30
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Steeped in romance, each stilted, handcrafted banana thatch suite at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is adorned with graceful antiques and unforgettable opulence. Ensuite bathrooms, with a centrepiece of fresh roses, feature huge showers and chandelier-lit bathtubs, while floor-to-ceiling windows ensure breathtaking views from all around. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngorongoro Crater Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Hotel Ngorongoro Crater

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