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“Surprised us for such a budget option”

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Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 6, 2011

We knew that Rhino Lodge was going to be basic and no frills, it's a good budget option for anyone traveling to see the Ngorongoro Crater and/or en route to safari. We felt that the service was very friendly during our stay, helpful yet not in your face. The views from our deck were amazing and being on the rim of the Crater itself is like being in another world! What a privilege!
At night it gets cold but they provide you with warmers to take to your bed which keeps you cozy through the night (it was a relief). The food was good- simple yet fresh and dining room style. Liked having tea/coffee available all of the time (coffee snobs, be warned it's instant coffee).
It's a fairly understated place, but you get good service, a clean room with lovely views all at a very affordable price. You really don't need more than that when you have one of Earth's most amazing wonders just outside! :)

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with friends
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2  Thank DreamOcean
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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442 - 448 of 701 reviews

Reviewed March 25, 2011

Basic and friendly stay at the crater top. Good food.

  • Stayed: February 2011
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Thank fabOslo
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 26, 2011

By far the best thing about this lodge is the location - on the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, close to the road to enter the crater. This gives it a real safari feel, with animals visible from the balconies of (some of) the rooms. We saw water buck and buffalo from the rooms.

The rooms are basic but clean, and the beds are comfortable. As in many safari lodges, the electricity is only available for around 4 hours each evening. The lodge as a whole looks a bit like a motel but there is a fantastic dining area with a large open log fire, and the food is good and plentiful. The packed lunch we had for safari was one of the best we had all trip.

Whilst this is certainly a no frills lodge, it is good value for money and worth a visit if your budget needs to be watched.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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Thank Pooodle
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 4, 2011

Very basic, no frills place just outside crater. Super clean...but do not get room 7 as the septic air-pipe is just off the balcony making nature watching difficult due to heavy urine smell. Fine place to stay for night, but not more.

  • Stayed: December 2010, traveled with family
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1  Thank Worldtravelor2010
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 24, 2010

This is very basic accomodation but still offers everything you need. The reception staff are not the friendliest but eveyone else was great. If you look out of your window at night you will likely find wildlife right outside.

The rooms are very basic but clean. The main problem for us was that the fireplace in the restaurant was so smokey we could hardly stay - don't know if its always like that but it was a bit of a problem. Without that it would have been fine.

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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Thank canbird
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed November 9, 2010

Over winter holidays in Dec 2009, a friend and I decided to try do a safari on a budget and we did not want to go the traditional tour operator way. We were backpacking around Kenya/Tanzania and were dependent on public transport to get around. Rhino Lodge seemed to be a good choice as it was possible to reach the property by daladalas or bus from Arusha.

The good bits first:
Considering all the other options in the area, Rhino Lodge was very reasonably priced - no complaints on that. It was in a good location, inside the NCA, which means you can get to the crater first thing in the morning before all the other jeeps get there. The room we got was comfortable, with a little sit out. We reached the lodge after lunch service, and they did lay out a table just for us, with a hot meal. The restaurant is in a separate building and neatly done up.

It is definitely not luxury, but its not too bad either. They had an activity room with a few books, pictures and other bits and pieces keeping with the safari theme. A good choice for most people who are not too fussed with 5 star type hotels but I would not recommend it for reasons you will see.

Now the bad (actually horrible) bits:
As we were doing this safari on our own, we had to pay for the hotel in cash at the reception in the morning in US Dollars and we went on safari into the crater. They gave us a pack lunch which was not much - an egg and a couple of sandwiches.

When we got back, the guy at the reception to who we gave money, said he would join us in our jeep to go to Karatu which was where we were headed. We had no problems with that thinking we were being nice to the guy. Just before reaching Karatu he asked the driver to stop off at a building for 5 minutes.

The scam starts here. We had a dispute on a fake Dollar note that we allegedly gave him. We had no problems anywhere before this (from visas to park fees to hotels and tour operators). Having seen a variety of tricks in a few other places (worst was Istanbul), we were pretty sure it was a scam, and we refused to pay up.

Now things got even more interesting. He threatened to take us to the police. We agreed to go to the police thinking he was not serious about it. At the police station, an Inspector heard both our stories and suggested that we split the disputed amount (we would pay half of what the hotel guy demanded).

The hotel guy started off in Swahili to the Inspector. My friend and I did not want any trouble (not knowing what could happen once we left the police station), and put up the difference on the Inspectors desk and left. Turns out, the police are in it too. It left a bad taste, considering that by not going through a tour operator, we were paying for the hotel, jeep and other services directly without a middle man.

I guess this is par for the course in Africa. But based on my experience I would not recommend this lodge to my friends. You do not want to worry on an expensive holiday and ruin it with things like this. Who knows what other scams Rhino Lodge can cook up. There have been reports of money being lifted from rooms when guests are not around too.

  • Stayed: December 2009, traveled with friends
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1  Thank Ind1Traveller
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed October 20, 2010

If you are used to luxury when you travel to Africa, don't stay here. However, if you like a bit of variety when you travel and don't mind staying in non fussed clean and friendly accommodation, this is the place for you. We enjoyed our stay there because the staff was genuine and friendly. The food is simple but hearty and good. The room is basic yet it is comfortable and the bathroom is adequate. There is also a balcony and we watched waterbucks grazing until they smelled a predator and took off quickly. We saw a leopard emerging from the shadows so that was pretty awesome! Having a beer on the restaurant balcony watching the sunset was very enjoyable and peaceful. the logfires in the restaurant are very cosy!

  • Stayed: September 2010, traveled as a couple
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1  Thank Delphine73
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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Additional Information about Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge

Address: Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Free Parking Restaurant
Hotel Style:
Ranked #9 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range: $110 - $125 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Number of rooms: 24
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
Rhino Lodge is ideally located on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater rim. The Lodge was originally the home of Ngorongoro’s first conservator, and its developers have maintained the house’s original rustic, low-impact style and natural setting. Rhino Lodge offers a perfect base from which to explore the Ngorongoro crater and its surroundings. Game drives into the crater, and, for the more adventurous, walking safaris in the forest reserve and visits to nearby Maasai villages, can all be arranged from the lodge. And, on return after a long day, 24 comfortable en suite rooms with forest views, a cozy living space, friendly local staff and generous African-inspired meals offer guests a warm welcome home. ... more   less 
Also Known As:
Ngorongoro Rhino Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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