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“Unforgettable memories”

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Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp
Certificate of Excellence
Reviewed May 3, 2013

My mother, two sisters and I stayed at this camp in October 2011 as our first stop on our safari. We considered staying at a few places at the crater but ultimately decided that the African Safari experience would not be the same in hotel accomodation as it would be in a tent, best decision ever. While this camp does not provide the views of the crater that other hotels do, the service and staff more than make up for it. Having said that, one of the best things about this camp no doubt is it's location. With the crater ring road being quite long and rough to drive along, the fact that the camp is virtually at the entrance to the crater, makes for a very quick and easy drive into the crater. I remember feeling I was glad that after a long day in the crater, I didn't have to go for a long rough drive along the crater road to get back to my accomodation. We were back at camp in no time at all, glass of wine in hand to relax and unwind as soon as we returned. The food was very good, and I was surprised after seeing what they have to cook with. I particularly enjoyed the soups. The tents were nice, clean and comfortable. I was a bit worried initially about bucket showers as I had very long hair and was concerned that they would have to keep bringing buckets for me to get my hair washed but it proved not to be an issue at all, I was able to do it with one bucket. The staff were very nice and friendly and made our stay very enjoyable. They were always there to answer any questions or help with any need we had. The camp manager Godwin from Maasai background, sat with us during dinner one night and answered all of the many questions we had about the Maasai people and culture which made for a very interesting night of conversation over dinner. It was no doubt the most facinating and memorable dinner of our trip. With my mother being elderly (71 at the time), she was treated with great care and respect by the staff and was always carefully escorted to and from our tent from the main tent, something I know she very much appreciated. Our game drives in the crater were very successful and we were able to see an abundance of all kinds of wildlife. We also opted for the visit to the Maasai village, which also turned out to be one of the highlights of our trip. My one sister and I opted to hike up to the village, while my other sister opted to be driven with my mother as she would not have been able to do the hike. The hike was about an hour long, all up hill, with low brush so wear appropriate clothing and footwear and bring water. We saw elephants on our way up and being out in the bush amongest the widelife was a bit nerve wracking but part of the thrill and I am glad we did it. It was just my mother, sister's and I at the village so we got a private tour which was great. We were greeted by the entire tribe and treated to a performance of the woman singing, and men chanting and jumping. It was thrilling and overwhelming. One of the women was a real character and immediately starting adourning my mother with Masaai jewellry and got her singing and dancing with them, she absolutely loved that!! We sat in one of the huts with one of the sons of the chief and he talked alot about their culture and way of life, their needs, issues with medical care, schools for the children and hopes for the future. After we bought some of the jewellry and beadwork made by the women. They cover the cattle corral in what they are selling so there is great selection and I was happy to purchase directly from the tribe we visited. The only issue with the camp for me was there was limited access to electrical outlets for recharging batteries for the cameras and one night before dinner I had placed my battery on the charger in the main tent and a couple hours later went to get it, only to discover that someone had taken mine off the charger bar and replaced it with theirs. It was time to go to bed and I was not able to charge it over night and the battery was only partly charged. This made me upset as I was worried about not having enough battery to get me through the next day. I did have a back up battery but I found I could go through one battery/day easy and always had to move to the back up and I was worried I wouldn't have enough and miss photographing something spectacular. So I recommend bringing at least 3 batteries and leave one charging while you are out on safari during the day. Otherwise I think this camp is the ideal tented accomodation and I would definately recommend it. If I ever go back to Ngorongoro Crater, this would be where I would stay as it more budget friendly that many others and the staff, service and location was absolutely great. I am very glad we chose this more rustic tented accomodation over a hotel, it made the experience more true to the African Safari experience. There is a good chance you will hear the animals around you as you lay in bed at night. Thank you so much to all the staff at Lemala Ngorongoro Crater, what wonderful and forever lasting memories we all have from our stay in October 2011.

  • Stayed: October 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank Fiona-Johnson
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
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114 - 120 of 177 reviews

Reviewed April 14, 2013

There we were -- just my husband, our two daughters and I -- thrilled beyond description, watching the sun rise over lion, buffalo, zebra, baboon, ostrich, wildebeest, more ... The very best part? Not another vehicle in sight. Just the four of us. It was magical: stunning vistas, a rich variety of animals in every direction, and no other people. How did that happen in the famously crowded Ngorongoro Crater? First of all, we drove ourselves without a guide (thanks, fabulous Fortes Safaris for all guidance and a trusty Land Cruiser), and second, we stayed at Lemala -- which is already inside the gate to the Crater, which puts you about an hour ahead of the other groups who need to drive up a tricky rim road first. That one thing means you must stay here, and get up and out at 6am. You will never, ever forget that hour.

Even without that critical advantage, however, this camp is just great. Nestled in lush shady treed area, it feels incredibly restful and welcoming after a hot dusty drive. The tents are comfy. The customer service is delightful -- hot showers happen so unobtrusively, cozy nights are created as the staff stashes hot water bottles between your sheets and turns on room heaters while you're at dinner. Speaking of which, the food is wonderful (really don't know how these camps do it!) and the dinnertime conversation between interesting guests at one giant long table can be so much fun. We stayed at incredible camps during our 12-day self-drive safari, but this one gets the award for most delicious packed lunch! Such fun to open the little trunk and find outrageously good treats to eat while hanging out watching hippos... Lovely, quiet atmosphere in this camp. Except for that beautiful sound of the lion at night! :)

Room Tip: Our two tents were toward the end -- farther from the main areas -- and we liked that.
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  • Stayed: July 2012, traveled with family
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3  Thank Kathy C
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed March 1, 2013

We spent two nights at Lemala Ngorongoro in February. The location alone makes this the choice for the place to stay at the crater. The camp is a few minutes from the road into/outof the crater so you will be one of the first vehicles into the crater.

The camp is a mobile camp so you will not get the luxuries of a lodge. Nonetheless our tent was spacious and nicely furnished. We stayed at three camps with bucket showers and had our best experience at this camp. Our attendant made sure we had plenty of hot water for our evening showers and in the basin in the morning. It was chilly the nights we were there so we got to sleep with hot water bottles and lots of covers.

The crater is one of the most unique places we have ever visited. The floor is about 20 square miles with grassland, lakes, a forest and a few hills, all surrounded by an intact 1800 foot rim. What surprised us were the number of species of animals as well as the number of animals per species. For example we saw a herd of cape buffalo that had between 500 and 1000 buffaloes.

The camp is small so we enjoyed mixing with the other guests. The evening cocktail hour by the fire was particularly fun. Meals are served at a long table with no assigned seating. The food is basic--meat and vegetables that are well prepared but not creative or spicy. You are here for the crater and the animals, not the cuisine.

If we visit the crater again we would stay here.

  • Stayed: February 2013, traveled with family
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3  Thank Nashville1
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Reviewed January 1, 2013

I stayed here 2 nights around Christmas. This camp is in the first gate down to the Crater and as the other access road down is closed for repair, if you stay here you basically are guaranteed to be first into the crater in the morning. This is a big plus as is the atmosphere at the camp. The views from the camp are limited and while the tents are new, this will be nothing like staying at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in terms of luxury. On the other hand, it's a lot less expensive. WHat a camp like this gives you with its communal dinners and atmosphere though is special. When we left all the staff took a picture with us - it was like they all were friends. I thought the service here was slightly better than Lemala Ndutu but Ndutu was special in terms of the location. The tents are new and slightly smaller than those at Ndutu.

Other than descending into the Crater there are not that many shorter activities in the area (there are some day trips further afield) so be prepared to spend time relaxing or reading in camp if you come back early from the Crater or arrive in the camp early the day before.

  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank ghfatw
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lemala C, General Manager at Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 4, 2013

Dear ghfatw

Thank you for posting your review about our camp on trip advisor. As you have said, when staying at a seasonal camp, it is all about the safari type camping experience which makes the experience so great. Even though we are a seasonal camp, we do ensure that our are guests are comfortable, warm and very well taken care of. It is also the intimacy of the camp and the sharing of stories around the fire or the banquet style dinner table that make for unforgettable memories. By being already inside the gate, access to the floor of the crater is only a ten minute drive away. This is certainly one of the things that our guests really enjoy - being able to be first down into the crater and have it all to themselves while others are still in queues waiting to get down. We do offer morning and afternoon walks (approx 2 hours) with a local Masai who will reveal the secrets of the forest and traditional ways of Masai life and culture. This is certainly well worth doing.

Safe journeys and best wishes

Tom Yule

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Reviewed December 30, 2012

Our teenage boys loved this part of our safari. They thought the tents and camp setup was especially cool. This camp is also a great spot for couples as well as families. We met honeymooners as well as families at dinner each night. The hot water bottles in the beds each night were a cozy, romantic touch, and we all slept very well here. Showering with water heated over a wood burning fire was another fun, "campy" feel. Excellent service, beds, foods- all around. And animal life and topography make for constantly stunning vistas.

Room Tip: We stayed in tents 1 & 2 near the mess hall, noise not an issue
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  • Stayed: December 2012, traveled with family
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2  Thank MollyN162
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lemala C, General Manager at Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 4, 2013

Dear MollyN162

What a great review about our camp. Thank you for taking the time to post. At all of the Lemala Camps, our number one priority is guest experience. We take pride in being able to consistently deliver by providing guests with comfort, enjoyment, old fashioned safari feel camp, hosting at a personal level, great food and awesome locations.

I wish you safe journeys

Tom Yule

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Reviewed November 19, 2012

Hot water bottles tucked into the sheets at the foot of the bed on cold evenings and hot coffee or coco delivered to your tent for a wake-up call were only a couple of the things that made this my favorite place to stay during our two-week safari. Watching a white rhino stroll across one of the caldera's plains was amazing! We were able to stay in the crater longer than all of the other safari vehicles because we were at Lamala Ngorongoro. Heading toward the exit, we came across a young lion who sacked out in the middle of the road for a nap - it was too funny. I loved our stay at Lamala Ngorongoro - it even beat out Bilila Lodge, hands down.

The food, prepared amazingly enough on a wood stove, was phenomenal. The vegetable dishes were varied, perfectly seasoned and could serve as wonderful sides for meat entrees or stand as a meal on their own. The Maasai chef did some incredible things for us. Dinner and breakfast was always good as were the lunch boxes they prepared for us. Steven (sp?) was very attentive during our stay there and provide some thought provoking perspectives during our conversations with him. The Maasai security fellows, though very vigilant, were friendly.

Ali (sp?), our butler, was phenomenal and was the most outstanding person regarding attentiveness and service during our entire stay in Tanzania. From making sure there was more than enough hot water for everyone to have comfortable showers, to waking us up in the morning by delivering hot coffee and coco to the tent, to tucking hot water bottles between the sheets while we were at dinner so our beds would be toasty warm in the cool of the night, Ali was beyond compare. Thank you, Ali!

I would happily stay at Lamala Ngorongoro again!

  • Stayed: September 2012, traveled with friends
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3  Thank billfisher
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lemala C, General Manager at Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 4, 2013

Dear billfisher

Thank you for taking the time to write a review on trip advisor. It makes us very happy to hear that you liked our camp best out of 7 lodges/camps you stayed at during your trip to Tanzania and is a great motivator for the staff to improve even further on service delivery to our guests. Our community outreach programme now also includes the selling of crafts and masai beaded jewelry which is made by the women from the nearby village. I will encourage future travellers to our camp to support our efforts in community upliftment by purchasing an item or two.

Safe travels and best wishes

Tom Yule

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Reviewed November 16, 2012

We truly enjoyed this tented camp and highly recommend adding it to a trip. It was a great complement to some of the more "permanent" camps that we visited. The staff was exceptional. Although our travel agent told us a family tent would suffice, upon arrival we found that it would not be ideal for our two teenagers (it would have worked nicely for younger children that that might easily fit on the convertible chair/beds). When seeing our hesitation, the staff immediately offered to move us into two regular tents that worked perfectly.

Dinner was fantastic. Shockingly good given the rustic setting. The fire pit was a great way to relax before and after dinner.

Given the elevation, evenings can get chilly. They offer hot water bottles which were great for snuggling and keeping warm during the night. A great touch that truly made climbing under the covers much more comfortable. Wake up service also including them coming into the tents to turn on the propane heaters, so the tents were warming as you got out of bed.

This is a great place in which to get into the crater earlier in the morning, thus avoiding some of the chaos. Also, the camp is surrounded by magnificent acacia trees.

  • Stayed: August 2012, traveled with family
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1  Thank kbsNewYork
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC.
Lemala C, General Manager at Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, responded to this reviewResponded January 4, 2013

Dear kbsNewYork

Thank you so much for your reviews about Lemala Ngorongoro. I am very happy that you all had a good experience and enjoyed the camp, the staff and the location. This is proof that our outreach programme, which includes employment of locals from the nearby village is paying dividends. Some of the staff from the nearby village now hold senior positions at the camp.

Regards

Tom Yule

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Additional Information about Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp

Address: Ngorongoro Crater Rim, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Location: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Beverage Selection Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #17 of 36 Specialty Lodging in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Price Range: $478 - $3,032 (Based on Average Rates for a Standard Room)
Hotel Class:2.5 star — Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp 2.5*
Number of rooms: 9
Official Description (provided by the hotel):
LEMALA NGORONGORO is an intimate camp set in a delightful ancient acacia forest on the rim of the crater, next to the quiet Lemala access route. The camp has 12 spacious canvas tents to ensure intimacy and minimal impact on the pristine forest environment. The tents accommodate two queen beds with winter weight duvets and hot water bottles. The tents are warmed in the evenings by a gas heater, ensuring a cosy night's sleep. The roomy en-suite bathrooms contain a dressing area, flush toilet and a large safari shower. ... more   less 
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Also Known As:
Lemala Ngorongoro Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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