We booked our Safari with &Beyond (formerly CC Africa) and Ngorongoro Crater was the fourth "camp" in our 16 night journey.
What a GREAT lodge/hotel!!
This place is first visually STUNNING. You must walk around to see the amazing craftsmanship. The decor is eclectic with a blend of India, Africa and the Middle East. Very cool!
One guest, who is a designer who lives in the UK said, "skip the game drives, and enjoy the room".
We took the advice of a previous Trip Advisor reviewer and requested Cottage 12A, which we discovered is usually reserved for honeymooners. (We were not honeymooners but everyone thought we were, does that count? LOL)
12A is the most private of the North Camp cottages and is set below the others with a partial view of the crater. Since we didn't spend all our time in the room, the partial view was OK with us. We really enjoyed the privacy of this particular cottage.
After sunset, you will be escorted to your room by a local Masai "warrior". Since there are no fences and wild animals all over, they take every precaution to keep you safe.
As a plus, each room has a safe, blow dryer, separate tub, rain shower, dual sinks, flashlight, converter to charge your electronics, twin wardrobes, desk with Bose sound system for iPod, fireplace in sitting area, make-up station/desk, water closet, and deck over-looking crater. Note: The resort turns off the generator each day from 3pm - 5pm to conserve energy.
North and South Camps are right next to each other (with 12 cottages each) and each camp has their own (almost identical) dining lodge/hall.
Rooms 1 - 12 are located at the top of the hill and all of the North Camp rooms seem to have excellent views of the Crater (except 12A, which is a good view of the crater, just not the entire crater, due to trees).
South Camp has a slightly bigger lodge, which includes an outdoor fire pit. South Camp is ideal for weddings and/or groups. All the South camp rooms (#14 - 24) appear to have good/excellent views of the crater.
One note about Tree Camp. The rooms are smaller (about half the size of the others) but still very nice.
The only issue with Tree Camp is the trees have grown a lot and are obstructing the views of many of the 6 rooms. The Tanzania government does not allow them to trim the trees on national park land so there are questions about whether these rooms will be desirable in the future (despite the amazing Tree Lodge).
The Tree Camp was closed when we were there because tourism is down, but Irene, the manager at North Camp, arranged for us to have a romantic breakfast in the Tree Lodge on our final morning. What a treat!
The Tree Lodge is the best lodge and very intimate and romantic. Make sure you take a walk to see it. The deck overlooking the crater has amazing views.
We ended up getting a tour of the entire property, including a room in Tree Camp, so if you wat to see pictures and know more, my email is listed below.
The staff and food is excellent. Each night we came back to rose pedals and a freshly drawn bath, and a fire in the fireplace (upon our request to our butler).
The game drives (morning or afternoon) are good but I would not say excellent. Compared to the other &Beyond (formerly CC Africa) properties, the gaming is better elsewhere.
This is the "Disneyland" of Tanzania with numerous visitors and tour vehicles vying to view the same animals. Also, there is no off-roading of vehicles allowed. Go to Klein's Camp for the best up-close animal viewing.
Regardless, it is worth going because you never know what you'll see and each day is different in the crater.
&Beyond/CC Africa has the BEST vehicles for game drives. The semi-open Land Rovers with pop-top are awesome and allow for good viewing and comfort.
Regarding tipping, bring plenty of low denomination US Dollars ($20, $10, $5, $1) for tipping at each camp/location. We tipped the Chef, Butler, Housekeeper and Ranger.
The laundry service was a real benefit. Pack light, you don't need a lot of clothes. All &Beyond/CC Africa camps do your laundry.
The drive from the Lake Manyara air strip is about 2 hours.
FYI - Luggage cannot weigh more than 33 pounds/15 kilograms (per person) and must be in a duffle/soft bag. This is due to the flight requirements of the "puddle jumper" planes that take you from camp to camp.
If you want to see more photos or need additional information, feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Enjoy your trip!
PS - This is a GREAT place for a honeymoon (if you like adventure).
- 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