Perched atop the Eastern rim of Ngorongoro Crater, the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge has unsurpassed views of the sunset, with flat-topped acacias in the foreground to really embellish those iconic sunset photos!
The accomodation is quintessential safari lodge, modeled on traditional Masai and Swahili architecture and decorated with Tanzanian artifacts. You really are catapulted into the aesthetics, as well as the natural environment of East Africa.
Groomed plantings of succulents and other indigenous species are evident close to the paths, and rooms, but soon give way to the original habitat of the surrounding conservation area.
I went out birding at dusk and was soon ably assisted by one of the security officers, who took me to the obscure spots, rarely frequented by guests, revealing bush baby nesting trees and many, many rare birds.
From the privacy of my room's glass viewing platform, I could watch not only the sunset, but the micro bats and nightjars feeding on moths, attracted to the light. Quite a nocturnal show, but remember to open up your curtains to catch it. Beats counting sheep, as a means to falling asleep.
Food was excellent, with a terrific selection of wines to match.
The lodge's working hub, housing the restaurant, WIFI facilities and reception was spectacular, hewn from raw timber logs in a circular formation, adobe walls, with site and culturally appropriate decor. It took my breath away!
Staff turned on something of a treat, with a guest birthday celebration followed by an extensive performance of traditional songs, drumming and dancing.
Staff were courteous, obliging and highly skilled in the nuances of the hospitality industry.
The head chef met with me to ensure my gluten free needs were well accomodated!
Security staff escorted us to our rooms between dawn and dusk, as buffalo and the odd lion do frequent the lodge grounds by night. Indeed there were buffalo right outside my glass viewing platform. A unique juxtaposition of the natural and built environments!
From Ngorongoro Sopa, it was quite an easy journey, into the unsurpassed proliferation of the World Heritage listed, Ngorongoro crater's amazing array of wildlife. A pride of lions greeted us as we began to descend and that was only the beginning.
So to, our journey to Lake Manyara, with an intimate encounter with a herd of elephants, bathing, feeding, nurturing their babies and surrounding our vehicles.
The stuff I'd dreamed of doing since childhood was finally a reality!
I could have gladly stayed way beyond the two nights I spent at Ngorongoro Sopa. Both the lodge and surrounding National Parks have so much to offer!
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- Also Known As:
- Ngorongoro Sopa Hotel Ngorongoro Conservation Area