Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

It's been a steady stream of scattered thunderstorms here in what some people call the "Paradise of Phuket" so I thought I'd do a little catching up on updating.

We often get questions inquiring about our most enjoyable destinations, and even favorite properties we've had the pleasure of visiting over the years and one that always comes to mind is the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge in Tanzania.

The experience of Safaris is usually exhilarating, and often goes beyond what words can merely describe. We spent almost three weeks on safari in Eastern Africa a number of years ago and the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge certainly remains a highlight.

The Ngorongo Crater Lodge sits on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, the largest intact caldera in the world. An estimated 25,000 large mammals inhabit the nearly three million year old crater, including lions, elephants, leopards, wildebeests, and the rare endangered black rhino.

The property is divided into three separated camps with ten intimate stilted safari suites each. The mud and thatch Maasai inspired suites are all equipped with fireplaces, grand chandeliers, antiques, enormous walk through showers, and three inch thick cast iron bathtubs. Each hut has an attached deck with magnificent views of the crater.

Alan relaxing in the bath after a day of safari.

Personal butlers would have baths drawn on request after safaris, and room warming fires would be lit prior to our returns.

The common areas in the neighboring structure consists of a large sitting room and a separate attached dining room. The personalized meals were all incredible. Dinners were taken at a leisurely pace as nightcaps and sweets were set up in the rooms.

We were sad to leave after our four night stay at the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. The property and environment are magical and the service was incredible.
Our host at the Lodge was a double for Denzel Washington and he, along with the butler assigned to us, discreetly tended to all our needs.

Laundry was laid out before we left for safaris and cleaned on our return, and all done without any additional cost. Nowhere else, not even all-inclusive resorts where we paid in excess of $1,300 a night was our laundry done without additional charge.

Alan raved about the coffee at the Lodge and on our departure, "Denzel" left us with a small package of roasted beans. Now that's service.

We took our safaris into the crater each day searching for various pods or singular animals. The crater floor is a unique environment covering 100 square miles and host to a variety of animals.

Within the crater are huge lerai forests, sacred to the Maasai, and a number of lakes. Lake Natron on the southwestern floor of the crater is a popular breeding area for the lesser flamingo.

The Maasai have occupied the Crater area since the early 1800s and today are seen daily herding their cattle around.

We visited this Maasai village on the Crater one morning before heading into the Crater. It's all very well organized of course and we were asked to pay the elder of the tribe a small token for the visit to help the tribe members. We crawled into one of the mud huts where he laid in the darkness smoking his long pipe. He welcomed us, through an interpreter, and we gave him twenty bucks.

Maasai mud huts.

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