&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Guests can be forgiven for losing track of which era, or even continent, they are experiencing at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
Nowhere else on earth can you wake up among all the trappings of an elegant baroque chateau - brocade sofas, gilt mirrors, beaded chandeliers and panelled walls - and be instantly transported into one of the most famous African landscapes with just one glance out the window of the lodge.
In this place of dramatic contrasts, where Versailles meets Maasai, anything is possible and the natural luxury of the breathtakingly beautiful setting ensures the dramatic interior of your suite blends perfectly with its stilted thatch architecture.
- Incredible architecture, inspired by the traditional Maasai mud and stick manyatta
- Whimsical interiors packed with antiques create an aura of romance and luxury
Why visit &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge?
Divided into three camps, 30 stilted suites with banana leaf ceilings and grass roofs provide an intimate and exclusive Crater experience. Each camp has its own sitting and dining areas, with private butlers who provide warm, personal service. Brocade sofas and Persian rugs invite you to re-live the day’s experiences around a roaring fire. The domed dining room, where sparkling silver and crystal vie for attention with the huge windows and awe-inspiring views.
Everything is chosen to delight the imagination and enhance the spectacular views of the magnificent surroundings. An eclectic blend of elegant teak panelling, Victorian furnishings and whimsical African touches creates a sumptuous atmosphere that is as elegant and unique as the Crater itself. Leather chairs recline in front of a lit fireplace and raw silk curtains screen a private veranda. Even the gigantic bathtub is set under a hand-beaded chandelier.
The Game Lodge at the Top of the World
&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge has been called the game lodge at the top of the world and, between the natural riches of the Crater spread out at its feet and the amazing architecture, it’s easy to believe that you have entered a realm of pure fantasy. With ever-changing views as mists swirl and clouds scurry over the huge wildlife cauldron below, the location is truly breathtaking.
An estimated 25 000 mammals are resident in the Crater, including large herds of resident wildebeest, 16 highly endangered black rhino and around 70 lion. Nomadic cheetah move in and out of the area and leopard are most often encountered in the Lerai Forest. Both golden and black-backed jackal are abundant, while the normally shy and nocturnal serval are frequently spotted during daylight hours. Vast numbers of buffalo, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle also occur. Large numbers of both lion and spotted hyena are also resident in the Crater. While the grasses are short in winter, it is easy to spot even small predator like caracal.
The Lerai Forest, the permanent marshes on the Crater floor and the highland meadows provide the best sightings of elephant in the Crater area. The dense forest on the slopes and rim of the Crater provides shelter for the giant tuskers, which pass silently through the forest depths, some even visiting the lodge gardens after dark. Elephant are not the only visitors to the lodge, with buffalo occasionally taking a nocturnal stroll through the grounds. A triumph of conservation efforts, buffalo were once completely absent from the Crater floor but have returned in large numbers.
While more often associated with the Great Migration in other parts of Tanzania, both zebra and wildebeest are permanently resident in the Crater. Thomson’s gazelle, which often join the wildebeest and zebras on their migration, are also more sedentary in the area, grazing the grasslands in the company of the larger animals.
The saline waters of Lake Magadi attract both the lesser and the greater flamingo, with flocks of several thousand forming when the lake is low. Other bird species on the Crater floor include the ostrich and the Kori bustard, the world’s heaviest flying bird.
True African hospitality lies at the core of &Beyond's lodges and camps throughout the continent. The people of Africa, with their warm and welcoming nature and the ability to draw guests into their hearts, inspire, educate and enchant our guests every day.
A shared passion for extraordinary guest experiences unites all &Beyonders across Africa. For the staff members at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, there is no better way to spend the day than in making our guests' safari dreams come true. Our chefs, butlers, housekeepers, security and workshop staff are trained with the same dedication as our field staff, but their pleasure in sharing your special moments is something that cannot be taught. They are the magic ingredient at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and their commitment to creating moments that take our guests' breath away is genuine.
&Beyond is renowned for having some of the most highly trained, professional, passionate and knowledgeable guides on the continent. They have a passion for people and wildlife, ensuring unbeatable interpretive safari experiences.
Our guides at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge impart an incomparable wealth of knowledge, personally researched and experienced, about local habitats, ecology, birds, trees, plants, small animals and insects. Many of our guides belong to the surrounding communities and can share cultural information with our guests.
The Very Best Training
&Beyond runs three full-time ranger training schools headed by professional ranger trainers in Africa. Each ranger at &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge undergoes a rigorous training course at one of these schools before joining their team. They then receive further on-site training and benefit immensely from their colleagues' ongoing mentorship. It is through their passion for what they do, and their desire to develop and learn that &Beyond's guides are among the finest in the world.
At &Beyond we seek to maintain a low impact on the land while deriving high yield for our conservation initiatives by creating very small luxury lodges that support enormous tracts of biodiverse land, which remains untouched. At every lodge we seek out small (and sometimes not so small) but meaningful ways of putting our values into action every day. Each &Beyond lodge supports the conservation of wildlife and contributes to its neighbouring communities in one way or another. In addition, we seek to limit our impact in terms of fossil fuels, the use of renewable energy, water and waste management, and recycling.
At &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge 30 000 indigenous trees grown from seed have been planted to reforest the area.
Working closely with the Africa Foundation, &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge rangers take groups of Maasai children on game drives into the Crater. This exposes them to the wonder of nature, and is enhanced by lessons in environmental awareness and the value of ecotourism to local communities.
The &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Green Team is striving to recreate pockets of indigenous forest and other highland vegetation around the lodge.
Liaison and Support of Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and Researchers
&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge provides logistical support to the NCAA management, and provides data on wildlife such as Black Rhino, Elephant and Lion. Assistance has been provided on the restoration of damaged wetlands on the Crater floor. Wildlife researchers such as Richard Estes (wildebeest and other herbivores) and Pete Morkel (rhinos) have been assisted in recent years.
New Desks Create a Better Learning Environment
&Beyond and Africa Foundation recently supplied 40 new school desks to the Embarway Secondary School in the Embarway community near &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. There are over 800 learners currently attending this school, most coming from families that are unable to afford the $60 annual school fees. Resources at the school are severely limited, and the desk shortage meant that in some classes, 3 or 4 learners were sharing a desk designed for one student. The additional 40 desks have greatly improved the learning environment for these learners, and will certainly have a positive impact on their academic performance. A special thank you to everyone who has supported the Embarway Secondary School!
Together with the Africa Foundation, &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge works with lodge staff and nearby communities to follow a wellness programme geared towards developing and maintaining a healthy immune system. Diet, natural vitamins and minerals, and the cultivation of a positive attitude are among the key factors in fighting chronic illness including HIV/Aids.
A day at Ngorongoro Crater
At &Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, game activities centre around the astonishing natural feature from which the lodge takes its name. Game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater are longer than usual, partly due to the long drive down onto the Crater floor. While we seek to thrill you with wildlife encounters by day, we know that the spectacular architecture and interior design of the lodge will spoil you by night.
- Breakfast - As the dawn begins to tinge the morning sky, a soft knock on the door announces your butler with a wake-up call and a fragrant cup of tea or coffee. An air of anticipation for the day ahead hangs over the breakfast table as the morning meal is served.
- Game Drive - Discuss your hopes for the day's wildlife viewing with your guide as a winding road takes you through the thick forests on the Crater's rim. With tens of thousands of animals inhabiting the Crater floor, game drives are likely to produce some exceptional sightings, perhaps even the entire Big Five in one day!
- Lunch - Stop at one of the designated picnic sites on the Crater floor for a delicious packed lunch. Surrounded by some of Africa's most iconic scenery, as well as masses of wildlife, the appetite is sharpened and the taste buds awakened. Continue your wildlife adventure after lunch, returning to the lodge in the early afternoon, or opt for a shorter drive and return to the lodge for lunch.
- Afternoon Tea - Indulge in a decadent afternoon tea or a sundowner cocktail as you watch the play of light on the breathtaking Crater views from the comfort of your private suite.
- Dinner - Mouthwatering tastes and delicate textures do their best to distract guests from the splendour of the Lodge's dining room. Magnificent designs delight the eye, while fragrances and flavours tempt the palate.