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Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

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Auckland, Auckland...
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Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

Hello, 4 of us friends will be doing a self-drive on the Northern Circuit. We will be staying at Simba camp of the NCA on the night of Jan 19th, our plan is to wake up early, pick up a guide, pay for a permit and then self-drive into the crater.

I would like to iron out the particulars of picking up the guide and paying for the permit as early as possible.

Do we do this at the park headquarters or can we arrange for a guide/permit at the camp site or any of the local lodges?

Is there a way to do this the evening before heading into the crater, or will we have to do it in the early morning before the drive.

Also, after our time in the crater, we would like to buy dinner at a local lodge before returning to Simba camp for the evening. Do any of the restaurants on the crater rim provide a good meal with a view for non-guests>

Findlay, Ohio
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for Tanzania, Ngorongoro Conservation Area
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1. Re: Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

You will pay for the park fees at the Exim Bank in Arusha. These need to be paid in advance and they will give you something like a prepaid visa card to use at the gate. They will not accept cash at the gate.

Whenever I've used a guide on a self drive I always went to the ranger station and picked up a guide (one of the rangers).

As for dining, I always think the wildlife lodge has the best views from the patio but I'm not certain you can eat there. I would e-mail some of the lodges and ask this question, and perhaps email TANAPA and ask them about the guides and park fees. This way you will get 1st hand information. These things change all the time.

Ottawa, Canada
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2. Re: Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

I agree with Karl about contacting TANAPA - or reviewing the Ngoro Conservation Area website about guides and also Permits. The Exim bank is a bit funky about method of payment for these cards, so do some searching in the green box above for other posts. Sort by Date, however, as the rules and costs changed within the past year. I would also want to ensure I had a guide arranged ahead of time - if possible - so as to not delay your morning descent.

I believe when I was researching lunch stops, the Wildlife Lodge did allow 'walk in' restaurant guests. Whether that holds for dinner, I don't know. The view is supposed to be beautiful (I ate lunch elsewhere so don't know first hand) but the food is not highly rated and the prices for meals at all lodges are expensive - $30 - 50 or more.

Saint Paul...
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for Tanzania, Serengeti National Park
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3. Re: Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

TANAPA does not handle the crater. The crater has its own entity handling it, think it's called Ngorongoro Conservation Authority.

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4. Re: Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

Hi Andrew - If you want to go to the Crater very early you will have to do the following :

- as Karl said you deposit the Money in Exim/CRDB or NBC bank ( NCAA Account ) then you take the slip to the NCAA inforamtion centre, they will give you the temporary card that you will use when entering the conservation area.

- you have to make sure the amount need for your Entry fees, Camping fees , guiding fees and guide fees are all included in the card.

- When you are entering the Ngorongoro at the time you are paying for your entry and other you have to arrange for the guide right there and get his/her mobile phone for picking him/her early next morning as this will easy things for you than going to the head quoters and ask for the guide in the morning, as this will cause you to delay go down to the Crater.

Auckland, Auckland...
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5. Re: Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

Thanks for the advice.

The NCAA website makes it look like I can get a card at the gate, which seems more convenient than getting a card at the Exim/CRDB or NBC back in Arusha.

Getting this card seems difficult and potentially very time consuming. I've emailed the NCAA and haven't gotten anything back.

From www.ngorongorocrater.org/archive5_10.html

"May 2010


The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority (NCAA) is hereby notifying its esteemed Customers, stakeholders and the general Public that, from 20th May, 2010 it will introduce electronic revenue collection system using SMART CARD. The new system is aimed at reducing risks of carrying cash and / of cheques all the way while visiting the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Also the system is aimed at increasing efficiency through reducing unnecessary queues and delay at the gate before entering the Conservation Area.


For smoothening of the whole process of obtaining the Card known as "NGORONGORO CARD" NCAA will be having four POI/POS centres namely:

NGAA Arusha information Centre located opposite Air Tanzania Corporation and near Tanzania Tourist Board (TTB) Arusha Office.

Lodoare Gate.

Tourism Office at NCAA HQ - Ngorongoro Crater.

Naabi Hill Gate.

However our main point of issue and point of Sale POI/POS will be at the Arusha Information Centre as many Tour Operator and tourists are coming to Ngorongoro through Arusha town.

The point of issue (POI) is the point whereby issuing of cards for visitors and staff will be done. The point of Sale (POS) is the Component of the system dealing with the receiving of all payment of products and services defined by Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority Management."

Isle of Man, United...
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6. Re: Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

Coming in late here Andrew and you seem to have covered the bases with NCA and permits. I had a pre-paid Exxim card obtained in Arusha for NCA. It covered Car, driver, me etc., for the requisite number of nights in NCA from Ndutu to Crater rim. I saw no facility for cash at Lodaire Gate.

However I am really coming on about the proposed "dinner" post Crater.

You will be exiting the Crater at Lemala so the choices there are limited really to Sopa Lodge. It has good sunsets but read on. What concerns me is the post dinner drive to Simba. It get's dark at 18.30 and driving in NCA after dark is a "no no" especially around the Crater. There will be no view either! Not sure of current rules but because of extreme anti poaching measures needed there, it used to be that you could be shot on sight after dark anywhere close to the Crater.. No questions, no challenge.

So your dinner would have to be over in time to get back to Simba by curfew!

Good luck.

7. Re: Getting a Permit/Guide for a Ngorongoro crater self-drive

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