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“Marvelous Experience”

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andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Certificate of Excellence
Northern New Jersey
Level Contributor
31 reviews
19 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 22 helpful votes
“Marvelous Experience”
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 March 2009

Without repeating everything else said here about this fabulous and unique place, I would just say that IF you can manage to fit this magnificent place into your schelule and your budget, I would HIGHLY recommend it. It is like nothing I have ever seen anywhere. We just loved it!

  • Stayed March 2009, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank susieQ49
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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642 reviews from our community

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Rating summary
  • Location
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Sleep Quality
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Rooms
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Service
    5 of 5 bubbles
  • Value
    4.5 of 5 bubbles
  • Cleanliness
    5 of 5 bubbles
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tokyo
2 reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 5 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 22 March 2009

We contact ed & Beyond for our safari trip. From every point of view, they were just fantastic.

Fred of & Beyond who organised our trip was very professional, patient & caring. His flawless organization enabled us to have a truly memorable trip, despite many challenges, including the last-minute rescheduling of our flight into Kenya, Thanks to him, we will cherish our African memories for a very long time.

During our trip we stayed at Kitchwa Tembo and Bateleur, Lake Manyara and Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Ndutu lodge and Lemala luxury camp. & Beyond is simply the best (Kitchwa Tembo, Bateleur , Lake Manyara & Ngorongoro Crater lodge). The staff was very professional, very attentive to our needs as well as to those of our two young daughters. The rooms were always comfortable with a beautiful view. The game drive vehicles were clean and spacious, offering good views of the animals and landscape. All our rangers were knowledgeable, courteous and eager to help in any way possible.

At Ngorongoro Crater lodge, our daughter celebrated her 10th birthday. Joseph, the camp manager, made a fantastic planning of her birthday with lots of surprises: Early morning at 6:00 am on our way to the game drive, the staff surprised her with a “Happy birthday”song. During the day on the crater floor, they also sang for her on the radio. When we came back to our room, there were gifts and sweets waiting for our daughters as well as a wonderful rose-petal bath. At night, the whole staff came singing and playing music, while the cook carried a beautiful cake with 10 candles on it. Our daughter told us that she never had “happy birthday” sang to her so many times! We would also like to thank our ranger, Erick, who was always good-humored even in tough situations when our vehicle got stuck in the mud.

It was a fantastic trip, one of our very best travel memories. We will certainly recommend & Beyond to our friends.

  • Stayed February 2009, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
Thank lfgd
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
London, United Kingdom
Level Contributor
244 reviews
172 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 258 helpful votes
3 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 30 December 2008

I really wonder about all the people writing these rave reviews. Do they feel they need to give 5 points because they have paid so much money? Of course I agree there is nothing wrong with the lodge: rooms are stunning, views are amazing, service impeccable. But we had similar experiences in other lodges in Tanzania where we paid only a third of the Ngorongoro rate.
Forgetting about the rate, I would probably give the place 4 to 5 points but the fact remains they charge an extraordinary amount of money and I just dont feel it is worth it. We had 1 game drive which lasted only 2,5 hours. The guide was excellent but time was just too short because he picked us up late.
The food was good but not better than in other places we stayed in.
They claim the design of the rooms is based on Masasi huts but that is just a silly marketing line. The rooms have nothing of Africa about hem but look more like a Parisian brothel. I wish they would incorporate more local materials but I guess that is not the point at this lodge.
If I think of all the wonderful places I have stayed in, this would not rank high. It is all too fake, too mad and too ridiculous.
On a positive note, I think & Beyond are a great company who provide for their staff very well and I dont think this lodge is examplary of their ideals.

  • Liked — view
  • Disliked — value for money
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
5 Thank Chocolate74
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Los Angeles, California
Level Contributor
101 reviews
53 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 90 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 25 December 2008

The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is probably the greatest facility we have stayed at, period. Each cottage looks like something out of Middle Earth with outstanding views of the crater (we even had elephants hanging outside of our cottage!!!). The staff at the lodge are absolutely wonderful. They were extremely attentive without being overbearing. The food was also excellent and they did a fantastic job of preparing picnics for us to take down to the floor of the crater. They offer South African wine which was delicious after a long game drive. After dinner, you return to a warm and cozy room where your butler sets up a beautiful fire to relax and unwind. If you are considering going to Tanzania, I would highly recommend staying at this lodge to ensure a truly memorable and luxurious stay. Oh, and the safari guides thru &Beyond (formerly CC Africa) had a keen eye for spotting animals and vast knowledge of the wildlife in the crater. Truly a magnificent adventure!

  • Liked — Everything!
  • Disliked — Nothing!
  • Stayed December 2008, travelled with family
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
1 Thank Parabola
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Houston, Texas
Level Contributor
53 reviews
43 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 164 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 December 2008

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 ccgabor@comcast.net.

Enjoy your trip!

PS - This is a GREAT place for a honeymoon (if you like adventure).

  • Stayed November 2008, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
    • Business service (e.g., internet access)
Helpful?
4 Thank CathrynG
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Glendale, California
Level Contributor
28 reviews
13 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 40 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 21 October 2008

With so many great reviews already written about the Crater Lodge, I'm not sure what I could add, but I'll try to share a few of my possive experiences and recommendations.

Great Views!: The Lodge is as amazing as everyone writes. The views over the crater floor are breathtaking and even more amazing with the sun rising above the crater rim at dawn. As to where the best rooms are located, all the rooms in the North and South Camps appeared to have similar views. The tree camp was more difficult to see, but I would imagine they are good there as well.

Great Room!: The room is huge and the decor was incredible. The bathroom was open and spacious with a large tub sitting in the middle of the room and an open air shower located between two vanities. The bedroom had a king bed with plush linens and a sitting area with a woodburning fireplace. Truly spectacular.

Great service!: From the moment we were greeted at the airstrip with tea and cookies, I knew it was going to be special. Then upon arrival to the Lodge, we were welcomed by the manager, waiter, and butler who escorted us to our rooms. Coming back from our first game drive, our butler had set up a bubble bath. I can't remember the last time I took a bubble bath, but I decided to give it a try. It was the perfect finish to a "tough" day on the crater floor. And don't forget to get the perfect wake up call---a visit to your room by your butler with tea and biscuits. A great way to start the day. This place makes the Four Seasons Hotels seem ordinary!

Great Food!: Every meal seemed better than the last. There was never a shortage of delicious food and it was always elegantly served.. We loved the dining room and of course, the views.

Great Game drives: Our driver Wilfred was extremely friendly, patient and knowlegable and worked hard to make sure we saw a variety of animals. We saw SO many animals including lions, cheetahs, elephants, buffalo, hippo, hyenas, gazelles, zebra, warthogs, and black rhino. While I understand some of the reader comments about it being crowded and not a great place to see anmials in a natural environment, no one can say it is not great game viewing. There aren't too many other places where you can spot such a variety of animals including the very rare black rhino. While I would not make a visit to Ngorongoro Crater the only stop on a game safari, I believe it's a must and a great compliment to any itinerary. And you can't beat the morning breakfast stop by the hippo pool.

Other things to note.....We decided to take a visit to the nearby Masai village. While it is a bit commercialized, we did enjoy seeing the local people in their own environment. But be ready to spend some money if you decide to make the visit. Stay at least two nights. It was originally suggested to us to stay only one night due to the high cost of the rooms. While I agree that it is unbelievably expensive, I would highly recommend staying at least two nights to really get the full experieince of the Lodge. Bring enough warm clothes and dress in layers. It can go from hot to cold pretty quickly. Also, take advantage of the complimentary laundry service.

Don't miss a trip to the Crater Lodge!

  • Liked — The room, the views and the service
  • Disliked — nothing
  • Stayed September 2008, travelled with friends
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
4 Thank JDMTraveler
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
Greenville, South Carolina
Level Contributor
106 reviews
30 hotel reviews
common_n_hotel_reviews_1bd8 115 helpful votes
5 of 5 bubbles Reviewed 4 October 2008

As we drove close to the lodge, I recognized it from the pictures on the Internet. They look like Hobbit Huts. We were met by Irene, manager, and our butler, Patrick. We stayed in South Camp and actually had the hut next to where we would eat our meals…very convenient. The views were too die for…ok, perhaps I could struggle to stay here for three nights (one night was added to the Crater lodge because we could not get to one of the lodges due to roads being washed out).

The rooms are fabulous and way over the top. Our room had two decks, one off the bedroom area and one off the bathroom. We had a fireplace, a sitting area and two sinks with a large shower area between them. Even the toilet had a view of the crater.The food was good, but not outstanding. There was plenty to eat each night and we actually asked Patrick to lighten up on our portions.

Did an afternoon safari in the crater. Saw lions, rhino, cheetah, zebra, hyena, wildebeest, warthogs, etc. I love the lighting from about 4:00 on and the crater took on a magical look.When it came time to leave, I could not understand why we were heading to the steep looking mountain….there is no way there was a road there. Our guide, Martin, indicated that , “oh yes there is a road on that mountain.” Really? Now, I just thought some of the people on the board were exaggerating about the road to and from the crater since I didn’t think the one down was that bad. But, dear god, the one out took my breath away. That was an E ticket ride for sure. They take school buses up that road...not sure how, but they do. Whoa.

So, the second day into the crater we got in at about 7:00 am and returned to the lodge at 2ish. We saw about 5 lions, another cheetah, more rhino, zebras, jackals, hyenas, warthogs, ostriches, and elephants. We also saw a hundred or so wildebeest babies. Some of the placentas were still attached to the mom. Some babies had been born recently as they were trying to get the hang of walking. It was amazing to see this nursery of babies. We had lunch at the hippo pool (very good) and returned back the wildebeest nursery since we were so fascinated.

I know many people described the crater like a zoo and I do agree it was less wild then the Lake or the Serengeti, but I did like the fact I could see some of the animals up close and really take in what they looked like. Plus, seeing Rhinos was thrilling. The only time it got crazy with vehicles was at a lion sighting we came upon. There were already 10 vehicles there and within a span of 10 minutes another 10-15 showed up. I wasn’t disgusted or annoyed by it since I figure we all should have the thrill of seeing such a magnificent sight. The lions were rustling in the bushes and finally one male and one female strolled out for about 30 seconds and went back into the bushes.

Final thoughts on the Crater Lodge: Great service. I really did enjoy it (especially the bubble baths each day), but found three nights to be one night too many. I would recommend the lodge for a stay once in your life.

  • Liked — The view of the crater!
  • Disliked — The cost!
  • Stayed February 2007, travelled as a couple
    • Value
    • Location
    • Check-in / front desk
    • Rooms
    • Cleanliness
    • Service
Helpful?
1 Thank Monica041
This review is the subjective opinion of a TripAdvisor member and not of TripAdvisor LLC
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Additional Information about andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Property: andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Address: Ngorongoro Crater, Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Region: Tanzania > Arusha Region > Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Amenities:
Bar / Lounge Free Breakfast Children Activities (Kid / Family Friendly) Restaurant Room Service Suites
Hotel Style:
Ranked #1 of 2 Hotels in Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Hotel Class:5 star — andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge 5*
Number of rooms: 30
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

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