Like a box seat in a fabled opera house, andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge sits on the southern rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, offering sweeping views at every turn. The only thing between guests and the world’s largest intact caldera are the cool mists that swirl above the crater each morning. Far below, on the crater floor, an astounding assortment of creatures intermingles, from leopards and hippos to some 500 bird species. At twilight, it's not unusual to hear a lion's roar waft up from the depths of the caldera.
The crater and its surrounding highlands form one of Africa’s most unforgettable landscapes, a primordial place of rich grazing grounds for elephants, zebras, rare black rhinos, and seas of pink flamingos. The lodge is unforgettable too: its design draws together African textures—banana-leaf ceilings, mud brick, thatched-palm roofs—and ornate French baroque interiors that sparkle with gilt mirrors and beaded chandeliers. After a day on safari in the crater or exploring the rim on foot, guests return to relax in this elegant aerie, still enveloped in the mystique of the legendary Ngorongoro landscape.
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is no silent witness to the crater’s incredible eco-systems: the lodge and its parent company, andBeyond, are actively involved in efforts to preserve them. “Doing well by doing good” is the mantra here, and it extends to habitat restoration as well as support for local communities. An example of both: a lodge butler has become the crater’s de facto resident naturalist. His extensive knowledge of local botany has led to a partnership between andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and park authorities, who seek his guidance in managing invasive plants and training park officers in other conservation areas. Thanks in part to his efforts, the lodge has cultivated more than 50,000 indigenous trees in its nursery over the past decade, helping to spearhead local reforestation efforts.
Guests aren’t the only ones getting an up-close view of this extraordinary wilderness: the lodge also provides vehicles and accommodations for wildlife researchers who come to study the crater, and works with the non-profit Africa Foundation to bring Maasai children on safari in the crater, building their awareness of conservation and ecotourism.
National Geographic guests are invited to spend time with a local farmer who provides produce for andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Learn about his daily life and enjoy a delectable lunch in his flourishing vegetable shamba (garden). Afterwards, journey to Misigyo Primary School with a representative from the Africa Foundation, andBeyond’s community development partner. Here, enjoy an opportunity to interact with the local schoolchildren and learn more about local community and conservation initiatives.
The lodge provides good jobs for locals, with fair wages and a staff development program that enables employees to rise through the ranks. Some 90 percent of the lodge’s staff are Tanzanian, and the majority hail from within 30 miles of the lodge; women make up nearly half of the staff. To support the surrounding villages, the lodge’s Community Leadership Education Fund offers educational scholarships to local students. Beneficiaries agree to return to their villages upon completion of their formal studies in order to champion good governance and leadership in their communities. The lodge also recently supplied 40 new desks to a nearby secondary school, where resources are severely limited.
Steps to minimize its environmental impact range from purifying and bottling its own drinking water to powering the lodge and suites with diesel generators. The lodge uses organic soap and biodegradable laundry detergents, allowing nontoxic gray water to be released back into the environment after filtration. Organic kitchen waste is shared with local pig farmers.
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