andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge: The Experience

Located in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

Some people claim that the volcano that once towered here was higher than Mount Kilimanjaro before it erupted and collapsed three million years ago. Today Ngorongoro Crater sinks to an impressive depth of 2,000 feet and harbors a constant abundance of wildlife. Unsurprisingly, the experience at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is centered around the crater, and every aspect of the lodge is oriented towards making the most out of its incredible vantage on the rim. For guests who wish to explore beyond the crater, the lodge offers a host of excursions to nearby highlights.

See our sample itinerary describing how you would experience this lodge during a 3-day stay.

Things to Do

The following experiences are included in the cost of your stay.

Game Drives

Join expert rangers on morning, afternoon, or full-day game drives on the floor of Ngorongoro Crater in a closed safari vehicle with pop-up roof. Descend into the crater through the lush highland forest, watching for incredible bird life along the way, and arrive at the grassy crater floor, home to grazing herbivores and the predators they attract. Watch for flocks of pink flamingos clustered around the shores of Lake Magadi and hippos in the surrounding swamp. Drives can be tailored to your interests, and can include picnic breakfast, lunch, and afternoon sundowners.

Lodge Walk

Explore the lodge grounds on foot with a naturalist guide. Learn area history; view the crater from a variety of angles; and tour the on-site nursery, where you will discover indigenous trees and learn about their medicinal value. At the lodge gift shop, meet and bead with Maasai women.

Optional Activities and Experiences

The following experiences are offered at an additional cost.

Excursions

Crater View Walk

Explore the western rim of the crater on a guided walk through acacia woodlands, lush forests, and open grasslands. Keep your eyes skyward for sightings of African cytrill, white-eyed slaty flycatchers, golden-winged sunbirds, mountain buzzards, Schalow’s wheatear, and mountain white-eye birds. Along the way, you may also encounter Maasai tending their cattle.

Empakaai Crater Hike

Set out on a daylong hiking adventure into the birdwatcher’s paradise of Empakaai Crater—Ngorongoro’s four-mile-wide, car-free sister crater half covered by a lake. Watch for barred-tailed trogons, grey-headed negro finches, greater and lesser flamingos, steppe eagles, and crowned eagles. Be prepared for a steep grade and high altitude entering and exiting the crater.

Lake Eyasi Walk

Discover beautiful Lake Eyasi, a tropical oasis bordered by palm trees on the floor of the Rift Valley, on a half-day walk. Pass through Maasai villages and open grazing land, visit the inspiring Africa Foundation Mokilail School project, and cap off the experience with sundowners at a panoramic viewpoint over the lake.

Olduvai Gorge and Shifting Sands Tour

Explore the archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge—also known as the cradle of mankind, where National Geographic explorers Mary and Louis Leaky discovered remains of an early human in 1960. Then visit Shifting Sands, a pair of mysterious, magnetic volcanic ash dunes that slowly creep across the landscape in response to prevailing winds.

Hadzabe Bushmen Experience

Join a ranger on a full-day cultural immersion with the Hadzabe people, ancient hunter-gathers who live on the land near Lake Eyasi. Discover their unchanged way of life and learn their hunting techniques, survival skills, food preparation, and cultural norms. (Children must be age 12 or older to participate.)

Special Dining Experiences

A variety of unforgettable culinary experiences can be arranged at the lodge that take advantage of its incredible natural setting and its lavish decor. Whether in the privacy of your suite or in the elegant dining area, sit down to champagne and a memorable meal strewn with roses and rose petals. Indulge in a champagne tasting or private five-course dinner with wine pairings in the atmospheric wine store. Enjoy sundowner cocktails and a private performance by Maasai warriors on the crater rim, or eat a hot lunch served at a private picnic spot on the crater floor.

African Drummers

Experience the beat of African music, set to traditional marimba melodies, during a performance by a local drumming group on the lodge’s lawn.

Massage Therapy

Relax with a rejuvenating massage in the privacy of your suite.

Food and Drink

With an elegant dining area for each of the three camps, meals are intimate, delicious, and served with a view. For breakfast, guests can help themselves from a vast buffet of fresh bread, fruit, and yogurt, and savor a hot dish, whether a full English breakfast or the daily special. Though the lodge offers a full buffet lunch, many guests opt to take a packed picnic into the crater. A lovely spread of tea and biscuits is on offer in the afternoon. In the evenings, guests retreat to the domed dining room for delectable dinners, often accompanied by a musical performance. The Tanzanian chefs offer up local specialties and pan-African cuisine—fragrant with saffron and cinnamon and featuring garnishes as chili marmalade—as well as British classics like beef Wellington and roasts.

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