andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
Photo courtesy of andBeyond
Mon - Fri 8am - 5pm
Sat 8:30am - 12pm
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater LodgeIt’s a toss-up between what's more breathtaking here along the rim of Ngorongoro Crater: the sunrise views of one of the world’s deepest and largest volcanic caldera, haven for more than 25,000 wild animals (including the endangered black rhino); or the lodge’s contrast between the Masai-inspired mud-walled and banana frond–thatched architecture and the all the silk, velvet, and crystal of sumptuous, neo-Victorian boudoir furnishings. The romantic, glamorous guest suites—divided into three sub-camps—are supremely comfortable, and butlers strew thousands of locally grown rose petals in them each day. But the emphasis here is on 4WD game viewing on the 100-square-mile crater floor, and guests wake up early (5:30 a.m.) to beat the traffic jam of safari vehicles making the slow, 2,000-foot descent on the common access road. No off-road driving is permitted, to protect the crater’s unique Arthur Conan Doyle–lost world environment, which can lead to congregations of vehicles and travelers angling for shots of charismatic species. However, andBeyond’s eagle-eyed guides prove adept at tracking game and evading crowds. For travelers who really want to get away from it all, the lodge offers day trips for hikers into car-free Empakaai, a scenic four-mile-wide sister crater half covered by a lake.