Ngorongoro Crater is an absolute must visit, but where should you stay to quickly access this UNESCO World Heritage Site?
15 May 2023
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Known as the 'eighth wonder of the world', the Ngorongoro crater is an essential part of your safari in Tanzania. With game drives down the slopes and lodges with spectacular views, this UNESCO heritage site boasts a caldera that spans over 102 square miles of wildlife and landscapes.
To fully experience just how beautiful the Ngorongoro Crater is, you must choose the right kind of lodging when designing your trip, whether it's luxurious lodges on the crater's rim with panoramic views or more cosy, secluded hideaways on the surrounding landscapes.
The Ultimate Safari Experience: Ngorongoro's Top 10 Lodges
Whether you are a first-time visitor to the Ngorongoro crater or a seasoned safari-goer, these top ten lodges give you the ultimate safari experience.
If you need help deciding what to pick, contact our team of specialists for guidance on the right kind of lodge for your holiday.
1. Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
The Ngorongoro crater lodge is an award-winning luxury lodge located right on the rim of the crater, giving spectacular panoramic views.
Featuring thirty suites influenced by the Maasai homesteads, these are split into the North, South and Tree camp. The rooms include magnificent views from each of their private decks, fireplaces for those chilly nights and king-sized beds for a restful sleep after a long game drive!
Dining-wise, we love how the lodge has a mix of European and African decor, with a domed dining room and an outdoor deck for warmer nights. In addition, all food is locally sourced, allowing you to experience the best African cuisine.
The lodge offers extensive activities, such as game drives, guided nature walks in the surrounding areas and cultural visits to the nearby Maasai villages.
Depending on the season, you can also arrange mountain biking/hiking through Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
Stunning views from the crater rim in all rooms.
Luxury rooms with private butlers, fireplaces and king-size beds.
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is designed to blend in with the natural surroundings of Ngorongoro without disturbing the wildlife.
Offering 75 spacious and luxurious rooms, each room is decorated with contemporary African design, including en-suite bathrooms for comfort and private balconies to take in the crater rim view after a long game drive.
The lodge includes two restaurants serving international and local cuisine, plus iit offers guided nature walks around the spectacular views of the crater rim.
There is no pool at this lodge and it does offer more of a hotel experience rather than a safari-style lodging, therefore it would be excellent for families or couples after a luxurious Tanzania honeymoon.
For a unique experience, the Highlands at Ngorongoro Crater is an excellent choice.
Situated on the slopes of the Olmoti volcano, the lodge has 20 domed suites which blend in with the surrounding environment featuring; king-sized beds, fireplaces, en suites and private decks. We love their honeymoon suite which is perfect for couples, including a hot tub and special treats such as champagne.
The centre of the camp includes an indoor fireplace and library for relaxing after a long day's game drive, it also has a main dining area, outdoor firepit and bar.
Although this lodge is a little further away from the Ngorongoro Crater rim, you can participate in nature walks on the volcano, hikes into the Empakaai Crater or visit the local villages for cultural immersion.
Domed suites are perfect for stargazing.
Great location for hiking and unique activities around the crater.
Lots of local flora and fauna for nature enthusiasts.
The old cosy farmhouse called Gibbs Farm is located between Lake Manyara National Park and Ngorongoro Crater.
This coffee farm features 17 gorgeous cottages dotted around the lush gardens, each having indoor and outdoor showers, fireplaces and hand-crafted furniture.
One of Gibbs Farm's main highlights must be the farm-to-table dining. Most of the produce used in the meals is grown on the farm here, and the main farmhouse also has a comfy lounge and bar.
Another main advantage of staying at Gibbs, although slightly far from the crater, are its activities. Here you can learn about the coffee plantations, trek around the elephant caves (maybe even see some elephants) and take part in cultural visits.
Coffee farms and homegrown produce.
A chance to trek and see elephants only a few feet away.
Beautiful private cottages.
Best for exploring both Ngorongoro & Manyara National Parks
Just a short drive from Manyara and Ngorongoro is the Plantation Lodge, set on a coffee farm with lush gardens. This lodge has 23 rooms, each with private verandas and African decor.
Dining here is superb thanks to the ingredients being fresh and locally sourced. You can also take guided walks through the coffee plantations and gardens or relax in the outdoor pool and spa after a long game drive.
Some other activities to try could be cooking classes or coffee tastings.
Range of activities like coffee tasting and nature walks.
The Manor At Ngorongoro is adjacent to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area lying on a coffee estate. The old cottage has 18 suites and a family cottage set around the gardens with open fireplaces and en-suites, as well as a mix of Victorian and African decor, perfect for a Tanzania family holiday.
Dining can be enjoyed in their inside dining area or on the outside terrace on warmer nights. You can do many activities around the estate, making it excellent for keeping kids busy; such as mountain biking and excursions to Lake Manyara and Olduvai Gorg.
The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge is part of the most popular chain of lodges throughout Tanzania's national parks.
This Sopa lodge is one of the largest in the surrounding area, having 97 spacious rooms, each with a balcony to see the spectacular views and en suites. They are designed with traditional African mudhouses in mind, featuring cone roofs and stone walls.
You can experience both half-board and full-board accommodation at this lodge, with a buffet and other food options served at their Lemala Hill restaurant. The dining room has glass walls so you can appreciate the views as you eat and relax after a day's game drive.
We like this lodge in particular due to the location on the rim, allowing you to start your game drive immediately before others and come back early to relax at the pool.
Located right on the Eastern rim of the crater.
Stunning decor and design to take in all the surrounding views.
Next on the list is the Lemala Ngorongo camp. We adore this tented camp for its location on an acacia forest adjoining the crater rim. Its strategic placement enables you to swiftly descend to the crater floor, meaning more time before the crowds!
This camp has nine intimate tents fitted with little luxuries like winter duvets and gas heaters to ensure you have a comfortable sleep during cold nights. All rooms have en-suites, and you can head to the camp's fireplace in the evening to make stories after a long game drive.
We also think the Lemala Ngorongoro Camp is perfect for photographers since it allows you to be on the crater floor in a short time, making it ideal for sunrise golden hour game drives and evening game drives before dinner.
Sanctuary crater camp is one of the best accommodation choices in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area if you seek unrivaled access to the crater floor for early morning game drives without any distractions of overcrowding.
The camp has ten classic safari tents; each has its own toilet and indoor hot water bucket showers with private decks for an early morning coffee before a long day of game drives.
A cosy dining tent features a lounge bar with breathtaking views over the surrounding areas. You can also partake in activities like guided bush walks and cultural visits to nearby villages.
Very near the crater floor for easy game drive access.
These ten best lodges in Ngorongoro are just a select few of our favourites to help you plan the right safari experience for your needs.
It would be best if you considered some factors such as the season and budget you have to decide which lodge is right for you. For more information, contact one of our specialists so we can help customise your safari.