A complex of dream-like thatched rondavels on stilts overlooks the largest open volcanic basin in the world. Pampered beyond your dreams by attentive andBeyond staff, surrounded by carved wood paneling, red roses, chandeliers and all the icons of luxury, you are still in a Maasai mud hut (albeit an incredibly spacious one with rococo furnishings) where elephant and zebra wander only yards from your windows.
Set in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site in Tanzania, this exclusive luxury lodge enjoys spectacular views of the cauldron-like crater with its wide-flung contents of golden grass plains, green forest, and azure central lake. It is accessed by air or road from Arusha via Manyara.
From there, a game-spotting drive takes you to the door. The crater is home to over 30,000 mammals, mainly ungulates in herds a thousand strong, several prides of lions, massive ancient elephant with impressive ivory tusks unseen elsewhere and an ever increasing populating of black rhino.
Outside the crater, pursuing the theme of man in harmony with nature on Tanzanian cultural safaris, the area supports Maasai villages and tourist accommodation for those enthusiasts who seek a cultural twist to their wilderness experience almost unobtainable in the modern world.
Three separate camp grounds combine traditional Maasai design elements in crescents of 30 round Manyatta (traditional Maasai homestead) huts, like those traditionally built by women from red mud and sticks, with opulent French Empire furnishings and Colonial standards of service.
Add a touch of whimsy and ethnic Africa to the mixture in a panoramic setting of breathless wonder and you have the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge Safari experience. The lodge itself is a photogenic treasure of unexpected architectural imagination surrounded by wildlife that typifies travel in Africa.
In all, 60 guests may be accommodated. All suites stand on stilts and have vaulted ceilings of woven banana leaves under thatched roofs. North and South camps each comprise 12 double or triple suites with hardwood paneled floors and walls, silk brocade sofas, raw silk drapes, ormolu mirrors, leather armchairs, Persian hearth rug in front of a blazing fireplace, butler’s lobby, sumptuous bathroom with chandelier, warm, elegant bedroom and private verandah.