The best camps by the Ngorongoro Crater


The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the world’s most famous wildlife destinations. It is a an eco-system quite unlike any other with its huge densities of big five, plus so much more. Although Tanzania open for tourism now,  this usually busy destination is beautifully quiet. A couple of nights in the area with one full day on the Crater floor is definitely worth including in any Northern Tanzania itinerary.

Nomad’s Entamanu

Nomad are one of Tanzania’s top safari operators and they stylishly combine sustainability, luxury and the essence of safari. Their Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is situated in such a way that each of the rooms have a view into the Crater whilst the main lodge area gives you a beautiful look over the Serengeti.

Here there are seven en-suite rooms which include two family units that each comprise of two large bedrooms and a shared adjoining bathroom. Each room is beautifully furnished and feels like a home away from home.

As well as visiting the famous Crater for the day, Masai tribe visits are also a popular activity and give you an incredible insight into the lives of the tribes that inhabit the area.

Entamanu Private

Accompanying Entamanu is the private camp used for exclusive use only and the style of the Entamanu Private is carried through from that of the main camp. Stylish, cosy and luxurious. Made up of four rooms, two standard and two family rooms, it is the perfect place for larger groups or families to start their Tanzania holiday.

The exclusivity means you can tailor make your day to exactly how you want it, whether you want an early start or a long lie in, your private guide and activities are arranged around your needs! If exclusivity is what you are after, then combining Entamanu Private with Nomad’s Mkombe’s House in the Kogatende region of the Serengeti makes for the perfect itinerary. As well as a private guide and vehicle, your every need will be catered for with a private host and chef who will organise your days based on exactly what you want!

Asilia’s Highlands

Arguably the most uniquely designed lodge in Northern Tanzania, Asilia’s Highlands is the perfect way to begin your Tanzania adventure. Unlike other camps, the Highlands is situated on the sides of the Olmoti Crater, giving glorious views across the never-ending undulating scenery. The sunsets from the eight canvas and glass bubble style rooms are stunning. Each room is lavish and opulent and as with all stays near the Crater it can get chilly, but the wood-burning stove in the middle of the room ensures a warm and peaceful sleep.

The road to the Highlands is slightly longer than the camps situated on the Crater Rim itself, but the extra half an hour is worth it! In this remote setting there is a tranquility that is hard to come by in modern day life. Although two nights by the Crater would be enough at any other lodge, here you could extend to three nights. Apart from the traditional Masai visit and the Crater drive, there are a plethora of beautiful hikes through the surrounding landscape that are certainly worth staying an extra day for.

&Beyond’s Crater Lodge

By far the most opulent lodge by the Crater is &Beyond’s Crater Lodge. It is their flagship property in Tanzania, and nothing has been left out here. Larger than the previously mentioned camps, Crater Lodge has been divided into three camps, each consisting of ten rooms. Yet the larger size does not result in a loss of personalisation or quality. Each room is lavishly furnished, from glittering chandelier’s to crystal goblets, every amenity you could wish for is provided.

With great honeymoon and long stay offers, it is definitely worth combining Crater Lodge with another of &Beyond’s properties in the Serengeti, such as their mobile camp Serengeti Under Canvas or their permanent lodge Klein’s which sits in its own private concession on the Eastern boundary of the National Park. There you can expect off-roading and night drives, something which isn’t allowed in the confines of the Park itself.

Farm-House

There is no escaping the fact that staying near the Ngorongoro crater can be quite expensive, especially considering the park fees, descent fees and the extra permits needed to enter the crater itself, but there are some great options if you are on a bit of a tighter budget.

The Ngorongoro Farm House is one such property and offers excellent value for money. Although it is not located on the rim, its location in Karatu still gives you the feeling of solitude and peacefulness. It is a drive-in property so the only way to get there is to have a guide from Arusha who will accompany you on this leg of the trip. The drive from Arusha gives you time to stop in Lake Manyara and explore the National Park for an afternoon, it really is worthwhile and a great addition to any trip.

The lodge itself is situated in the coffee plantations and the lush hill sides which provide beautiful views across the landscape. Made up of around fifty cottages spread throughout the plantation, the lodge certainly does not feel as big as it is. The rooms are spacious and airy and friendly staff ensure your every need is taken care of. With the additional option of visiting the Hadzabe tribe or nearby Lake Eyasi, it is definitely a worthwhile option to consider for the start of any Tanzania itinerary.

Marc Harris is Managing Director of Tanzania Odyssey. Tanzania Odyssey is a leading tour operator that has specialised in Tanzania since 1998.

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Comments (11)

  1. Paul Johnson says:

    We had the pleasure of staying at &Beyond’s Crater Lodge (or Ngorongoro Crater Lodge as it was then known) as part of our honeymoon around 17 years ago to the day. I’m sure it’s as stunning now as it was back then. It certainly brings back many happy memories!

    • Marc Harris says:

      Hi Paul,

      That is great that you have some fantastic memories of Crater Lodge – it really is a very special place.

      Hopefully, once the pandemic has subsided you can return easily!

    • Vernon says:

      What comes next when you start at the top for your honeymoon? How do you follow a stay at &Beyond’s Crater Lodge?

      There’s a danger that such adventure and luxury sets a very high bar, raising expectations for the rest of your marriage. We began at a Torquay Hotel, not quite Fawlty Towers, so the only way was up.

    • Paul Johnson says:

      How do you follow a stay at &Beyond’s Crater Lodge? We went on to &Beyond’s Mnemba Island! :-)

  2. Bob says:

    I’ve got a very big birthday approaching at the end of 2021. I’m also planning to retire and take a lump sum from my pension to take a holiday of a lifetime to celebrate my freedom. The Ngorongora Crater is one of the places on our list of possibles. It’s been really useful reading this guide, certainly the level of luxury that we will be looking at. I just hope that we have a vaccine by then and that we and everybody else are free to travel.

    • Marc Harris says:

      Hi Bob,

      What a great idea! Yes the Crater combined with the Serengeti would certainly be part of a once-in-a-lifetime trip!

      We would happily help you with your choices and give you some more impartial advice, please feel free to contact me on info@tanzaniaodyssey.com

  3. Ed says:

    I don’t want to come across as a wimp but I would appreciate the opportunity to plan my own itinerary and Entamanu would be ideal.

    I’ve felt pressurised on some safaris into doing a succession of early morning and night game drives.

    “When will you get the chance to go this again?” ask the guides when I’ve suggested that I might give an activity a miss. I have to stop myself from telling them that I’ve worked very hard to pay for the trip and that after a long journey I deserve the occasional lie-in.

  4. Angela Price says:

    I have only ever been on one safari in South Africa but this article has whetted my appetite to maybe try Tanzania next time. I feel the Crater Lodge is calling to me!

    • Marc Harris says:

      Hi Angela,

      Yes South Africa is a brilliant safari destination. but Tanzania offers something so vastly different, it must definitely be added to your list.

      If you would like more information about where to stay, please contact us at info:tanzaniaodyssey.com

  5. Jenny Fisher says:

    It must be so strange having Ngorongoro so quiet lately, and everywhere else really around the world. Some nice places here. I like the Entamanu Private camp for the way it looks much more like a building and a home than a camp. I’m one of those people that like their home comforts so that would make me feel more secure and comfortable. All of these places actually are more comfy than I’d imagined for a wilderness location. I really like the novelty of the Asilia’s one, it looks almost like a giant bubble from the inside looking out.

    I wondered about the temperatures given the location so it’s definitely worth bearing in mind it can get chilly in the evenings. I also wouldn’t have contemplated so many extra fees for staying by the crater. It’s arguably all worth it for the experience but it’s good to have other options just outside of that area if your budget can’t stretch that far.

    • Marc Harris says:

      Hi Jenny,

      I was there 2 weeks ago and yes the Crater was very quiet which made for some excellent game viewing.

      It does get chilly on the Crater’s rim, but the camps ensure there are plenty of blankets and plenty of seats by the fireside!

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