| The common facilities, such as reception, bar, lounge and restaurant, are set in
a huge and spacious open plan, also facing the crater. There is also a souvenir shop
with an Internet service.
All rooms have wall outlets for charging cameras etc, but the generator powering the
lodge is switched off from midnight till early morning.
Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge is built just above 2,200 m/7,200 ft above sea level. Evenings
and mornings may be cool, especially as the crater rim is often windy. Bring a warm
sweater and socks.
The game viewing in the crater is the main attraction of this area, and you will probably
not spend very much time in the lodge, apart from having dinner, sleeping and having
breakfast. You may want to spend some time just before dusk on the lodge terrace, having
refreshments or a cup of coffee while watching the shadows gradually engulf the crater
More about the Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater, which is situated in a huge park
called Ngorongoro Conservation Area, is all that remains from a high volcano that once
stood here, but eventually collapsed. Today, the crater is known for its dense wildlife
population. Some tens of thousands of large mammals live in the crater. Most famed are
the black rhinos (or browse rhinos), which are often seen on game
drives in the crater. Other herbivores
found are wildebeest, zebras, buffalos, gazelles, warthogs and hippopotamus. Large elephant
bulls, some with truly impressive tusks, are often found around the marshes on the south-eastern
Lions and cheetahs
There is also a healthy carnivore
population. Lions, cheetahs, hyaenas and jackals are often seen, while leopards, servals
and bat-eared foxes may be spotted with some luck.
There are no lodges or camps on the crater floor, so the closest place to stay is on
the crater rim, 600 m/2,000 ft above the floor. The descent and ascent roads to access
the crater are very poor and require four-wheel drive. If you go there on a self-drive
safari, you will probably be asked to hire an official guide at the park headquarters
(located on the rim) to be allowed into the crater.
The Ngorongoro highlands
The Ngorongoro highlands, of which the Ngorongoro crater is one part, is an area of
some ten extinct volcanoes, some of them reaching above 3,000 m/10,000 ft. Two of these
volcanoes have, like Ngorongoro, collapsed and formed huge craters.
The nature and the views from the winding mountain roads are beautiful, and there are
some nice areas for trekking. On most safari tours, the visit in Ngorongoro Conservation
Area is focused on game driving in the Ngorongoro Crater, though. The crater floor is
fairly small compared to other safari areas in the region, and a half or full day visit
in the crater is fine.
Wildlife around the lodge
Using a good pair of binoculars, you may see some wildlife on the crater floor
from the lodge terrace, although at great distance. The lodge overlooks the Lerai Forest,
where elephants can often be seen, and the open areas to the east (or right, seen from
the lodge terrace) of the forest are good rhino haunts. Herds of wildebeest and buffalos
may also be seen, but individuals of smaller animals may be hard to spot, and impossible
to identify, due to the distance. Seasonally, when the water level of Lake Magadi on
the crater floor is high, a pink shimmer from thousands of flamingos may be seen on
Animals around the lodge
Elephants are sometimes seen just outside the lodge, but the most common visitors are
buffalos, seen or heard grazing the lawns most nights. Other animals seen occasionally
are bush pigs and hyaenas. Birds often seen around the lodge are white-necked raven,
red-winged starling, sunbirds and marabous stork. Black kites and buzzards can sometimes
be seen riding the upwinds around the crater rim.
The wildlife population in the Ngorongoro Crater is fairly stable all year round. April
and May are usually rainy, and some roads, including the descent and ascent roads, may
be difficult to pass or even inaccessible. The grass and low shrubs covering much of
the crater floor is higher after rainy seasons, making the game spotting harder. The
ground vegetation is much shorter late into the dry seasons, making January to March
and August to October very good for game viewing.