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Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge.
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  Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Getting there
The Ngorongoro Crater is situated 3–4 hours' drive (or 185 km/115 mi) from Arusha. The first 2.5 hours are on good to very good tarmac, the rest on poor to fair dirt road. You pass Lake Manyara National Park en route.
Travelling from the west, it's a 3-hour drive on mainly poor dirt road from central Serengeti to the crater rim.
Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge is situated a 20-minute drive from the crater rim airstrip, which is mainly operated by chartered flights. The airstrip isn't always open, because of fog or low clouds around the crater rim.
The western descent road from the rim into the crater and the southern ascent road out of it are very poor. The eastern descent and ascent road, mainly used by safari-goers staying in Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, is better, although not good.
Ngorongoro CA map
Map of Ngorongoro Conservation Area .
Ngorongoro Crater map
Map of the Ngorongoro crater.
Tanzania map
Tanzania map.
  Glossary
Safari glossary
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Tanzania:
Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge is a big lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. The location is very good, offering a marvellous view of the crater from the rooms, lounge, restaurant and lodge terrace.

The lodge has toursit class standard, and has 75 rooms, of which a few are suites. Some rooms are interconnected and can be used as family rooms. All rooms face the crater and have a great view.

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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.

Spacious lounge with panoramic windows facing the crater.

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 floor.

Great crater view from the lodge.

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 crater floor.

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.

Male lion in the Ngorongoro Crater.

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 the surface.

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.

Wildlife seasons
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.

 
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Page updated 17 February 2009