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Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.
 Ngorongoro Serena Safari L.
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 Serena Safari Lodge is situated a short 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.
Safari glossary
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Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is a large lodge on the south-western rim of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania, only a few minutes' drive from the Ngorongoro airstrip. The lodge has very good standard and a great crater view.

The lodge has 75 rooms, of which most are traditional doubles (with one double bed) or twins (with two single beds). The rooms are designed in a kind of pleasant stylized African style, and have private bathroom, air conditioning and a private balcony or veranda, facing the great view of the crater to the north. There is one suite in the lodge.

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There is a restaurant and a bar, and a shop for souvenirs, postcards etc. Local performers often do music or dance shows in the evening.

The descent road into the crater is some 20 minutes drive northwest from the lodge, and the ascent road ends on the rim a similar distance to the east.

Central heating
The lodge has central heating, which may appear odd for an African destination, but the temperature may drop to or below 10ºC/50ºF during the coolest months, June and July. Evenings, nights and mornings are of course the coldest. The crater floor, where you do the game driving, is 600 m/2,000 ft lower and much warmer.

The lodge also has conference facilities, and offers weddings and other events in an African safari atmosphere.

Room in Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.

Walkway in Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.

Lounge bar in Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.

Arrangements and outings
The lodge offers arrangements such as game drives, visits to Maasai villages, outings to the Empakaai Crater in the north-eastern part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, and visits to the Olduvai museum.

Such arrangements are probably mainly of interest to guests arriving by air (those arriving by road can do those outings in their own vehicle).

A cheetah close to Lake Magadi in the Ngorongoro 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. Best known 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 predator 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 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
Elephants and buffalos are sometimes seen outside the lodge, usually at night. Other animals seen occasionally are bush pigs and hyaenas. Birds often seen are sunbirds, black kites and buzzards.

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Page updated 18 February 2009