andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge lies within the natural enclosure of a 2 million-year-old caldera, surrounded by lush forests, salt lakes and sweeping grasslands. The crater is home to a rich range of wildlife including elephants, buffalo, wildebeest, eland, hippos, zebras, lions, and the endangered black rhino. andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is divided into 3 camps (the north camp, south camp and tree camp), each located in a unique setting with independent communal areas. The 30 suites are spread apart to provide guests with maximum privacy, and guests can choose to spend time getting to know one another in the elegant lodge, where the classic-style furnishings provide a comfortable setting for sitting back and enjoying a drink under a thatch canopy. Enjoy a luxurious safari experience in the heart of a beautiful and protected landscape, while your private butler attends to your needs.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania
The Ngorongoro Crater is located 75 miles outside of Arusha in Northern Tanzania. Guests will be able to enjoy panoramic views of the lush grasslands and the edge of the Lerai Forest from the lodge’s elevated decking, while zebra wander across the landscape. Guests can reach andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge by flying to Lake Manyara Airstrip from Arusha Airport, and then taking the 2-hour drive to the lodge itself.
- Located within the wildlife-rich Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
- Diverse and beautiful scenery
- Amazing birdwatching opportunities
- 30 suites spread across 3 camps
- Restaurant and bar
- Banquets on the crate floor
- Massages available
- Cultural visits with Maasai tribes
- Complimentary wi-fi
One of Africa’s 7 Wonders, the Ngorongoro Crater is the largest inactive, unbroken and unfilled volcanic caldera in the world. The Ngorongoro Crater is almost 3 million years old and was formed when an ancient volcano erupted and collapsed on itself. Before it collapsed, experts believe that the volcano would have been approximately the same size as the towering Mount Kilimanjaro. The walls of the crater act as a natural enclosure which today is a conservation area for many threatened animals including the Ngorongoro Lions and 26 Black Rhinos. There are approximately 25,000 large mammals that live in the conservation area from November to May, luring in one of the highest concentrations of predators in Africa.
The diverse ecosystems of the conservation area provide the ideal habitat for an abundance of wildlife and also birdlife, such as ostriches and white pelicans. During the dry season, travellers can witness thousands of pink flamingos fill Lake Magadi, a salt pan lake with naturally pink water. In the evenings, the flamingos will take to the skies, rising up as one and flying into a pink cloud of wings and feathers as the setting sun casts its glow on this incredible sight. The Conservation Area is also home to the Maasai people, who let their animals graze on the verdant land that has been fertilised by volcanic ash and heavy rainfall.
Tanzania has two wet seasons. The main rainy season lasts from March to May, when tropical showers often occur during the day. The rainfall is heaviest in April and transforms the landscape into a lush green oasis. The dry season (May to October) brings cooler temperatures and lures wildlife to waterholes and water sources where they can be spotted more easily before a second, shorter rainy season returns in November until mid-January.
The luxurious suites at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge are all designed with a classic yet elegant aesthetic, furnished with beaded chandeliers, floor to ceiling windows, large gilt mirrors and African art. The suites consist of a bedroom, living room and en-suite bathroom. The spacious bedrooms feature your choice of a double bed or two twins, which overlook the swaying grasses and trees, and lead on to the bathroom which consists of a large shower and chandelier-lit bathtub. Enjoy relaxing in a tub of bubbles, or beside the fireplace in the comfy living area as the sun sets over the horizon, offering stunning views of the amazing crater. Additional beds can be provided for children under the age of 16, but triples are unavailable at the Tree Camp of Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
The Family Suites are perfect for small groups and families travelling together. The suites link together by a closed walkway, giving guests the utmost privacy while travelling between the 2 bedrooms. Both rooms feature independent en-suite bathrooms as well as private lounge areas. The family suite can cater for up to 2 adults and 2 children. As with the standard suites, the rooms are furnished with beaded chandeliers, floor to ceiling windows, large gilt mirrors and African art.
The spacious bedrooms feature your choice of a double bed or two twins, which overlook the swaying grasses and trees, and lead on to the bathroom which consists of a large shower and chandelier-lit bathtub. Enjoy evenings spent out on your private verandah, where you can take in the views of the sweeping landscape and the setting sun as it paints the crater golden.
Guests staying at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge can look forward to 3 delicious meals a day, freshly made by the lodge’s chefs using ingredients sourced locally from Tanzania. Wake up to a selection of breakfast options from the buffet, including homemade bread, cereals, fresh and dried fruit, and yoghurt. Guests can also order a cooked breakfast, made to their preferences. Lunch can be enjoyed either as a buffet at the lodge or a packed meal for keeping you going while out in the crater. Afternoon tea is served between the last activity of the day and dinner. Relax on the viewing deck and enjoy the views of the sweeping landscape with a drink and conversation with your fellow guests. Indulge in a 3-5 course dinner with a selection of dishes for each course, and finish with a sweet dessert and selection from the cheeseboard.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge lies on the rim of the caldera, meaning that travelling to the crater’s floor will take some time. Consequently, guests will be offered one day drive each day, with the choice to enjoy a packed lunch on the crater floor. Descend past the verdant forests, filled with incredible birdlife, and down to the lush vegetation where herbivores graze on greenery that is fertilised by the ash once spewed by the volcano. Predators will also be lurking nearby, attracted by the 25,000 large mammals who inhabit this incredible landscape. Visit the greater and lesser flamingos that rest in the pink waters of Lake Magadi, or watch endangered black rhino as they enjoy a peaceful existence in this protected area. Guests visiting during January and February will also be able to witness the wildebeest calving season, where 8,000 new calves are introduced to the world each day.
Take an incredible day trip from the Ngorongoro Conservation area where you can explore the Cradle of Mankind, named by the palaeontologists and archaeologists who have studied the crater’s volcanic surface and found fossilized bipedal footprints that are over 3 million years old. The Laetoli footprints show the development of our early ancestors as they learned to walk on two feet. The day trip concludes with a stop at Olduvai Gorge where the first Proconsul skull was discovered – belonging to a direct ancestor of homo sapiens. Guests can also wander along the Shifting Sands, black volcanic ash dunes that span 9 metres in height and 100 meters in curve length.
A range of incredible dining experiences are available during your stay at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge. Enjoy a hot lunch served at an idyllic picnic site on the crater floor with personal butler service as you admire the surrounding natural beauty and rich wildlife, or enjoy a rose petal dinner at the lodge. The dining area will be transformed into a romantic haven with rose petals, candles, and French champagne. Each guest will find a single rose waiting for them at their place at the table before a delectable meal is brought out to you. A private rose petal dinner is available for couples.
Watch the sun sink in the sky, leaving colourful trails in its wake, while you sip on delicious cocktails on the rim of the crater. Admire the unique view while 20 Maasai warriors sing traditional songs to you. This experience is truly unforgettable and is an ideal opportunity to capture amazing photographs to impress your friends back home.
Enjoy an incredible performance by a group of local drummers. Enjoy a display of talent and culture that celebrates the music of Tanzania from the comfort of the lodge’s front lawn. Watch performers play the marimba, a percussion instrument made up of wooden bars that produce different sounds when hit. This experience is dependant on weather conditions and a month’s notice must be given if you would like to be part of it.
Take a stroll along the Western rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and take in the beautiful sights of the acacia woodlands, forests and lush oasis that exists below. This experience can be particularly special for birdwatchers, as it is the only place in the area where Schalow’s wheatear and mountain white-eye can be spotted. You may also see golden-winged sunbirds, white-eyed slaty flycatchers and mountain buzzards.
Enjoy an evening of culture and traditional music, performed by 20 singing and chanting Maasai warriors. Witness a unique performance while you sip on a tasty cocktail or wine from the lodge’s wine store, and learn about the amazing and ancient culture of the Maasai people.
Meet the Hadzabe people, an ancient group of bushmen who live near Lake Eyasi, and learn about their way of life as they continue to survive in the wilderness with their incredible hunting and gathering techniques. Learn about the Hadzabe culture and a traditional style of living that works in harmony with the environment. This activity is not suitable for children under 12 years of age.
andBeyond’s WILDchild programme offers young explorers the opportunities to learn more about local culture through a range of fun activities such as creating beaded jewellery in the style of the Maasai people, or going for nature walks and exploring the wilderness. Your child will be able to learn about the local wildlife as well as smaller species and insects that are found around the lodge. Children will also be able to learn more about the importance of conserving wildlife and protecting our planet in a fun and exciting way.
Visit a Maasai Village and discover a completely different style of living as you learn about the culture and heritage of the Maasai people. Learn to make a traditional campfire, and visit local homes and the Maasai school where younger children receive an education. This activity allows guests to understand what living in Tanzania is really like, and how people have survived alongside wildlife for generations.
Meet the KopeLion team and learn about the work that goes into protecting the Ngorongoro Conservation Area’s lions. KopeLion is working to prevent human and wildlife conflict by collaborating with local communities to help promote tolerance and reconnect the crater and Serengeti lion populations to help these beautiful creatures achieve a sustainable existence. Learn about the challenges that both humans and wildlife face with living side-by-side and gain insight into how lions are a crucial part of the ecosystem.
Since 1991, andBeyond’s company ethos has been “Care of the Land, Wildlife & People.” Always looking for ways to contribute to wildlife spaces and local communities and reducing their environmental impact, without compromising the guest experience. Each of their lodges has a “sustainability champion” who looks for ideas “to reduce energy consumption and carbon emissions, recycling initiatives, conservation awareness drives, water efficiency … addressing erosion and re-greening.” Exclusive experiences are created for guests whilst showing lasting benefits which are meaningful for the communities around their camps and the natural environment. Currently, andBeyond have 59 awards recognising their sustainability impact.
andBeyond protects endangered land and marine species in the areas they operate and they focus on at least 3 endangered species in each area. In Botswana, they support the Rhinos Without Borders initiative which so far has translocated 87 rhinos from South Africa to Botswana to keep them safe from poachers. They also help maintain biodiversity by actively managing the wildlife populations in the areas they operate. To help care for the wildlife andBeyond educate local communities in conservation, over 18,000 lessons on conservation have been taught.
andBeyond “Maximise our localised shared value opportunities through economic benefit, capacity building and social service infrastructure.” They have created 101 jobs in the communities they operate within, offering life-changing opportunities to local people. Through social service infrastructure initiatives, 56,000 people from local communities now have access to clean water through water access sites and 4724 Hippo Water Rollers, which assist in the transportation of water. 532 school students have been provided with an opportunity for higher education in 285 new or renovated classrooms.
andBeyond has partnered with The Africa Foundation, a non-profit organisation, in order to collaborate and consult with local communities, identifying the needs of the people and finding creative solutions to fulfil these needs. The main areas in which they focus on are education, healthcare and clean water, small business development, and environment and conservation.
‘The appropriate training, skills and resources are provided by Africa Foundation or through partner organisations to ensure projects are not only effectively implemented but remain self-sustainable long after initiation. Over 26 years, Africa Foundation has made a clear and significant impact on the health, education and economic standing of the identified communities surrounding the wildlife reserves where andBeyond operates.’
The Africa Foundation’s Community Leaders Education Fund (CLEF) bursary programme has created opportunities for youth by providing access to education. One of the biggest setbacks that young people in Africa face in terms of receiving an education is being able to afford it. This issue is particularly prevalent in rural communities. The Africa Foundation has provided bursaries for 475 CLEF students over the last 26 years, giving all of them access to education that will allow these youth to unlock a career.
The Africa Foundation also funded the Mbhedula craft market in 1997, where tourists can purchase locally-made crafts in Mduku. The Mbhedula craft market allows women in rural communities to source their own income and support their families. People living with disabilities are also able to find work here, giving them the opportunity to work and provide for themselves. Additionally, the market allows Mduku women to sell their products locally rather than having to travel up to 300km away to Durban and be forced to sleep on the streets. As well as funding the construction of the market, the Africa Foundation also invested in street signs and improving the visibility of the craft market, bringing in more trade and supporting the people who work there.
To date, a total of 42 tertiary level students have been granted support through bursaries aimed at fostering education and imparting valuable skills that can be shared throughout communities. The number of bursaries granted is ever rising, and the income raised through andBeyond experiences is used to fund this continuous and ongoing initiative.
Conservation lessons help to educate neighbouring communities on sustainable wildlife practices, offering support to the indigenous populations of the Serengeti to sustainably foster their way of life for generations to come. Over 130 children and adults partake annually, and this number is ever rising. Similarly, andBeyond’s Conservation Awareness programme attracts over 203 adults and children who partake in annual events.
AndBeyond is dedicated to sustainably utilising the land in which it operates, sourcing local produce and materials, as well as providing career opportunities for local inhabitants. As such, up to 79% of all goods are procured locally in Tanzania, negating the need to import vast quantities of products from neighbouring countries. And likewise, up to 79% of the andBeyond team employed at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge come from local communities.
andBeyond understands that to protect the land they operate on they need to implement eco and sustainable initiatives. One of the aims is to reduce their direct carbon footprint by 8%, so far all of andBeyond’s lodges have been audited with an average sustainability score of 88%. Another way they are caring for the land is by resourcing and using their water sustainably, 96% of lodges use water sourced from water bottling plants and they are currently 85 litres/head better than their target of 500 l/head. A target for andBeyond is zero plastic water bottles through their camps and so far 740,000 plastic water bottles have been eliminated per year.
andBeyond recognises the threat posed to the world’s oceans and marine resources. Efforts to combat the peril of ocean degradation have inspired a partnership with a fellow bastion of ecological awareness, Africa Foundation. In addition to the over 3.6 million hectares (9 million acres) of protected wildlife sustained through the Care of the Wild initiative, andBeyond’s footprint now covers an additional 2000 km (1242 mi.) of the African coastline, striving to conserve and enlarge Marine Protected Areas (MPAs).
andBeyond seek to apply their trilogy philosophy to their marine operations in order to better care for/impart a positive ecological effect on the areas of the ocean under their jurisdiction. This philosophy comprises Protecting Reefs, Protecting Marine Species and Community Empowerment, which have thus far, through the facilitation of partnerships with like-minded institutions, has proven initial levels of success and sets optimistic targets for future projects.
In 2018, a solar photovoltaic (PV) plant and a Tesla Powerpack Battery-Energy Storage System (BESS) was installed at Nxabega Okavango Tented Camp. Generator time has been dramatically reduced, with 80% of Nxabega’s total energy consumption now supplied by this ‘green’ technology. Eco-friendly alternatives such as this facilitate a lesser dependence on environmentally detrimental energy sources such as those requiring conventional fossil fuels, resulting in a profoundly positive impact on the ecosystems, wildlife and landscapes in which these lodges are situated.
Recognising the profoundly negative ecological effects that plastics pose to the environmental welfare of the sensitive ecosystems of Southern Africa, andBeyond has implemented ambitious measures prohibiting the use and importation of plastic bottles to all its properties – derived from the original target of installing water bottling plants at 100% of their lodges. A target of reducing plastic water bottle usage by 90% was set for 2020, yet this figure was surpassed the year prior with a collective reduction of up to 99% spanning all andBeyond properties.
In Southern Africa, all lodges utilise glass water bottles as opposed to plastic, reaping the many ecological and environmental benefits inherent to the change. Glass is 100% recyclable and has an unlimited recyclable life span, making it the most sustainable, if not logical alternative, posing an inherently smaller carbon footprint and environmental impact.
In line with andBeyond’s stance on ecological sustainability and streamlined efficiency mandate, there currently exists a wealth of initiatives and protocols designed to mediate the ecological impact on areas built upon and utilised for means of ecotourism. For instance, careful site selection ensures that the areas chosen for the construction of all andBeyond properties are compatible with the surrounding landscapes, ecosystems and wildlife.
The implementation of repurposed and recycled construction materials greatly benefits the ecology of the land, negating the need to source and haul industrial quantities of lumber and other construction materials across vast distances through otherwise undisturbed ecosystems. Minimal foundations and excavations are achieved using steel frame structures atop the designated areas of construction, minimising the imprint on the immediate environment.
Energy efficiency is maintained through the architectural use of very wide eaves, covered external terraces, cross ventilation and maximised insulation. Heat pumps have been used to heat the pools, with gas used for water heating to greatly reduce the carbon footprint. State-of-the-art wastewater and sewer treatment systems enable all wastewater to be effectively recycled for irrigation.
Above-ground wastewater treatment plants work on an environmentally friendly accelerated aerobic and anaerobic digestion process. Up to 57% of all andBeyond lodges now contain water treatment plants. Additionally, an ever-increasing number of andBeyond lodges have seen the installation of Hydraloop grey-water treatment systems, used to purify wastewater for gardens, irrigation and cleaning solar panel banks. At andBeyond Phinda Mountain Lodge, more accurate water measurement systems have been implemented to trial more efficient water management practices that hold the potential for wide-scale implementation across all andBeyond ecotourism destinations.
Innovative water management initiatives are being rolled out across a variety of andBeyond properties. This is achieved through identifying the locations that would best benefit from these cutting-edge installations and trialling solutions to assess viability for future rollouts in equally affected areas. andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is currently testing an above-ground wastewater treatment system which will utilise laundry water to wash safari vehicles and flush staff toilets, saving 160 000 l (42 267 gallons) of water each month.
andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge works with the Lionscape Coalition, an organisation that supports lion conservation efforts through the Lion Recovery Fund. Conservation efforts such as these are of crucial importance, as without the staple safari attractions such as lions – or any other safari creature for that matter, sustainable tourism would be threatened throughout the whole of Southern Africa.
Children of all ages are welcome at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, although it is recommended that guests be over the age of 5