Bird watch from your deck at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp. © Sanctuary Retreats

Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp | Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area Luxury Tanzania Safari Lodge

Set on the rim of Tanzania’s famed Ngorongoro Crater, right by the entrance gate leading to the crater floor, Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp allows its guests unrivalled access. Be the first to arrive in the crater for exclusive morning game drives, or enjoy cultural visits at a Maasai village.

The place

After reading a while, I walk outside the lounge and stretch, breathing in the fresh air, feeling thankful for our forest location. Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp is enveloped by lush, green vegetation, making it feel perfectly secluded. It’s wonderful to have this oasis at the popular Ngorongoro Crater, a Unesco World Heritage Site in northern Tanzania.The campfire is already roaring, so I go to the bar for a cocktail, joining the other guests to watch the sun set dramatically against a barrage of clouds that warn of imminent rain. As the skies darken, the trees glow in the last rays of sunlight.A mist moves in with the dropping temperature, and it starts to drizzle. As one we head into the dining hall like schoolchildren at the ring of the bell, where staff greet us with hot towels and warm food served buffet style. There’s nothing quite like the smell of rain in Africa, and it’s a privilege to enjoy it in this very special location.

After reading a while, I walk outside the lounge and stretch, breathing in the fresh air, feeling thankful for our forest location. Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp is enveloped by lush, green vegetation, making it feel perfectly secluded. It’s wonderful to have this oasis at the popular Ngorongoro Crater, a Unesco World Heritage Site in northern Tanzania.

The campfire is already roaring, so I go to the bar for a cocktail, joining the other guests to watch the sun set dramatically against a barrage of clouds that warn of imminent rain. As the skies darken, the trees glow in the last rays of sunlight.

A mist moves in with the dropping temperature, and it starts to drizzle. As one we head into the dining hall like schoolchildren at the ring of the bell, where staff greet us with hot towels and warm food served buffet style. There’s nothing quite like the smell of rain in Africa, and it’s a privilege to enjoy it in this very special location.

The room

Our personal attendant, Sueli, gives us umbrellas and, ever concerned for our comfort, escorts us back to our tent. The path is somewhat slippery now, but we enjoy the adventure, holding on to each other tightly. Our suite, tucked away on a clearing between the trees, is a welcome sight, and we can’t wait to cuddle together and listen to the drum of the rain.Although it looks like a unremarkable safari tent, inside, with its wooden floors and wrought-iron bed dressed in white linen, it’s anything but. The paraffin lamps and heater make it warm and welcoming, and there’s no need to ask for hot water for our bucket shower as we find it’s already waiting for us.Later, we lie in bed with the hot-water bottles we’ve discovered tucked under the sheets and listen to the soft and soothing lullaby of the now-gentle rain. We’ve been promised it’ll clear up ahead of our early morning game drive into the crater, but for now it’s the perfect soundtrack to a truly memorable evening.

Our personal attendant, Sueli, gives us umbrellas and, ever concerned for our comfort, escorts us back to our tent. The path is somewhat slippery now, but we enjoy the adventure, holding on to each other tightly. Our suite, tucked away on a clearing between the trees, is a welcome sight, and we can’t wait to cuddle together and listen to the drum of the rain.

Although it looks like a unremarkable safari tent, inside, with its wooden floors and wrought-iron bed dressed in white linen, it’s anything but. The paraffin lamps and heater make it warm and welcoming, and there’s no need to ask for hot water for our bucket shower as we find it’s already waiting for us.

Later, we lie in bed with the hot-water bottles we’ve discovered tucked under the sheets and listen to the soft and soothing lullaby of the now-gentle rain. We’ve been promised it’ll clear up ahead of our early morning game drive into the crater, but for now it’s the perfect soundtrack to a truly memorable evening.

What sets it apart

Being right on the crater rim, close to the access road, meant we were literally the first guests into the Ngorongoro Crater in the morning, and we were entirely alone when we spotted an incredible lion hunt. The staff at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp had packed us a delicious picnic lunch, which we enjoyed on the crater floor while zebra milled about next to us.We saw several of the 30,000 animals that thrive in the crater, and a drive on the rim gave us extraordinary views into the largest intact, inactive and unfilled caldera in the world.We slept in a classic luxury safari tent with a bed that would make a hotelier envious, ate dinner by lamplight or privately in the forest, and sipped on wine by the campfire, while our personal attendant made us feel like royalty. Our stay at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp will forever be remembered as one of our most wonderful bucket-list experiences.

Being right on the crater rim, close to the access road, meant we were literally the first guests into the Ngorongoro Crater in the morning, and we were entirely alone when we spotted an incredible lion hunt. The staff at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp had packed us a delicious picnic lunch, which we enjoyed on the crater floor while zebra milled about next to us.

We saw several of the 30,000 animals that thrive in the crater, and a drive on the rim gave us extraordinary views into the largest intact, inactive and unfilled caldera in the world.

We slept in a classic luxury safari tent with a bed that would make a hotelier envious, ate dinner by lamplight or privately in the forest, and sipped on wine by the campfire, while our personal attendant made us feel like royalty. Our stay at Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp will forever be remembered as one of our most wonderful bucket-list experiences.

At a glance

  • Intimate forest camp on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater with 10 classic safari tents.
  • Close proximity to the Ngorongoro Crater entrance gate, closed vehicles for warmth, personal attendant and private dining available.
  • Game drives, Lake Manyara National Park excursion (park fees are an additional cost) and cultural visits (additional cost).
  • Children from six are welcome with three triples available. Children of all ages are permitted if the camp is booked exclusively. Children aged 15 years and younger must share with adults.

  • Intimate forest camp on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater with 10 classic safari tents.
  • Close proximity to the Ngorongoro Crater entrance gate, closed vehicles for warmth, personal attendant and private dining available.
  • Game drives, Lake Manyara National Park excursion (park fees are an additional cost) and cultural visits (additional cost).
  • Children from six are welcome with three triples available. Children of all ages are permitted if the camp is booked exclusively. Children aged 15 years and younger must share with adults.

Prices

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

  • Not only do African safari lodge prices shift with the seasons, they also change based on your length of stay, room type, travel party composition, special offers, if your trip involves stays at sister lodges – and for more reasons besides.
  • It’s worth noting that depending on your itinerary, your lodge cost will make up about 75–85% of your total safari trip cost.
  • Our safaris are tailor-made to match your personal safari dream, we’d be delighted if you’d allow us to create a bespoke proposal for you.  Simply enquire now – our quotes are complimentary and obligation-free.
  • However, to help you get an idea of safari lodge prices we’ve created three safari-lodge categories with various price ranges, to find out more click here.

When to Go

This is a wonderful time to visit northern Tanzania, with the vegetation initially lush after the rains, but then dying back, making the wildlife that much easier to see. Temperatures are cooler (although the days are warm and sunny). With the wildebeest herds assembling to make the perilous crossing of the Grumeti River, this is the busiest time of the year here. Tarangire is a great option now, with locally migrating wildlife concentrating along the Tarangire River, or take in the tree-climbing lion and beautiful seasonal waterfalls at Lake Manyara.

The long dry spell between the rains sees the vegetation cycle being repeated: lovely green grass immediately after the rains subsequently starts to wither. As food and water become scarcer, game concentrates around waterholes, making wildlife viewing particularly easy in January. Wildebeest calving in January and February on the southern Serengeti short-grass plains means a glut of kills – it’s the best time for predator action. Away from the Serengeti, this is an ideal opportunity to see resident game in the Ngorongoro Crater and at Lake Manyara, and birders will enjoy spotting migratory species.

These are perhaps not the ideal times to visit northern Tanzania as they represent the two peaks of the wet season – the long rains in April and May; the short rains in November. This does mean however that you’ll be sharing the game reserves and national parks of northern Tanzania with far fewer people, and there’s still plenty to see. During the long rains, the Great Wildebeest Migration moves north in the Serengeti, through Seronera towards the Western Corridor, while in November the herds return from the Masai Mara.

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