Classic safari tents, an incredible Ngorongoro Crater setting and time spent with local tribes makes for a winning experience in Africa’s Garden of Eden
Imagine staying so close to the crater floor you get to arrive before the crowds. Lemala Ngorongoro sits on the rim of the crater, which means in just 15 minutes – and descending 2,000 feet through misty rainforest – you’ll reach the floor for a little bit of solitude and an opportunity for photos in the most spectacular dawn light. Most other lodges are based on the other side of the crater, so you generally have about an hour before anyone else makes the drive around. And with such a varied topography of swamplands, river, forest and lakes, this is a unique chance to try and spot rare species such as the black rhino and ancient male tusker elephant as well as lion, leopard, flamingo and elephant.
Lovingly known as Acacia camp, accommodation is sensitively set under the forest’s canopy with as low an impact as possible. A Hemingway-style safari dream, rustic yet refined tents are filled with all the comforts you need; king-size beds, tent butlers, hot water bottles and famous bucket safari showers. Sink into cosy sofas, grab board games and books and settle down come evening in the central mess tent or at the long communal dining table where magical dinners are spent sharing stories with fellow camp mates. So-called Bush TV is another delight; pre-dinner outdoor sundowners and safari tales as the fire crackles into life. This camp is made extra special with evening performances by local tribes and guided forest walks with Maasai warriors.
Under the canopy of an ancient acacia forest, close to the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater
*Denotes local charge