1) Name of property and country: Crater Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
2) Website address if known: http://www.andbeyond...ro-crater-lodge
3) Date of stay, including whether Green Season, Shoulder season or High season pricing (if known). January, 2014
4) Length of stay: 2 nights
5) Why did you choose this camp or lodge to stay in? Based upon what? I wanted to visit the crater and saw this property online when researching. Having stayed at andBeyond camps previously I was excited to stay at their flagship property and enjoy the amazing views.
6) How did you book the property, direct or agent? Were your enquiries dealt with quickly and efficiently? I used Jacqui McNaughton from andBeyond.
7) How many times have you been on Safari? This was my second trip.
8) To which countries? South Africa, Botswana, Zambia, Uganda, Tanzania, Kenya and Namibia.
9) Which properties have you been to previously that you are comparing this one to? None, it was unique
10) Was the camp/lodge fenced? No
11) How many rooms/tents does it have? 3 camps of 10 rooms. Each camp has its own communal area for dining/relaxing.
12) What tent or room did you stay in? Did it have a good view? Was it overlooked or private? Brilliant room and view. Very private.
13) How comfortably furnished was the room/tent? Amazing furnishings, fireplace, decks, massive bathrooms. Extremely luxurious and comfortable.
14) Did you like the food? If yes, please state why. If no, please state why. Excellent food.
15) Was there a varied menu offering multiple choice? If vegetarian was a suitable alternative offered? (Did you have to request this in advance?) Great variety and multiple choices. All dietary requirements are catered for.
16) What is the default dining arrangement? Single tables or communal dining? Do the guides/managers host at mealtimes? Single tables but guides/managers do host solo travellers during the evening.
17) How good were the packed breakfasts/lunches if staying out on game drives? Excellent food packs for breakfasts and snacks.
18) What are the game drive vehicles? Please include photo if possible. Enclosed landcruisers with open roof
19) How many guests per row? 2 rows of 2. Very comfortable.
20) How long were the game drives and were they varied in the routes taken? Drives were between 3-7 hours depending on the time of departure. Morning drives were longer. The park opened at 6am but the drive from the lodge was about 45 minutes to get into the park.
21) What are the standard game drive times? Are game drive times flexible: i.e., if agreed in advance, can you go out earlier than suggested and stay out later, i.e., not returning for lunch but taking supplies with you? I asked to leave early so we could be in the park first. This meant leaving around 5am. The guide was very happy to do this and we took a packed breakfast to spend the whole morning out in the crater.
22) Is this a private conservancy/concession, and what is the vehicle/lodge density like?
23) If in a National Park, what is the vehicle density in the immediate vicinity? There are many cars in the crater and particularly if there is a good sighting close to the road.
24) Are you able to off-road? No off roading
25) Are there rotation policies for sightings i.e., You face the risk of queuing or being bumped from a sighting. No rotation policy from what I saw from afar with many cars just lining up for a sighting. We chose to stay away from these areas.
26) What wildlife is this property known for? Did you get good sightings? The crater is a self contained eco system with an amazing view from the Crater Lodge.
27) How was the standard of guiding? Great guiding, fun, informative, enthusiastic and happy. Great guiding. Very happy.
28) If you had a bad experience with a guide, why? Did you report the issue to management, and if so, how did they deal with the issue?
29) If you had a very good experience with your guide, please give reasons why: happy, enthusiastic, informative and friendly.
30) Were staff attentive to your requests/needs? Amazing, excellent staff and service.
31) Does the property support a local community conservation initiative. If so, please provide brief details and website address if known. Yes a strong community and conservation efforts.
32) Safaritalk trip report link:
33) Any other pertinent details you wish to add:
Everything they say about this flagship property for andBeyond is true. Amazing views, food, people and rooms. As travel/food journalistAnthony Bourdain said "even the loo has a view!". The prices match the lofty standards of this property so be aware. Most people will stay 2 nights so they have one full day down in the caldera. I thoroughly recommend Crater Lodge but understand that it doesn't represent the true "African" experience. If you don't want to rough it in any way (apart from the drive to and from the caldera) then this place is for you. My preference is a tent and hanging out under the stars around a fire listening to the sounds of the bush.
34) Please add your photographs of the property below, with headings.