Ngorongoro Crater

The world-famous and spectacular Ngorongoro Crater is the largest inactive and intact caldera in the world. Ngorongoro Crater is often referred to as the "Eighth Wonder of the World" and hosts the most complex ecosystem on earth with over 20,000 large grazing mammals and the largest concentration of predators ever seen anywhere on earth. The crater is within The Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania which is vast expanse of highland plains, savanna woodlands and forests from the plains of the Serengeti National Park in the north-west to the eastern arm of the Great Rift Valley. Here wildlife co-exist with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing.

The crater was formed when a volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself millions of years ago. It is now one of the best places in Africa to explore for game viewing with all the "Big 5" represented and a diverse plethora of extraordinary birdlife. The crater rim is more than 2000 meters high and the view is just spectacular and breathtaking.

Awake before the crack of dawn and witness the spectacle of sunrise over the Ngorongoro Crater as clouds gather before a delightful continental breakfast. Then drive down to the floor of the crater for a whole day game viewing excursion with picnic lunch. As the largest intact caldera in the world, the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens and hosts a huge population large grazing mammals and the largest concentration of predators. It is the best place in Tanzania to see all the "Big 5" in one day and is one of the world’s most astonishing and renowned natural wonders. Ngorongoro is home to an assortment of animals including zebra, buffalo, impala, warthog, wildebeest, gazelle, hippo and elephants; and an amazing population of predators such as lions, hyenas, jackals, cheetahs and the elusive leopard.
Late afternoon after game viewing head back to your luxury safari camp and watch incredible crater sunset views as you sample tasty cocktails and an assortment of beverages near the fireplace with other guests.

WHAT DO OUR CLIENTS SAY ABOUT THIS EXPERIENCE?

Incredible honeymoon adventure through Kenya & Tanzania

Maurice prepared an action-packed 8 day safari of Kenya and Tanzania for our postponed-from-2020 honeymoon. Like many others, I had narrowed my search down to operators who could provide the joint Kenya/Tanzania itinerary we were looking for. As operators aren't able to provide tours across borders, this means finding a company with a strong ground operation in both countries through partnerships, of which Africa Safari Classics absolutely does. Our 8 days consisted of game drives in Amboseli, Masai Mara, Serengeti, and Ngorongoro; before departing for Zanzibar.

I can't speak highly enough of Maurice's professionalism and constant, but balanced communication. I strongly encourage others to go with Africa Safari Classics -- the personal touch you will get from dealing with a medium-sized company truly makes the difference once you're on the ground. While we had initially planned for the trip in the summer of 2020, due to the pandemic we postponed to 2021. Maurice was able to shift our entire trip to this year with ease. Once on the ground, Maurice made a point of coming to greet us on our day of arrival at our hotel and also to introduce us to our driver, John, for the Kenya portion of the trip. Given the additional logistics required due to Covid, he also researched and arranged our Covid tests needed to get us from Kenya to Tanzania. Only surprise from the Tanzania authorities (not published anywhere I could find) was that in addition to the PCR test we obtained, a $25 rapid test was required on the spot. Would just be prepared for those also planning similar cross-border safaris.

All our airport transfers (arrival into NBO, as well as to/from Wilson airport) were prearranged by Maurice and went seamlessly with no hiccups. Safari experiences with John in Kenya, and David in Tanzania were action packed. As my wife wasn't too keen on using the savannah as a bathroom, we had requested to John that we break up our day with bathroom breaks at the lodges. David was also accommodating on this request in Serengeti and Ngorongoro. As full-day game drives can be long (~10 hours), it helps to break up so much time in the Landcruiser. We got to get to know David quite well in Tanzania, as he was also our dinner companion at the camps. He has a great sense of humor and was just as excited as us to try and catch some of the harder-to-find animals in the park. We found Amboseli was a smart first stop as you can easily see abundant elephants, giraffes, zebras in a short amount of time (the game drives were also shorter here). Masai Mara had the most interesting landscape, but is quite a bit larger than Amboseli. The animal activity got more interesting there as well, with massive caravans of Wildebeest and Zebras as part of the Great Migration. Serengeti was where we finally hit our Big-5, after seeing two Leopards, and a Rhino (from a distance, they weren't out as much in the cooler weather). Finishing at Ngorongoro was perfect, as the landscape is unlike anything you'll see anywhere else in the world. Our accommodations also gave us a variety of experiences, from lux lodges in Amboseli, to "glamping" in Masai Mara and Ngorongoro, to the true bush camp experience in Serengeti.

All-in-all, Africa Safari Classics provided us an unforgettable experience that we are still fully processing. They should be the first choice for those looking for a tailored, full safari experience without breaking the bank.

By Max Gustafson, USA.

LEMALA NGORONGORO

Lemala Ngorongoro is the best choice for those seeking to explore the incredible Ngorongoro Crater in style. The camp is intimately within a pristine ancient acacia forest very close to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater. It's located next to the quiet Lemala crater access road on eastern side which is a key advantage of staying here because of the quick and easy drive down to the crater floor in the morning. Within only a few minutes, Lemala's guests will be down at the crater floor viewing abundant wildlife. Escorted nature walks into the forest and along the crater rim are also available. Accommodation consists of canvas spacious tents all positioned to one side of the mess tent. They come with ensuite bathrooms, a dressing area and a large safari shower and all ensure intimacy and minimal impact on the pristine forest environment. The mess tent comprises of a lounge, dining area, and bar, complete with large comfortable sofas. In the evening guests gather around the campfire to keep warm before dinner and to sample delightful cocktails as they discuss the events of the day. Meals are served al fresco or inside the mess tent and all guests are invited to sit together during dinner.

SANCTUARY NGORONGORO

Sanctuary Ngorongoro is located in a delightful ancient acacia forest on the rim of Ngorongoro Crater and offers superb accommodation in spacious canvas tents ensuring intimacy in pristine forest environment. The camp is set right on the crater rim valley close to the access road into the crater giving guests unrivaled access to the crater floor. Sanctuary Ngorongoro guarantees classic tented accommodation where wildlife viewing and scenic beauty at the forefront and the camp prides itself as offering very personalized guest service. Dining is buffet style, on early morning game drives guests can take packed breakfast with them to be enjoyed in the middle of the bush and head back to the lodge for a late lunch or leave after breakfast in the camp and indulge in a sumptuous packed lunch during whole day game drive in the crater floor. In addition to superb and excellent game viewing, guests are invited to venture to the nearby traditional villages and make cultural encounters with the local Maasai herdsmen and learn about their fascinating way of life. For guests flying to Sanctuary Ngorongoro using scheduled flights, Manyara Airstrip is only 45 minutes away.

NGORONGORO LION'S PAW

Ngorongoro Lion’s Paw is set on the Eastern Rim of the Ngorongoro Crater and is visited quite often by the residents of the area such as the buffalo and wildebeest. Build without harm to any of the trees and extensive vegetation, this eco-friendly camp consists of 15 suites strategically positioned to show off the crater’s majestic views and action happening at the crater floor from the comfort of your luxury suite. Each tent at Lion's Paw comes equipped with its own private en-suite bathroom including running water, separate showers and a dressing area. In addition, all the tented suites have their own private verandah to watch spectacular sunsets descending over the western rim. The bar, guest lounge and barbecue grill present a unique calming ambiance in the dense forest environment. Bush meals ensure memorable experience, accompanied by the camp’s luxurious amenities and warm hospitality. Exploring the floor of Ngorongoro Crater for game viewing is the main activity here. And because of very close proximity to Maasai villages, guests can visit these homesteads and learn more about this indigenous tribe that has lived close to these beautiful beasts for generations.

NGORONGORO HIGHLANDS

The spectacular Asilia Highlands is a stylish and boutique intimate hideout in an exclusive setting, perched at the edge of a dense forest affording panoramic views of the surrounding landscapes. The camp balances its striking design with a deeply authentic wilderness experience. The eight canvas and glass domed suites draw their inspiration from the enchanting Maasai bomas that dot the landscape. The camp feels remote but is within easy reach of The Ngorongoro Crater where guests can go on day long wildlife viewing excursions to spot lions, cheetah, elephants, gazelles, impalas and giraffes and if lucky the Black rhino with a midday picnic break under a shady tree. All the domed suites are made of canvas and glass and are surrounded by lush vegetation with views across the surrounding hills. Each suite has a king-sized bed facing floor to ceiling windows and a deck that curves around the tent. All include en-suite bathrooms with running hot showers. Wholesome meals are made from fresh ingredients sourced from the nearby farming community in Karatu and served in the dining area, outside on the deck with sweeping views right across to the Serengeti or sometimes out in the bush.