Tucked deep inside a magical forest on the misty precipice of an
extinct volcano is one of the most delightful safari lodges you’ll
find anywhere in Tanzania. Lemala Ngorongoro is a top ADS pick for
accommodations on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. And here’s
Hidden within a misty forest of towering acacia, dangling creepers and sunlit ferns, the setting seems to be taken right from the magical kingdom of a fairy tail. Soaring umbrella trees form a natural corridor on each side of a pebbled pathway that link ten (10) spacious safari style tents. Wait, is this a lodge or is it a camp? The answer is that it is the best of both! If you are looking for authentic safari ambience at a value, without sacrificing comfort, and you want to spend your time immersed in the wilderness (and not immersed in crowds of tourists), then THIS is just the lodge for you!
In addition to its authentic safari ambience, this semi-permanent venue on the rim of the Crater is all about LOCATION, LOCATION, LOCATION! Lemala Ngorongoro is the only lodge located inside the Ngorongoro Crater park gate. And it is one of only two lodges on the Crater’s remote Eastern rim, a perfect perch that offers some of the most stunning sunset views in all of Tanzania. Lemala Ngorongoro shares the same access road with only one other lodge, Ngorongoro Sopa, so you won’t have to worry about land rover traffic. And best of all, this particular access road to the Crater floor is HALF as long as all other properties on the rim, and TWICE as easy to transverse. This easy access road is a major perk for those safari enthusiasts who want to be the FIRST vehicle in the Crater at dawn and maximize their wildlife viewing experience!
Accommodations consist of just ten intimate safari-style tents. The camp is “semi-permanent”, meaning it is actually taken down at certain times of the year. Because of its mobile nature, this camp does not have many of the more established fixtures you might find at other permanent camps and lodges such as swimming pools, manicured gardens, elaborate structures or even underground plumbing. However, the staff here does a remarkable job in making everything extremely comfortable and offering guests a level of luxury that will suit the most discerning of travelers.
This considerable effort shows up in the smallest of details, such as shimmering chandeliers over the dining room table, a fully stocked liqueur cabinet, four-course gourmet meals, and hot showers made to order. The flicker of torches lights the dark pathways in the evenings and invite you to the Lodge’s common areas for sundowners. The size of the camp gives it an inherently cozy feel and strangers quickly become friends. Guests join one another around a brilliantly lit bonfire in the evenings for drinks, and then feast together by candlelight around a big timber dining table. The dining tent shares a roof with the lounge and sitting area, which is furnished by overstuffed couch cushions, coffee table, and a fully stocked liqueur cabinet. Guests are escorted by arrow-wielding Maasai warriors back and forth from their tents to the common areas as needed.
Luxury, wildlife, and nature combine here for the ultimate safari experience. Lemala Ngorongoro’s unique location, intimate size, and exceptional value make it one of our top picks for accommodations on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater.
With Lemala Ngorongoro, it’s ALL about location! The camp
is perched on the crest of Leala Hill, on the eastern rim of the
world-famous Ngorongoro Crater in the volcanic highlands of northern
Tanzania. At an altitude of over 7,500 feet, this location offers
remarkable views of the sleeping Crater floor below. Being one of
only two accommodations sited on the Eastern Rim, the Lodge offers
stunning panoramic views of the daily sunset over the far western
rim… a sight you will not soon forget. An easy access road
to the Crater floor maximizes early morning game-viewing. The eastern
descent road is relatively easy to pass, and it typically takes
half as long to travel to the Crater floor from Sopa vs. the competing
lodges on the opposite rim.
It can get quite cold at night and in the early morning so make sure to pack appropriate attire. On the contrary, expect highs on the Crater floor where you will be spending the majority of your day in the upper 70s and lower 80s (degrees F) so it’s best to layer your clothing.
The Ngorongoro Crater is the center piece of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 3000 square miles of pristine African wilderness. The Crater floor is a natural refuge for thousands of indigenous African animals and many species of insects and birds. Lush highlands surround the Crater, rolling away to the golden volcanic plains and glittering soda lakes of the Great Rift Valley.
With construction just recently completed in 2007, Lemala is a relatively
new lodge, and still a bit of a secret! The main Lodge Tent is set
on a hilltop and includes a comfy lounge with oversized couches,
liquor cabinet, dining tent and nearby fire-pit. All of these areas
have glorious views out over the Northern Serengeti’s surrounding
patchwork of woodlands and broken plains.
Sleeping accommodations at Lemala Camp consist of just ten (10) intimate luxury tents under canvas. The tents are arranged at ground level on wooden platforms with stylish rugs. The tents can be arranged to accommodate single or double beds, and there are two family style tents available with 1 queen and 2 single beds each. Each tent features its own heater, and the beds are draped in luxuriously comfy duvets to keep you warm and toasty. Each tent is elegantly appointed with a quaint writing desk, storage trunks, a coffee station, and two bedside tables complete with candle-lamps. At the back of each safari tent is an enclosed en suite bathroom complete with a dressing area, proper flushing toilet, vanity and sink with running water, and a safari style shower that can be filled with up to 40 liters of hot water upon request.
The tents are spaced far enough apart from one another to ensure relative privacy. You will be escorted by the camp staff to and from dinner each evening to assure your safety.
Food and Drink
Get ready for serious gourmet in the bush! Meals at Lemala Camp
are absolutely fantastic. Breakfast consists of a mixed buffet with
orders taken for eggs, omelets, bacon, toast, etc. The buffet consists
of yogurt, nuts, cereal, breads, fruit and juice. Alternatively,
breakfast boxes can be arranged for early morning game drives. Similarly
to breakfast, you have your choice of dining in the main tent for
lunch or enjoying a lunch box if you plan a full day adventure game
drive. The choice is yours – this is YOUR private safari,
Dinner is a wonderful event to look forward to at Lemala Camp, and it is one of the few places where everyone joins together for a family-style dinner at one long dinner table. Once everything is prepared the staff seats everyone around an elegant candle-lit table set with weighty silverware and crystal and draped in fine linen. Dinner consists of four delicious courses with the main course being a choice of either chicken, beef, lamb or pasta.
House beverages including soft drinks, beer, wine and house wine are included with dinner at Lemala Camp.
- Private game drives into the wildlife-teeming amphitheatre of the Ngorongoro Crater (June – March)
- Unique location on the eastern Crater rim, offering unparalleled views of sunset
- Explore the famous archaeological site and museum at Olduvai Gorge
Maasai boma cultural visit
- Visit the bizarre shifting sands
- Picnic breakfasts and lunches available
- Sundowners and campfire in the evenings
- Intimate and informal setting that features dining with other guests at dinner
- 24 hour solar electricity
- Battery charging available in the main tent only
- Laundry service (complimentary up to 3 items of laundry per person per day)
- Complimentary house beverages with dinner including soft drinks, beer and house wine (premium drinks are extra cost)
- Child Policy – Minimum 6 Years Old
- En suite bathroom has dressing area, flush toilet, shower with 40 liters of water per person per day between 6.30-8pm
- Floor heater in each room
- Authentic duvet provided for each bed
- No hairdryer or use of hairdryer due to limited solar power
- Bar and sundries cash only policy; no credit card facility available
- Closed for annual maintenance during the months of April and May
The real highlight of staying here is the safari itself. Leaving
the Lodge by 6am makes you appreciate every golden moment of your
morning game drive, and the easy access road from the Lodge to the
Crater floor definitely maximizes your time! Within minutes you
are fully embarked on an exciting game drive in search of the elusive
black rhino, the notorious Crater lion prides, and all the other
magnificent wonders to be discovered on the Crater floor!
The Ngorongoro Crater is a world heritage site, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and is commonly referred to as the 8th wonder of the world. The 2,000 feet high walls of the approximately 10 mile wide Crater create a natural amphitheatre for the densest populations of large animals anywhere. It is a microcosm of the vast Serengeti National Park and in one day it is possible to see a staggering array of East African wildlife including the big carnivores. The Crater lives up to its infamous reputation with abundant and easily accessible wildlife and offers a reasonable chance to see lion, hyena and cheetah in action. The Crater is truly awe-inspiring and will surely be one of the highlights of your safari.
So you've gotten up early and asked the staff to pack a picnic breakfast to not miss any action? Good choice! There is a special atmosphere in the Crater at the light of dawn not to be missed. You'll notice the top of the rim is chilly and clad with mist in the early morning. As your land rover descends the winding road from the top of the ridge to the Crater floor, you'll gradually emerge from the clouds and notice a steady shift in both temperature and scenery.
The leafy forest and morning chill are slowly but surely replaced by sparser vegetation and warmer air. Eventually the landscape melds into the tawny grasslands of the Crater floor, which are teeming with big game. Early morning in the Crater is a time of spellbinding beauty and special solitude (since many of the less ambitious tourists are still sleeping.) Luminous clouds that hung low in the night now roll dramatically above and pile up against the emerald Crater wall, just not quite high enough to escape the rising sun. Shafts of morning sunlight filter through the billowing clouds and create bold shadows that shift and dance below. As the sun rises the air continues to warm. The whistling breeze sweeps down the steep walls and over the grasses at the Crater floor, seeming to whisper of ancient memories of the fiery volcanoes that created this mythical place.
There is dramatic scenery to behold here, and yes the geological history is very intriguing, but the real stars of this show are the ANIMALS! For as far as the eye can see, you will be surrounded by generously sized herds of all types of animals, all taking haven in what has been called "Africa's Garden of Eden." Gazelles and buffalo, wildebeest and zebra, elephant and even the rare black rhino live in concentrated numbers here. There is a realistic chance that you will actually be able to see cheetahs hunting in such a confined area. The lions in the Crater are certainly not tame, but they are somewhat used to vehicles, and you may just find them seeking shade in the shadow of your land rover! Hyenas and other smaller carnivores like the serval cat also make this beautiful place home.
Travel to the western edge of the Crater and enter the magical Lerai forest. Ancient trees draped in vines rise up from a deep leafy carpet of ferns and wide banners of tropical leaves. Look for sly leopards perched high in the tree boughs, hiding in the leaves and dappled light. Also watch for elephants ambling through shady thickets. Emerge from the forest and keep your eyes open for a sighting of the rare black rhino! During a delightful picnic lunch you'll be able to stretch those legs and watch for hippos spouting water in the spring pool nearby. As the sun continues to rise throughout the day, you'll want to shed that sweater and maybe peel off those zippered pant-legs. Get your cameras ready as you journey to the sparkling soda lake and witness thousands of pink flamingoes preening and reflecting in the still waters - a fantastic sight.
The Ngorongoro Crater is sometimes called a microcosm of the Serengeti because there are five distinct habitats located in the relatively small area of the Crater floor (150 square miles) that mirror the major habitats of its enormous neighbor, the Serengeti ecosystem (15,000 square miles).
Lerai Forest is located in the western section of the Crater and here you will find many of the giant tusker bull elephants. Lerai Forest is also known for its resident leopards and there is a realistic chance to see these noble cats here. In the central-western area is Lake Magadi, which plays host to thousands of migratory flamingos. The extreme southern and northern sections of the Crater are home to two large seasonal swamps. These areas are excellent for hippo and many species of water birds. Spread throughout the central area of the Crater is the short grass plains. These plains are home to thousands of wildebeest, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle. Many of the resident lion, hyena and cheetah can be found here close to their prey. In the eastern section of the Crater are the longer grasslands where thousands of buffalo roam. One of smallest carnivores, the serval cat, has frequently been spotted here in the tall grass.