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Lodge overview

What are your priorities when traveling on safari? Do you value a premium lodge location with easy access? Do you appreciate stunning sunset views? Is close proximity to wildlife a worthy consideration in your pick of top accommodations? If you said yes to any of these, then Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge may be the perfect fit for you!

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge boasts a private access road to the Crater floor that 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!

Nestled on the brink of Ngorongoro Crater's soaring eastern rim, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge offers comfortable accommodations with especially convenient access to the Crater's teeming wildlife below. Being the one and ONLY lodge on the eastern Crater rim offering sunset views, Ngorongoro Sopa certainly has an enviable location! Generously sized picture windows are abundant throughout the Lodge; the dining room, bar, lounge, swimming pool, gardens, and guest rooms are all situated to take maximum advantage of the stunning Crater vistas below.

As far as accommodations go, Ngorongoro Sopa offers comfortable and spacious rooms in a large hotel-style venue. At ninety-six (96) rooms total, Ngorongoro Sopa is the largest hotel on the Crater rim. A large hotel like Ngorongoro Sopa may lack the intimacy and personalized service you might expect at a smaller property. However, the Lodge does offer many amenities of variety and convenience since the property caters to such a wide audience.

The individual rooms are spacious with large en suite bathrooms. A window solarium with two rocking chairs is the obvious highlight of each room, with most offering jaw-dropping views of the gaping Crater below. Babysitting services, conference facilities, a swimming pool, laundry service, duty managers, a doctor on call, a fully stocked bar, and 24-hour generator power are just some of the many amenities you can expect. There is also a large gift shop on the premises offering an assortment of souvenirs as well as various toiletry items for your convenience. Dining (breakfast, lunch, & dinner) is buffet style, and caters to a variety of international palates. Afternoon tea and pastries are served between 3pm- 6pm each afternoon in the coffee bar on the lower level within the lobby.

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 itself is a dramatic amphitheatre of life, surrounded by the steep jagged walls of the collapsed volcano that created it. 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.

Leave the Crater floor in time to pass through the park gate by 5pm, after which the gate will close. You should be back to the Lodge in time to witness a spectacular sunset in the western sky! Behold the inflated orb of molten sun as it sinks over the far west rim and the Crater itself is bathed in a rosy flush of light and color. Entertainment in its most natural form, SUNSET at Ngorongoro Sopa is an event you will not forget.


Location

The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge 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 7,632 feet, this location offers remarkable views of the sleeping Crater floor below. Being the only accommodation 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 m orning 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 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.


Accommodations

The Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge opened its doors to travelers in 1992. Perched on the Eastern rim of the Ngorongoro, this facility boasts 96 spacious rooms and well-appointed facilities including a dinning room and a cozy lounge. There is beautiful pool terrace and garden that overlooks the magnificent Crater floor.

Each large room features two queen size beds, en suite bathrooms and a solarium (glass enclosed porch) with rocking chairs, most of which overlook the Crater view. Furniture and fixtures are simple and modest. Other furnishings include a safe, mini-bar (on request), nightstands, and a writing desk/buffet with a large arced mirror. The interior of the rooms is finished in southwestern style bedspreads, curtains, and Spanish stucco walls. Arched doorways are trimmed in red clay brick, and such bricks also wreath the doorways, nightstands, and the head and foot of the beds. Central heating radiators line the outside wall, but are only used in the winter months. Each suite is fully carpeted, with tile on the bathroom floor. Candle-like sconces light the en suite bathroom. The sunny-hued bathroom is equipped with a vanity, toilet, hairdryer, shaver socket, and spacious shower. Hot water is only available between the hours of 5am-9am, and again from 5pm - 8pm.

The main guest areas are vast spaces with soaring ceilings. The reception and dining areas are designed in grand Sopa style and feature floor to ceiling glass windows that look out over the magnificent Crater below. Both are well decorated with various African artifacts, sculptures and wooden carvings.

The lounge and bar areas are superb places to mingle with other guests and share the safari highlights for the day. The lounge and bar area are located in another large separate room just off from the lobby. There is a traditional semi-circular bar and various comfortable chairs and couches spaced throughout the room. There is also a particularly good gift shop located on the premises which stocks gift items as well as other items including film and toiletries.


Food and Drink

All meals are served buffet style in the main dining room, and are prepared in international and local flavors by professionally trained chefs.

Breakfast consists of an assortment of fruits, cereals, breads, eggs and bacon. However, if you do want to try and be the FIRST vehicle in the crater you may choose to have the staff pack you a picnic breakfast to go! Our standard itineraries typically include an early morning game drive (6AM) in the crater. This is a superb game drive and includes a bush breakfast from the lodge. After an hour or so game driving in the early morning or when you get hungry, you will stop to indulge in a bite to eat by Ngoitokitok Springs. It is highly recommended to go early to avoid the crowds that will inevitably drift in come late morning, not to mention that you will want to witness the spectacular ambience and wildlife viewing that the crater itself offers at dawn.

The best option for lunch is to arrange a picnic down on the crater floor either by the hippo pool or the small scenic lake. Alternatively, lunch is also offered at the lodge.

There is a variety of beer, wine and cocktails available at an additional charge.

After meals, guests can take time to relax in the Lodge gardens overlooking the Crater or in the main lounge with cup of tea or coffee.


Special Featuers

  • Private game drives into the wildlife-teeming amphitheatre of the Ngorongoro Crater
  • 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
  • Swimming pool
  • Well stocked safari boutique and gift shop

  • Full housekeeping services
  • Laundry service at an additional fee
  • Unique glass solarium (glass enclosed porch) in all the rooms, most with a Crater view
  • 24 hour generator power
  • Hot water ONLY between the hours of 5am-9am, and again from 5pm-8pm
  • Full medical back-up with a doctor on call
  • Wide range of soft drinks, beer, wine, and spirits available at an additional cost