For so long, camping at the Ngorongoro a bit of a nightmare as temperatures can regularly fall below freezing due to the altitude. However, Lemala has gas heaters in every room and has, by far, the most luxurious tented accommodation on the Crater rim. The camp is well located (though do not be fooled, the views are not into the Crater itself as the camp lies on the other side of the rim looking out into the Conservation area as opposed to into the Crater itself) and does have some game in the surrounding area. Overall a quality product and a welcome breath of fresh air; Ngorongoro needed better lodges and now, finally it has one! But it lacks in access and location for rather a lot of money.
Lemala Ngorongoro - The Details
Lemala Ngorongoro is located on the Eastern side of the Ngorongoro Crater in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Northern Tanzania. The tented camp lies within a wild indigenous forest on the Crater rim itself but looks out East rather than down into the Crater itself. There are no views of the Crater floor from anywhere in the camp. The nearest airstrip to Lemala Ngorongoro is the strip at Lake Manyara, just over an hours drive away. There is an airstrip on the Crater rim however this is not on scheduled airlines timetables and is often covered in cloud so impossible to use.
The camp consists of twelve tents and a separate lounge area infront of a fireplace. Accommodation at Lemala Ngorongoro is provided in nine spacious tents, including one family tent, in a secluded concession to ensure privacy. Each tent has two large single beds or a king size double bed with thick duvets for warmth and comfort, a gas heater to warm the tent, and a private bathroom that includes a dressing area, flush loo, shower and basin with running water.
The mess area is well furnished with sofas, lamps, books and corner cabinets in old wood, chandeliers, chests and rugs. Meals are served al fresco or inside the mess and all guests are invited to sit together at dinner time. Laundry and house beverages (wine, beer, spirits, soda, water, tea and coffee) are included in the price.
Lemala's advantage over the majority of camps at the Crater, is its proximity to the low-traffic entry route into the crater. Guests are able to start their game drives early and thus avoid the traffic jams and queues which are an issue at the Seneto entry route used by majority of the lodges on the rim or in Karatu area.