On the edge of eccentric but entirely exquisite, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is a mesmerising mix based on manyattas, traditional Maasai dwellings. Each is decked out from mud wall to mud wall with raw silk and ceiling-to-ceiling chandeliers, glittering over beds and claw topped baths alike. There’s also fine antiques, fireplaces, bowls filled with roses within and terracotta pots filled with Maasai spears without. And the decks feature views even more fabulous than the interiors.
The lodge consists of three camps, North, South and Tree, with a total of just 30 rooms. Each camp has its own inside and out dining areas, sitting areas and sprawling viewing decks looking over the splendour of the Serengeti. The nature of the crater, sunken and with water enough to last the year, means proliferate wildlife stays and is easily seen.
The lodge responsibly keeps their daily game drive short, to make sure the animals aren’t stressed. But, no safari here is without exciting encounters. Guided walks along the crater rim and bush picnics extend time in the great outdoors, and, back at base, the views encompass the essential African vistas all day long, with more opportunities for game spotting from the terraces. The butler service is also worth heading home for – the right drink ready on return, dining prepared to perfection and a bath bubbled to the brim. When all that fun is done, a Maasai watchman will walk you back to your room, as there might be wildlife on the way.