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Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge - Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania

Regularly voted one of the best hotels in the world, this unique lodge clings to the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, the largest and most perfect volcanic crater on Earth. Long and low, the lodge is built from local river stone and camouflaged with indigenous vines. Designed to blend completely into the landscape, it is entirely invisible from the floor of the Crater 600 metres below.

Known as ‘the eighth wonder of the world' the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa's best-known wildlife arenas. A UNESCO World Heritage Site, it offers a unique biosphere, which has remained virtually unchanged since the dawn of time. Deep within the Crater, enclosed by towering walls, some 25,000 large mammals wander the plains, lakes and forests of ‘the land that time forgot', dominated by enormous bull elephants, rhinos and lions.

Hugging the contours of the jagged Crater rim, the lodge takes its inspiration from the so-called ‘Cradle of Mankind', the prehistoric site of Olduvai Gorge, which lies close by. Linked by arched stone passages and timbered decks, its walls are decorated with stylized prehistoric cave paintings and lit by flaring torches. At the stone heart of the lodge burns a glowing fire, which is kept constantly alight. Decorated with cave paintings, the rooms are strung around the Crater rim. Each has its own rock- enclosed balcony, and all enjoy completely uninterrupted views of the volcanic amphitheatre far below.

Facilities
• 75 rock-built rooms with panoramic private balconies
• Rock built dining room and bar with central fire
• Extensive viewing terraces
• Game drives into the Crater daily
• Wedding planning and honeymoon venue
• Gift shop, business centre, WiFi
• Tented conference centre
• Extensive selection of sports and activities
• Cultural dance and music
• TV room with satellite TV.

Highlights
• Sundowners on the rim of the Crater,
• Picnic lunch by the hippo pools
• Early morning breakfast in the Crater
• Guided nature walks around the Crater rim
• Maasai dance and theatre nightly
• Visits to Maasai villages and cattle markets

Getting there
The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area, lies immediately adjacent to the Serengeti National Park and 180 kilometres from Arusha.
By road: transfers by road from Arusha take approximately 4 hours.
By air: there is an adjacent airstrip and a ‘meet and greet' and transfer service is offered.

The Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is part of a much larger area of interrelated ecosystems, which consist of the Crater Highlands and the entire Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), which is an 8,300 sq km UNESCO World Heritage Site. Near to the centre of the region is Olduvai Gorge, one of the world's most famous prehistoric sites.

The ruggedly beautiful Crater Highlands are a range of volcanoes that rise from the side of the Great Rift Valley and run in a chain along the eastern edge of the NCA. The still-active Ol Doinyo Lengai (‘the Mountain of God' in Maa) stands at 2,878 metres above sea level, Empakaai 3,262 at metres, and Ngorongro at only 2,200 metres above sea level. The different peaks were created over many millions of years by a series of eruptions that heralded the birth of the Great Rift. Many of the older volcanoes have since collapsed to form the craters that give the range its name. The main residents of the area are the Maasai, who have grazed their cattle here for hundreds of years.

To the west of the crater lie the alkaline Lakes of Ndutu and Masek. In the east of the conservation area is a string of volcanoes and craters, most but not all of which are inactive. Further east, just outside the NCA's boundaries is the archaeological site of Engaruka and Lake Eyasi. North east of the NCA in the arid expanses near the Kenyan border is the alkaline Lake Natron.

Rooms and suites
Strung around the Crater rim, each with its own rock-enclosed balcony, the rooms feature brass lamps, embossed leather headboards, wildwood mirrors, Maasai carvings and stylised prehistoric cave paintings. Each room enjoys uninterrupted views over the Crater's unmatched splendour.
Room facilities include:
• Direct dial telephone and WiFi
• Laundry, valet and shoeshine services
• Mineral water and toiletries
• Bathrobe and slippers
• 24-hour room service
• Safe and hairdryers (from reception)
• 24-hour medical service
• Children's meals, beds, babysitting

The Crater Suite
The Crater Suite enjoys a perfect view of the crater. The spacious bedroom is luxuriously appointed with a king-sized double bed with walk-in mosquito net, sumptuous furnishings, dressing area and natural stone ensuite bathroom. The elegantly appointed sitting room: enjoys panoramic views and is tastefully and relaxingly furnished while offering: a fully stocked mini-bar, digital multi-channel TV and direct dial telephone. The room also features a generous stone-built balcony overlooking the Crater. 24-hour room service is available and fruit and wine will be laid out to welcome our guests.

Dining at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
The split-level rock-built dining and bar area features a wall of windows, which look down on to the constantly changing vistas of the crater below while double doors lead out on to a broad viewing terrace. Clustered around a glowing central fireplace, the space is decorated with prehistoric cave paintings and lit by stylized torches.

Bush dining
We are expert in arranging breakfasts, lunches, dinners and cocktails in the bush. We have a number of dedicated sites, which are typically presented with tables, safari chairs, ‘bush bar' and a ‘bush kitchen', where a broad range of meats, poultry, fish and vegetables are cooked on-site (supplemented by fresh soups, salads and puddings from our hotel kitchens). In the evenings, ‘sun-downer' cocktails are traditionally served around a campfire and can be followed by a lamp-lit ‘bush dinner'.

Sundowners on the rim of the crater
An essential part of traditional safari life, the concept of having drinks whilst watching the sun go down dates back to the time of the great safaris of the 1920's, all of which featured the serving of elegant ‘bush' cocktails against the unforgettable backdrop of the African sunset.

Conferences, meetings and events
The Serena Group has unrivalled experience in organizing a unique range of corporate and social events, all of which are supported by state-of-the-art facilities, orchestrated by highly-trained personnel, and enjoy luxury accommodation, world-class catering and diverse leisure options.

The lodge has its own dedicated under-canvas conference or event space, which stands in the grounds with stunning views over the crater rim to the plains below. Exceptionally spacious, the venue features a raised wooden floor and canvas walls and ceilings. Fully air-conditioned, this supremely different conference venue offers all the features of a normal conference room, with the added attraction of a stylish safari look and feel.
The facilities include:
• A tented space with external terrace and lawns where delegate reception procedures can be hosted
• Modern, modular events furniture, which can be tailored to your specifications
• PA system, LCD overhead projector, podium, flip charts and marker pens
• Delegate pads, pens/pencils, individual mineral water supply
• Business support (secretarial services, photo-copying, WiFi and a full range of global communications)
• ‘Meet and greet' services

Weddings and honeymoons in the Ngorongoro Crater
Like your wedding and honeymoon, the memories of your Ngorongoro experience will remain with you forever. As a wedding venue, the Ngorongoro is unique. The ‘Eighth Wonder of the World' it provides the ideal opportunity for an authentic Maasai wedding on the rim of the Crater, with local chief, dancers and choir. Alternatively, your ceremony can be enacted on the Crater floor, or on the panoramic terrace of the lodge.
We have extensive experience in planning and staging a wide variety of weddings and receptions, we can also take care of all the necessary formalities; from provision of registrar and certificates to working with you to determine the type of cake, reception and entertainment you would like.
We also offer some unique family and friends accommodation packages, ‘his and hers' pre-wedding preparation options, and a choice of honeymoon options.
Choices include:
• A traditional Maasai wedding with local chief, dancers and choir
• Crater floor, bush or terrace wedding ceremony
• Individually tailored ‘bush brunch' or ‘savannah barbecue'
• Individually themed champagne reception - at the lodge or in the bush
• Tailor-made wedding cake
• Private candle-lit honeymoon dinner for two
• Luxurious honeymoon suite supplied with wine and tropical fruit
• Cultural dance performance for you and your guests
• Photography and videoing of your special day
• Special accommodation packages for the entire wedding party.

What to do and see at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
A stone-clad viewing hide, invisible from the crater floor, the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge stands on the rim of the immeasurably ancient Ngorongoro Crater, the largest perfect volcanic caldera in the world. A unique biosphere, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area shelters some 25,000 large mammals: dominated by bull elephants, rhinos and lions. The choice of things to do and see at the Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge includes:
• Game drives down into the crater
• Morning wildlife walks around the lodge and crater rim with the resident naturalist
• A full safari breakfast, cooked in the cool of an acacia grove on the Crater's floor
• An open-air ‘Crater Barbecue Lunch' by a hippo-filled pool on the Crater's floor
• Adventure hikes around the Ngorongoro Crater and the volcanoes of the nearby Crater Highlands
• Authentic displays of Maasai dance, song, performance and music
• A day trip to Olduvai Gorge, the ‘Cradle of Mankind', and site of one of the most important and controversial Palaeolithic finds in recent history
• A visit to neighbouring ‘Empakaai ‘, a 300m deep crater dominated by a flamingo-frosted soda lake
• Visits to a selection of authentic Maasai villages, all of which belong to the national Cultural Tourism Programme and allow unique visits to Maasai homesteads traditional cattle markets and women's handicraft groups
• Atmospheric ‘Sundowners', staged high on the Crater rim
• Nightly wildlife and cultural talks, videos and film shows.

 

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