We stayed for 2 nights in March at Lemala Ngorongoro Camp on the crater rim and had a very special experience.
Lemala, a seasonal camp with only 9 tents, is on the eastern side of the crater rim & has exclusive access to the crater floor used only by one other lodge.
In the early morning in March, we saw no other vehicles on the descent road or in the crater for almost 3 hours.
We were greeted warmly by the manager and staff and were shown to Tent 3.
Our young Maasai tent steward enjoyed sharing details of his life with us, and in the late afternoon we could hear cow bells as the Maasai were bringing their herds home.
All of the tents have a stunning outlook
over a flat top acacia forest on the edge of the crater.
The camp is seasonal and closes during April and May.
There were only two tents occupied during the time that we stayed there, and service was outstanding.
Our tent was comfortable for the three of us, including our teen daughter, and storage space was good.
There was a writing desk and chair in the room, wood flooring, and our "front porch" had chairs and a table for contemplating the beautiful view and enjoying a pre-dinner cocktail.
Elephants and other wildlife stroll through the camp upon
The bathroom was nice with running sink water, flush toilet, and bucket shower (very good hot water).
Lighting is solar, so, although there is a flashlight provided, it is good to bring a small extra one for the room and for walking back and forth to the main tent when you are guided after dark by a Maasai askari.
All drinks and laundry are included in the cost.
The rim of the crater will be cool at night, but we were extremely comfortable with the heater provided in the room and the hot water bottles placed in our beds each evening (they kept us warm all night).
Our tent steward would turn on our heater while we were at dinner and then
again in the morning when he brought coffee and hot chocolate.
We enjoyed bush TV before dinner around the campfire with appetizers, drinks and talking with the other travelers.
guide joined us for dinners here, and we all enjoyed the delicious meals
prepared by the cook staff.
This camp is a delightful and rare alternative to the large lodges on the crater rim and provides a very exclusive experience without being ostentatious.
It felt rather like a place that Hemingway would have enjoyed. Highly recommended.