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Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp

When To Visit The Ngorongoro Crater:
When To Visit The Ngorongoro Crater:
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"Get up early here, and you are rewarded with the quietest access road into the back of Ngorongoro. The best tented camp on the Crater rim by far!"


Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp has been a stand-out property for years and has just had a great refurb, including hot and cold water on demand, improved decking, soft furnishings and bathroom upgrades, as well as a brand new two-bedroom unit. While it doesn’t have crater views from camp, Lemala has a wonderful location that gives its guests easy access to the crater floor at first light. This means you beat the crowds coming from the larger hotels and won’t have to queue! It is one of our favourite properties from the portfolio of Lemala Authentic Camps and Lodges – and in common with all Lemala properties, it offers a superb safari experience from a peaceful and well-run base. The guiding is great and the ambience in camp is one of the warmest. The crater itself is a “must see” for first-time visitors to Tanzania’s northern circuit. It is one of Tanzania’s wonders – a vast caldera home to an impressive amount of resident wildlife, including the Big Five.


Set on the quieter north-eastern side of the Ngorongoro Crater, the camp is usually accessed via a one-and-a-half-hour road transfer from Lake Manyara Airstrip. Some guests may arrive from elsewhere if they’re doing a driving circuit in a private 4x4. It has a lovely location in a grove of acacia trees and is very close to the descent road into the crater itself – perfectly positioned for travellers hoping to be among the first to arrive onto the crater floor. With vehicles starting out at 06:15, you can easily get to the crater by 06:30! This gives you a full hour or so in which to explore the area in relative quiet and make the most of photo opportunities before all the other 4×4s turn up. This makes Lemala a very attractive option given the crater can get very busy, especially in peak season.


Guest accommodation consists of nine canvas tents, all positioned to one side of the main tent, which is home to the lounge and dining area. They are Meru in style – an outer layer of canvas extends over the inner layer to create a private veranda. Set with campaign chairs and a small table, the veranda is a great spot for relaxing with a drink while enjoying your forest views and occasionally seeing some local wildlife wander by! This is one of the few crater properties that has some game viewing in camp.

The first thing that greets you on entering your tent is a coffee table, which forms part of a lounge area including a comfy sofa, a tea-and-coffee station, and a writing desk complete with anglepoise lamp. The sofa backs onto two queen-size beds, guarded by a couple of explorer’s chests functioning as bedside tables. Snug rugs adorn the floor, and a gas heater provides some necessary warmth during the chillier months of the year. The crater can be cold at night due to the altitude! The palette is neutral with splashes of Maasai red and some patterned fabrics. Each tent’s en-suite washroom comprises flush toilet, washbasin as part of a vanity unit, and walk-in shower. There’s also a metal-and-canvas storage unit, with hanging space and open shelves. Triple rooms are available on request.

The communal lounge and dining areas are located in the main tent, which also has a veranda where you can enjoy great forest views. There are comfortable sofas, armchairs, and campaign chairs around coffee tables and explorer’s chests. It’s all conveniently set up close to the camp’s bar! The dining area features a long table, where everyone eats together. Breakfast features a selection of hot and cold dishes, while lunch tends to be quiches and salads. Dinners are super-tasty, and sometimes presented as a barbecue in the grounds of the camp. They often take place following drinks around the campfire, where guides and guests can share stories of their safari day!

The accommodation is booked on a full-board basis, including all meals, a selection of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks, Wi-Fi, and a laundry service. Children aged 5–16 years incur a reduced rate – please contact one of our specialists for details.


The main reason to visit is the crater, but Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp has some other great activities, including guided walks along the crater rim, forest hikes, and trips to Maasai villages.

  • Expertly guided game drives

    - The Crater is home to all Big Five species – lion, (black) rhino, leopard, elephant, and buffalo. Other sightings can include spotted hyena, hippo, zebra, eland (a type of antelope), wildebeest, and very occasionally leopard. There’s plenty of birdlife too – raptors, waterbirds, songbirds, and many others.
  • Guided nature walks

    - Guests can take part in walks along the crater rim and hikes in the forest, all in the company of a ranger and a Maasai guide. The more adventurous can go slightly farther afield and visit the Olmoti and Empakai craters (if your thirst for craters isn’t already sated!). The latter two may require extra time at camp, so to include these please discuss timings with one of our consultants.
  • Cultural trips

    - The crater is a wonderful place from which to visit some of the local villages and interact with the Maasai. The small Maasai settlement of Nainokanoka is close by and offers a fascinating trip for travellers interested in cultural activities while on holiday.
  • Children's activities

    - Children can participate in Lemala’s Cubs programme, which offers spear throwing, using a bow-and-arrow, tracking around camp, roasting marshmallows around the campfire, and going on kids-friendly morning game drives!

*This property is unfenced and located in a wildlife area, so large and potentially dangerous animals do pass through. If you opt to stay here, always be alert when walking around the camp and request for a member of staff to escort you if you have any concerns. Any guest is escorted after dark as a matter of course.

The Ngorongoro Crater

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