Arusha & The Ngorogoro Crater – Tanzania

Ngrongoro Crater

Most people travel to Tanzania go for three things:

To climb Mount Kilimanjaro, see the Ngorongoro Crater and witness the Wildebeest Migration in the Serengeti.

We were lucky enough to tick off two out of three on our recent trip.

Last year, we left it a little late to book this for our honeymoon (The migration happens roughly between July – October, and camps book up fast) so we put it off a year.

Our journey begun with an overnight flight with Qatar Airways (a wonderful experience in itself!) from Heathrow to Doha and Doha to Kilimanjaro airport (roughly 18 hours with stopovers) before we were collected and transferred straight over to the Arusha Serena Hotel for the night.

Doha

Kilimanjaro Airport

Kilimanjaro Airport

The staff made a lovely effort for our honeymoon. They had decorated our room beautifully with petals and sent us a cake. The grounds are stunning and the room was very clean and quaint.

Serena Hotel

I was beyond Jet-Lagged and only managed a bowl of Tomato Soup for dinner (which was delicious)! So I was soon sound asleep under our mosquito net!

We hit the road straight after breakfast and, after a half-day drive we arrive at our home for the next two nights, Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge.

It is in a perfect location overlooking the Ngorongoro crater. The rooms are comfortable and spacious, placed in a natural settings among trees, bushes and rocks.

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Guests can book a walking tour around the grounds of the hotel which can be organised with the front desk.

Our guide (Albert), enthusiastically showed us which plants the local Masai used as medicine as well as pointing out the birds circling above us.

Our walking safari had hardly begun when Albert excitedly pointed to the ground, it was Elephant dung, still quite fresh!

A few moments later, we happened upon five male elephants quietly grazing the trees. It was unbelievable how close they were to the lodge, it would be so easy to never have known they were there!

Back in the bar area we grabbed a seat near one of the many fires and enjoyed a bottle of the local good stuff before heading to the dining room for our 3 course meal.

There was also a lovely surprise when we got back to our room, a hot water bottle tucked into each side of our bed! 

We excitedly sprang out of our bed at 5.30am the next morning, ready for our first day on Safari! We had arranged with our guide to get up and out as early as possible.

One of the benefits of our lodge is that it is located closest to the entrance of the crater rim than any other accommodation.

The Ngorongoro crater opens at 6am and we were pleased when the staff told us that we were the first people up and out of the lodge that day!

It was pitch black as we headed to the entrance, our guide dealt with all of our paperwork and before we knew it, we were on the long decent down to the crater rim floor.

Situated 2,000 feet below the rim, in the bed of a volcano collapsed 2.3 million years ago, there is one road down and one road up! As we drove through the various areas we saw elephants, hippos, huge herds of wildebeest and zebras, gazelles, jackals and hyenas, lions in the distance eating a kill and lots of birds.

The vastness of the crater kept things from ever feeling crowded!

By the time our safari in the Ngrongoro is over, I understand why the crater is so famous for its wildlife. It’s a long day, but most definitely worth it.

We had so much fun spotting ‘The Big 5’ (Only the Rhino escaped us..), and so much more!

 

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