Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
Tanzania’s prehistoric Ngorongoro Crater, a UNESCO World Heritage Site known as the Eighth Wonder of the World, has yawned heavenward for millennia. Perched on the edge of Ngorongoro's rocky rim, Serena Lodge has the ultimate in views of the crater floor, straight from its lavish, balcony-ed rooms.
If you want to get closer to the action, it's only a short drive down for game drives amongst enormous pride of lion, cheetah, rhino, buffalo and elephant. Rated one of the top hotels globally, the lodge itself takes its inspiration from the famous "Cradle of Mankind" site at the nearby Olduvai Gorge and the rooms are decorated with stylized cave painting and glowing torches. It's certainly a larger lodge than most, but the location is simply unbeatable.
Only in Common Area
No Swimming Pool
A roaring central fireplace forms the lodge's heart and is the place to relax before meals and swap safari tales from the day. There's also a unique split-level main bar and dining area, and large double doors open out onto a viewing terrace that looks down over the crater floor's vistas. Torches hung on the walls provide a warm, relaxing glow in the main areas, reflecting the friendly team's superb hospitality.
Dotted along the crater rim, the 75 suites have astonishing views of the plains below, and each has its own private, rock-enclosed balcony from which to gaze at the myriad of creatures that roam down. Finishing touches include brass lamps, timeless leather headboards, ancient carvings, and unique cave paintings that take inspiration from Africa's first peoples. Central heating also provides a much-need respite from the cold mists that encircle the crater.
Staying here allows you to be one of the first on the crater floor in the morning, maximising your game viewing time before the rest of the 4x4 Landcruisers arrive.
Watching the sun dip below the crater rim from your private verandah, wrapped in a blanket is hard to beat.