24 hours in Ngorongoro, Tanzania
Written by Stephen Peaple Illustration by Fernando Volken Togni
The Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania was created three million years ago when a giant volcano exploded, leaving behind a 600m-deep hole. This natural caldera is now home to a spectacular array of African wildlife, where it’s possible to spot the ‘big five’ during a single game drive.
Within the 260km2 extent of the crater are prides of magnificent lions, who have learnt to take kills from hyenas, rather than hunt themselves. There are also nomadic cheetah, leopard, and 16 black rhinoceros – one of the most endangered animals on the continent – all of which make up just a fraction of the 30,000 resident large mammals. While you can visit for a day’s game drive, staying within the crater ensures you make the most of the experience, with the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge (www.andbeyond.com), on the rim of the crater, being the place to stay. Each suite is raised on stilts and built with traditional Maasai volcanic ash and mud, topped by thatched roofs. Inside it’s an oasis of elegant opulence with a free-standing bath, sparkling chandeliers, graceful antiques, teak panelling, a wood-burning fire, a luxurious four-poster bed, and whimsical African touches. Relax on the private balcony and take in the panoramic views of the crater below, as mists rise in the morning and stars puncture the black canopy at night. This is Africa at its best.
Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania
Unless you are a local Maasai, wandering the crater floor is not allowed, and you’ll be escorted by security during dawn and dusk to ensure that local wildlife keep their distance.
The 4WD reigns supreme, not least the classic Land Rover modified with pop-up hood. There is plenty of space in the back for the breakfast picnic.