Wild times ensued on our first African safari at Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania. Eating breakfast with zebras. Chatting with a Maasai warrior about his battle scars. Catching lions snuggling post-lovemaking session. Spotting baby lion cubs hanging from their mother’s neck. Making jokes with Vicki, our expert safari guide (and one of Tanzania’s first female guides)…
After the 11-hour Ngorongoro Crater safari, a rose-petal bath awaited us in our luxury mud huts at andBeyond’s lodge. After the bath and a glass of sherry fireside, we were hungry. Unaccustomed to the ‘wild’ aspect of the lodge, we didn’t get why we needed an escort to walk the 50-yards or so to the dining room. The answer? Buffaloes, elephants or any other kind of African animal could be lurking about. Thankfully, a Maasai warrior on staff at andBeyond came to our rescue.
More rose petals ensued, strewn about extravagantly on the dinner table. We dined by candlelight on three gourmet courses, paired with South African wine. Think vegetable soup with freshly baked bread, black pepper crusted beef fillet, and vanilla creme caramel with chocolate ganache.
Our first day on safari ended on a high note, literally. The entire wait staff and even Vicki, our safari ranger, sang joyously in Swahili throughout the dining room. Our favorite was the Hakuna Matata song (no, not the Lion King one, but their own).
Ready to sleep, we returned to our huts. Our personal butler had lit the fire while we were at dinner and the housekeeper had turned on the electric blanket, making the bed nice and toasty.
Our Ngorongoro Crater experience was storybook perfection. The only thing we would have changed is to pack warmer clothes (as demonstrated in photo to left, we were more concerned with staying warm rather than looking fashionable), not take Malaria meds on an empty stomach, and to stay a few more days. The stunning views of the crater (actually a caldera – and one of the eight natural wonders of the world) as seen from your room is something you want to have ample time to soak in.
Read on at Societe Perrier for Lanee’s review of Ngorongoro Crater Lodge.
For more on andBeyond’s other safari lodges, visit andBeyond.com