Lodges

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

A lodge in a dramatic setting – on the rim of an extinct volcano

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

The views from the highest point of the Ngorongoro Crater rim are simply breathtaking. And that's where you'll find Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, with its traditional circular African-style rooms topped with conical thatched roofs. The floor of this collapsed volcano (itself a World Heritage Site) teems with game, including lion, antelope galore, elephant, giraffe and the critically endangered black rhino – the place is not called the 'Garden of Eden' for nothing.

At the lodge

The hotel

Huge rondavels linked by the glass-roofed reception area have comfortable seating and decor in an African-style theme that some visitors feel needs upgrading. However, the lounge is comfortable, the dining area is the perfect place to share your experiences with fellow guests and the bar is a popular retreat. Outside, shallow steps lead to a pool with a view second to none – you can admire the crater and across its width to the western rim while taking a dip.

The rooms

Flower-lined pathways lead to the 98 rooms, which are set in large two-storey rondavels that are furnished in slightly old-fashioned but attractive style. Each has a balcony with picture windows and comfy chairs from which to admire the views. Bathrooms are simple but well appointed. It can get very cold at this altitude, so the central heating is welcome. There are rooms on two levels – although the views from both are good, previous guests suggest that you opt for upper-floor accommodation.

On safari

Experiences

A private road allows access to the wildlife-rich World Heritage Site, although game drives are only allowed during the day. The lodge's exclusive position on the quiet eastern rim of the crater means that you'll encounter less traffic than you would if staying in the lodges on the more popular western edge. Birding is good and the sunsets could inspire you to poetry. Note that children of all ages are welcome.

When to go

Ngorongoro Crater by month

January

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures can be hot although lower than other parts of Tanzania, with occasional afternoon showers providing a unique spectacle.
  • An ideal month to visit the Crater, with very high sunshine hours, providing perfect photographic conditions.
  • Game viewing is particularly good during this, the birthing season, offering high predator activities and excitement.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • Visitor traffic can be particularly high during this time of year.
  • Enjoy exceptional birding with migratory species present and in full breeding plumage.

February

Season: Wet
  • Temperature are relatively hot but low for Tanzania, there is plenty of sunshine with a decline in the amount of rainy afternoons.
  • An ideal month to visit the Crater, with very high sunshine hours, providing perfect photographic conditions.
  • Game viewing is particularly good during this, the birthing season, offering high predator activities and excitement.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • Visitor traffic can be particularly high during this time of year.
  • Enjoy exceptional birding with migratory species present and in full breeding plumage.

March

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are moderate to hot, with chances of prolonged rainfall.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • The best time to visit the Crater, with low tourist traffic leading to more intimate sightings.
  • Enjoy exceptional birding with migratory species present and in full breeding plumage.

April

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are mild by Tanzanian standards, with the highest rainfall of the year over this period.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • The best time to visit the Crater, with low tourist traffic leading to more intimate sightings.
  • Migratory birds begin to leave in search of warmer condition to the North.

May

Season: Wet
  • The best time to visit the Crater, with low tourist traffic leading to more intimate sightings.
  • During the green season, plants are in bloom, vegetation is thick and grasses can be long, making game viewing a little more difficult.
  • Migratory birds begin to leave in search of better conditions to the North.
  • Temperatures are cool but comfortable, with the end of the summer rains falling during this month.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.

June

Season: Dry
  • Transition from the wet to the dry season, expect relatively low temperatures, mists, clouds and possibly rain.
  • Skies can remain cloudy for long periods of time, creating poor, low light conditions for photography
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • The end of the green season has arrived, vegetation begins to recede, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic increases greatly, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

July

Season: Dry
  • The dry season has kicked off with cool temperatures, little rain, but still the chance of cloud and mist.Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • The end of the green season has arrived, vegetation begins to recede, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • A difficult time of year to predict light conditions with chances of cloud cover and mist, making photography unpredictable.
  • Visitor traffic is high during peak season, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

August

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are warm, with the chances of poor weather declining as the month wears on.
  • Mist and cloud cover are less likely as the month wears on, providing better photographic opportunities.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation has receded, animals remain close to the permanent water sources, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic is high during peak season, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

September

Season: Dry
  • The Temperatures begin to climb, rain is very unlikely and sunshine hours start to increase.
  • Mist and cloud cover are less likely and short lived, providing better photographic opportunities and game drive conditions.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation has receded, animals remain close to the permanent water sources, improving your chances of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic is high during peak season, causing sightings to be crowded at times.
  • Include a warm jacket in your packing list as morning game drive can get quite chilly.

October

Season: Dry
  • Temperatures are hot and humid until the first rains of summer fall, usually towards the end of the month.
  • Mist and cloud cover are unlikely and short lived, providing better photographic opportunities and game drive conditions.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation is at it's most sparse, providing a great chance of spotting the more elusive species.
  • Visitor traffic drops slightly after peak season, but can still be crowded in certain sightings.

November

Season: Dry
  • The start of the wet season is characterised by high temperatures and regular afternoon showers.
  • Clear blue skies during the day with late afternoon showers or even electrical storms, providing a dramatic backdrop for any photographer.
  • Game viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is always good with incredible game densities.
  • Vegetation burst back into life rejuvenating the animals of the region after the hardships of the dry season.
  • Visitor traffic drops slightly after peak season, but can still be crowded in certain sightings.

December

Season: Wet
  • Temperatures are comfortable, weather is sunny but expect some an afternoon shower during your safari.
  • Clear blue skies with exception of the odd late afternoon electical storm are expected, providing great photographic conditions.
  • Game viewing is particularly good during this, the birthing season, offering high predator activities and excitement.
  • This is technically the green season with vegetation at its thickest, however the Ngorongoro Crater region does not experience a severe dry season.
  • Migratory birds have returned to the region in full breeding plumage, creating a hive of activity in the tree tops.
  • Bring along some insect repellent as mosquito numbers increase with the arrival of the rains.

Wildlife


The Ngorongoro Crater, also known as Africa's Eden, is a place of remarkable beauty and diversity, with a mix of forest, savannah and grassland providing the perfect environment for wildlife to thrive. On the crater floor, experience the Big Five with great black rhino encounters, dense numbers of wildebeest, zebra, eland and exciting lions and cheetah sightings.

Map

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