Location & Contact

A unrivalled Unesco World Heritage Site location

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is perched at the edge of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater, a short drive from the Crater descent road and adjacent to Serengeti National Park. The lodge is 180 kilometres and a four-hour drive from Arusha. The Lake Manyara airstrip is 90 minutes from the lodge, and “meet and greet” and transfer services are available.

If you require further information or would like to book accommodations for an upcoming visit, please contact us today.

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Location

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge is perched at the edge of the Ngorongoro Crater, a short drive from the Crater descent road and adjacent to Serengeti National Park. The lodge is 180 kilometres and a four-hour drive from Arusha. There is also an adjacent airstrip, and “meet and greet” and transfer services are available.

About The Ngorongoro Crater

Known as ‘the eighth wonder of the world' the Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa's best-known wildlife arenas. A World Heritage Site, it boasts one of the largest volcanic craters in the world (almost 20 kilometres wide, 610-760 metres deep and covering a total area of 264 square kilometres).

Quite apart from the ‘big five' (lion, elephant, rhino, leopard and buffalo), all of which can often be spotted in a morning, the Crater also hosts up to 25,000 large mammals. Most are grazers, half of which are zebras and wildebeests while the rest are made up of gazelles, buffalos, elands, hartebeests and warthogs. As a result of these extraordinarily large numbers of herbivores, the crater also numbers one of the densest predator populations in Africa, most of which are lion and spotted hyena. This remarkable ecosphere also supports a large elephant population, most of which are bulls due to the relative paucity of food for the breeding herds. Other animals, such as giraffe, topi and impala, are notable by their absence. Finally, Ngorongoro is the only place in Tanzania where there is a realist chance of seeing a black rhino, around 20 of which live within the crater walls.

Explanations as to how it derived its name vary; some say it commemorates an especially valiant group of Datoga warriors who defeated their Maasai enemies in a pitched battle on the crater floor some 150 years ago whilst others believe it relates to a long-forgotten Maasai age-set. Most evocative is the suggestion that it refers to an old Maasai warrior, named Ngorongoro, who lived in the crater and made cowbells for his beloved herds of cattle.

As recently as 2.5 million years ago the young Ngorongoro Volcano became filled with molten rock that subsequently solidified into a crust or roof. As the lava chamber emptied, the solid dome collapsed and thus was formed the largest perfect caldera in the world (almost 20 km wide).

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) was established in 1959, most of it having previously belonged to the now contiguous Serengeti National Park. The Ngorongoro Crater is only one of many natural attractions that are contained within its vast boundaries (8,300 sq km). These include both dormant and active volcanoes, soaring mountains, archaeological treasures, rolling plains, rivers, forests, lakes and shifting sand dunes whilst almost half of the NCA is made up of vast tracts of open grassland, which swing in a vast arc stretching from the Serengeti in the northwest through the Gol Mountains to the Salei Plain in the northeast.

Close to the centre of the NCA is Olduvai Gorge, the ‘Cradle of Mankind', where the remains of our earliest ancestors, the hominids, were found. To the west lie the alkaline lakes of Ndutu and Masek, to the south Lake Eyasi and to the north the shimmering waters of alkaline Lake Natron.

Easily the most memorable human feature of the Ngorongoro Crater are the fabled Maasai whose brushwood Manyattas sprinkle its slopes, proud warriors patrol its rim and patient lines of cattle graze its floor. Often strikingly tall and slender, swathed in brilliant red cloth ‘Shukas', hung about with beads and metal jewellery, the young men (Moran) favour long, plaited, ochre-daubed hairstyles and have a formidable reputation for glamour, prowess and ferocity. Traditionally the Maasai live off the milk and blood of their beloved cattle and believe that all the world's cattle are theirs by God-given right. Their nomadic and pastoral lifestyle, though historically based on the pursuit of migratory wildlife, is slowly changing thanks to a combination of education, favourable new laws, projects, jobs and income.

About Olduvai Gorge

Located on the main road that leads into the Serengeti, and typically featuring as a stop-off point on the journey to the lodge, Olduvai Gorge is better-known as ‘The Cradle of Mankind' and is considered to be one of the most important prehistoric sites in the world. Instrumental in furthering understanding of early human evolution, its excavation was pioneered by Louis and Mary Leakey in the 1950s. A steep-sided ravine in the Great Rift Valley, the gorge, which is about 50km long and up to 90m deep, runs to the north-west of the Ngorongoro Crater. Thanks to its unique geological history, in which layer upon layer of volcanic deposits were laid down in orderly sequence over a period of almost 2 million years, this world-famous site provides remarkable documentation of ancient life.

The most famous of Olduvai's fossils is the 1.8 million-year-old ape-like skull known as Australopithecus boisei, which was discovered by Mary Leakey in 1959.The skull is also often referred to as zinjanthropus, which means ‘nutcracker man' referring to its large molars. In 1972 hominid (human-like) footprints estimated to be 3.7 million years old were discovered at Laetoli, about 45km south of Olduvai Gorge. Based on these findings as well as other ancient fossils excavated in Kenya and Ethiopia, experts believe that there were at least three hundred hominid species living in this region about two million years ago, including Australopithecus boisei, Homo habilis and Homo erectus. While Australopithecus boisei and Homo habilis appear to have died out, it is thought by some that Homo erectus continued and evolved into Homo sapiens or modern man. There is a small and interesting museum just off the road to Serengeti.

ABOUT TANZANIA

The United Republic of Tanzania (Jamhuri ya Muungano wa Tanzania) is located in Eastern Africa, bordering the Indian Ocean, between Kenya and Mozambique.

Tanzania's climate is predominately tropical. Coastal areas are usually hot and humid, but on the beaches a sea breeze cools the air considerably. The average day temperature is 30°C. Tanzania has two rainy seasons - the long rains from late March to June and the short rains from November to January. The long rains fall in heavy downpours, often accompanied by violent storms, but the short rains tend to be much less severe. The hottest time of the year is from December to March, before the long rains begin. The coolest months are June, July and August, when the weather is often overcast. In high-altitude areas such as Kilimanjaro and the Ngorongoro Highlands, temperatures can fall below freezing.

Tanzania has over 120 ethnic groups. Mainland - African 99% (of which 95% are Bantu consisting of more than 130 tribes), other 1% (consisting of Asian, European, and Arab); Zanzibar - Arab, African, mixed Arab and African.

The Tanzanian landscape is made up of plains along the coast; central plateau; highlands in the north. Kilimanjaro (5, 895 m) is the highest point in the country and in Africa. Tanzania is bordered by three of the largest lakes on the continent: Lake Victoria (the world's second-largest freshwater lake) in the north, Lake Tanganyika (the world's second deepest) in the west, and Lake Nyasa in the southwest.

The game parks of Tanzania have been set aside by the government as wildlife and botanical sanctuaries that enjoy a high degree of protection and management. 25% of Tanzania is gazetted as national parks and reserves making conservation a major element in land use. Tanzania has more than 20 game reserves including the world's largest, the Selous. Five game reserves have been declared and there are about 50 game-controlled areas totalling more than 120,000 square kilometres. Forest reserves make up 15% of the country.

Tanzania is a safe country to travel in. Tanzanians are warm-hearted and generous people and are eager to help visitors get the most out of their stay. Tanzania is a politically stable, multi-democratic country. As in all countries, a little common sense goes a long way and reasonable precautions should still be taken, such as locking valuables in the hotel safe and not walking alone at night.

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