Book ID 620
Valentine Marc Nkwame The ancient romance at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, 31 May 2002
Extract Author: Valentine Marc Nkwame
Page Number: 222
Extract Date: 31 May 2002
Since this world boasts to be having its own small luxury hotels, it is therefore very fair (and quite heart warming I may add) for one of these luxurious babies to be in Tanzanian northern tourist circuit.
The lodge is packed with antique treasures collected from all over Africa.
Standing on the rim of the ancient Ngorongoro Crater, is the architectural masterpiece of Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, one of the Conservation Corporation Africaís brainchild.
It is difficult to believe that, the lodge comprising 30 suites, is only four years old in its latest yet ancient looking, Maasai inspired stilted design.
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is located on the plot which used to be a private hunting lodge for the British governor in the colonial period.
Well! Probably thatís why the lodgeís gigantic suites have colonial styled interiors with floor to roof glass window and thick heavy curtains.
Even the most vagabonds heart would feel at home in Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, which is probably the most romantic place one could ever be.
Built in 1997, the lodge has three villages namely: the North, South and Tree camps. Two of these villages have 12 suites each and one has six private or exclusive suites.
The lodge is packed with antique treasures collected from all over Africa and these include an 18th century mirror that was used by the Sultan of Zanzibar.
Sitting at a fire place in one of the three dinning rooms, one can almost feel the presence of bygone historical figures such as Lord Dalamere.
Everything inside both the dinning rooms and suites, are handcrafted and made to look as ancient, as possible.
"After being made, the doors were then scrubbed, mauled beaten so that they made look worn, while the latched were forced to look rusty!" said an employee at the lodge who was present when the "new" lodge was being built.
Looking at the design, one may also wonder if the person who planned them was genius, wizard or plain demented. I mean, this is stretching imagination beyond the permitted horizon.
Again, like all other CCA owned lodges, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge has been built with great respect to the environment.
All the buildings have been raised a few metres off the ground, to allow the natural shrubs and grass to grow freely unhampered.
A gigantic tree cuts through the dinning room at the tree top camp, where one can get a very clear view of the crater (without the aid of binoculars) its animals - the crater lake, and even the vehicles going round the crater routes.
Come to think of it, actually, we found the lodge itself to be more interesting than the park around it or the crater below it.
Perched at an altitude of 7,000 feet above sea level, the area can be rather cold, but who cares, the suites have electric blankets, hot showers, hot baths and great fire places.
Mind you, the floors are all wooden and if that is not enough, there are rugs to step on, plus it is rather romantic to wake up into a misty morning.
Also known as the "Earthís Wild Miracle!" the lodge has been named a member of Small Luxury Hotels of the World (SLH) and is living up to that title.
In our privacy, we discussed the possibility of the Government forcing other hotel owners operating within the game reserves to emulate Ngorongoro Crater Lodge as far as their hotel buildings are concerned.
Letís face it, is there any point of building a modern brick and concrete, iron roofed or storeyed premises in areas meant for natural growth and wild animals?
Steel and concrete should be strictly for town hotels while it is high time that, investors go fore traditional influenced structures if they are to attract serious visitors in their hotels within national parks.