Ngorongoro Conservation Area Accommodations: Should I Stay On The Crater Rim Or In Karatu? The Ngorongoro Crater, one of Tanzania’s most famous safari locations and possibly the easiest place in Africa to see the Big Five Animals (lion, leopard, rhino, elephant, and buffalo), is magnificently panoramic and teeming with wildlife.

However, when planning your Ngorongoro Tanzania safari you must decide on a place to stay. The lodging options at Ngorongoro are neatly divided into two categories: camps and lodges that are on or very close to the crater rim and accommodations in Karatu, which is located some 50 kilometers (30 miles) away. Which one do you prefer, Karatu or the Ngorongoro Crater Rim? Each has benefits and drawbacks, and while cost is undoubtedly a factor, your choice will ultimately depend on the kind of experience you are looking for.


Ngorongoro Conservation Area Accommodations on the Crater Rim

You can enjoy some of the most breathtaking views of your life by staying at a camp or lodge on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater. The crater is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world, and lodgings on the rim make the most of their setting by providing breathtaking panoramas and unforgettable sunsets. Additionally, because you are situated on the crater’s edge, your Tanzania safari vehicle will be among the first to enter the interior of the crater, giving you an advantage over those who arrive later: better lighting for photographs and a much smaller number of other vehicles.

Pay extra for the location.

The main drawback of staying on the crater rim is the additional cost associated with the location; crater rim lodging is not particularly inexpensive. If you don’t mind a more rustic experience, there are still good-value lodges on the crater rim where you’ll still have plenty of comfort and a great time without the more opulent extras like air conditioning. Although you will be given thick Maasai blankets and hot water bottles, be aware that the tented camps on the crater rim are frequently chilly and windy, especially at night.

Adds continuity to your safari

Staying on the crater rim gives your safari more continuity because, like in the Serengeti, you can choose between larger Tanzania safari lodges and smaller, more upscale tented camps. The camp grounds frequently have zebra, wildebeest, and warthogs strolling through them. You can also take guided walks along the crater rim and visit nearby Maasai communities.

 In conclusion? Since Ngorongoro can get quite crowded in high season, you choose—and pay for—accommodation on the crater rim for the breathtaking views, the wilderness experience, and quicker access onto the crater floor.

Recommend Ngorongoro Conservation Area Accommodations on the Crater Rim

ü  Lemala Tented Camp is elegant and just 10 minutes’ drive to the crater floor.

ü  Entamanu Ngorongoro: a small, stylish tented camp with panoramic views

ü  Ang’Ata Ngorongoro Camp is an intimate tented camp with only eight suites.

ü  Beyond Crater Lodge: top of the range, grand elegance, and luxurious

ü  Ngorongoro Crater Camp: a lovely tented camp with expert guides

ü  Serena Safari Lodge is a large, hotel-size lodge with amazing crater views.

ü  Rhino Lodge: a great value rustic camp with a fireplace in each room

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Accommodations
Ang’Ata Ngorongoro Camp


The crater is still visible from your Karatu lodging, but it might be replaced by a flower garden or the rolling green hills of a coffee plantation. Karatu, a thriving agricultural town, presents a very alluring alternative to lodging on the crater rim. Your private lodging takes the form of a cottage, chalet, or dapper suite, and there are lovely restored farmhouses, elegant lodges, and grand manor houses to choose from both in and around the city.

More diverse Tanzania experience

The distance from the actual Ngorongoro Crater, which is 50 kilometers (30 miles) away, is the only real drawback of Karatu lodging. Karatu is the solution if you want a more varied experience. There are lodges that welcome families with children; kids can bake bread, milk cows, go on nature walks, and feed bush babies at night. Other lodges are ideal for honeymooners, and others offer horseback safaris, Tanzania coffee tours, and spa massages.

You won’t miss out on Crater.

Compared to lodging on the rim, accommodations in Karatu are more affordable, and you can still go on safari. The crater is over an hour’s drive from Karatu, so while it’s true you won’t be the first to arrive there in the morning, you’ll still have plenty of time to see the Big Five on the crater floor, have a picnic lunch, get to know the Maasai, and take walks along the crater rim.

 Our judgment? In comparison to lodges on the crater rim, Karatu offers lodging that is more affordable, provides more activities, and is excellent for families with young children. You also won’t miss out on any wildlife.

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