Reviews of Lemala Ngorongoro
They do not necessarily represent the views of Expert Africa.
Disappointing stay in excellent location
Lemala is in an excellent location, right on the crater rim. However, everything else was below standard from what we have come to expect in African lodges.
It is worth staying there for the location alone and early morning access to the crater. However, go with modest expectations.
Expert Africa comments
We sent these comments off to the team at Lemala, who were very disappointed to hear these comments. They stressed that they were very focused on ensuring that traveller’s experiences meet their high expectations, and as a result of some of the more detailed feedback this traveller sent through – they are looking into their training and management in more detail, and providing more on-site training where necessary.
We’re heading out to Lemala Ngorongoro ourselves in November 2014, so we’ll be sure to thoroughly investigate the issues raised here.
Lemala Ngorongoro camp
We arrived in thick freezing fog which had chilled the camp right through as it is situated (as are most of the lodges and camps) high on the crater rim. We were thus not in the best of moods. The hugh tent held three double beds and they took up most of the room. The showers are hand filled bucket showers which I would imagine on a warmer day would be great- I have had many such showers in warmer conditions and they are a great safari experience. The dining tent was fine but really freezing- other guests were dining in four layers and wearing gloves! There were heaters but for some reason they were not in use on the really cold day despite our asking for them to be put on although strangely they were on the second, warmer day.
Not the best of experiences but perhaps not the camp's fault.
Once again Expert Africa did not leave a section to mention that from Manyara airstrip we were met by a Tanzanian safari company, Asilia who provided us with a vehicle and driver, Harry, who drove us on a game drive around Manyara before taking us to Lemala. He (not Lemala) then took us around the Ngorongoro crater the next day. He was experienced and knowledgeable including in birdlife and was also witty and fun to be with. The whole Asilia experience was faultless and they sound like a thoroughly modern company who have excellent policies, ethics and train their staff well- they all loved the company
The camp is very well organised and although it can be really cold (take gloves and wooly hat for trip into the crater) they provide hot water bottles and a gas heater in your tent. The tent is spacious and well equipped. It is nice to have the same staff member looking after you and your tent during the whole of your stay. It is a brilliant location at the top of a quiet road into the crater - great for getting in before most others, campfire is excellent too. We had a totally fantastic time there.Read more about the whole safari
Lemala Ngorongoro - A Haven of Luxury
After a 24 hour (3 flights and a drive on the rough roads from Kilimanjaro Airport) journey, the camp staff were waiting for us with warm towels, a refreshing drink and a very warm welcome. This level of service, attentiveness and friendliness did not waiver during our 2 night stay. The tents were very spacious, spotlessly clean, extremely well appointed and the beds really comfortable (my daughter likened it to sleeping on a cloud), complete with hot water bottles. In the evening and first thing in the morning the tents were warmed by calor gas heaters.
Our fellow guests were a good mix of nationalities - Belgian, Australian, Scandinavian and English - and we chatted with them over campfire drinks and dinner in the evenings. The food was all delicious (we ate breakfast, lunch and dinner at the camp and also had both a packed breakfast and lunch during our stay).
I graded the location as "good" simply because there is no view from the camp other than trees. However, I would really recommend Lemala Ngorongoro to everybody - it really is 5 star service and luxury camping in a very secluded and intimate setting.
The game viewing in the crater is fantastic - so many and such a variety of animals that it reminded me of being in a supermarket, with an enormous range of produce! The downside was the number of other customers - at one stage we counted 33 other vehicles jamming up the road looking at some rhino....and according to our guide, February is quite a quiet time of the year for visiting the crater!!
Lemala Ngorongoro review
This was the only mobile camp we have been to and it was very good. We chose it for its location and we were not disappointed.Read more about the whole safari
A grand day out
Tent had just been replaced. Why two 4' 6" beds rather than one 6' bed. The six foot could be split into two if needed. Only one side table in the middle of the beds so if two sleep in one bed one person does not have a table. They have to put water, torch etc. on the floor. No torch provided.
Food - very good.
Umbrella- had to share umbrella with other tents. . Difficult in the rain.
Wine Slip. Amount overstated on first night but not as bad as Mnayara. Second night I had one lime cordial, my husband 2 white / 2 red glasses of wine. Not four reds as stated.
Prime location at Lemala Ngorongoro
We picked this camp for its location on the Crater rim and quick access to the Crater floor for the day's game drive. Recommended. 'Rustic'. Slightly uneven wooden floor in the tent, but I see from your latest brochure that the tents are being upgraded this year. We had 2 nights here. Larger tents than at Kirurumu. Small and friendly camp. No view of crater but a very pleasant location anyway. chilly! Smallish mess tent with one long dining table and comfy sofas at the other end. Pre-ordered bucket showers. Phil said the hot water arrangements were a bit haphazard!
Pre-dinner drinks around the fire - blankets provided. Entertaining fellow travellers to talk to makes a difference, but of course you can't pick them - its just pot luck! We had 2 friendly German couples travelling together and a delightful Indian family - parents lived in India, 2 daughters and one son-in-law lived in America and they all met up in Arusha for a special family holiday together. We asked the German group where they were going next...they knew which area they were going to, but had no idea which camp...just reckoned it would all be in their paperwork somewhere and presumably their driver knew!
Dinner the 2nd night came with a 'surprise' dessert!..a cake made for the 36th wedding anniversary of the parents in the Indian family group, so we were all serenaded by the staff around the table. This turned out to be the first of three of these impromptu celebrations! During dinner the gas heaters in the tents were turned on and hot water bottles put in the beds. The heaters were then turned off from outside the tents, shortly after we returned to them. Cosy!
It was a very early start the next morning .. on our way with Alfred by 6am for our trip down to the Crater.. a quick and easy access from the camp. Good bush breakfast and lunch provided by the camp.
We had pre-ordered our hot water for the shower ready for an early morning start the second day - it lasts for about 10 minutes as long as you don't run it too fast (there is just a lever to pull - a voice outside the tent tells you when the bucket has been filled up! ), so we managed a shower each from one bucketful. Alfred ready and waiting for us at 6am, after our Weetabix breakfast! .. next stop Sayari Mara camp.
Lemala Ngorongoro review
A nice camp on the rim. Well located for getting a good start on game drives in the crater.Read more about the whole safari
I would not recommend this camp
Two nights in the Lemala camp was too long and too cold. I believe most people stay in lodges outside the park and I can see why. The tents are not that nice and because of the temperature and wind, they stay closed up. The food was okay, but dinner was very late and we were too hungry and cold by the time they served the meal.
Ngorongoro is interesting geologically, but not at this time of the year. It was a dust bowl with too much traffic. It simply was not that enjoyable.
Overall, we were not impressed by Lemala Camps.
Lake Manyara could have been avoided all together. It was not worth the day trip to see. Bottom line, it was a rain forest and a hippo pool.
Lemala Ngorongoro review
Brilliant location on the road into the crater, so we were virtually the first vehicle in the crater in the morning.
We enjoyed the slightly simpler accommodation, which gives more of a feeling of being in the wilderness. The service was very friendly and helpful, but didn't quite have the smooth efficiency of some of the other lodges.