Entamanu Ngorongoro: Our full report
Entamanu Ngorongoro is a relatively new tented camp, opened in August 2016, and set in an isolated, scenic ...... spot high on the crater rim. The drive in, along relatively poor roads, can take up to an hour and a half, but there's very often the bonus of giraffe (a species that is absent from the crater itself) to be seen en route.
When we last stayed at Entamanu in February 2018, and it was clear that the lodge had established itself as one of the top accommodation options on the crater ridge. Its sister properties include some of the best camps in Tanzania, including the excellent Lamai Serengeti, unique Greystoke, and remote Chada, so we believe that the same excellent standards will be maintained at Entamanu.
The camp is discreetly nestled in a small forested area atop the crater rim and enjoys views both south towards the crater itself, and north-west towards the plains of the Serengeti, Olduvai Gorge and the Gol Mountains – boasting that it's the 'only place in the world where you can watch the sun rise over the crater, and set over the Serengeti'.
By arrangement with the local Maasai communities, with whom Entamanu is dedicated to having positive relationships, the camp has been built on an entirely removable basis, with canvas structures erected on raised wooden platforms.
Tthe main communal tent houses an airy entrance space, two spacious lounge areas and a dining room. Large straw mats cover the distressed wooden floorboards, and an eclectic mix of neutral-coloured seating is brightened with red and purple cushions. There are a number of striking rustic furniture pieces and ornaments; the camp has a very well thought-out, cohesive and stylish design throughout.
Running the length of the communal tent is a large veranda with comfy seating, and a grassy area beyond where younger guests enjoy playing. There is also a protected Olteti (fig tree), which is sacred to the Maasai, who occasionally conduct ceremonies here that guests are welcome to watch.
Set in a line either side of the communal tent, the seven bedroom tents at Entamanu – two of which are designed as family units, with two bedrooms and a shared bathroom – are tastefully designed and decorated in a light palette of creams, browns, greys and blues. The textured wool throws, woven rugs and sheepskins further add to the lovely relaxing feel of the tents. Each tent has a small writing desk, rustic wooden luggage stand and comfortable lounge chairs facing out over the views. Useful items such as insect repellent, an air horn, a walkie-talkie, and a multi-charging point can also be found. There is an extensive shaded wooden deck to the rear with a pair of canvas directors' chairs – a tranquil spot to take in the spectacular views of the crater. Each tent is spaced so that, although partially visible to its neighbours, there is still a private and unique view.
The en-suite bathrooms at Entamanu are generously sized and have separate areas for the flushing toilet and plumbed-in shower. Both the toilet and the shower can be hidden behind a curtain for privacy. Two aged-metal sinks are set into a heavy wooden unit lit by storm lanterns and there is also an open wardrobe and laundry bag.
The temperature – or, more specifically, the cold – is always an issue at any property on the crater rim. June–July are the coldest months, when daytime temperatures can be 6–12°C, whereas November–December typically experiences 17–21°C. In order to combat the cold at Entamanu, there are stylish, minimalist eco-fireplaces in communal areas that are lit every evening, and fast-acting gas heaters to warm the bedrooms and bathrooms, remote-controlled from the bed. As a result, it is warm enough inside to wear just a light shirt in the evenings.
Entamanu can also experience strong winds, particularly at night, which is naturally very noticeable in a tented camp. The camp struggled with this in the beginning but the tent structures have since been reinforced and tightened so that the only noise now is the flapping of some of the canvas sections, which is typical in any tented camp. That said, as the wind here is consistently stronger than at other camps, ear plugs are provided in all tents to help with quality of sleep. If some people will struggle with the wind and associated noise, others definitely feel that it adds to the experience of being out in the wilderness!
As well as the obvious game drives in the Ngorongoro Crater itself, activities at the camp can include guided drives and walks in the wider Ngorongoro area if requested, visiting places such as Olduvai and the Empakaai Crater. It is also possible to do game walks to a neighbouring Maasai village. Led by a Maasai guide and accompanied by a TANAPA (national parks') ranger, this walk can take a number of hours, during which time it will be possible to learn about the flora and slightly smaller fauna – although on our walk we were lucky enough to see 22 giraffe galloping across a valley! After spending some time in a genuine Maasai village (as opposed to one that has been commercialised by tourism), there will be the option to continue the game walk back to camp, or for a game vehicle to provide a lift! Note that guided walks will not be possible for children aged 12 or under.
Access to Entamanu is around 30–35 minutes' drive down a rather rutted track from the Seneto Descent road, or 60–90 minutes in total from the Lodoare Gate into the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area. The camp's management are continually working with the park authorities to improve the road, although to put this in context, it is no worse than others in the area – uneven in places, but manageable when taken slowly – and it provides great opportunities to see wildlife along the way.
A stylish, relaxed camp with excellent service, Entamanu is a very promising choice on the Ngorongoro Crater rim. If you're looking for a quality camp, and want to witness the views of the crater floor and beyond, then provided you're prepared for blustery conditions and cold night-time temperatures, we think it's a unique alternative to the many larger properties here.
Country manager: Tanzania
- Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania
- Ideal length of stay
- 2-3 nights allows for a full day to explore the crater and also make the most of the activities on offer in this unique setting.
- Entamanu is around 30–35 minutes' drive down a rather rutted track from the Seneto Descent road, or 2-2 and a half hours’ drive from Lake Manyara Airstrip (the roads are being continually upgraded but there is still some further improvement required).
- Accessible by
Food & drink
- Usual board basis
- Full Board
- Food quality
- We’ve stayed twice at Entamanu, both in 2016 and most recently in February 2018. We found the meals to be consistently fresh, tasty and imaginative. Dietary requirements can be accommodated with advance notice and the camp can be flexible with regard to children.
For breakfast, you can expect a selection of cereals, toast, yoghurt and fruit, with an English breakfast cooked to order.
On a previous visit our lunch was a tasty curry, avocado salad, beetroot salad and fruity rice. Dessert was fruit skewers drizzled in melted chocolate.
Dinner is a set three-course menu, and on our recent stay in 2018 we started with a creamy leak and potato soup and home baked bread. This was followed by lemon and herb roast chicken with a selection of vegetables and roast potatoes, and bread and butter pudding to finish. There are snacks and canapés available all day if you happen to get peckish!
- Cultural experiences
- Entamanu has developed a very strong, sustainable relationship with the local community, provide genuine insights into Maasai life for guests whilst not degrading the traditional culture of Tanzania in favour of tourism.
- See ideas for Cultural experiences
- Entamanu is well located for a variety of highland walks; to Olmoti or Empakaai Crater, or around the Ngorongoro Crater rim. Soak up the wonderful landscapes, whilst you walk with your guide who will tell you all about the local flora and fauna.
- See ideas for Walking
- Attitude towards children
- Children are welcome.
- Property’s age restrictions
- Entamanu Ngorongoro accepts children who are 8 years old and above.
- Special activities & services
- Activities with a local Maasai: traditional fire making, bow and arrow making, spear throwing.
- Generally recommended for children
- The Ngorogoro Crater is a fascinating area for older children who can sit through game drives without problem; they will appreciate its geography and wildlife. There is space for younger children to play under supervision and activities are on offer if a distraction is required. Note that there is dangerous wildlife on the crater rim – especially elephants and buffalo – so great care must be taken at all times around this unfenced camp.
Our travellers’ wildlife sightings from Entamanu Ngorongoro
Since mid-2018, many of our travellers who stayed at Entamanu Ngorongoro have kindly recorded their wildlife sightings and shared them with us. The results are below. Click an animal to see more, and here to see more on our methodology.
- Power supply notes
- Power is available 24 hours a day. It is possible to charge batteries in tents.
- WiFi is available in the main areas and there is good mobile reception.
- TV & radio
- There are no TVs or radios in camp.
- Water supply
- Transported in
- Water supply notes
- Plumbed in showers and flushing toilets
Education and the wellbeing of local children
Entamanu Ngorongoro assists the people of a nearby Maasai boma, by helping them invest in sustainable livelihoods, as well as improving the education of the children in the community. Their primary goal is to refurbish and upgrade the conditions of the boma’s nursery centre, vital to the families who live there.
Through visiting the nursery centre, just a short walk away, visitors can even assist with the vital task of teaching children in the nursery things such as ABCs and counting. The nursery could especially benefit from the donation of toys for the children, such as colouring books, balls, and skipping ropes. Entamanu is also an active contributor to Tanzanian Children’s Fund, which provides a permanent home for 97 vulnerable children. There, local children and those from nearby areas are provided free access to education, healthcare, as well as financial support for their community. Guests at Entamanu Ngorongoro can visit the TCF where they can learn more about and support their various projects.
See more great sustainability projects in Tanzania
Health & safety
- Malarial protection recommended
- Medical care
- There is a first aid kit in camp. The nearest doctor is in Karatu, approximately a 2 and a half hour drive away.
- Dangerous animals
- High Risk
- Security measures
- There are unarmed guards on site. Each tent is equipped with a walkie-talkie and air horn for emergencies.
- Fire safety
- Fire extinguishers are in all tents.
Guided walking safari
- Disabled access
- Not Possible
- Laundry facilities
- Laundry is included. It is handwashed and line dried so can take a whole day – this is especially true in winter, between June and September. Note that underwear cannot be washed for cultural reasons and washing powder is provided in the bathrooms for this.
- There is one central safe in camp. Each room has a lockable pouch that can be stored in the safe or taken on game drives, at guests’ discretion.
- Accepted payment on location
- Entamanu accepts all major currencies, including US dollars, GB pound, Euros and Tanzanian shillings. Some credit cards are accepted, including Mastercard and Visa, but not America Express. There is a 7.5% for card transactions.
Other lodges in Ngorongoro Crater
Alternative places to stay in this same area.