Ngorongoro Crater & surrounds

Ngorongoro Crater & surrounds
The walls of Ngorongoro's spectacular volcanic crater have great private lodges, from which you drive down onto the plains, forests and wetlands to see the famed wildlife, including the big five. Tree-climbing lions at pretty Lake Manyara and and high game concentrations in Tarangire. All are public reserves, so you may see lots of vehicles on your drives. Camps here are not all tented, and there are some super lux options with a/c etc. Tanzania.
Best time: Animals are easier to see in dry June - October, but April - May is quieter and beautifully green. It can get unpleasantly busy in December high season.
Access: Charter flight from Arusha or Kilimanjaro (45 mins). If you prefer to travel by road these are easy to reach (2 hrs)

I recommend these camps

&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater (30 suites) OTT grandeur with OMG views; unlike anything else – fireplaces, antiques, red roses, opulence. It’s a big camp though and  you need to drive down into the crater though for game viewing, in a public reserve. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Member of &Beyond. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Chem Chem (9 tents-en-suite) Views of Lake Manyara & 40 mins drive to Tarangire so you can do both. Very lux camp with private dining & views. Guests adore this camp, more to relax & indulge than hardcore safari. Take a Maasai-guided sunrise run! Hot air balloons, visits to Chem Chem school. Bungi Wildlife Area, Tanzania. Member of Classic Portfolio. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Little Chem Chem (7 tents-en-suite) Stylish tents, small low-impact camp. On a private reserve so you can walk & horseride – or drive in neighburing national parks. Big tusker elephants, and more a real safari than Chem Chem. Anti-poaching safaris, hot air balloon rides, visits to Chem Chem school. Bungi Wildlife Area, Tanzania. Member of Classic Portfolio. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Oliver’s (10+5 suites) Rustic but spacious and airy, in the quiet south east of the park. Little Oliver’s fly-camp is smaller for an even more wilderness experience. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Member of Asiilia. Child friendly. $$$$$.
The Highlands
The Highlands (8 suites) Dramatic futuristic-looking domed tents which keep you warm at high altitude. A longer drive from Ngorongoro, with hiking on the surrounding craters. Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Member of Asiilia. $$$$.
&Beyond Lake Manyara Tree (10 suites) Take a romantic bath in your treehouse suite in a mahogany forest; the only permanent camp in this reserve with its wildife and magnificent flamingoes. Bicycle around surrounding communities. Lake Manyara National Park, Tanzania. Member of &Beyond. Child friendly. $$$$$.
Kuro Tarangire (6 tents-en-suite) Famed for baobab trees and huge herds of elephants & buffalo. Eco-friendly canvas-and-candlelight camp is charming. Walks, and night drives for leopard and owls. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Member of Nomad. $$$$.
Maramboi (40 tents-en-suite) Similar location but simpler camp than Chem Chem, and larger with more family vibe. Tents and lodge rooms, under palms, between Manyara and Tarangire. Bungi Wildlife Area, Tanzania. Child friendly. $$$$.
Nimali (6 tents-en-suite) On the boundary of the park – an easy drive in. A tented camp for those who want a green camp, close to nature but also want a real bathroom – this has wooden floors, doors and even a rain shower. Closed Apr/May. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. $$$$.
Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater (10 tents-en-suite) On the crater lip so you get those amazing views, also close to the gate into the park for easy access. Unfussy, comfortable tents (not to be confused with the decadent Ngorongoro Safari Lodge). Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania. Member of Sanctuary. $$$$.
Sanctuary Swala (12 suites) Contemporary designed semi-circular tents, set among trees in a secluded part of the reserve. Famous for elephants around the camp and giant baobab trees. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Member of Sanctuary. $$$$.
Tarangire Treetops
Tarangire Treetops (20 suites) Supersized rooms (over 200 sq feet) with super big windows, on elevated platforms. It’s outside the park though, and an hour’s drive to get there. Tarangire National Park, Tanzania. Member of Elewana. Child friendly. $$$$$.