Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge is located on Lemala Hill on the eastern rim of the Ngorongoro Crater at 3°10;'S and 35°42;'E in the volcanic highlands of Northern Tanzania.
The crater forms part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, an area of 8,300 square kilometres (3,200 square miles) set aside to preserve and integrate the diverse interests of wildlife, people, forestry, archaeology and tourism.
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge is the only tourist development on the previously undisturbed eastern side of the crater and is located on the eastern access road to the crater. The descent to the crater floor commences within five minutes of leaving the lodge.
ClimateThe lodge is situated at 7,800ft (2,375 metres) above sea level and is therefore cool and even cold at certain times of the year. However, most days throughout the year have some sunshine, and sunbathers must take care at this altitude. Low cloud or early morning mist sometimes hides the crater, most times clearing unexpectedly to reveal spectacular views into and across the crater. June and July are the coldest months, and the rains of November and May bring out a profusion of wild flowers and lush grazing.
AccommodationNgorongoro Sopa Lodge, opened in 1992, is an all-suite lodge with 100 suites, all of which enjoy magnificent views into the crater. Each suite is fully carpeted and heated by oil fired central heating radiators. The spacious bedrooms contain two queen sized (5ft) beds with deep sprung mattresses to ensure a comfortable night's rest.
The fully tiled bathrooms are equipped to a very high standard with baths, showers, WCs, bidets, hand basins, hair driers and shaver sockets. Each suite has an enclosed 'solarium' with comfortable rocking chairs - the perfect place to relax.
A small private lounge with a writing desk and a drinks refrigerator provides extra privacy to the suite.
TransportationTo reach the lodge, one takes the newly tarmaced main Dodoma road for 80 kilometres before turning off at Makuyuni and proceeding on all-weather roads via Mto wa mbu, Manyara and Karatu to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Climbing up the mountainous slopes to the crater rim at View Point, the new all-weather road to the lodge is 20 kilometres of scenic delight along the crater rim. The journey from Arusha to the lodge is approximately three-and-a-half hours long.
The flight to Ngorongoro takes approximately 40 minutes. The air strip is located on the western side of the crater, approximately 45 minutes away by road. There are plans to construct an air strip on the eastern side of the crater close to Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. Cloud conditions can sometimes affect the availability of the air strip at Ngorongoro, causing diversion or rescheduling to Manyara or Olduvai.
ElectricityThe lodge has a number of generators which provide electric current throughout the day and night. The current is 240 volts 50 cycles.
WaterWater for lodge usage is obtained from boreholes and from the Munge River, but guests are advised not to drink tap water. Vacuum flasks or filtered water are placed in each suite and bottled water is available for sale in the lodge.
ChildrenSopa Lodges welcome children and can arrange for special children's meals at times which are suitable to each individual.
Guest shopThe main lobby houses a guest shop with a wide selection of curios, gift items, safari clothing, film and a selection of guest requisites.
ClothesAs the lodge is situated at 7,800ft above sea level, the evenings and early mornings can be cool and sometimes cold. It is recommended that guests bring a sweater or a light jacket. However, it should be noted that on crater visits the temperature is much higher. All suites are centrally heated and the public areas of the lodge feature large log fires. The main areas of the lodge have an atmosphere which may encourage guests to wear something special for the evening.
Swimming poolLocated on the very edge of the crater rim, the water is bracing, but refreshing in the warmer months. Sunbeds and comfortable poolside furniture allow the less brave to enjoy the spectacular views and high altitude sunshine without getting wet.
Petrol stationThe lodge can at present supply diesel fuel and will shortly have a petrol supply. Minor repairs can be carried out by the lodge mechanic, although guests are advised to ensure that their vehicles have been correctly maintained prior to the safari.
Crater toursThe lodge has a number of four-wheel drive vehicles for hire for trips to the crater or other excursions. Full-day, half-day, early morning or sundowner trips can be pre-booked or arranged at the lodge. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority maintain an office at the lodge to provide information and issue the necessary permits for entry into the Conservation Area and to the crater.
Excursions and nearby places of interestEmpakaai Crater is approximately two hours' drive on a dirt road from the lodge. It is a totally unspoilt, rarely visited mountainous crater region, with unsurpassed views of the still-active volcano Ol Donyo Lengai and north over Lake Natron.
Olmoti Crater, yet another rarely visited crater, is approximately one hour's drive from the lodge. Here, guests can hire a guide and walk up to the crater rim.
Olduvai Gorge, the famous archaeological site, is about one-and-a-half hours' drive from the lodge. The site houses a visitor centre and a museum.
ConferencesA 2,500 square foot conference facility is available for conferences, meetings, presentations, private lunches or dinners and cocktail parties. Situated on a level above the main lounge it enjoys the most spectacular views of the crater.
Special occasionsThe lodge is capable of providing a wide range of additional options for special occasions, from a birthday or anniversary cake to special dinners, large parties, bush breakfasts, sundowners, barbeques and African Theme Nights.
CommunicationsThe lodge is connected to Arusha by radio link. Video and satellite television is available.
Coffee shopThe coffee shop is situated in the main lobby, and provides tea and coffee for guests from early morning until late. Afternoon tea is a speciality.
Sopa hospitalityAll the management and staff of the lodge are committed to looking after guests and to ensuring that their stay is comfortable and enjoyable. Our policy of friendly helpfulness is planned to make each and every guest feel welcome and cared for during their stay. Our aim is to provide the type of hospitality which complements the magnificent natural beauty of Ngorongoro Crater.
ReservationsReservations can be made through any travel agent or tour operator, or through the Central Reservations Office in Arusha.
Sopa Management Ltd