After a day of exploring the Ngorongoro crater we made our way to the top of the ridge on the opposite side from where we had entered it. Our accommodation for the night was at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge.
This is the only accommodation on the eastern rim of the crater. The pool, restaurants and rooms all face west, giving visitors the best sunset view anywhere on the crater rim. The property has easy access to an alternate descent into the crater. It has less traffic than the main entrance on the other side.
The lodge property is gorgeous and the setting at the edge of the crater rim is unmatchable. The rooms are a bit dated, but they are large and comfortable. Our room was on a second level and had the same incredible view over the crater. We have heard about people complaining that the hotel is too large with no feeling of intimacy. During our stay in early December it was very quiet, but we can see how it would be very busy when the property is full of tour groups.
The altitude of 2377 meters (7500 ft) the lodge has its pros and cons. You don’t have to worry about mosquitos, that also means not having to sleep under a net. The negative is how cold it can get in the evening and the breathlessness the altitude can cause. You might find your breath laboured as you walk up hills or steps. When we first arrived we felt a slight tingeling feeling in our hands and lips.
For our evening meal we ate a type of grilled African fish and vegetables. The staff are wonderful. They are very friendly and in Tanzanian style very eager to please. The dining room is in the style of a rondavel with incredibly high ceilings with a large circular fireplace in the center. The huge windows allow you to take in the view of the crater while you dine.
In the evening we went out to star gaze. It was an experience out of this world, I don’t think we have ever been able to see so many stars. It was a perfectly clear night and due to being in such a vast area with no lights it made for perfect viewing conditions.