Tanzania – Ngorongoro Crater
2 nights, 3 days
I enjoy doing travel research but did not go to the same level of detail for this lodge since my concern was on the camps and parks for game viewing and right from the start, the lodge was not what I expected but thankfully in a good way.
We took a turn off the main thru-way to a very narrow dirt road through small homes, past herds and folks walking exchanging waves. These roads opened into expansive green pastures finally leading to the Lodge gates.
Its truly a beautiful property with vibrant green manicured lawns. There was not a guest in sight when we arrived since I imagine folks were visiting the Crater or Lake.
Our Planet Africa Safaris (PAS) guide, Jackson, helped us with our introductions and then we were lead to our room, the Jacaranda Suite. When booking PAS mentioned that all the regular rooms were sold out and that we would have to upgrade to a suite which meant a higher cost so we had no choice in this matter. The Jacaranda suite is located about 30 feet from the main entrance (close) and although very nice it was not what I would consider a suite. While the bathroom was large the main sleeping area was small with a partitioned sitting area at the entrance that to me seemed somewhat useless as it was so disconnected from the rest of the suite. Also, I guess it also seemed disappointing compared to a regular room/bungalow at the Arusha Coffee Lodge, yes I’d been spoiled.
Well, as it was lunch time when we arrived, we headed to the restaurant for lunch and thought’s on how we’d spend the remainder of the afternoon. I started thinking and got on the internet and reviewed the regular rooms and saw that the regular rooms seemed larger than the Jacaranda suite so I headed back to the front desk to ask what we could do to secure better accommodations, even moving to a regular room that would give us more space or even a balcony and he said he would check and let us know. I returned to lunch and finally he came over to let us know that he was able to get a different room for us. While I decided to finish lunch my friend returned to the room to oversee the move of our bags and grab the keys.
He came back with a huge smile and said, “yep its better but a little more of a walk”. I should have known something was fishy but was a little too tired to care at this point. Long story short is they upgraded us to their largest suite that was actually a cottage! Yep they hooked us up (giggle)
If you are fortunate to stay in this loft you will not be disappointed. We did stroll the grounds and there are other very exquisite layouts for accommodations, most seem very large. As I mentioned, this is a stand alone cottage with a courtyard in the rear and a partially enclosed patio in front.
Upstairs is a loft with a day bed and sitting area that overlooks the sleeping area.
There are 2 working fireplaces, sunken tub and separate shower with private restroom area and separate bar area. The sleeping area has 2 double beds and wi-fi was included! Since we technically booked a suite wine and beer was included and the bar was stocked….all I could do was exhale and thank the travel gods and whomever made the upgrade possible – ‘Maria’.
It was extremely quite during the day, we hardly saw a soul until dinner.
The pool was very nice but we did not go for a dip. Manicured lawns is an understatement as everything was very green accented with all kinds of beautiful flowers. The Lodge is perched on a hill so it overlooks the fields below. It was very peaceful to lounge by the pool and take in the vastness of it all.
The food was outstanding and included in the package. We did have tea delivered to the room one day but otherwise all our meals were in the restaurant either outdoors on the patio or in the dining room. For dinner each suite had assigned seating in the main dining area. The food was outstanding and very good portions. Don’t forget to take advantage of the fireside drinks. The mood lighting did not lend itself to the best photo’s of our meals but please trust you will not be disappointed.
On the morning of our game drive we wanted to leave very early but we did not want to do a box breakfast because we planned to spend the entire day in the Crater and would have a box lunch. Although initially I didn’t realize this but we were making a request to have the dining area open about 30 minutes early. Well, incredibly our server agreed and was there early the next morning ready to accommodate us as I guess the chef is normally there prepping for the breakfast buffet anyway. This was greatly appreciated and one reason to extend yourself to book at Plantation Lodge as this was the second opportunity where they made sure to go beyond our expectations!
The staff at Plantation Lodge was second to none but was a bit more formal than other venues I experienced at the camps and other lodge. You definitely have a feeling that the clients here are very ‘upscale’ so it may be something that is expected – in general. Maria stopped by on our last night to chat with us. It was a nice touch to get a little attention out of her very busy day – thanks Maria!
Overall, the team here did not disappoint, everyone was very kind and our stay way to short! I’d expect you will be well taken are of here.
NOTE: Please don’t be concerned about the location of the lodge in relation to the Crater. I read many comments on sites that said the drive was long and the lodge is far away from the Crater but this is not the case so please do not allow this to concern you if considering this property.
Safari Camps Review – Asilia Africa Properties