Since opening in 1999, Crater Lodge has been Tanzania’s most luxurious and most acclaimed property. It continually wins top awards from all the travel magazines’ most exclusive lists and changed dramatically what it meant to “safari” in Tanzania. Known locally as “Maasai Versailles” this AndBeyond property is not necessarily more luxurious or expensive than the South African company’s 24 other properties — all except one in Kenya and one in Zanzibar are in southern Africa — it is without doubt the most outrageous!

Designed futuristically but thematically on traditional Maasai bomas, there is nothing immediately recognizable about either your room or the public rooms which would remind you of Maasai! Each gargantuan room is actually four rooms: a giant bedroom, a giant bathroom, a water closet and a small vanity area. The giant bedroom contains a giant bed whose end posters are ten feet tall. The bedroom includes a full fireplace and outside veranda that overlooks the crater. The ceiling of the bedroom is 22′ high and floor to ceiling windows overlook the crater. Each room is assigned a private butler that keeps your sherry always topped up and makes sure that the home-made fudge is never depleted, builds your evening fire, and delivers anything available from the Financial Times to hot tea on a moment’s notice.

The huge living room and dining room are laden with antique books on Africa, stylistic giant metal renditions of Maasai jewelry, cellar wines from Europe and Cuban cigars. (Everything including the sherry and finest South African wines is included but Cuban cigars and fine champagne.) European chefs are flown in from time to time to set a season’s menu, which is always outstanding.

What AndBeyond has essentially done is turned a property on the northern circuit into an event of its own, and when complemented with the reason you’re here, Ngorongoro Crater, there can hardly be a more memorable experience!

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