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Trip Report Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

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We have recently returned from a trip to Kenya and Tanzania including a 12-day safari during which we stayed in a number of different lodges including Sopa and Serena Lodges. We were nervous about one particular booking - being the 2 night stay at the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, in part because the description of it given in the Fodor safari planner was not brilliant and stated that it was shabby with outdated furnishing, dim lighting, a limited hot water supply and large noisy public areas.

Well, the reality of the lodge was so different. From the moment we arrived the atmosphere was friendly and peaceful. The reception and lounge area was tastefully furnished with elegant ethnic furniture and decor. Our request for a room with a view was instantly processed and we were taken to a room with a spectacular view of the crater. At first we thought there had been a mistake, because the room was more of a suite, with an entrance lobby, a vast bedroom, large bathroom and an enclosed patio overlooking the crater with rocking chairs. The room was immaculate and the furnishings were colourful and beautiful. We discovered that this was a standard room.

Still with the words of the guidebook ringing in our ears, we belated took a shower (outside of the hours when hot water was promised) and found it was in plentiful supply and then went to dinner. The restaurant was not big and noisy at all. The staff led us to the table of our choice and proceeded to serve up a banquet. No buffet meals here. Later we sat in the comfortable bar and relaxed to the sound of authentic African music (we did find that the Serena hotels tended to play western style music over their music systems). Nature put on a display of a lighting storm over the far rim of the crater and we felt that we arrived in a small paradise.

While we were at dinner, staff placed hot water bottles on the beds and turned back the covers. The manager of the lodge was a very friendly man who had time to talk to guests and like all the staff there made us feel genuinely welcome.

All the public areas at this lodge had a view of the crater (including from the swimming pool). The lodge shop had a useful array of products and the curios on sale were not over priced, as was the case in some places. The staff were happy to charge up my camera battery and my husband's ipod.

We cannot recommend this lodge highly enough. Our next stop was at the Tarangire Sopa Lodge, which really was shabby and outdated and where the management and staff were not so helpful.

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