Crater Lodge Camps--comparison

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Jul 23rd, 2005, 07:58 AM
  #1
bat
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Crater Lodge Camps--comparison

What are the differences between the camps at Crater Lodge (the views from the rooms, from the communal areas, and the rooms themselves)?

It is my understanding that each of the camps has its own dining room and communal lounge. I also understand that North and South camps are identical and that Tree Camp is different in terms of size (smaller) and location. I have read that some people think that Tree Camp has "better" views but that North and South camps have "better" rooms. [climbhighsleeplow, I saw your comment in a thread of Rocco's. Would you elaborate--your detailed descriptions are very helpful.]

A rep from CC Africa indicated that the views are better from N/S camp because they are higher and that the rooms at all the camps are the same.

Comments and opinions are appreciated.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 09:12 AM
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bat,

What does your entire itinerary look like and when you are going?

I had wanted the Crater Lodge, but it was not in my budget once I decided to stay two nights at Manyara Tree Camp (also a CCAfrica property). Instead I will have to settle for the Ngorongoro Serena for two nights. I definitely wanted 2 separate drives into the Crater, as I do hope to get some great photographs.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 10:24 AM
  #3
bat
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Rocco:
Hi. I posted my itinerary in your initial thread but it is buried there some where. Here it is:

Feb, 2, 3, 4 Ngare Sero (Arusha)
Feb. 5, Crater Serena
Feb. 6, Crater Lodge (split because of the cost)
Feb. 7, 8, Olduvai
Feb, 9, 10 Ronjo
Feb. 11 12 Masek camp
Feb. 13, 14, 15 Piaya camp
Feb. 16 fly to Zbar, Emerson & Green
Feb. 17, 18, 19, 20 Matemwe bungalows

My way of dealing with the "post-partum" problem is to keep reading these threads--which is fine except I start to second guess some of our decisions. I have paid close attention to climbhighsleeplow's advice to you re how to hedge your bets by staying in various locations. Kusini was (and is)wait-listed (plus it is very expensive during Feb). I'm wondering whether to try to get Mbuze Mawe into the itinerary. We do not have a luxury permanent camp built in--otherwise I think that we have a nice range of places.

Re Crater Lodge, it is interesting that it receives many more "is it worth it" queries than do the other CC Africa properties--which according to the website are just as expensive. I am wondering if it is because of the location. Or perhaps the "masai/versailles," over-the-top architecture draws stronger responses.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 11:41 AM
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(everyone else please give more importance to bat's original question than to this post)

bat,

Your itinerary has such an Africa Travel Resource look to it all!

Am I right or is there another operator that suggested Masek & Piaya?

Just curious, why are you spending 3 nights in Arusha? (I am spending 3 nights in Arusha so I can run the Kiliminjaro Marathon or Half Marathon).

Our itineraries are almost identical with the exception that you are spending 9 nights in the Serengeti while I am spending two fewer nights in order to visit Lake Manyara.

Would you mind posting your pricing and which operator?

I am right at $6,000 pp for the following:

Moivaro Coffee Lodge (3)
Manyara Tree Camp (2)
Ngorongoro Serena (2)
Olduvai Camp (1)
Masek (2)
Piaya (2)
Mbuzi Mawe (2)

I will add Zanzibar later, but I will spend five nights there, likely two nights at Emerson & Green and three nights at the Palms Zanzibar, but the Matemwe Bungalows is also an option.
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Jul 23rd, 2005, 12:01 PM
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bat,

One reason why I don't really think Crater Lodge is worth it, is because unlike some other destinations, you have no gameviewing advantage to staying at the Crater Lodge than staying at even the Serengeti Sopa. If anything, the Sopa has a gameviewing advantage since they have a private road into the Crater!

Meanwhile, I have chosen to splurge at a couple other places such as Manyara Tree Camp and Mbuzi Mawe (gee, it is fun learning all these new African names that just start to roll off the tongue after awhile). Right from camp, I expect that gameviewing will be possible at these two places, and I will not be in a very congested area at either place, unlike at Crater Lodge. I don't mind paying for exclusivity, but the Crater Lodge does not offer exclusivity, only over-the-top accomodations.

I think the Ngorongoro Serena will be the most moderate of my safari accomodations, but I am fine with two days of moderate accomodations since the price difference will hopefully allow me to upgrade from the Matemwe Bungalows to the Palms Zanzibar. While Matemwe looks like it has a great location, the luxury of the Palms Zanzibar (1400 sq. ft. rooms with private plunge pools and food to die for) just seems like an awesome way to end my East Africa safari.

But, I do understand the pull of the Crater Lodge. But, also, it is the one sacrifice that I have found the easiest.

Regarding Kusini, I have visited their website many times, and the few photographs that are on the website feature mostly the surrounding landscapes. The photos of the room and the lounge that I have seen are not overly impressive...not at all bad, just not enough for me to go "ooh" and "ahh" over. So, I didn't really think twice about it when ATR insisted I stay at Masek & Piaya instead of at Kusini. Masek & Piaya are each Nomad camps, and Nomad is the same company that operates Sand Rivers which looks like a fabulous lodge in Selous. I felt much, much better about Masek & Piaya once I discovered that they are operated by the same company as Sand Rivers(although I didn't even find this out until after I booked my trip!).

I am scheduled to depart home probably just two days after you return home, so make it snappy with that trip report and photos, will you?
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Jul 24th, 2005, 09:46 AM
  #6
bat
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Does anyone have any information and/or an opinion about the different camps?

Rocco:
Yes, ATR. Take a look at my reply to Patty about my itinerary in your earlier "Tanzania in February ???" thread. It is about 1/3 of the way down. It explains some of the logistical factors that shaped the itinerary. Re the price, I do not have the spreadsheet here and I would have to deconstruct it a bit anyway but I recall that the total is under $20,000 for 3 people on safari (including 2 tents, some single supplements, and 2 people on the balloon ride) and 2 people going on to Zanzibar (1 room). This figure does not include the Arusha portion of the trip.

Have you seen this article about Nomad that someone else posted here?--http://www.departures.com/tr/tr_0505_serengeti.html. I think that you will enjoy it.

The Palms looks stunning but it is outside of our budget. We splurged on Matemwe bungalows (rather than the less expensive Matemwe Beach Village).

I think your analysis of the Crater Lodge not offering a game viewing advantage (and so offering less "value" than some of the other CCAfrica places) makes sense.
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Jul 24th, 2005, 10:11 AM
  #7
bat
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Rocco:
BTW, I think that your itinerary looks fabulous.
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