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Feb 2013 - Please help me choose among accommodation options


Oct 22nd, 2012, 07:54 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 1,085
kfrisch - What I found odd about your post was your (admirable) concern for your guide, but your total lack of concern for the staff at Ngoronogoro Lemala. By your own admission, you arrive at camp late, but you are annoyed when the staff cannot then provide hot water for showers for you all before dinner. Then you expect the staff to provide hot water for showers after dinner which, when we were there, ended around 10pm - a little late to expect the staff to be heating water for you, when they are trying to clean up after dinner and put the camp to bed. The following morning, you wish to be up at 4:30am so you can leave before dark. You cannot leave the camp (because the gates into the crater and the rim road are locked) until 6am, but you wish to be up at 4:30am and expect service at that hour. Goodness - do you really need one and a half hours? We were up at 5:30am for departure at 6am, as were most of our fellow guests. The Lemala staff need to sleep too! By 6am, our hot breakfast, thermos of hot chocolate, and lunch were packed and ready for us - the staff had clearly been up and busy for a while.

Most guests arrive or return to camp in time to shower before dinner, when the day is still warm and a cold bathroom isn't an issue. However, for the morning, if you leave the curtain between the bathroom and sleeping area tied back, the heater warms the bathroom somewhat - not enough to shower comfortably, I admit, but fine for a quick wash. There is a reason why the staff recommends that guests shower before dinner!

Like Sandi, I am surprised that any guide would arrive at the camp so unprepared. It is very cold on the crater rim in the winter, and I would expect any guide to know that. The accommodation provided to the guides varies greatly from camp to camp, and your guide should have checked out the situation ahead of time and come prepared. I do not think you should blame Lemala for his lack of preparation and I don' think it is fair to describe the conditions as "deplorable" due to a lack of heater and hot water bottle. We met four guides during our stays at Lemala, who joined their clients for dinner (I assume at the guests' expense), and they all seemed quite content. CR
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 09:48 AM
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CR, part of Kfrish's problem of what to expect at the camp may stem from their comment that their guide had never been to the Lemala camp before. Even so, the guides have a responsibility to know the "lay of the land" and surely must have crossed paths with other guides that had stayed there.

Fun4all4, I think you'd really enjoy a visit to RVCV. You should have plenty of time between Manyara Ranch and Exploreans to do the visit. It's about a 30-minute drive off the main road. An hour-long visit would be long enough, although if school is in session, you might get a chance to visit the nearby Geytighi Primary School, as well. So, figure 2 -3 hours for the visit. They just need a "heads up". You could have lunch at the Ngorongoro Farmhouse, which is near the turnoff to RVCV, closer than Exploreans is.
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Oct 22nd, 2012, 03:39 PM
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Hi ShayTay! Yes, precisely my point. I had noted that the guide had not been to Lemala before. I felt that some of the criticism of the camp should have been directed at the guide. CR
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Oct 23rd, 2012, 10:46 AM
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Agreed, CR. The camp sounds nice, spendy but nice. I don't think most travelers know what kind of accommodations their guides have and most of the guides won't "share" with their guests. I don't know if it was appropriate for this guide to complain to his guests about his accommodations.
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Oct 23rd, 2012, 06:16 PM
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Guide accommodations may be something we should be asking about. It's not something we often think about. If guests ask, then some of the places that are subpar may upgrade.

This conversation has brought up a good point.
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Oct 23rd, 2012, 07:54 PM
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One of the advantages of self-driving that had never occurred to me!
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Oct 23rd, 2012, 08:38 PM
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There's no guarantee the Sopa will turn their heaters on even tho they have them.

Last June I froze for 2 nights at the Sopa with hot water bottles, socks, polar fleece and pants while the heaters stood idle. Front desk simply said they weren't turned on and that hot water bottles should be enough. In my case they weren't.

No door to the bathroom and the bathroom windows are glass louvres and wouldn't close completely so I hung a bath towel over the window to try keep the wind out.

Yes a very good point about we as guests being more aware of guides accommodations.
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