When you’re on a budget in northern Tanzania, there are plenty of cheap and cheerful places to stay and you can have a fun, quality vacation sticking to inexpensive or moderate guesthouses and B&Bs.
But if you’re not on a budget, then, woo-hoo! It’s time to check out the luxury lodges and places that have that little bit extra pizzazz – because you’re worth it.
Read on for our choice of lodges that give you that little bit more. Perhaps it’s their amazing location, or the weirdly unique experiences they offer, or perhaps it’s that level of comfort that’ll make you feel as pampered as a posh pet.
First, let’s head off to the heart of what is, for many, the ultimate Tanzanian destination – the celebrated and beautiful Ngorongoro Crater, a World Heritage site packed full of wildlife and home to the famous Maasai lions.
The crater covers around 100 square miles and with walls 600m high, the views are some of the best in Tanzania. To make the most of the amazing views, stay at andBeyond Crater Lodge, the famous 5-star lodge perched on the very rim of the crater itself. The andBeyond Crater Lodge is super expensive and super luxurious. If you’ve ever wanted a four-poster bed, roll-top bath, your own butler and on-site wandering zebra, then this is the place for you.
Whichever of the suites you choose you’ll have an uninterrupted view into the crater itself. The decor is plush in a kind of colonial extravagance meets traditional simplicity way, with comfy sofas, wooden veranda and antiques that seem straight out of Edwardian London.
It’s a surreal contrast to the naturally breathtaking beauty all around. But if you have the dollars, it’s an experience you’ll remember.
If you like being high up, then stick with the andBeyond brand and take a trip to the andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge.
Located in the Lake Manyara National Park, as you might expect, the lodge is a collection of treetop-level suites on stilts, highly priced but luxuriously appointed. As you would expect with the brand, you’ll get a four poster bed, a luxury bath and, what’s probably most fun, a large decking area outdoors, where you can be at one with nature. Open to the breezes, surrounded by the lush greenery of the canopy, it’s a little luxury hideaway.
The park itself is full of animal activity – elephant, dikdik, gazelle, impala, cheetah and, of course, lions – and it’s home to over 400 species of birds. The lake itself is a soda lake – high in alkalinity – and is known for the pink shimmer of its thousands of flamingo.
If it’s the Serengeti you fancy, then nothing is more luxurious than the Four Seasons Safari Lodge; located in the animal hotspot of Tanzania, it nestles in the plains of the Serengeti, next to a waterhole popular with elephants. And if your suite is on the other side of the lodge, you’ll get beautiful views of the endless plains, so you can’t lose.
You’re right in amongst the action here, but that doesn’t mean you have to rough it. With modern decor, private terraces, an infinity pool and perfectly furnished suites and villas, you’ll have a comfortable and relaxing place to come back to after a hard day’s safari.
We’ve saved our personal favourite until last. If you love everything about the beach then you’re going to really love this.
Pemba Island forms part of the Zanzibar archipelago, opposite the coastal town of Tanga on the mainland. Head straight for the Manta Resort, which, although owned by Kwanini, a Swedish company, is fully complemented by local people and works with the community on corporate social responsibility programmes, including education, reef development and the creation of a nature reserve. But that’s not why you should visit.
The Manta Resort has built a private floating apartment offshore. There’s a sea-level deck with comfy bathroom, a flat roof where you can sunbathe by day and moonbathe by night – sleeping underneath a universe of stars with the Milky Way luminescent above, with no light pollution to spoil the view.
Of course, the rooms are well appointed, but that’s not the best part; if you don’t want to sleep under the stars, you can choose to sleep under the sea.
Your bedroom is four metres underwater; built with huge, clear glass panels so you’ll have a 360 degree view of the ocean around you.
Gaze out at the myriad of colourful reef fish as they swim by, or come up to take a curious look at you! If you’re lucky, you’ll meet a local trumpet fish called Nick who uses the floating palace as a protection against predation – as do many other beautiful fish. This truly is a once-in-a-lifetime experience – unless, of course, you go twice!