Tanzania: Ngorongoro Crater
In the southeastern coast of Africa, where the world we known comes to an end and nature takes back the reigns of its empire, lies Tanzania. A safari paradise, this exotic country has become a sought-after destination for those that love wildlife and the incredible life of the Masai tribes. Rich in culture, Tanzania captivated us from the onset, taking roots deep within our mind.
The climate of Tanzania varies with altitude, from tropical Zanzibar and costal areas, to temperate weather in the country’s interior. During the summer, a season of foggy mornings and sunny afternoons, we drove a Jeep as we ventured deep inside the land where nature remains queen.
Among the various protected areas of Tanzania stands out the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact caldera. One of the world’s wildlife most spectacular sanctuaries, it boasts a permanent population of 30 thousands animals, all of which live in harmony within the crater’s 260 square kilometers.
Mist and clouds parted as we descended into the crater, slowly revealing the abundance of life all around us. Lions, wild boars, elephants, hippopotamus, rhinoceros, gazelles, buffaloes, zebras, flamingos, monkeys, hyenas… all lying in wait for the adventurous traveler that wishes to witness one of the world’s greatest wonders.
Beside its natural resources, the Ngorongoro Conservation area has also seen growth in human development and touristic promotion. …. The area has been recognised as a World Heritage site and an International Biosphere Reserve, two recognitions that vouch for its beauty, as well as protecting it.
&Beyond is one of the most important luxury experience-oriented travel companies of the world. It’s roots lie in Africa, beginning in 1990, when it was called ‘Conservation Corporation Africa’ and was recognized as a pioneer in the field of eco-tourism. Nowadays, &Beyond operates 46 extraordinary lodges, all of which take luxury and quality to its highest expression. We were left speechless by the beauty and uniqueness of its spaces, the perfect sceneries to enjoy the spectacle of a savage, wild world.
The hotel is located at the edge of the crater, offering a view that knows no rival. The architecture is unusual, making us feel as thought we had stepped into a world of fantasy. Each villa is decorated with antiquities, African treasures and French chandeliers. When we arrived, dozens of roses were sprinkled on the tub and the banana-leaf roof was alight with the gold and red of romantic candles.
Spending the chilly morning in our terrace, enveloped by the smell of rain and wood, and with the unrivaled view of the thick vegetation that grows at the rim of the crater, we were prey to a unique feeling of harmony with nature.
The resorts, all of them targeted at luxury travelers, are engaged with humanitarian ethics, whether it is the conservation of wildlife or the care of the local community. At Ngorongoro, the hotel offers daily ventures into the crater, led by experts that respect the environment and the teeming wildlife of the area.
Its food is delicious, with the coastal areas focusing on fish and the interior of the country using mostly meat. Preparations are usually simple, seeking to highlight the freshness of its products.
Tanzania’s insignia dish is the ‘nyama choma’, a variety of barbequed meats on a grill. We tried various meat-based dishes, such as buffalo, wildebeest, and antelope steak, as well as many chicken, cow and lamb-based dished. Kebab dishes are also common, strips of lamb meat accompanied with vegetables and flavored rice. Fish variety included trout, perch, tiger fish, parrotfish and cod. Seafood included fresh lobster from the island of Zanzibar, oysters and shrimp.
Salads are usually composed of tropical fruits, such as mango, papaya, coconut, banana and pineapple, all of which grow sweeter on the African soil. Fresh fruit is also usually served with the main dish, whether it’s fish or meat.
In several African countries, spices are a fundamental part of the traditional cuisine, which makes the wine choice a complex choice, but one that can result in an enjoyable, delicate taste. Cinnamon, for instance, with its light bitterness and strong taste, is excellent in deserts to pair with sweet muscatel wines and the ‘late harvest’ wines of the New World.
For some years now, Tanzania Distilleries Limited has offered support to the farmers of Dodoma to promote the production of grapes. This has made the region into an important area for the production of wines in the country.
Tanzania is one of the few African countries that have managed to produce quality wines, some of which have had a significant presence in various wine fairs around the world. The future appears promising. Wines from this warm region are ready to seduce the world with their fresh, invigorating fruity personality.
Ngorongoro Crater, the beautiful resorts of &Beyond and the whole ‘feel’ of Tanzania make for a memorable experience. Africa is the continent of adventure, one that promises to create change within the traveler.