Crater Chic

I am SO SO sorry if you tuned in yesterday hoping to read about a sweet safari spot in Africa, only to find yourself disappointed by the same post as the day before up on the screen.  I got caught up in the throes of a h̶e̶l̶l̶i̶s̶h̶ super fun DIY project and, true to form, a disaster of sorts ensued, causing the fix to monopolize more of my time than I had allocated (let's just say: paint got where it shouldn't have.. Naughty paint!).  Of course, I will be posting about said DIY project once (if) it gets finished, but for now let's get to down to the reason you hopefully stopped by for in the first place: Luxury in the African Bush.

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As I promised in Monday's post, I am going to share with you one of the places I stayed when I was on safari in Africa.  I've had the insane fortune of being able to "safari" in several African countries and in time, I hope to recount most of the safari experiences on here but because I don't want to take away from any one of those adventures by lumping them all together, I'm going to spread out their moments in the sun.  And actually, because the particular place I mentioned in Monday's post was so over-the-top incredible in a myriad of ways, it qualifies for two days worth of posting on here - A DOUBLE WHAMMY, if you will.  So today I'm going to talk about the accommodations themselves and tomorrow, will discuss the safari aspect and with that, the merits of being selective when choosing a safari company.

Now, color me high-maintenance or just a design aficionado (let's go with the latter) but I have never understood what people are talking about when they argue that the place you stay is a just a place to rest your head and thus, don't factor it heavily into their travel plans... As if!   I don't say that to mean I don't want to leave the hotel room when I go somewhere, not at all!  In fact, I consider myself to be an "active traveler" and would consider it a travel FAIL if I didn't get out of the hotel and see what the world outside it had to offer...  But to me, where you stay is just as important as what you do while you're there.  There is just something that feels magical about getting comfortable in foreign place and sleeping in a luxurious and unusual space when you're in a faraway... or even not so faraway land.

So enough of my ramblings.. I know that's not why you come here!  Let's start with an breathtaking photo.

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Yes.. this is le "resort" that I've been leading up to for too many paragraphs.  Frankly, if that doesn't scream otherworldly to you, then I'm at a loss for what to try and impress you people with! :)  Now I'm not going to make any bones about it, this place is not cheap.  However, after I finished out my 3 month volunteering stint in Uganda, my mom came out to "dark continent" 10 days prior to my dad and sister eventually joining us.  During the time it was just her and me, we went to Tanzania and had the opportunity to visit Arusha, Zanzibar and the Ngorongoro Crater (where the aforementioned resort lies) and this resort, aptly named the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, was the highlight and SPLURGE of our portion of the trip... but after our stay, we determined it was completely justified (from the viewpoint of two people who believe where you stay matters :).

The Ngorongoro Crater is located in the Northern part of Tanzania and is a conservation area.  The crater is a large volcanic caldera and is recognized as one of the seven natural wonders of Africa.  It is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and the unique variety of wildlife that can be found there.  The area is home to members of the Masaai tribe.  We had to take a very very tiny plane there.  When we arrived in our glorified air minibus, we were greeted at the landing strip with this:

                                              Even though I look terrible, how amazing is that spread???

                                              Even though I look terrible, how amazing is that spread???

The resort had sent our guide, to meet us with snacks and the first of several adult libations. 

                     I HAD to sample the local beer, obviously!

                     I HAD to sample the local beer, obviously!

We then drove for another hour and a half into the Crater.  Once we reached the resort, the entire staff was waiting out front singing as we pulled up and handed us delicious fruit drinks as we got out of our Land Cruiser.

(My apologies for the shaky and grainy amateur video).

As our bags were whisked off, we got a tour of the premises and were then escorted to our hut.  Which looked like this:

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The bath had already been drawn, the fireplace was lit and a bottle of champagne was waiting on ice ("waiting" may not be the appropriate word choice :).  Perhaps I neglected to mention until now that this place is all-inclusive?  Silly me, how could I possibly forget that!

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As you've probably gathered, the scene was set for romance.. and was wasted on my mom and me.  Not to say I didn't enjoy the rose petal path from the bed to the bathtub or the candlelit room adorned with roses abound!  Just another reason to go back again with a lovah! ;) 

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Just to prove that the place really is as amazing as it appears online... That's our photo and this is the professional of the same scene:

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It was OUT. OF. CONTROL. y'all!

After my mom and I each took our time in the tub with unparalleled views, me especially as I had not had a proper shower in 3 months after bathing with a bucket outdoors several times a week, we headed to the cocktail hour that was hosted on the veranda for all guests.  We enjoyed delicious canapes and cocktails before heading into the dining room for a unforgettable three course meal.

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This was so uncanny, I can't help but mention it:  At met a couple from Boulder, Colorado (where I'm from) sitting at the table right next to us at dinner.  The gentlemen was even wearing a University of Colorado (my alma mater), sweatshirt.  Holla!

After dinner we "retreated" to our hut where the turndown service had left hot water bottles under our sheets to heat up our beds.  I just want to clarify here that, during this time of year, in this part of Africa, it was actually QUITE chilly.  But the hot water bottles and the uber soft comforters more than made up for it.  My mom and I went to sleep just to make sure we hadn't actually been sleeping the whole time and merely dreamed it all!

Now here are some photos for you patient folk:

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Next up: Safari in the Ngorongoro Crater tomorrow!

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