ngorongoro crater tanzania
ngorongoro crater area 8,292 sq. km, of which the crater covers an area of 250 sq. km
Ngorongoro Crater a bit over crowded over the high season, too many big lodges and if all their guests finish breakfast at the same time and decend the crater a traffic que is formed at the gates and alon the descend into the crater, we refer to the Ngorongoro Crater as the Zoo.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtakingly beautiful setting and the best place in Tanzania to see the Big Five.
However, as one of the world's most astonishing and renowned natural wonders, the Ngorongoro Crater does get busy, and at times very busy.
Due to the crowds we recommend a two-night stay only here, then moving on to the Serengeti for a quieter, more private safari experience.
Ngorongoro Crater is the largest collapsed volcanic crater in the world and fourteen kilometers of isolated natural beauty.
Any trip to Northern Tanzania has to include the Ngorongoro Crater:
it is one of the most beautiful natural wildlife safari sites in the
world and an exceptional place to interact with people from the Masaai
The Ngorongoro Crater and surrounding highlands together form one of Africa's most beautiful regions.
Volcanic craters form stunning backdrops to some of the most fertile and richest grazing grounds in Africa.
The most famous such crater is without question the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and home to the highest density of big game in Africa, including all the big five and plenty of predators.
The Ngorongoro is justifiably one of the continent's most famous safari destinations.
Ngorongoro Crater is surrounded by a ring of extinct volcanoes and the floor, dotted with watering holes, shelters some 30,000 animals.
The choice is whether to stay at a hotel on the Crater rim for the phenomenal view, or a little way away from the Crater in nearby Karatu. The advantages of Karatu include the comparative lack of crowds, and better-value, smaller and more intimate lodges which offer a range of activities such as walking and mountain biking.
The rim of the Ngorongoro Crater rises to 7,500 feet
and on the crater floor, grassland blends into swamps, lakes, rivers,
woodland and mountains all a haven for wildlife and a must.
At 18 Kilometers (11miles) across, the Ngorongoro Crater, at 2,286 mts above sea level, is the largest perfect unbroken caldera in the world.
Ngorongoro Crater: game viewing
The Ngorongoro is the best place in Tanzania to see the big five.
A healthy population of black rhino and some of the largest tusker elephants left in Africa today are the prize spots, but the Crater is also home to strong populations of lion, leopard and hyena along with good herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra.
Other game in the Ngorongoro includes serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant's and Thompson's gazelle, flamingo and bat eared foxes along with approximately 400 species of bird.
Surrounded by very step walls rising 610 mts from the crater floor, this natural amphitheatre is home zebra, wilder beast,, gazelles, buffaloes, elands, hartebeests, warthogs and others.
Ngorongoro Crater: activities on offer
Activities inside the Ngorongoro Crater itself are limited to game driving only.
There are also picnic spots in the park.
A full range of activities is however on offer in the wider Ngorongoro Conservation Area, including walking, trekking, excursions to Olduvai Gorge and visiting the Masai and other tribes.
Such concentrated numbers attract predators, mainly lions and hyenas, but also cheetahs and leopards.
More then 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted here.
Countless flamingoes form a pink blanket over the soda lakes.
As one descends onto the crater floor, an exceptional display of nature and wildlife in a unique setting, unfolds.
Ngorongoro Crater: when to go
Since the game stays in the crater all year round, there is really no good or bad time to visit.
However given that the crater floor does get busy with vehicles, it can be more pleasant to visit during low season.
Higher water levels in Lake Magadi (in the center of the Crater) also result in higher concentrations of flamingoes.
Whenever you travel to Ngorongoro, you will be guaranteed excellent game viewing.
With a concentration of more than 25,000 animals, this 'Garden of Eden' is like an ongoing concert.
The Olduvai Gorge, famous for its archaeological finds, is worth a visit.
This outstanding wonder is only one of the attractions within a vast and diverse conservation area.
High mountain forest extends to the lip of the crater.
Crotons dominate the low altitudes which blends into red thorn acacias, pillar wood and strangler fig as one moves higher.
Among the branches of the dense green canopy, a variety of bird
species search for food in partial gloom.
The forest then recedes to give breathtaking views of the crater's vertiginous void.
Grasslands, swamps, lakes, rivers, woodlands, mountains and wildlife are all present in the wonderous microcosm of Africa.
As you descend, Lake Magadi is centre stage with Seneto Springs to the left , Gorigor Swamp to the right and the Terai Forest in the foreground.
The Gol mountains nudge the far crater rim.
Grazers dominate dominate
with zebra, wildebeest, gazelle, buffalo, hartebeest, warthogs and
intriguingly, only bull elephant.
Lion, eland and hyena frequent the many ponds, with the nocturnal side-striped jackal being one of the area's rarer predators.
Ostrich and kori bustard are the distinctive grassland birds.
The swamps, ponds and rivers support an ever present population of water birds and during the wet months the open pools play host to a variety of Eurasian migrants.
14 kilometers of isolated natural beauty, this crater is surrounded by a ring of extinct volcanoes and serves as a sanctuary for an estimated 30,000 animals including the threatened black Rhino.
The Lerai Forest - meaning ‘fever’ - grows on the incredibly steep slopes, giving way to grassyplains and lakes.
This Eden is a delicately balanced wilderness where survival of the fittest is definitely the order of the day.
This crater is one of the most outstanding sights to behold as the sense of true wilderness envelopes visitors reminding them that we are but spectators, awkward intruders, in a forgotten World.
Safari Itineraries with Ngorongoro
Ngorongoro Crater: where to stay
The question here is whether to stay right on the Crater rim or a little way away, in the Ngorongoro highlands.
On the rim, the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is by far the best hotel and is absolutely world class, but at approximately $3,000 a night it probably should be!
The Serena and the Sopa have equally stunning views of the Crater
floor and are much more affordable options, but they are large and
fairly old hotels.
Away from the Crater rim in nearby Karatu in the highlands is a variety of small coffee plantations and guesthouses.
For approximately the same cost as the Serena and Sopa, these are much more charming and characterful but obviously lack the fantastic Ngorongoro views.
The best of these are Plantation Lodge, Gibbs Farm and The Manor.
Recommended lodges in this area:
Safari Hotels and Lodges in Ngorongoro