NGOROGORO CRATER

Ngorongoro Crater is a World Heritage Site and exceptional safari destination. The largest unbroken caldera in the world, it holds 30,000 animals, including Tanzania’s remaining black rhino.

The three million year old crater abuts the Serengeti and is considered “Africa’s Garden of Eden”. The quantity of wildlife is outstanding and this is one of the few places in the world where you have a real chance of seeing the big five.

Africa garden of eden

Ngorongoro Crater lies at the heart of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which extends through the Crater Highlands in northern Tanzania. It forms part of the Serengeti eco system and is one of the most renowned national parks in the world. Proximity to the Serengeti, the vast quantity and diversity of wildlife and the natural beauty make it a very popular destination.

The crater itself is surprisingly small (approximately 265 km2) and hemmed in by steep 600m high volcanic walls. This causes a very high concentration of wildlife and the easy viewing that has made the crater so famous.

Consequently there are always several safari vehicles on the crater floor and many visitors choose to spend only a day here before moving to the Serengeti.

The crater floor is primarily covered in open grassland, with swamps, acacia woodland and the central soda lake, Makat.

NGORONGORO WILDLIFE

  • At any one time there are 20 to 30,000 animals protected inside the crater walls. This includes the big five: rhinoceros, lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo.
  • Ngorongoro is said to contain the highest density of large predators in Africa; including lion and cheetah (which are both regularly seen), leopard and hyena. African wild dogs however, are no longer present in the crater.
  • The crater floor is perhaps the most likely place in Tanzania to see the endangered black rhino.
  • There are no impala, topi, oribi, giraffe or crocodiles.
  • The annual migrations (more often associated with the Serengeti) pass through Ngorongoro. 1.7 million wildebeest, 260,000 zebra, and 470,000 gazelles move south in December and back north in June.
  • A consequence of Ngorongoro’s restricted access is inbreeding amongst the lion population and resulting genetic problems.
  • Birdlife is seasonal but includes ostriches, bustards and plovers all year round. Also look out for white storks, swallows, yellow wagtails, black-winged stilts, flamingos and Verreaux's Eagle.

Ngorongoro is a prime destination for game drives. Tours descend twice daily to the crater floor for drives.

It is also worth while exploring outside the crater in the surrounding highlands.

All year round but the long rainy season is March to May.
June to October can get cold on the crater rim.
December or June to catch the migrations.

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