Africa's garden of Eden A.K.A the

The Ngonrongoro Crater

The jewel in Ngorongoro’s crown is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest  unbroken caldera in the world. About 20kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq kms in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder.

REASONS TO VISIT THE NGORONGORO CRATER

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Rare species

The crater is home to a number of rare and endangered species that are hard to find anywhere else in the world.

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Accessibility

Located along the road that leads to the Serengeti. It’s incredibly easy to get to making it convenient and enjoyable to visit.

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Excellent Accommodattion

A wide range of accommodation options are available from rooms with breathtaking views to luxury camps with African Themes.

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Spectacular game viewing

The area’s unique and successful ecosystem supports just about every kind of animal found in the country.

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A natural wonder

Existing as a self-contained ecosystem for more than two million years, the Ngorongoro Crater is an awesome feat of nature.

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Meet the Maasai

They are one of the last remaining active hunter/gatherer tribes in the world, living off the land and enjoying a simple existence.

WHERE AM I

Serengeti National Park

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Ngorongoro Crater

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Lake Manyara

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Tarangire National Park

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Arusha National Park

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Mt. Kilimanjaro

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Ruaha National Park

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Lake Victoria

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Lake Tanganyika

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Selous Game Reserve

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Gombe Stream National Park

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Mikumi National Park

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Mahale Mountains

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Zanzibar

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Mount Meru

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Geography

The park lies in northwestern Tanzania, the area is part of the Serengeti ecosystem and, to the northwest, adjoins the Serengeti National Park and is contiguous with the southern Serengeti plains.

Accommodation

With a selection of contemporary hotels, luxury farms, camps, lodges, budget backpackers, self-contained apartments and accessible and disability-friendly accommodation to choose from, it’s easy to find somewhere to stay in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Inquiries

If you have any questions with regards to accommodation or to the Ngorongoro Conservation area contact us and let one of our experts create your dream safari.

Contact

WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW

Activities

walking tours, game drives, cultural tours, neighboring craters, the wonderful scenery, unique lakes, the Oldupai Gorge museum ensure that a trip to the Ngorongoro area is bound to be action packed

Overview

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. The area is named after the Ngorongoro Crater.

Experiences

By far one of the most incredible sites to experience in all of Africa.  From the unique self-contained ecosystem to the abundant indigenous wildlife and the breathtaking natural beauty, a visit here is something you won’t soon forget.

CRATER LIONS

The crater has one of the densest known population of lions, a side effect of the crater being a natural enclosure is that the lion population is significantly inbred. Migrating lions are often prevented from contributing to the gene pool by the crater's male lions, who expel any outside competitors.

THE BLACK RHINO

The Ngorongoro Crater is home to 26 critically endangered Black rhinoceros also known as the hook-lipped rhinoceros native to eastern and southern Africa. The eastern black rhinoceros has a historical distribution of South Sudan, Ethiopia & Kenya but is now only found primarily in Tanzania.

ABOUT THE NGORONGORO CRATER

Based on fossil evidence found at the Olduvai Gorge, various hominid species have occupied the Ngorongoro area for 3 million years. Hunter-gatherers were replaced by pastoralists a few thousand years ago. The Mbulu came to the area about 2,000 years ago and were joined by the Datooga around the year 1700. Both groups were driven from the area by the Maasai in the 1800s. Ngorongoro was named by the Maasai as El-Nkoronkoro meaning Gift of Life. This was because they were migrating from Central Africa for a permanent settlement. That is why the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is mostly occupied by the Maasai.

No Europeans are known to have set foot in the Ngorongoro Crater until 1892 when it was visited by Oscar Baumann. Two German brothers (Adolph and Friedrich Siedentopf) farmed in the crater until the outbreak of World War I, after leasing the land from the administration of German East Africa. The brothers regularly organized shooting parties to entertain their German friends. They also attempted to drive the wildebeest herds out of the crater.

In 1921, the first game preservation ordinance was passed, which restricted hunting to permit holders throughout Tanzania. In 1928, hunting was prohibited on all land within the crater rim, except the former Siedentopf farms. The National Park Ordinance of 1948 (implemented in 1951) created the Serengeti National Park (SNP). This, however, caused problems with the Maasai and other tribes, resulting in the NCA Ordinance (1959) that separated the NCA from the SNP. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority(NCA) was established by the Game Park Laws (miscellaneous amendments) Act, in1976 and owns the majority of NCA land, including the crater. The area became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979.

TOP ATTRACTIONS

OLDUPAI GORGE

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area also protects Oldupai Gorge, situated in the plains area. It is considered to be the seat of humanity after the discovery of the earliest known specimens of the human genus, Homo habilis as well as early Hominidae, such as Paranthropus-boisei.

NATURAL WONDER

The volcano responsible for forming the crater is thought to have been even larger than Mount Kilimanjaro.  The mountain imploded and collapsed creating the vast cavity that still exists today.  Measuring in at 20km in diameter and surrounded by slopes as high as 600m, the incredible natural wonder is an unforgettable sight.

SPECTACULAR GAME VIEWING

Most people wouldn’t imagine that a 2 million-year-old crater would be home to some of Africa’s most sought after wildlife.  Yet the area’s unique and successful ecosystem supports just about every kind of animal found in the country.  From buffalo to flamingos to giraffes and just about every member of the big cat family.

Best things to see in the Ngorongoro Crater | do in the Ngorongoro Crater

WILDLIFE

The Ngorongoro Crater offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa. All the major safari animals occur in great numbers. The resident population of black rhino is a real treat, as rhinos are very difficult to spot elsewhere in Tanzania. The crater is also home to some very impressive elephant bulls with huge tusks. Lake Magadi often harbors large flocks of flamingo.

Time to spend: 1 day+

CULTURAL TOURS

The Ngorongoro conservation area protects wildlife while allowing human habitation. Lake Eyasi, close to Ngorongoro is still home to the Hadzabe Bushmen of East Africa who subsist entirely from the wild, communicating by clicks and whistles. Mbulu and Datoga pastoral and farming tribes, who were ousted centuries ago from lands now occupied by the Maasai, have now settled there.

Time to spend: 3 hours+

GOL MOUNTAINS

To the northeastern zone, the primeval Gol Mountains provide a surreal wilderness environment of stark, pink cliffs, enclosing the Angata Kiti pass, a bottleneck for the annual Great Migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra, searching for mineral rich grasses as they return to their ancestral breeding grounds in southern Serengeti and the Ndutu wilderness.

Time to spend: 1 day+

OLMOTI CRATER

You can take gentle, guided walks to two other nearby craters. Olmoti Crater is a shallow, grassy hollow, very quiet and lovely, where Maasai pasture their cattle alongside eland, bushbuck, reedbuck and an occasional buffalo. From the south wall of the caldera, the Munge stream forms a delightful waterfall, plunging several hundred meters into the Ngorongoro crater to feed Lake Magadi.

Time to spend: 1 day+

OLDUPAI GORGE & LATOELI

Oldupai Gorge is where the ancestors of mankind began the journey towards civilization, with the fabrication of the earliest tools and the building of the first human settlements. At Latoeli, hominid footprints of our genetic ancestors, have been found in 3.7 million years old sedimentary rock. No Tanzanian safari would be complete without a guided tour of the museum and excavations.

Time to spend: 1 day+

OLDOINYO LENGAI

 Known to Maasai as “The Mountain of God”, it is still active, last erupting in 2007. Intrepid adventurers may climb its lava-encrusted slopes to stare down into its main crater and be perilously rewarded with sulfur fumes and occasional spurts of lava from smaller surrounding cones. It was featured in the Lara Croft film, “Tomb Raiders II”, but popularized by Chris Hug-Fleck and Evelyne Pradel.

Time to spend: 1 day+

LAKE MAGADI

Lake Magadi, shallow, azure blue, fiercely alkaline from sodium carbonate, is fringed by hundreds of long-legged pink flamingos. Most are lesser flamingos, but there are also many greater flamingos with black-tipped pink bills. The lake shrinks noticeably in the dry season, leaving thick, crystalline salt pans used as licks by jackals, hyena and other animals to supplement their diet.

Time to spend: 1 day+

LARAI FEVER TREE FOREST

Consists of tall, slim yellow-barked acacias forming an airy, lace-canopied glades, frequented by elephants, rhinos, elands, bushbucks, hyrax, and hundreds of birds. These foliage is the preferred food of the rare, black rhinoceros. A younger Fever Tree forest is now forming new groves at the base of the Ngoitokitok Springs, home ground of the famous Tokitok pride of lions.

Time to spend: 1-3 hours

EMPAKAAI CRATER

Half-filled by an unusually deep soda lake. From the rim, you can look across a panorama of volcanic craters and depressions towards Ol Doinyo Legai, the Great African Rift Valley, and, in super clear weather, snows on the distant Uhuru peak of Kilimanjaro. You can walk for many kilometers around the lushly forested green bowl, frequented by blue monkeys, colored sunbirds and red-crested turacos.

Time to spend: 1 day+

LAKE NATRON

Lake Natron, far below Oldoinyo Longai, is fed by hot, mineral springs so heavily saturated with volcanic ash from Ol Doinyo Lengai that it provides a toxic, protective moat for Africa’s largest concentration of breeding lesser and greater flamingos. The lake itself shines like a jewel, sometimes green, sometimes blue and sometimes blooming red with cyanobacteria and algae which provides food.

Time to spend: 1 day+

WHERE TO STAY : lodges | Camps | Suites | Hotels

OUR RECOMMENDATIONS

Ngorongoro accommodation is as varied as the range of animals that make the crater their home. From romantic tented camps to exclusive safari lodges found within the Ngorongoro conservation area. Camping within the crater itself is not allowed.

Ngorongoro is an all-year safari destination, our selection of top accommodation in the Ngorongoro includes camps & lodges ideal for the migration, for families or groups traveling together as well as tucked away luxury suites that are perfect for a honeymoon. If you can't find the right one for your needs, simply contact us and let one of our safari experts help you find the ideal place to stay.

The Manor at Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro Farm House

Ngorongoro Serena Lodge

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Ngorongoro Neptune Lodge

Ngorongoro Kitela Lodge

Ngorongoro Gibb's Farm

BEST TIME TO VISIT

The Ngorongoro crater has a mild, temperate climate. The area experiences two Wet seasons. From October to November are the 'short' rains, followed by the 'long rains' from March to May. Rainfall is experienced in the form of showers and thunder in the afternoon, yet it would be odd for it to rain the whole day. The crater never gets very hot during the day, but the crater rim gets cold and it can freeze at night. Warm clothing for early morning game drives is a necessity.

Best time to go:June to September for general wildlife viewing
High Season:Most of the year - July to March (The Ngorongoro Crater will have crowds)
Low Season:April and May (The only time when the crater has few crowds)
Best Weather:June to October (Rainfall is little to none)
Worst Weather:March and April (Peak of Wet season)

Did you know....

FUN FACTS :- The crater wall is 600m / 1970 feet in height |Called El-Nkoronkoro by the Maasai meaning Gift of Life | Ngorongoro crater protects wildlife while allowing human habitation | the original volcano height estimated at 4,500 to 5,800 metres | Ngorongoro Crater is host to nearly 40,000 birds and animals | significant fossils have been found in areas surrounding the Ngorongoro Crater| Ngorongoro Crater became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 | the crater has the highest density of lions in the world

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