NGORONGORO CRATER TANZANIA
A gigantic volcano at one time, Ngorongoro Crater is one of the busiest tourist attractions in Tanzania and the most remarkable geological feature in Africa. A result of an imploded volcano the 20km in diameter Ngorongoro crater is one thing you can not miss on your trip in Northern Tanzania in the mighty Masai land neighboring Serengeti National park. Here be sure to meet Masai speaking people a native African tribe. In 2013 having cast votes by experts around the world, Ngorongoro Crater was declared officially as one of the seven wonders of Africa joining Mount Kilimanjaro and Serengeti Migration both calling Tanzania home.
What you need to know about Ngorongoro crater?
Situated in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Ngorongoro crater is the largest intact unflooded caldera in the world, an UNESCO world heritage site since 1978. With an area of 259km2 and a height of 600m, the crater sits on a collapsed volcano shaped like a cooking pot. Ngorongoro crater volcano is believed to have been taller than Mount Kilimanjaro one of the highest mountains in the world originally before eruption. A soda lake known as ‘Magadi’ or ‘Makat’ exists at the centre of the Ngorongoro crater and Ngoitokitok spring to its east. Having the highest density of lions in the world Ngorongoro crater attracts over 450,000 tourists annually and is also known as the ‘Garden of Eden’. This is because of the crater’s incredible beauty and being an ecstasy of animals. Home to over 30,000 – 40,000 birds and animals, you will not miss to see a rare black rhino and incredible pink flamingos.
Why visit Ngorongoro Crater?
One of the most beautiful regions in Africa have been formed by Ngorongoro Crater and the magnificent regions that surround it. Ngorongoro conservation Area has probably the richest grazing and most fertile grounds in Africa thanks to the volcano craters that create dazzling backdrops and Ngorongoro crater being the most famous one. You will have an oppourtunity to choose where to stay at a hotel on the crater rim for an exceptional view or stay a stone throw away in the nearby Karatu (Rift valley Escarpment). In Karatu you will be offered with more intimate and smaller lodges ideal couples probably for honeymoon or holiday who want ‘Do not disturb’ sessions. Fewer crowds will be found here as well compared to the crowds in the crater rim while enjoying a range of activities like mountain biking and walking.
What to see at Ngorongoro crater?
This ‘Garden of Eden’ nearly three million years old shelters quite a number of amazing creatures you would love to see. Heavily dense with lions, you will be able to see around 70 lions, 16 highly endangered rhinos, 6000 wildebeest together totaling to an estimate of 25,000 large mammals. Leopards can be found in the stunning Lerai forest and you cannot miss seeing cheetahs moving in and out of the crater. Spotted hyenas, buffaloes, the lovely golden and side striped jackal, bat eared foxes, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazalle, pink flamingos cannot also fail to grace the show. Bird watching is even made more interesting with over 400 species of birds. Yellow fever trees in the Lerai Forest found in the south west corner, Ngoitokitok springs and Gorigor swamps home to many hippos and the shallow salt lake ‘Magadi’ to the north make Ngorongoro Conservation Area its own ecosystem.
How to access Ngorongoro Crater?
Ngorongoro Crater is around 4 hours away from Arusha by road making it easily accessible. From Dar to Arusha there is a daily aircraft as well as other airstrips in Tanzania. This will take you around an hour. It is only open from 06h00 to 16h00 allowing 6 hour permits to access the park that is a single morning and afternoon game drive each lasting 6 hours. Gaining access in and out of the crater can be done using an ascent one way east of Lerai forest or the north west side using a descent one way as well. The north east corner of the crater will give you access in either directions especially guests of the Ngorongoro Sofa lodge.
Which activities can be done?
Game viewing, mountain biking, walking, trekking are some of the fun things you will be able to do while at Ngorongoro Crater though inside itself it is limited to game driving alone. Picnics are made an unforgettable encounter due to the numerous picnic spots available in the park. Visiting the Masai and other tribes surrounding the crater will leave you in awe learning about their cultures and their thrilling dances and stories.
Where to stay?
It will not be possible to find accommodation within the Ngorongoro crater itself but accommodation can be found on the rift valley escarpment or on the crater rim. An absolutely world class hotel, Ngorongoro Crater lodge will be found on the rim gives you the oppourtunity to have an incredible sight and easier access to Ngorongoro Crater. Budget spenders can access accommodation at Ngorongoro Serena Safari lodge, Ngorongoro wildlife lodge and Ngorongoro Sopa lodge. Other camps and lodges on the hills of the crater are available though these may not give you that spectacular view but still exceptionally convenient and way more affordable like Rhino lodge. 20km away from the crater you will find the Rift valley Escarpment with camps and lodges like Ngorongoro Farmhouse lodge, Gibb’s farm Manor and Plantation lodge.
What photography is like at Ngorongoro Crater?
Wildlife photography and viewing is made extraordinary and so satisfying in the caldera because of the setting of the park. An exceptional back drop is created by the steep walls of the crater, falling into sapphire shadows for your digital and photo images. Animals incredibly tame and harboring gracefully to Safari vehicles just add a magical touch to your pictures. Pack that camera and roll the lens for an exceptional view.
Who to meet?
The Maasai people entered in substantial numbers in the area 200 years ago and have colonized the place since then. They were able to live in harmony with the environment as well as the wildlife due to their traditional way if life. Being pastoralists they live with cattle, goats, donkeys and sheep. In the dry seasons they move to the woodlands and mountain slopes and in the rains they go to the plains. They are allowed to take their animals for grazing and water into the crater but none lives or cultivates there. To learn more about the distinct culture of the Maasai people, one is allowed to visit the Maasai cultural bomas, buy mementos and take pictures as well. These include Loonguku cultural bomas, Kiloki Senyati cultural bomas, Seneto cultural bomas and Irkeepusi Cultural bomas.
I wish you an unforgettable experience. Bon voyage!
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area prides in the best blend of terrains, wildlife, archaeological sites as well as people in the whole of Africa. Usually referred to as the ‘African Eden’ and also called the ‘8th natural Wonder of the World’, the area is in addition a revolutionary experiment in multiple land-use. As for Ngorongoro safari area, the aspect of multiple land-use refers to permitting wildlife plus humans to co-exist in this natural environ. In collaboration with Tanzania government agencies, the local pastoralists have assisted in preservation of the natural resources in the area in an effort to offer tourist a wonderful experience while in this area.
For first time visitors, the sights into the Ngorongoro Crater will certainly sweep you off your feet! The Ngorongoro is a large caldera or a collapsed volcano, covering 250 square kilometers and 600 meters deep. This crater is habitat to more than 20,000 animals among which are the remaining uncommon black rhinos. These rhinos come from the forests during the early morning mist, and their primitive figures offer a very remarkable impression, bordered by the very old crater walls. There is no fences or physical boundary delimiting the crater walls so animals freely enter and leave this crater, however, several of them prefer to remain within the crater due to the all year round availability of fresh pastures and water on the crater floor.
Majority of the floor of the crater is covered by open grassland, which turns yellow in the month of June with wild-flowers. Makat a soda lake is a big attraction for the beautiful flamingos in addition to other species of water birds, whereas predators conceal in the marshland from where they ambush their prey that come to sip the waters of the river which feeds into the lake. Furthermore, there are swamps on the crater floor, that provide water and shelter to elephants plus hippos several smaller creatures like frogs, lizards and snakes. It is very rewarding to view game around the beautiful Lake Makat as large antelope such as gazelles plus zebras come to have a drink here, whereas herds of hippopotami bask in the thick mud on the lakeshore.
Lerai Forest on the floor of the crater was named from a local Maasai word referring to ‘the elegant yellow-barked-acacia tree’. Several Elephants frequently graze in this forest as they take shade especially at about midday, and yet spend the early morning hours as well as the evenings in the open plains, when there is less heat. This small forest is patched on the floor of the crater and is habitat to baboons, leopards, monkeys and antelopes like the waterbucks plus bushbucks.
Humans plus their long ago ancestors are part of intriguing Ngorongoro landscape history dated millions of years ago. The most ancient signs of existence of mankind in this Conservation Area are found at Laetoli. In this are hominid footprints are well preserved in the volcanic rock and are supposed to be more than 3 million years-old. The legend carries on to the Olduvai Gorge, which is a river gorge 100 meter deep cut into the volcanic earth of the vast Serengeti Plains. Buried in the earth’s layers are remnants of wild animals plus hominids that existed and died near a superficial lake in the middle of grassy plains plus woodlands. These remnants are dated to 2 million years back in time. Visitors get the opportunity to learn more about this charming story when they visit the site. The tour guides gladly offer captivating on-site explanation about the gorge.
Ngorongoro Accommodation, Where to Stay
Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
Ngorongoro Farm House
The most recent residents of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are Maasai people, who reached in this area close to 200 years back in time. Their sturdy perseverance on traditional custom as well as traditional costumes has excited several visitors. Today, there are more than 41,000 Maasai pastoralists happily living in this conservation area with herds of cattle, sheep plus goats. the presence of these Maasai people is the major differentiation between this Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the national parks in Tanzania. Taking cultural tours, or village walks to the Maasai village offers visitors an opportunity to interact with the local Maassai people, get an opportunity to learn more about their fascinating culture and also be part of the typical Maasai lifestyle.
Ngorongoro Crater Park Tanzania safari
The Ngorongoro Crater is mostly a prime destination in East African safaris explained with a broad wildlife packed volcanic crater. The crater extends for an area roughly 265sq km which is particularly 610metres deep and also 19km across. The crater rim is an incredible 2286 meters above sea level. The bottom contains a small soda lake, referred to as Lake Magadi. It is estimated that a wide variety of animals occupy the crater park, turning it into probably the most intensive safari game parks on earth! Made a world heritage site in 1978, the crater as well as the surrounding area make a suitable safari getaway which should never be ignored by each and every guest within East Africa.
The crater is mostly a part of the ecologically rich Ngorongoro Conservation area that incorporates mountains, alkaline lakes, rain forests and then the massive grassland plains, covering a overall area of 8300sq km. This wildlife area was seen as area of the Serengeti National Park, unfortunately a result of the grazing needs from the surrounding Masaai, the area was then reclassified to become conservation Area.
At one time a competitor mountain with the Kilimanjaro in height and size, Ngorongoro plains and the now crater are from volcanic eruptions about 2 million years back. The enormous crater is the largest unfilled and also complete caldera across the world. The standpoint by the crater edge has views of large herds of elephants, buffaloes, rhino and much more.
This popular historical site, Olduvai Gorge is actually situated in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. It is actually here that Dr. Leakey unearthed the fossils of mankind, getting the starting step for the theory of historical Human Evolution and that human roots are in Africa. More fossils have been discovered at Olduvai Gorge, among them the ones from age-old elephants, gigantic horned sheep as well as huge ostriches. Footprints of humans considered three million years old were discovered at Olduvai Gorge. There is a fascinating museum with replicas as well as real pieces from Olduvai Gorge, another site worth a tour.
Ngorongoro crater animals
The crater park is one of the wealthy game parks in the world having nearly 30,000 different animals. The crater bottom supports a wide variety of animals for example wildebeest, zebras, buffalo, eland, warthog, large elephant families and a small population of the surviving black rhino. Predators such as lions, leopards, jackals, cheetah and hyena are favorite vistas given the vast prey animals around the crater. The high crater edge cliffs on the other hand stop animals like the giraffe, topi, impala and large herds of antelopes reach to this particular abundant grasses. Zambia safari
Ngorongoro crater photography
Simple fact is that the scenery of the park that brands wildlife observing and photography from the caldera more unique and even gratifying. The steep slopes of the crater, often making indigo shadows, build a spectacular backdrop for your photographs. The animals are the foremost target of the photo safaris, different, unexpectedly tame as well as familiarized to safari cars and trucks.
Ngorongoro crater routes
There are a few main one-way safari routes which are designed to drive in and out of the Crater. The descending road is found from the north-western aspect of the crater and then the climbing trail on the southern wall only to the east of the Lerai Forest. Largely guests at Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge travel by the third road, in the north-eastern area of the crater, in both directions.
The Ngorongoro Crater is actually open around 6 am until 16h00 and enables half day safaris, either during the early morning or perhaps late afternoon game drives. There are two picnic and toilet sites -the one from the Lerai Forest then another at the Ngoitokitok Springs located in the south-eastern section of the park.
The perfect vantage point will be the flat-topped Engitati Hill within the north-eastern part on the park. Lake Magadi, some big but low alkaline lake from the south-western part, pulls significant population of pink falmingoes, several water birds as well as wallowing hippos. The Lerai Forest a malaria-free zone found towards the south is an exceptional position to see animals like elephants, waterbuck in addition to tossing sunbirds. Swamps, thorn shrubs and grassland cover the rest on the park and then give the bulk of game watching.
Ngorongoro crater lodges and campsites
Lodging choices are all around the crater rim, having numerous luxury and also permanent safari lodges and additionally tent camp area. Lodges range between the luxury to the quite budget facilities.
Ngorongoro Trekking Safari
Best time for you to travel: June to March
Itinerary: Ngorongoro Highland Trekking
This 5 day trekking safari leads you to the different scenery of the Highlands of Ngorongoro Crater. You walk through broad grass and also mountainous countryside in addition to dense mountain forest plus the volcanic-savannah landscape of the Great Rift Valley. Near the exceptional nature plus animal sightings, this walk enables a deep understanding of the day-to-day lifestyle of the Masai people.
Day 1 Arusha – Olmoti Crater – Nainokanoka
You will be collected from your current hotel in the morning and you will begin the journey on a great tar road. Nearing Mto wa Mbu village, you will see the stunning Rift Valley escarpment rising ahead. With a point of view, the Masai plains extend up to the skyline with Lake Manyara right at the bottom of your feet. A quick drive on, you arrive at the gate of the vast Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area.
The voyage continues with amazing views over the crater road, before you arrive at Nainokanoka a Masai village with a close by campsite. This camp is going to be put in place and you can expect to ascend the edge of Olmoti Crater in the afternoon. Actually the climb is very rewarding with views at the peak of the crater fringe. Also there is a chance to visit a tiny waterfall on the way. Later Dinner will be had at the camp. Sleep at 2650 meters height could be wet and cold, based on the season.
Day 2 Nainokanoka – Bulati
Early morning hours, a Masai guide you who will guide you through the following days will come to the camp. The Masai guide will come with some donkeys that will carry your luggage for the forthcoming trek. Following breakfast, loading the various donkeys, the voyage starts through the verdant highland moving through several local Masai Bomas as well as their livestock. After a small distance, you will see wild animals like Thompson plus Grants Gazelle, wildebeests plus zebras. And then there are several animals, jackals too aren’t miles away and the eagles fly up in the blue skies. The campsite for this night is going to be arrived at after 16 km, near Bulati a Masai village. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
Day 3 Bulati – Empakai
Following breakfast, the voyage rises up a hill and there you will enjoy splendid sights of the grass flatlands. The journey continues along the bushy terrain that ultimately unwraps into the active Oldonyo Lengai volcano. This trek offers you wonderful sights of the stunning Volcano and into the Empakai Crater prior to arriving at the campsite to spend the night. There is a well taken care of track which leads into the crater floor, of which a third is roofed by Lake Empakai. This alkaline soda lake is a crucial habitat to flamingos that may be seen all year round. Later return to the camp, for dinner. The night will be characterized by calls of flamingos as they fly back into their breeding nests round Lakes Manyara and Natron. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
Day 4 Empakai Crater – Acacia Camp
Today, your journey leads to Naiyobi a Masai village. While pursuing the fine track, you will see this village in a distance together Oldonyo Lengai. Following lunch within Naiyobi, the journey leaves the vast Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area heading to a drier and hotter landscape. This camp is going to be established in a forest with yellow-acacia. Breakfast; Lunch; Dinner
Day 5 Acacia Camp – Engare Sero – Arusha
Today we go mainly downhill. The attributes of the journey are the wonderful sights of the Rift Valley, Oldonyo Lengai as well as Lake Natron. A huge area of the rough countryside is roofed by ashes of the very last eruption back in 2007 that add to the unique image of the surroundings. The journey goes deeper downwards into the dried out scorching Rift Valley, in which the dried ashes can be seen up close. Prior to lunch you will arrive at the awaiting jeep. Your Masai guide will bid goodbye to you and our driver will drive you to Lake Natron Lodge to get a cold drink or perhaps directly back to the town of Arusha. Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner
The Ngorongoro-Highland-Trekking may be simply coupled with our lodge or camping safaris. Make sure you send us an inquiry stating your ideas.