Tanzania has many wilderness and wildlife show pieces, but this one is particularly difficult to put into words. With remarkable views from the ridge above, to the real action on the crater floor below, Ngorongoro Crater embodies a constant stir of wildlife and unspoilt scenes to keep you engrossed.
From Volcano to Crater
Approximately three million years ago, a volcano, believed to be higher than Kilimanjaro, dominated the land. A colossal eruption then took place which led to the volcano collapsing in on itself, leaving behind the 610 m deep and 250 km2 Ngorongoro Crater we know today (also known as a caldera) – well, give or take a few hundred-thousand years. The life giving plains of the Serengeti are believed to be the result of the ash from this volcano.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is directly adjacent the Serengeti and is a popular stop on the way to the Serengeti National Park. Massive mountains surround the crater as you move along its rim and descend down towards the crater floor. Maintaining the integrity of the Ngorongoro Crater meant that the Masai had to be relocated beyond the crater, but even beyond the crater’s rim, succulent grasses persist, which have allowed the Masai to rear healthy cattle and live quite comfortably. Masai cultural experiences have become a favourite activity, where you can taste local delicacies and learn about local traditions and beliefs. Close by is the famous Oldupai Gorge where many famous fossils were discovered in the 20th century. A 90 minutes’ drive from Ngorongoro Crater is the smaller Empakaai Crater, where thousands of flamingos live in the shallows of the crater Lake. On very clear days are spectacular views of Mount Kilimanjaro and Lake Natron.
Wildlife, Wilderness and Wonder
Perhaps the most remarkable feature of the Ngorongoro Crater is that it is its own unique ecosystem. The enclosed crater has allowed various flora and fauna to flourish. A perfect ring of forested hills surround the large plains and alkaline lakes (complete with thousands of flamingos), and two small forests on the crater floor provide much needed relief for animals from the sun-soaked plains. You are guaranteed to see large concentrations of game on any trip to Ngorongoro. Herds of buffalo, Thomson’s gazelle, Grants gazelle and tsessbe frequent these plains. The high number of herbivores means predators are ever present and hunting – including the densest population of Masai lions in Tanzania. The consistent presence of these predators is what makes safaris in Ngorongoro so popular, which is why more than 450,000 people visit every year.
We have been operating tours in Africa for more than 25 years. With our specially trained guides and staff, modified game vehicles, and three of our own camps in the Serengeti, we understand all of the moving parts involved when it comes to creating great safaris. We can customise any trip in Africa and be there with you every step of the way. If you’re interested in our trips click here or email firstname.lastname@example.org and let us create that ultimate trip just for you.