NGORONGORO CONSERVATION AREA, TANZANIA…
The Largest Intact Volcanic Caldera
Its beauty and grandeur make for an extraordinary safari experience.
Want to enter a unique and special world? A place of deep green grasslands, acacia woods, and humming marshes brimming with wildlife? And all of this is in a volcanic basin 610 m (2,000 ft) deep into the earth. This immense crater floor is home to the largest density of predators in Africa and one of the most amazing habitats anywhere.
Over 25,000 animals live in this secluded volcanic caldera – you’ll find all of Africa’s “Big Five” in this exceptional landscape – lions, leopards, elephants, buffalo, and even rare rhinos. Grazers too abound in this blue/green paradise – you’ll be looking for gazelles, zebras, wildebeests, eland, hartebeests, and warthogs.
On your journey here, you’ll descend the steep crater walls in your 4 x 4 Jeep to a magical ecosystem where you’re as likely to see pink flamingoes as discover lions on the prowl. Such is the gift that nature has bestowed on the world’s most intact volcanic crater floor.
In The Beginning…
There stood an immense volcano about the size of Mt. Kilimanjaro, 5,800 m (19,000 ft). Around 2 – 3 million years ago, the great volcanic mountain exploded and then collapsed onto itself, forming the crater we see today. The resulting floor covers an area of 260 sq km (100 sq mi) and is about 19 km (12 mi) wide.
Over time forests up at the crater’s rim fed streams leading down the caldera as, marshes, and woodlands developed. The foliage attracted grazers into the area and that in turn, brought their natural predators like lions and leopards.
The Habitats You’ll Find
Those flowing streams fed natural springs at the crater floor creating the many living habitats and their supported wildlife. At the Lerai Forest, you’ll be looking for monkeys, baboons, and great bull elephants. You may stop for lunch at Ngoitoktok Springs to watch the hippos there as you picnic.
And don’t miss Lake Magadi, home to many florescent pink flamingoes in the rainy season. In the marsh areas, you’ll come upon a colorful variety of avian life. Look about for the sounds and flutterings of egret, firefinch, starlings, ostrich, and raptors such as buzzard, eagle, and the white-backed vulture.
Explore the crater floor – This is where you’ll game drive through the crater’s habitats spotting great numbers of grazers and predators as the rich birdlife swoop about in a dense, busy swirl of wildlife.
Meet the Maasai – Take some time to meet the people of this region, the Maasai. You can visit a local village at the crater’s rim and learn up close about their pastoral culture and way of life.
Sunsets – A very special treat for all visitors here – toward late afternoon you’ll head back up the crater walls in time to catch one of Ngorongoro’s signature and brilliant sunsets.
Survey: Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The entire Ngorongoro Area covers 8,293 sq km (3,200 sq mi) including the crater and surrounding regions.
Not far from Serengeti Park, the Ngorongoro Area lies in northern Tanzania
Best safari lodges & tented camps at Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Ngorongoro serena lodge.
- Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge
- Ngorongoro farmhouse Suite
- Ngorongoro Oldeani Mountain Lodge
- Kitela camp
This is Ngorongoro
Considering its spectacular vistas and the natural abundance of wildlife here, it is no surprise the vast crater was named one of the “Seven Natural Wonders of Africa”. Its beauty and grandeur make for an extraordinary safari experience.
Join us at Ngorongoro Crater
4 parks: Masai Mara, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater & Lake Manyara
5 parks: Masai Mara, Lake Victoria/Serengeti/Ngorongoro, & Tarangire
Discover More About Ngorongoro
Want to discover more about spectacular Ngorongoro? Our quick Q&A guide will help you with information on its wildlife, climate, history, and just what makes it an unmissable safari destination!
The Ngorongoro Crater is an incredible safari destination that offers visitors a unique and unforgettable wildlife experience. One of the main reasons why the crater is so popular with safari-goers is its incredible concentration of wildlife. The crater is home to an estimated 25,000 large mammals, including elephants, lions, leopards, cheetahs, hyenas, and more. Visitors can enjoy game drives through the crater to observe the animals up close and in their natural habitat.
In addition to its incredible wildlife, the Ngorongoro Crater is also known for its stunning landscapes. The crater is surrounded by rugged mountains and is home to a diverse range of ecosystems, from lush forests and grassy plains to swamps and soda lakes. The varied landscapes make for a breathtaking backdrop to any safari, and visitors can enjoy panoramic views of the crater from various lookout points.
Finally, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area offers visitors a unique cultural experience. The area is home to the Maasai people, who have lived here for centuries and continue to practice their traditional way of life. Visitors can learn about Maasai culture and traditions, visit local villages, and even take part in traditional activities such as cattle herding and beadwork. The Maasai people also play an important role in conservation efforts in the area, and visitors can learn about their efforts to preserve the local wildlife and ecosystems. Overall, the Ngorongoro Crater is a must-visit destination for any safari enthusiast, offering a unique combination of wildlife, landscapes, and culture.
Ngorongoro is a world-renowned conservation area located in northern Tanzania, East Africa. It spans an area of approximately 8,293 square kilometres (3,200 square miles) and encompasses the Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera that is home to a diverse range of wildlife. The area is also home to the Maasai people, who have lived here for centuries and continue to practice their traditional way of life.
A UNESCO World Heritage Site
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and is widely regarded as one of the most important and unique conservation areas in the world. It is home to a wide range of wildlife, including the “big five” (lions, elephants, leopards, rhinoceroses, and Cape buffalos), as well as numerous other species such as zebras, giraffes, hippos, and wildebeest. The area is also known for its stunning landscapes, which include lush forests, grassy plains, and rugged mountain ranges.
Home of the Ngorongoro Crater
One of the main attractions of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is the Ngorongoro Crater, which is often described as a natural wonder of the world. The crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world and is home to an incredible array of wildlife, including over 25,000 large mammals. Visitors can enjoy game drives and guided walks to explore the crater and observe the animals in their natural habitat. The area also offers a range of accommodation options, from luxury lodges to basic campsites, making it accessible to a wide range of budgets and travel styles.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit will depend on your specific interests and priorities. Here are some things to consider when planning your visit to the area:
Weather and Wildlife
The best time to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area for wildlife viewing is during the dry season, which typically runs from June to October. During this time, the vegetation is less dense, and animals tend to congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. The dry season also offers pleasant weather conditions, with cool temperatures and clear skies. However, this is also the busiest time of year, so expect crowds and higher prices.
If you prefer to avoid the crowds, the low season from April to May is a good option. During this time, there are fewer visitors, and prices are generally lower. However, it’s important to note that this is also the rainy season, so expect wet conditions and potentially muddy roads. On the plus side, the rain brings lush vegetation, and many animals give birth during this time, so there are plenty of cute baby animals to spot.
The shoulder season from November to March is a good compromise between the busy and low seasons. The weather is still pleasant, with occasional rain showers, and there are fewer visitors than during the peak season. Wildlife viewing is still good, although some animals may be harder to spot due to the denser vegetation. This is also a good time for bird watching, as many migratory species visit the area during this time.
Any Time is a Good Time to Visit Ngorongoro
Overall, the best time to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area will depend on your preferences and priorities, but with its year-round wildlife viewing opportunities, there is no wrong time to visit.
If you’re planning a safari to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, you’ll be pleased to know that there are several other top-notch parks and reserves in the surrounding area that you can easily combine with your visit. Here are some of the best safari parks near the Ngorongoro Conservation Area:
Serengeti National Park
The Serengeti National Park is perhaps the most famous safari destination in Tanzania, and for good reason. The park is home to the annual wildebeest migration, where millions of wildebeest and other grazers move across the plains in search of fresh grazing. The park is also home to a large number of predators, including lions, cheetahs, and leopards. Visitors to the park can enjoy game drives, hot air balloon safaris, and guided walks.
Lake Manyara National Park
Lake Manyara National Park is a compact park that packs a punch in terms of wildlife viewing opportunities. The park is known for its tree-climbing lions, as well as its large elephant herds and prolific birdlife. Visitors can enjoy game drives, night drives, and guided walks, as well as cultural activities such as visits to local villages.
Tarangire National Park
Tarangire National Park is known for its large elephant herds, which congregate around the Tarangire River during the dry season. The park is also home to a diverse range of other wildlife, including giraffes, zebras, and a variety of antelope species. Visitors can enjoy game drives, guided walks, and cultural activities such as visits to local Maasai villages.
Overall, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is an excellent base from which to explore the surrounding safari parks and reserves. With our multi-park safari tours, you can easily combine these multiple parks into a single itinerary and experience the best of Tanzania’s wildlife and landscapes.
The name “Ngorongoro” can be a bit tricky to pronounce for non-native speakers, but it’s not as difficult as it may seem at first glance. Here’s a guide to pronouncing the name correctly:
The first syllable is pronounced “ngoh,” with a nasal sound at the beginning that’s similar to the “ng” sound in the English word “sing.” The second syllable is “roh,” pronounced with a long “o” sound as in “go.” The final syllable is “ngoh” again, with the same nasal sound as the first syllable. So the full pronunciation is something like “ngoh-ROH-ngoh.”
The name “Ngorongoro” comes from the Maasai language, which is spoken by the Maasai people who live in the area. The Maasai are one of the indigenous cultures in the region, and their language is one of several that are spoken in Tanzania. Other local languages include Swahili, which is the national language of Tanzania and widely spoken throughout East Africa, as well as various Bantu languages such as Kinyarwanda and Kirundi.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is not only a wildlife destination but also a place of cultural importance. The Maasai people have lived in the area for centuries and still maintain their traditional way of life, with a strong connection to the land and its wildlife. Visitors to the area can learn about Maasai culture through cultural activities such as visits to local villages, where they can see traditional dances, meet local artisans, and learn about the Maasai’s unique way of life.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a vast, protected area in northern Tanzania that is home to a wide range of wildlife, including the iconic Ngorongoro Crater. Here’s what you need to know about this fascinating geological wonder:
Formation and Location
The Ngorongoro Crater is a large, volcanic caldera that was formed millions of years ago when a massive volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself. The crater is located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and is surrounded by steep walls that rise up to 600 meters in some places. The crater is around 20 kilometres wide and is home to a diverse array of plant and animal life.
Wildlife in the Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places in Tanzania to see wildlife up close and personal. The crater floor is home to a wide range of grazing animals such as wildebeest, zebras, and gazelles, as well as predators such as lions, hyenas, and cheetahs. The crater is also home to a large population of elephants and is one of the best places in Tanzania to see black rhinos. Visitors to the crater can enjoy game drives, guided walks, and cultural activities such as visits to local Maasai villages.
Visit Ngorongoro Crater for a Truly Unforgettable Safari Experience
Overall, the Ngorongoro Crater is a must-visit destination for anyone interested in wildlife and natural history. With its stunning landscapes and diverse array of plant and animal life, the crater offers visitors a truly unforgettable safari experience.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most famous and spectacular natural wonders in Africa. Here are some of the reasons why it is so well-known and highly regarded:
The Ngorongoro Crater is home to an incredible variety of wildlife, including some of the most iconic and sought-after species in Africa. The crater’s diverse habitats, ranging from grasslands and wetlands to forests and rocky outcrops, support a wide range of animals, from large herds of grazing mammals to predators such as lions, cheetahs, and hyenas. The crater is also one of the few places in Tanzania where you can still see black rhinos in the wild.
2. Unique Setting
The Ngorongoro Crater’s dramatic setting also adds to its fame and allure. The crater is situated within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a vast protected area that encompasses forests, savannas, and highlands, as well as numerous other natural and cultural attractions. Visitors to the area can enjoy stunning views of the crater from viewpoints on the rim, and can also explore the surrounding landscape on foot, on horseback, or by vehicle.
3. Cultural Significance
Finally, the Ngorongoro Crater is also famous for its cultural significance. The Maasai people have lived in the area for centuries, and their traditional way of life and close connection to the land and its wildlife have made them an important part of the region’s cultural heritage. Visitors to the area can learn about Maasai culture through cultural activities such as visits to local villages and traditional dances, making the Ngorongoro Crater not just a wildlife destination but also a cultural one.
The formation of the Ngorongoro Crater is a fascinating geological story that goes back millions of years. Here is a brief overview of how the crater was formed:
Around three million years ago, a massive volcanic eruption occurred in what is now northern Tanzania. The eruption was so powerful that it created a vast caldera, or collapsed volcano, that is now known as the Ngorongoro Crater. The eruption also created the nearby Olmoti and Empakaai craters.
Over time, the Ngorongoro Crater continued to evolve, shaped by erosion, tectonic activity, and changes in climate and vegetation. The crater’s unique topography and geology have played a key role in creating its diverse habitats and supporting its rich biodiversity. For example, the crater’s high walls create a natural barrier that helps to retain water, creating a wetland habitat that is vital for many species.
Conservation and Protection
Today, the Ngorongoro Crater and the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site, recognized for their outstanding natural and cultural value. The area is managed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, which works to balance conservation with sustainable tourism and the needs of the local Maasai communities. As one of Tanzania’s most iconic and beloved natural wonders, the Ngorongoro Crater continues to inspire and fascinate visitors from around the world.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the largest volcanic calderas in the world, with a diameter of approximately 19.2 kilometers (11.9 miles) and a depth of more than 610 meters (2,000 feet) – double the height of the Eiffel Tower. It covers an area of approximately 260 square kilometers (100 square miles) and is home to a remarkable variety of wildlife and ecosystems. Here is more information about the size of the Ngorongoro Crater:
Comparison to Other Craters
To give a sense of the Ngorongoro Crater’s size, it is useful to compare it to other well-known volcanic calderas. For example, the Yellowstone Caldera in the United States is approximately 55 kilometers (34 miles) in diameter, while the Toba Caldera in Indonesia measures around 100 kilometers (62 miles) across. By contrast, the Ngorongoro Crater is relatively small, but its high walls and unique topography make it a fascinating and highly biodiverse ecosystem.
The Ngorongoro Crater and the surrounding Ngorongoro Conservation Area are protected as a UNESCO World Heritage Site and a crucial part of Tanzania’s natural heritage. The conservation area covers more than 8,000 square kilometers (3,100 square miles) and includes a range of habitats, from montane forest to grassland and acacia woodland. In addition to the Ngorongoro Crater, the area is home to other iconic sites such as Olduvai Gorge, a world-famous archaeological site where fossils of early human ancestors have been found. Together, these areas represent some of the most important natural and cultural treasures in Tanzania and the world.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is situated in a highland plateau region, which means that its climate is cooler and milder compared to other safari destinations in Tanzania. The area experiences a temperate climate with mild temperatures throughout the year.
Temperatures in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are generally cool and comfortable, with daytime temperatures ranging from 15°C to 25°C (59°F to 77°F) and night-time temperatures ranging from 5°C to 10°C (41°F to 50°F). The temperatures tend to be slightly cooler during the months of June to August, which is Tanzania’s winter season. Visitors are therefore advised to pack warm clothing, especially for early morning game drives and evening walks.
Seasons of Ngorongoro
The area experiences two rainy seasons, the first being from March to May and the second from November to December. During these periods, the weather tends to be wetter and the landscape more lush and green. The rest of the year is generally dry and sunny, which is ideal for game viewing. Visitors planning to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are advised to check the weather forecast prior to their trip and pack accordingly.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a unique safari destination, as it boasts an incredibly diverse array of wildlife species. This area is home to the famous Ngorongoro Crater, which is the largest unflooded, intact volcanic caldera in the world. Visitors to this area can expect to see an abundance of wildlife species, from big game to small and elusive predators.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to some of the world’s most famous big game animals, including the African elephant, lion, leopard, buffalo, and black rhino. These animals can be seen grazing and roaming around the grasslands of the crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is also home to the largest population of Masai giraffes in the world, which can be seen gracefully wandering around the crater.
Aside from big game, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is also home to elusive predators such as cheetahs and hyenas. These animals can often be seen stalking their prey and hunting in the early mornings or late afternoons. Visitors to this area can also spot smaller predators such as the bat-eared fox and the aardvark, which are nocturnal and can be spotted on guided night drives.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a haven for bird enthusiasts, as it is home to over 500 bird species. Visitors can spot various bird species such as flamingos, eagles, vultures, ostriches, and secretary birds, amongst others. Birdwatchers can also take guided walks and drives around the crater to spot some of the rare and unique bird species that call this area home.
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