Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater is one of the showpieces of the larger Ngorongoro conservation area which was created when a large volcano erupted and collapsed two to three million years ago. The Crater was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978 and is one of the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world.  The diameter of the crater is approximately 19km and with walls of up to 600m in height. It is well known for both its geological magnificence and a natural reserve as it is a habitat to a wide range of wild animals.

Ngorongoro Crater is enclosed making it to form its own ecosystem. Apart from the spectacular scenery, it has a variety of flora and fauna that can be viewed all year round. The northern part of the Crater is drier and comprises of open grasslands, it is here you will find majority of the resident wildlife.  The South west corner of the park comprises of the Lerai Forest, which mainly consists of yellow fever trees and to the north of the forest there is a  is a shallow soda lake called Lake Magadi and to the east you will spot the Ngoitokitok Springs and Gorigor Swamp.

Any Safari to Ngorongoro crater, you are guaranteed to see a large concentration of wild animals. On the open plains of the crater you will spot the large herds of zebra and wildebeest. The plains are also a habitat to Thomson's gazelles, buffaloes, Grant's gazelles, topi as well as other grazers. The black rhino are often spotted in open grasslands. Other animals that you are likely to spot include large herds of elephants. The wild animals that you are likely not going to find in the crater include the Impala and Giraffe mainly because there are no open woodlands and browsing species of trees that the two are likely to feed on.

The predators are supported by the high number of herbivores found in the crater. You will find the lion, cheetah and hyenas with a small number of leopards that can be spotted around the Lerai Forest. Sometimes the predators will just hunt a few yards from the vehicle making Ngorongoro safari spectacular. Side striped and the golden jackals are sometimes spotted moving around.

How to get to there
The Ngorongoro crater and the bigger Ngorongoro conservation area are easily accessible by road. A drive from Arusha takes approximately four hours. From Dar es Salaam one can fly to Arusha then proceed by road. One can also fly to Manyara airstrip which is approximately an hour from the Crater.

Where to stay
There are no lodges or camps within the Ngorongoro Crater; one can either stay on the Crater rim or on the Rift Valley Escarpment where there are lodges. Some of the lodges are perched on the Crater rim offering spectacular views.  Some of the lodges that are situated near include Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge, Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge. There are other Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge that are situated near but do not have views of the crater but are convenient and affordable

One can also stay on the nearby Rift Valley Escarpment in an area known as Karatu which is less than 20km from the crater.

When to visit
The crater can be toured all year round. On the high season the crater might seem to be overcrowded thus the low season is more important and beneficial.

What to do
There are limited activities in the Ngorongoro Crater, once can only do game drives, although there are picnic sites. While the bigger conservation area offers activities such as trekking, walking, visiting the Masai villages and the Olduvai gorge

Other attractions
    Empakaai Crater
    Olduvai Gorge

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