Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area is dominated by the Ngorongoro Crater, a massive caldera formed millions of years ago when a volcano collapsed. The crater sinks over 600m at its deepest point, making it one of the world’s six largest. With its majestic stature and fascinating history, it is no surprise that the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the country’s most popular natural phenomena.
The Ngorongoro crater conservation area was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 1979 and is internationally renowned for its remarkable fauna. Within the park, Masai tribes’ people coexist peacefully with the region’s indigenous wildlife. Elephants, lions, wildebeests, gazelle, cheetahs, and flamingos are common sightings in the area. The crater’s interior is also home to the endangered black rhino, which thrives within its protective rim.
Daily game drives take place, and 4x4s laden with explorers plumb the depths of the crater in search of some of the planet’s most beautiful creatures. There are few places for passengers to alight from their vehicles in order to keep the area as pristine as possible. There are, however, a few picnic areas where visitors can relax. Outside of the crater, in the park’s larger area, there are more opportunities for walking, hiking, and interacting with indigenous people.
Things to do and see in Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
Game Drive and Wildlife Viewing
Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area hosts a diverse range of fauna thanks to its wide plains, Crater Lake, and acacia woodland. It is known as the “Garden of Eden” and “Cradle of Life” with good cause! As previously reported, there is numerous pride of lion and leopard that wander the Crater floor, which benefits from the influx of wildebeest, Burchell’s zebra, and other game animals into the area during the wet months. In fact, the Crater has the world’s greatest lion population.
Leopards, as previously said, prefer to spend their days on the rim and are frequently observed in the Lerai Forest. Although cheetah numbers are extremely low, the small population is frequently seen. Serval, caracal, and golden cats, on the other hand, are genuine rewards for cat lovers. The last two are quite rare, but serval is frequently observed on game drives.
The Crater is home to black rhino, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles, eland, topi, spotted hyena, hartebeest, jackal, black-faced vervet, baboon, and warthog, in addition to wildebeest and zebra! Hippopotamus, waterbuck, and a variety of other animals frequent the lake and its waterways, while mountain reedbuck, Cape buffalo, and elephant inhabit the higher highlands. The elephant population is not large, but some of the oldest and largest tuskers have settled here. With tusks slamming the ground, it’s worth keeping an eye out for these extraordinary creatures.
The Crater’s birdlife is spectacular, with over 200 species to keep avid birdwatchers occupied! Namely the European roller, pallid harrier, lesser kestrel, helmeted guinea fowls, eastern crested fowl, Hildebrandt’s francolin, fulvous whistling duck, Egyptian goose, spur-winged goose, red-billed teal, greater flamingo, lesser flamingo, dusky turtle-dove, emerald spotted wood-dove, black crake, grey crowned crane, black-billed bustard, marabou stork, yellow-billed stork, white stork, saddle bill, African sacred Ibis, black-headed heron, great white pelican, black-winged stilt, blacksmith lapwing, crowned lapwing, marsh sandpiper, secretary bird, white-backed vulture, martial eagle, tawny eagle, levant sparrow hawk, black kite, mountain buzzard, cinnamon-chested bee-eater, malachite kingfisher, woodland kingfisher, Thick-billed seedeater, cape Robin-chat, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, African grey flycatcher, Mbulu white-eye, mountain yellow warbler among others.
Best months to visit Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Crater has a massive concentration of numerous species; you are guaranteed a spectacular show at any time of year. Animals here do not leave the Crater floor, you can have fantastic game drives at any time of year. The only issue with Ngorongoro is how crowded the park can become, July and August, as well as December and much of February, are extremely busy months. However, the reality of Ngorongoro is that game viewing should be viewed as a reward – the vastness of being on safari in an extinct volcano should be your main reason for visiting Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area.
Where to stay
Around the Ngorongoro Crater, there are several lodging options. The majority are constructed on the Rift Valley Escarpment or the Crater rim. Standard lodges, eco-lodges, bush camps, country cottages, mobile camps, and tented camps are all available. Accommodation in Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area includes Sanctuary Ngorongoro Crater Camp, Ngorongoro Forested tented lodge, lions pau camp, Karibu camps and lodges, acacia farm lodge, Ngorongoro farmhouse, Hhando coffee lodge, Angata Ngorongoro Camp, Ngorongoro Oldeani mountain lodge, Neptune Ngorongoro Luxury Lodge, Ngorongoro rhino lodge, Ngorongoro wildlife lodge, Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro crater lodge, Ngorongoro Serena safari lodge among others.