Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area


  27 reviews
First light in Ngorongoro Crater
First light in Ngorongoro Crater
About Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area
Country found in:
Parks total area:
8292 km² (3202 mi²)
Year established:
1959
Anti-malarial:
Not required
Park wildlife:
  • Black-maned lions
  • All of the big five
  • UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Proximity to other great parks, such as the Serengeti and Lake Manyara.

Ngorongoro Crater was originally part of the Serengeti National Park, until it became its own park in 1959. In 1979 it was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site, is one of the most-visited regions of Tanzania and is often referred to as the eighth wonder of the world. The crater is actually the world’s largest intact caldera, with the walls of the crater being roughly 670m (2000ft) high and the crater floor measuring roughly 18km (10 miles) in diameter. The crater floor has its own ecosystem and environment and it is not uncommon for the temperature to be significantly warmer on the crater floor than it is at the rim of the crater. The elevation of the rim is around 2280m (7500ft) and the base is around 1680m (5500ft).  Between the crater rim and floor, it is possible to see all of the ‘big five’ at Ngorongoro Crater. The big five are: buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino.
At the base of the crater is a large soda lake called Lake Magadi or Lake Makat. It is home to thousands of brightly-colored flamingos and is very popular for photo opps. 

Because the crater floor is small in size, it can also become very crowded with vehicles. The high concentration of safari vehicles on the crater floor means the animals are more accustomed to seeing these vehicles and are less timid when they approach. This may make for better photo opportunities but it also can be a bit of a negative point for those looking for a truly ‘wild’ safari.
There are no lodging options on the crater floor and all guests must overnight on the rim. In general, the standard of accommodation is extremely high, with five-star lodges overlooking the caldera. A Ngorongoro Crater safari is recommended for all levels of safari goers and it is a great addition to a Serengeti safari.

When to visit Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater can be visited year-round. During the driest months, June through October, the lake can turn into a large, white salt bed. The crater bottom is also home to a very high concentration of wildlife, and visitors are not disappointed at the quality and quantity of animals. The annual wildebeest migration also passes by the crater highlands, and guests visiting around the months of December through March may get to witness the migration in this part of Ngorongoro Crater. 

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Reviewed by:
** Safari guru **

(5/5 stars) Written on: Dec 19, 2015   |   Visited: Feb 2013.
Ngorongoro, as you read about in books, is paradise on earth. And I am here, still heart to believe I am really in Tanzania and walking in a crater!

It's marvelous to see animals everywhere! There's a lioness with a GPS on so they can follow her. We see other lions off in the distance. Many cars are behind each other. Suddenly, my guide turns. I know the group,... read more
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8 people gave this review kudus.

(5/5 stars) Written on: Dec 16, 2015   |   Visited: Jun 2013.
Ngorongoro Crater is jewel for viewing, wildlife, photography and beauty. It has breathtaking views as an unbroken largest caldera in the world. The lodges at the crater rim has a view to savour for the lifetime. We find it one of the must see things in Tanzania. One can never forget the experience of the crater floor and can never find that experience anywhere els... read more
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Reviewed by:
** Safari guru **

(5/5 stars) Written on: Dec 14, 2015   |   Visited: Feb 2015.
This year, 2015, I was for the 2nd time in Ngorongoro. This time for 3 days. Its amazing there. The 3 days I saw so many animals but also a wildebeest calf was born, an other wildebeest deep in the mud and the hyenas already waiting for his death, lions, so many cross the road. We have been there I think half an hour and small, middle and adult lions around the ca... read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Jun 19, 2015   |   Visited: Jun 2015.
Got to see a few rhinos in this park. Was stoked. It's amazing how many animals are packed in this crater floor. Also saw a ton of zebra and warthogs. Only spent a day here and then drove off to a lodge not on the crater rim.
Biggest downer: crowds! Even the animals are used to them. read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: May 06, 2015   |   Visited: May 2014.
The sweeping views of the overhead lush greenery, yellow flowers and cool winds as we descended into the crater floor made this my most favored park!

We were quickly greeted by a group of lions who leisurely crossed in front of us to the other side of the road. Other lions plopped down in the middle of the road in the shade of safari vehicles necessitating my ye... read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Apr 21, 2015   |   Visited: Jan 2015.
When you are coming from Arusha, the tarmac road ends as you reach the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

The dramatic landscape of the Ngorongoro Highlands is the perfect complement to the flatness of the Serengeti. Populated by Masai tribes, this area of grasslands, volcanoes and forests makes utterly superb hiking terrain. The area includes the Oldupai Gorge, the ... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Mar 30, 2015   |   Visited: Feb 2015.
With the light of a new dawn progressively streaming out across the floor as we made our way down the side of the crater, we rapidly understood what an animal ‘paradise’ the crater is.

They are all here except for cheetah, giraffe and leopard, the latter which can be found up around the top of the rim of the crater if you are very, very lucky. The animals can... read more
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Jan 13, 2015   |   Visited: Apr 2013.
It takes about a 3 hour drive from Arusha to get to the Ngorongoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes the crater, the majestic Ngorongoro Highlands, wildlife and a high concentration of Maasai settlements. Maasai graze their cattle throughout the Conservation Area. This area also includes Oldonyo Lengai, a Maasai holy site which remains an active vo... read more
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(4/5 stars) Written on: Dec 23, 2014   |   Visited: Jan 2011.
Ngorongoro Crater is a must-see for anyone visiting norther Tanzania. I found this park especially good for photographing wildlife. There's such a high density of tourists going through here, that the animals aren't nearly as skittish and will come much closer to the vehicles. I got some great zebra shots.
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(5/5 stars) Written on: Nov 25, 2014   |   Visited: Oct 2014.
You can't miss a full day game drive in Ngorongoro crater. This is unique place due to highest wildlife concentration all over the world. Inside the crater there is also grass and water, it's now considered “Africa’s Garden of Eden” for wildlife. Here is the place where you can spot the black rhino in Tanzania, easily you can see lions, hyena and other predators. B... read more
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Showing the 10 most recent reviews See all reviews
Safari suitability: 9 / 10
The park has all of the big five, but its small, limited size means that one or two days will suffice.
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Articles about the Ngorongoro Crater

Nearby parks and game reserves

Animals you can find

Rhinoceros
Rhinoceros
Cheetah
Cheetah
Leopard
Leopard
Lion
Lion
Wild dog
Wild dog
Elephant
Elephant
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Getting to Ngorongoro Crater

Activities you can do

Bird watching
Bird watching
Bush walks
Bush walks
Cultural / Tribal visits
Cultural / Tribal visits
Game drives
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Photography
Photography
Farm visits
Farm visits

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