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Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area reviews

29 reviews

“Go when the gate first opens, it's your chance to see Ngorongoro before its overrun by safari trucks. ” - Stephen Bailey

Amazement amongst the crowds

Stephen Bailey
Views: 555 Visited: Jul 2012 Reviewed: Sep 03, 2013

In the early morning mist Ngorongoro looks magical, clouds slowly rising above the stark crater walls. Descending into this animal kingdom is nerve wracking, the safari truck jerking downhill before the path straightens and takes us directly towards three hunting lions. At this early hour it's a predator's paradise, but once the mist clears there is no high grass to hide behind. Three times in a morning we see prowling lion packs, but the flat volcanic landscape makes it easy for potential prey to stay out of reach.

Ngorogoro is small and can be completely covered in a long morning. But it's arguably the most intense compact safari in Africa. Unique animal sightings seem to come by the minute; a lone hyena, elephants bulldozing through trees, hippos playing in the water, and lions sleeping in the shade of another safari truck. Flamingos bring the colour, thousands upon thousands of them creating a pink blanket upon the water. Ngorongoro is the often misguided preconception of African safaris; that you can turn up and within two hours see pretty much all the animals. For tick list fanatics there is nowhere better.

However, once the mist has cleared there is another ugly predator on the prowl; safari trucks. Ngorongoro is shockingly busy and we saw many trucks ignoring all the rules about off-road driving and not making unnecessary noise. All my photos seem to have a truck in the background and I got the sense that this precious and special ecosystem will rapidly deteriorate if tourism is not capped. Ngorongoro's size is its appeal and downfall. For the quality and quantity of animal sightings nowhere delivers so much in such a small area. But the number of safari trucks can potentially ruin the experience, so get in early when the gate first opens and the biggest predators come on four legs not four wheels.

Quality of wildlife
Crowdedness
Quality of lodging
Lodging not used
Overall rating

* Crowded parks have a lower rating

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