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Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

35 reviews

About Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Country found in: Tanzania
Parks total area: 8292 km² (3202 mi²)
Year established: 1959
Park wildlife: 29 animals listed
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think of Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Quality of wildlife:
Crowdedness*:
Quality of lodging:
Most-visited month: January
Top animal sighting: Zebra

* Crowded parks have a lower rating

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area map

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). 

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 more authentic safari experience. 

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. It is also close to Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Parks. 

Ngorongoro Crater wildlife

Between the crater rim and floor it is possible to see all of the big five at Ngorongoro Crater. The crater is one of the best places to see the endangered black rhino. Giraffes are absent from the crater floor. It is thought that the banks of the caldera are too steep for them to ascend. They can be spotted around the rim.  Lions have adapted to the cooler temperatures of the crater by growing thicker, darker manes. Lion mane color can vary within the year, depending on ambient temperature. Mane color is thought to also darken with age. The annual wildebeest migration passes by the crater highlands around the months of December through MarchAt 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. 

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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Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area tour packages

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