Ngorongoro Crater | Kanwar Deep Juneja Ngorongoro Crater | Kanwar Deep Juneja

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

41 reviews

Safari suitability: 9/10

Find your tour

The park has all of the big five, but its small, limited size means that one or two days will suffice.

Found in: Tanzania
Companies: 1509
Tour packages: 2097
Wildlife: 29 animals listed
Total area: 8292 km² (3202 mi²)
Year established: 1959
Anti-malarial: Not required

What YAS members think

Quality of wildlife:
Crowdedness:
Quality of lodging:
Most-visited month:
February
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Highlights

  • Black-maned lions

  • All of the big five

  • No giraffe on the crater floor

  • UNESCO World Heritage Site

  • Proximity to other great parks, such as the Serengeti and Lake Manyara.

About Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

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. 

"Camping at "Simba A" on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater"
Safari enthusiast
Safari guru
Tanzania Tanzania
240 kudus
Reviews (1)
Visited: Apr. 2012 Reviewed: Aug. 16, 2013

Sometime last year, I had the privilege of working as the P.A of the head of security for a certain popular reality TV show whose name I can't mention least I get sued. The job mainly involved Lake Manyara National Park and Ngorongoro Crater. This is a review of the most popular public campsite in Ngorongoro and the wildlife in the crater. I'll write in two sections, one will describe the campsite and the camping experience, and the other will describe the game drive in the crater. THE CAMPSITE: I met my employer at the Ngorongoro airstrip on a fine sunny morning in April 2011. We were scheduled to sleep at the popular public campsite, Simba A, which is on the rim of the crater for the night. It costs $30 a head for a night in the campsite and you can choose to bring your own tent and sleeping bags, or you can hire a tour company which will loan you one for your stay. We had already hired tour operators to work with us and they provided the tents and sleeping bags. The campsite was surprisingly clean, although I am told there are months when it can get very dirty, particularly during the high season. It's on a grassy gentle slope with a kitchen, toilets, and showers. If you come with your own gear then be prepared to pitch your own tent. The tour company we hired had graciously pitched the tents for us and everything was ready for us. All we needed to do was our jobs. I strongly believe that camping in Africa is not for everyone. Fussy travelers beware, you are not going to the Four Seasons. The toilets and showers are all obviously not very clean. Sure, they could be cleaner, but you should really be ready for the worst, that way any surprises will be pleasant ones. The campsite was quite comfortable in my opinion and we had a spectacular view of the crater. Towards the evening as the sun was setting, a fog sort of lay over the crater and it created the most breathtaking rainbows. That beautiful sight itself is worth a camping trip in Ngorongoro in my opinion. There were other travelers, most of them were quite happy with the setup. I didn't hear a single complaint from the people I met at the campsite. I worked with a team of more than 100 people. We had people camping in the public Simba A and the private Simba B. Here are some tips for travelers planning to camp at Simba A: -Carry toilet paper. Seriously. -Don't forget your camera and try to carry extra batteries if you can. There was a place near the kitchens where you could charge your gadgets but it's pretty risky in my opinion. If you have a tour guide with you then ask them for help. Almost all their cars have sockets for charging electronic gadgets. -Carry a heavy sweater or jacket. It was really hot in the daytime but it got REALLY cold in the night and early morning. Make sure you have a sweater ready for the cold nights in a tent. -Carry a flashlight. It's super dark out there. The stars are a sight to behold if the sky is clear but you probably won't see a thing without a flashlight. -Carry flipflops/slippers for bathing. I would not walk barefoot in those toilets or showers. Get some flipflops in town before you head out. They're pretty cheap and won't cost you more than 2,000Tsh (around $1). -Stay within the camp limits at all times. There are rangers in the campsite areas so they're safe, but who knows what animals lurk out there. I saw a large lone male elephant in Simba B and had to sit still for a bit. They'll maul you if you make too many sudden movements I've been told. This happened at around 5pm. -Carry some booze and cigarettes if you enjoy drinking or smoking. Those things are available, but they're really hard to find and expensive. -Keep an open mind. You're at one of the natural wonders of the world and it's a pretty great experience. The one thing I can't comment about is the food situation. Lunch and dinner buffets were specially prepared for the folks working with the TV show and I'm not really sure how regular travelers normally eat. Simba A is really affordable and everything you get is really basic, but it has the best views in my opinion. Simba B on the other hand is much more highend, but I think you need to make special bookings to gain access. It's for the travelers looking to camp with a little luxury. So then, how would I rank Simba A? I give it 4 stars. The toilets and showers could really be cleaner, but it should not be a problem if you are used to roughing it a little and at $30 a night I say it's a bargain. Much better experience than paying hundreds of dollars to sleep in one of the fancy lodges. It all really depends on the type of adventure you're looking to have. Remember, prepare for the worst and all your surprises will always be pleasant ones. THE GAME DRIVE IN THE CRATER: As I mentioned before, I visited Ngorongoro in April. I missed out on the Great Migration by one month and the dry season was slowly starting to creep in. The soda lake at the center of the crater had not started to dry up yet and there was plenty of wildlife. The day was really hot and I would recommend carrying sunglasses and a hat. Sunscreen too if you burn. The wildlife I saw were the common ones; baboons, giraffe, elephants, zebra, impala, buffalo, wildebeest, and one elusive lion. Our driver told us that you can see many of these animals all year round. The crater is also small enough to enjoy in one day or afternoon depending on how much time you have. There is a wooded area for picnics and such with toilets which is common stop for vehicles. Pack your lunch if you love eating in the outdoors and watch out for the baboons! They'll steal your food if you're not looking. I spent a few hours down there and I saw a lot of wildlife. A drive through the crater is an opportunity no one should miss and I highly recommend it, especially if you're heading to the Serengeti. It might sound expensive but it won't be if you choose to camp instead of staying in one of the five star lodges on the rim. It'll probably set you back $100 or so and it'll be a much more fulfilling experience. I thoroughly enjoyed my time there even though we only spent a few hours in the crater before moving on to Manyara. If you're in the area or if you're planning to head to Serengeti then spend a day and night in Ngorongoro. The view from the rim is enough to make the trip to this natural wonder of the world worthwhile.

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Safari guru
Tanzania Tanzania
Visited: Apr. 2012
Reviewed: Aug. 16, 2013

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"Ngorongoro Crater"
Safari guru
Tanzania Tanzania
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Visited: Jun. 2021 Reviewed: Oct. 04, 2021 Submitted in:

Ngorongoro crater is the best place to see black rhinoceros, wildebeest, zebra, and gazelles. Nevertheless, one can see leopard, hyena, jackal, cheetah, elephants, hippos, waterbuck, baboons, antelope family, and small mammals. There are lots of colourful flamingos and a variety of water birds in this area too for bird lovers. The crater also has the densest known population of lions and can find the black-maned lion. This trip will give you an unforgettable memory to take home.

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Visited: Jun. 2021
Reviewed: Oct. 04, 2021

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"An epic place of attraction"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
66 kudus
Reviews (8)
Visited: May. 2017 Reviewed: Sep. 15, 2021 Submitted in:

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is considered the eighth wonder of the world. The so-called Garden of Eden is home to one of the largest permanent populations of animals in the crater/caldera of the volcano's 20-kilometer-long crater and 610 meters down, where of course, there are the Big Five and other animals that are very difficult to see, such as black rhinoceroses and not to forget the birdlife in its own Lake Magadi with flamingos.

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Kenya Kenya
Visited: May. 2017
Reviewed: Sep. 15, 2021

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"Never forget"
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African traveller
Tanzania Tanzania
84 kudus
Reviews (1)
Visited: Dec. 2020 Reviewed: May. 22, 2021 Submitted in:

It was a fantastic safari to did game drive at Ngorongoro Crater with my families. We really enjoyed it was amazing experience to my family because it was their first time to visit Ngorongoro crater. We saw a lot of animals including Big Five animal as we were lucky enough. The safari was very breathtaking and we did it as a day trip. My family wishes to spend a lot of time being in Ngorongoro.

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By: Ngaiza
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Tanzania Tanzania
Visited: Dec. 2020
Reviewed: May. 22, 2021

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"Amazing Experince at Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania"
Safari guru
Kenya Kenya
1 kudus
Reviews (2)
Visited: Feb. 2021 Reviewed: Mar. 01, 2021 Submitted in:

We took a trip to Ngorongoro Tanzania in February of 2021 with some colleagues. This was during the Covid pandemic and we had an amazing experience coming close to wildlife during this period there are fewer travelers out on safari. On the descent road we came across two male Lions and spent quite sometime alone watching them sleep and move towards the Crater floor. The Ngorongoro Crater was amazing with lots of wildlife and the greenery and more so especially with few people in the crater meant we had the crater to ourselves. We enjoyed the serenity and this is one location i would highly recommend while in Tanzania.

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Kenya Kenya
Visited: Feb. 2021
Reviewed: Mar. 01, 2021

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"A perfect safari in Ngorongoro Crater"
France France
10 kudus
Reviews (2)
Visited: Feb. 2020 Reviewed: Feb. 22, 2021 Submitted in:

This crater, now extinct, was formed following the collapse of a volcano on itself when its magma chamber emptied during a volcanic eruption. The Ngorongoro is the largest intact, unsubmerged caldera in the world.

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France France
Visited: Feb. 2020
Reviewed: Feb. 22, 2021

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"Ngorongoro Crater"
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Italy Italy
5 kudus
Reviews (4)
Visited: Aug. 2020 Reviewed: Jan. 14, 2021 Submitted in:

Imagine you’re seated on your comfortable sofa on a freezing winter evening. You’re zapping furiously with your remote and then, out of the blue, you land on one of those channels full of exotic animals in a fairy tale surrounding. The setting is a vast grassy plain, the sun is shining, the animals are quite, but attentive. A pride of lions here, a group of zebras there. There’s a lake nearby and some yellow acacias. All around a rim surrounds this paradise. You are watching a documentary about Ngorongoro Crater. If you want a real emotion you have to look out from the Crater View Point at 2,200 meters over this immense caldera. There and only there you can understand what nature is capable of. What you are witnessing is the largest caldera existing on Earth, originated from the massive explosion of a big volcano which collapsed on itself and created this wonder, some 2.5 million years ago. More than three thousand mammals, birds, all the big five, including some black rhinos, the sighting of which is as rare as fortunate. Pay attention, though, to respect the strict rules of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area that allow the visits only for six hours a day in order to maintain safe the ecosystem. A great idea!

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By: Mirta
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Italy Italy
Visited: Aug. 2020
Reviewed: Jan. 14, 2021

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" Absolutely awesome safari destination!"
Safari enthusiast
Australia Australia
95 kudus
Reviews (5)
Visited: Dec. 2018 Reviewed: Mar. 30, 2019

We thoroughly enjoyed our day down in the Ngorongoro Crater organized by Mgalaa Expeditions. Since the abundant wildlife is confined within the area of the crater, and since the crater area actually contains many different types of terrains (plains, woodlands, hills, lakes, etc....), you are likely to see everything during your day there, from lions chasing wildebeests, to baboons and monkeys in the woodlands, to hippos at the Ngoitokitok Springs, to rhinos in the plains, etc... A truly memorable experience. A TIP: get there at six when the park opens; there will be no lines, you will have the wildlife virtually to yourself, and you will avoid the heat of the midday.

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Visited: Dec. 2018
Reviewed: Mar. 30, 2019

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"Best of all adventures"
Kenya Kenya
12 kudus
Reviews (3)
Visited: Mar. 2019 Reviewed: Mar. 23, 2019

We visited Ngorongoro before going to Serengeti. We were descending to the floor of the crater. Just as we reached the bottom we were met with lioness and the lion king having honey moon and was great welcome for the game in the crater. Wildlife game was great with leopard on a tree in the acacia forest.

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Kenya Kenya
Visited: Mar. 2019
Reviewed: Mar. 23, 2019

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"Amazing, amazing, amazing!!"
Safari enthusiast
France France
20 kudus
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Reviews (2)
Visited: Jan. 2019 Reviewed: Mar. 03, 2019

We did an amazing safari with Masai Warrior Adventures in Jan 2019 to the northern parks of Tanzania namely; Tarangire, Ngorongoro, Serengeti and Lake Manyara. I can say that Ngorongoro is one of the most beautiful places I've ever visited. It's hard to comprehend its scale, vitality, diversity, and sheer beauty all at one time. Where else can you see lions, elephants, rhinos, wildebeest, African buffalo, secretary birds, flamingos, zebra, water-bucks, gazelles, ostriches, warthogs, and hippos all at the same time, from a single vantage point, on the floor of a crater. Apparently the leopards are there as well, hiding in the trees.

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Visited: Jan. 2019
Reviewed: Mar. 03, 2019

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"So much nature!"
Safari enthusiast
United States United States
8 kudus
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Reviews (1)
Visited: Jan. 2019 Reviewed: Feb. 09, 2019

If you plan a safari in Tanzania, don't miss the Ngorongoro! The area of Ngorongoro is small if you compare it to Serengeti, but the wildlife is very rich. During a couple of hours you can see hundreds of gnus (wildebeest), buffalo, zebras and gazelles and its predators, like lions, leopards and hyenas in their nature lifestyle. The natural pools are good place for the hippos, in the forest part there are elephants, and if you are really lucky, you can meet rhinos too... (we were!)

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By: eminige
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United States United States
Visited: Jan. 2019
Reviewed: Feb. 09, 2019

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Driving to Ngorongoro Crater from Arusha

Ngorongoro Crater is easily accessible from Arusha. The drive takes roughly three to four hours and conveniently passes by Lake Manyara NP and very close to Tarangire NP. The majority of the road is tarmacked, which allows for a relatively smooth ride. Driving from the Serengeti, depending on which part of the park you are in, takes around three to four hours.  

 

Domestic flights to Ngorongoro Crater

In addition to charter flights, which offer the ultimate in flexibility, but at a price, a few carriers offer regularly scheduled domestic flights to the Ndutu region, which is the closest airstrip to Ngorongoro Crater and which falls inside the Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area.

The following airlines travel to Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area


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As Salaam Air has grown to be a leading air carrier between the Tanzanian Islands. Our experienced team understands that customer satisfaction is important to the creation of a successful flight operation. Thus, we go above and beyond to satisfy our clients. The airline plies eight routes to promote tourism within and outside the country. We have two fuel-efficient aircraft – Cessna 208B Grand Caravan and Embraer EMB 120 Brasilia, which are good for the environment and the safety of our clients.We would like to help you discover more about our Islands here on our website and at every step of your journey Visit website

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Precision Air is a publicly-listed Tanzanian airline and a leader in providing scheduled flight services to over 10 destinations within and outside Tanzania from its main hub Dar es Salaam. The company operates on the principle that quick, comfortable and reliable service is the best way to serve its customers. Through its customer-focused approach, many have become part of the Precision Air family. Precision Air started with its headquarters in Arusha - the midpoint between the Cape and Cairo, which is the entry point to many of Tanzania's world-renowned landmarks and national parks. The headquarters of Precision Air are now Dar es Salaam, the business complex of the country, which is home to a vast size of traffic travelling within and outside Tanzania. Visit website

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Regional air is a recognized leader in the aviation industry in Tanzania, the airline began in 1997 with one pilot and one aircraft. They are affiliated to the long-established Nairobi-based domestic airline, Airkenya. We are based in the northern Tanzanian town of Arusha. Arusha is the starting point of safaris into Northern Tanzania, as the airline also offers charters to these various parks and game reserves. Visit website

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TANZANAIR was formed in 1969 and pioneered aviation throughout Tanzania. Today it continues to live up to its slogan as the“Complete Aviation Company”. It was founded by Dinos J Samaras who managed the Company until he passed away in April 2010. It is now headed by his son John Samaras who was his deputy since 1983. With 45 years’ experience, TANZANAIR offers tailor-made air travel to suit the needs of its customers. With a modern fleet of twin and single-engine Cessna and Beechcraft turbine aircraft, TANZANAIR’s well-established reputation leads the way in air charter services throughout the region. TANZANAIR operates out of its own purpose-built Passenger Terminal located between Terminal I and II at Julius Nyerere International Airport in Dar es Salaam. The passenger lounge is adjacent to the two hangars. It is housed within a secure wall enclosed compound with ample parking facilities. Visit website

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ZanAir Limited is a domestic airline based in Zanzibar. Since their inaugural flight in 1992, ZanAir has continued to establish a quality reputation, serving esteemed clientele. ZanAir is an acknowledged expert within Tanzania serving all destinations, including remote unpaved bush locations. Visit website

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Flown by an international team of pilots, Zantas Air has one of the youngest fleets of Cessna Grand Caravans in Tanzania. These are maintained to the highest safety standards and comply with the ICAO, CESSNA, and TCAA directives. We have an exclusive lounge at Arusha airport. Guests can relax in our comfortable lounge while they wait for their flight. Our operations are designed to suit our client's needs with a customized itinerary based on their schedule. Zantas Air works with its sister company, Mbali Mbali Lodges and Camps, to offer shared charter flights. We fly passengers from Northern Tanzania to Western Tanzania twice a week on Monday and Thursdays. Visit website

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