Once you hear the word safari, you immediately think of golden savannahs and animals walking under the branches of dry acacia trees. But what if instead of endless flat savannah, there is a volcano crater, and instead of golden grass, there are green meadows, marshes, and lakes? Also, this place can be seen from the observation deck, and it will seem completely deserted, but if you go down, be surprised by the great variety of African animals that live there. Yes, we are talking about the Ngorongoro Crater Safari.
If you still doubt why you should prefer this park to, for example, the famous Serengeti or Kruger in South Africa, this article is for you. Here we will tell you about Ngorongoro’s features and why it should be on your travel list.
Ngorongoro Crater: A Bit of History
The Ngorongoro Crater is a large volcanic caldera, part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in Tanzania, East Africa. The Ngorongoro Crater was created through a series of volcanic eruptions and collapses that occurred over millions of years. The earliest known volcanic activity in the area dates back over 8 million years. Around 2.5 million years ago, a large volcano known as Oldoinyo Lengai erupted, creating a massive caldera, or a large volcanic crater. This caldera eventually collapsed further over time, forming the Ngorongoro Crater as we know it today.
The Ngorongoro Crater is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which was established in 1959 to protect the area’s unique wildlife and natural habitats. The crater’s unique geography and diverse habitats, which include forests, grasslands, and wetlands, have created an ideal environment for a wide variety of plant and animal species to thrive.
Today, the Ngorongoro Crater is a popular destination for tourists and safari enthusiasts, who come to witness the incredible concentration of wildlife that inhabits the area. The crater is home to a wide variety of animals, including lions, elephants, buffaloes, zebras, giraffes, and many species of antelopes. It is also an important site for scientific research, providing valuable insights into the area’s geological and biological history.
Safari in Ngorongoro: Features
Thanks to its peculiarities, a safari in Ngorongoro will be a real highlight of your African trip. Its characteristics make it the most unusual nature reserve in the world. We can confidently say that the most vivid emotions you will experience after descending into the crater, as well as feeling its natural power from the observation deck. But even now, you can find out some information about Ngorongoro to understand that your trip here will be magnificent.
Ngorongoro is the seventh wonder of Africa
Africa abounds with natural wonders, such as the Red Sea, the Okavango Delta, and Mount Kilimanjaro. The Ngorongoro Crater is also one of the seven most beautiful places in Africa. It is protected by the local authorities as well as by UNESCO.
Over 30,000 mammals and other park inhabitants
If you’re worried about coming on safari and seeing almost no one, this is not about Ngorongoro. The crater provides an ideal environment for the animals, where they get plenty of food and water, so be prepared to be surrounded by large numbers of zebras, gazelles, buffalo, and so on.
There is also the picturesque Lake Magadi, near which you can find many hippos. You will also enjoy it if you like to watch birds, especially pink flamingos.
One of the best places in Africa to spot the Big Five
If your goal is to return home with a collection of photos of all the Big Five—go on a safari in Ngorongoro! There is a large population of lions and leopards, buffalo elephants, and, of course, rhinos. The Black Rhino is a rare animal in its own right. Understanding that you are in a place where there is a chance to meet an animal that is on the verge of extinction will add excitement to your safari.
Open meadows occupied most of the crater, but this is not all that you can see here. Fascinating things to visit are the crater walls themselves, dense forests, marshes, and lakes, where you can meet the many inhabitants of Ngorongoro.
The place where humanity began
The Olduvai Gorge in Ngorongoro Nature Reserve is one of the most important archaeological sites in the world for the study of human evolution and prehistoric life.
The gorge was formed by the erosion of Olduvai Creek, which is about 50 kilometers long and up to 90 meters deep. Many fossils, stone tools, and other artefacts from various periods of human history since 2 million years ago have been found here.
In 1959, the Leakey family, a team of archaeologists and paleontologists, discovered a hominid skull known as Australopithecus boisei in Olduvai Gorge. This find, as well as many others made at the site, has served as strong evidence for the theory of human evolution.
You can visit the Olduvai Gorge Museum to learn about the history and to see the original fossils of some animals that lived here in the past.
Accommodations with the most incredible views of the crater
The government strictly regulates safari in Ngorongoro to protect the local ecosystem. This means you won’t be able to stay in the crater’s heart, as there are no lodges there. But you can stay at the edge of the crater, and we believe this option is even better. Your room will have stunning views of the crater floor and Lake Magadi.
Lack of giraffes
Despite the large variety of mammals in the crater, you cannot meet the giraffe here, because in Ngorongoro there are no favorable conditions for its habitat. This is very low grass and lacks of trees, which the animal feeds on.
But if you’ve always wanted to see the long-necked beauties prowling around the park, don’t rush to be upset! Ngorongoro probably won’t be the only park you want to visit. It is very convenient to combine it with the neighboring Serengeti or Tarangire. So you will definitely have time to see these graceful animals!
FAQ about Ngorongoro
We have briefly told you all the most important things about this crater. Only our guides can tell you about it better than we can. Trust us, you’ll love these stories first-hand! In the meantime, we’ll answer a couple of other common questions that may be relevant to you as well.
When is the best season for safari in Ngorongoro?
This crater is great to visit all year round. The dry season traditionally runs from June to October. In April and May, there is rainfall, so for a couple of months, the crater turns into a real paradise with lush vegetation and many birdsongs. The good thing about this season is that there are fewer tourists.
How to get to Ngorongoro?
The crater is conveniently accessible from Arusha Airport, Kilimanjaro, and the Seronera Airstrip in the Serengeti.
What does Ngorongoro mean?
Ngorongoro is a name that comes from the Maasai language, which is spoken by the Maasai people of Tanzania and Kenya. The word “Ngorongoro” is derived from the Maasai word “Engarongorong,” which means “the gift of life” or “the gift of fertility.”
As we mentioned earlier, Ngorongoro is a must-see in Tanzania, but we can perfectly combine it with other parks. Explore popular itineraries in our Destinations section.
Send us a request to know the cost and find the perfect tour for you. See you on a Ngorongoro safari!