Reputed to be one of the wonders of the world and included in the list of world heritage sites in 1978. This 8,300sqkm conservation area named after its central feature- the Ngorongoro Crater, is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. The 260sqkm and 600m deep Crater provides an extraordinary natural sanctuary to some of Africa’s densest population of large mammals. This conservation area offers a 100% sighting of the Big 5. The area of Olduvai Gorge is reputable to be the cradle of mankind where Hominid fossils have been found dating back to 3 million years !
The habitat is very diverse including shallow soda lakes, montane forests, grass plains, springs, swamps and rivers. Most of the game viewing is done on the crater floor where there is the densest population of animals. While the Lake Magadi area and pools at the Mandusi Swamp offers the best opportunity of birding in the area.
Concentration of Game
The concentration of animals in Ngorongoro Conservation Area cannot be over emphasized. The crater offers a haven for animal enthusiasts. Some people have gone to the extent of describing Ngorongoro as a zoo due to its vast concentration of game undisturbed by human presence around them. Large predators include Lions, Leopards, Cheetah, Golden and Black-Backed Jackal, and Spotted Hyena. Other mammals include: Rhino, Elephant, Hippo, Waterbuck, Bushbuck, Eland, Giraffe, Zebra, Wildebeest, Buffalo, Warthog, Baboon, Tsessebe, Impala, Thomson’s and Grant’s Gazelle.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area also supports an abundant bird life. The edges of Lake Magadi looks pinkish from a distance due to the large flock of Flamingoes. And the pols around Mandusi swamp are rich with water birds such as Waders, Storks, Ducks and Herons. Also present in the other parts of the conservation area are Ostrich, Kori Bustard, Rosy-Throated LongClaw, Augur Buzzard, Crested eagle and the localized Egyptian Vulture.
Best time to visit
The best time to visit Ngorongoro would be anytime between May and February. The conservation area is however open throughout the year.
Ngorongoro being a conservation area and not a national park allows one to walk and hike along a number of trails covering many areas outside the crater area. It is not allowed to walk in the crater area. Cultural tours to the nearby Maasai village are also possible. These guided walks in the conservation area need to be booked in advance.
Most visitors come to Ngorongoro as part of an extensive northern circuit safari. Ngorongoro is well connected to Lake Manyara, Tarangire, Serengeti and Arusha by good surface roads. There is also a small airstrip at Ngorongoro where light aircrafts can land.
In reality there just aren’t enough days to get by Ngorongoro. The more you stay here the more you feel like staying. 3 days here should be ample in our opinion to see most of what Ngorongoro has to offer.
Our Recommendations on Ngorongoro Conservation Area
You will be able to see animals elsewhere in Tanzania, but the scenic backdrop of the crater wall and the natural sanctuary which it offers to its habitants which makes them feel secure you will not get anywhere else. We believe a big chunk of your holiday should be spent in this area. Visiting Ngorongoro before or after your Serengeti tour should be a good idea because both places are quite close to each other. If you are intending to visit the northern circuit the Ngorongoro should definitely be one of your destinations. Every penny will be worth it.
The conservation area also offers the opportunity to see the Maasai and the animals living along side each other, each respecting the others presence.
Customized Itineraries are also available upon request.
Please contact us for a perfect, well-organized and affordable tour of this magnificent conservation area.