Travel Experiences

Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Crater is a simply stunning safari destination, offering abundant wildlife and one of Africa's, if not the world's most famous landscapes and scenes. This Unesco World Heritage Site created when a volcano erupted and imploded on itself several million years ago.

Today, we see a Crater floor spanning 16-18 km in width surrounded by a densely forested edge or 'wall' about 600 metres in height; quite simply, a stunning caldera akin to a large soup bowl full of wildlife! 

Aerial view of Ngorongoro Crater
Guests enjoying sundowners with a Maasai guide in Tanzania

The floor itself is a famous wildlife destination as the volcanic soil is so rich in nutrients that it supports an incredible diversity of grazing animals and, consequently, the predators on which they feed. It is basically its own ecosystem, with rich grasslands and permanent water sources being home to one of Africa's largest concentrations of wildlife year-round.

Approximately 25,000 animals inhabit the Crater. Most of these are wildebeest, zebra, gazelles of various types, waterbuck, jackets, eland, and hyena. Larger beasts include black rhino, buffalo, giant tusker elephant, and lion. The drawback is that Ngorongoro Crater is often busy, sometimes very busy, which can detract from the experience. We'd recommend getting up early and being among the first to the Crater's floor. Then have a short stay in the area before heading off to the quieter parts of the Serengeti.

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20211006-The Highlands Guests enjoy cultural experience at women s beading centre
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Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania
It isn't possible to stay on the floor of the Crater. Day passes must be bought to gain access to one of the few entry points leading down from the slopes of the Crater's edge. Some luxury camps and lodges are on the crater rim. Some with glorious views into, and across the Crater, where cloud formations form on the perimeter and sink inside the rim. But it is only worth staying in one of these accommodations if you are visiting the Crater floor. Then it's certainly worth considering the property's proximity to an entrance point. Two Crater properties we recommend, both are our and client favourites, in excellent locations and with tremendous views. First, the deliciously quirky, luxurious, and eclectic Ngorongoro Crater Lodge has fabulous furnishings, roaring fires, chandeliers, fabrics, and simply crazy and unique style. Secondly and more modestly priced, the recently renovated Entamanu Camp has its more classic, simple camp cum fresh African beach house feel. There are alternative places to stay further afield, such as wonderfully homely, friendly, and gorgeous Gibbs Farm, a 100-year-old property with welcoming interiors and fabulous food fresh from its own farm. But we will certainly match you to your preferred style in one of the beautiful camps or lodges on the Crater rim or further afield in the Greater Serengeti Area.  
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes the Ngorongoro Highlands, a range of largely extinct ancient volcanoes on the west side of the Great Rift Valley where walking is available, and a substantial part of the short-grass plains on the south of the Serengeti. Attractions outside of the Crater include Olmoti and Empakaai Craters, Ol Doinyo Lengai, Oldupai Gorge, and the Shifting Sands.

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