The Ngorongoro Crater is a magnificent natural wonder and one of the premier destinations in East Africa for encountering the Big Five. It serves as an excellent starting point for your African safari adventure. However, as one of the world’s most remarkable and renowned natural sites, the Ngorongoro Crater can become quite crowded at times. To fully appreciate this unique location, we recommend a two-night stay here, followed by a move to the Serengeti for a quieter and more private safari experience.
Any comprehensive Northern Tanzania Safari itinerary should include a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. It is not only one of the world’s most stunning natural wildlife safari sites but also an exceptional place to engage with the Maasai tribe.
The Ngorongoro Crater and its surrounding highlands collectively create one of the most picturesque regions in Africa. Volcanic craters form breathtaking backdrops to some of the most fertile and lush grazing grounds on the continent. Among these, the most famous is Ngorongoro, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, home to Africa’s highest density of big game. Ngorongoro is undeniably one of the most renowned safari destinations on the continent.
By Road: Depending on the size of your group, it may be more cost-effective to share a private vehicle and guide from the moment you are picked up at Kilimanjaro Airport to your departure from the Ngorongoro region. For those traveling by road, it’s crucial to spend a night on both sides of your crater descent, either in a camp on the crater rim or a short 20-minute drive away in the Ngorongoro highlands. This allows for early entry to the gates, avoiding the crowds.
By Air: If you are staying at a “fly-in” camp where your guide and vehicle are provided by your camp rather than a ground handler from Arusha, you can fly into Lake Manyara airstrip and be picked up by the camp. This option may be more cost-effective for smaller groups and is essential for some of the more luxurious camps, typically owned by reputable safari companies like Nomads Entamanu.
Dry Season: The best time to visit Ngorongoro Crater is during the dry season, which generally spans from June to October. During this period, animals congregate around water sources, making them easier to spot. The dry season offers abundant sunshine, minimal rainfall, and reduced mosquito activity, decreasing the risk of malaria transmission.
Wet Season: From November to May, the wet season transforms the landscape into a lush, green paradise. Rates are typically lower during this time due to fewer visitors, with April and May marking the low season. While wildlife viewing is easier in the dry season, Ngorongoro Crater remains an excellent destination for wildlife enthusiasts throughout the year.
The Ngorongoro Crater, now a UNESCO World Heritage Site, was formed around 3 million years ago when a massive volcano erupted and collapsed. The inward collapse of the volcanic caldera created what we now recognize as one of the most unique safari parks in Africa and the world.
Navigating logistics for a visit to Ngorongoro can be challenging, but with over 20 years of experience organizing such trips, we can guide you in the right direction. Feel free to reach out to us to discuss your various options.
The Ngorongoro Crater is renowned as the best place in Tanzania to witness the Big Five. It boasts a healthy population of black rhinos and some of Africa’s largest tusker elephants. The crater is also home to substantial populations of lions, leopards, and hyenas, as well as herds of wildebeest, buffalo, zebra, serval cats, cheetahs, jackals, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles, flamingos, and bat-eared foxes. Additionally, the crater hosts approximately 400 bird species. With its unique micro-climate, Ngorongoro offers an action-packed safari year-round.
Within the Ngorongoro Crater itself, activities are limited to game drives, with a few designated picnic spots. However, a wide range of activities is available in the broader Ngorongoro Conservation Area, including walking, trekking, excursions to Olduvai Gorge, and visits to Maasai and other tribes.
For an unforgettable Ngorongoro Crater safari experience in Tanzania, contact Trek Africa Expeditions to plan your journey.