Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania

Ngorongoro is one of the Conservation Areas within Tanzania and was named after the popular Ngorongoro Crater, a vast volcanic Caldera within the area. This Protected Area is one of the true Natural Wonders in the African Continent and is known for its biological diversity. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the World’s largest unbroken Calderas and undeniably the most popular feature of this Conservation Area.

Location of Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

This Protected Area is situated within the Crater Highlands Area of Tanzania, about 180 kilometers (about 110 miles) west of Arusha Town in Northern Tanzania. It is also located in the south-east of Serengeti National Park and sprawls over part of the Eastern Rift valley of East Africa. It is managed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and extends for over 8292 square kilometers (approximately 3,202 square miles).

History of Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

This beautiful Conservation Area was gazetted in 1959 as a multiple land use area with wild animals harmoniously living with Masai pastoralists and was designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It was named by Masai pastoralists after the cowbell sound (Ngoro ngoro)

Flora and Fauna of Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is characterized by varying habitats and landscapes that include savannah grassland plains, Volcanic Craters, savannah woodlands, swampland, forests, Rivers and Lakes. Here diversity of wildlife species can be found and these include thousands of wildebeests, Thompson’s and Grant’s gazelles, Burchell’s Zebras, Hippos, Black rhinos and many others living within the Area’s Northern Plains. The Area also shelters large prides of lions, African leopards, hartebeests, blue monkeys, Oribis, African buffaloes, Masai giraffes, Common elands, spotted hyenas, Bogor reedbucks, serval cats, Jackals, Topis, East African wild dogs, cheetahs,  warthogs, African golden Cats, impalas, Caracals, Defassa waterbucks, impalas and many others, in addition to over 500 species of birds.

Common bird species here are silvery-cheeked hornbills, Kori bustard, white-eyed slaty flycatcher, Tacazze sunbirds, lesser and greater flamingos, Verreaux’s eagles, Ostriches, Rufous chatterer, superb starlings and Bronze sunbirds among others.

Besides Flora and Fauna in this Conservation Area, it also features the main archeological sites of Olduvai Gorge and Laetolil. Here hominin fossil remains dating back to 2.1 million and 3.6 million years respectively can be found.  Other attractions are Empakai Crater, Olmoti Crater, Nasera Rock, the nearby Lake Magadi, Lerai Forest, Rumbe Hills, Mandusi and Gorigor swamps, Ngoitokitok Springs, Goi Mountains, Lakes Ndutu and Maseke, Olkarien Gorge and the shifting sands of Ngorongoro.


Witness the annual wildebeest migration.

Phenomenal wildebeest numbers (totaling to millions) transverse through Ngorongoro Conservation Area as part of the annual migration of wildebeests, Zebras and Gazelles across the Serengeti Ecosystem and breed within the short grasslands on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area-Serengeti National Park boundary.

Bird watching.

Bird watching is another remarkable tourist activity in Ngorongoro Conservation Area with over 500 species of birds to look-out for. The forest, savannah grassland, Lakes, River, the Crater and swamplands are habitats to Kori bustards, superb starling, saddle-billed storks, lesser and greater flamingos, Ibis, Ostriches, Raptors, Bronze starlings, Grey-crowned cranes, Verreaux’s eagles, hornbills, yellow-billed storks, secretary birds and many others.

Rainy/wet season is the best time for birding in Ngorongoro Conservation Area because this time is ideal for encountering the migrant bird species.

Game Drives.

Visitors to Ngorongoro Conservation Area can undertake game drives. The game viewing experience through the lush Lerai forest, to Ngorongoro Crater and the savannah plains reward visitors with views of big cats-lions, leopards, cheetahs and African wild cats as well as Black rhinos, elephants, Cape buffaloes, impalas, Defassa waterbucks and hartebeests among others.

Best time for game drives are early morning for nocturnal wildlife species, afternoon for angulates and in the evening for nocturnal species among others.

Photography and filming tours.

The varying landscapes as well as rich wildlife and bird diversity of Ngorongoro Conservation Area makes it adventurous and exciting to undertake filming and photography.

Walking Safaris.

The landscape of Ngorongoro Conservation Area makes it adventurous and rewarding to carry out walking safaris. The vast landscapes of Empakai Craters, Ngorongoro Crater, Olmoti Volcano, the forest galleries, Olkarien Gorge, Nasera Rock and the floor of the Great Rift Valley reward visitors with plethora species of birds including the mountain buzzard, lesser and greater flamingos, Crowned eagles and secretary birds.

Expect to spot Black rhinoceros, giraffes, impalas, common elands, lions, Defassa waterbucks, African leopards, warthogs and many others.

Cultural Tours.

Cultural tours in this Conservation Area involve touring Masai villages to learn about their pastoralist lifestyle. Get a chance to learn about their interesting culture, traditional dances, delicious foods, traditional dressing and also purchase souvenirs. The Masai have one of the richest cultures in the World and tours of their village will make you appreciate their traditions and ways of life.


Ngorongoro Conservation Area can be explored all year round but the dry season-May to early October is perfect for game viewing. During these months, wildlife usually gather at water point but the wet season is also ideal for birding tours.

Where to Stay?

Ngorongoro Conservation Area features numerous budget, midrange and luxury Safari Lodges/Tented Camps. The best accommodation facilities include Ang’ata Ngorongoro Camp, Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge, Lion’s paw Camp, Lemala Ngorongoro, the Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge, Lemala Ngorongoro Tented Camp, Serena Ngorongoro Lodge, andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Rhino Lodge, Ngorongoro Oldeani Mountain Lodge, The Highlands, Ndutu Safari Lodge, Angata Ngorongoro, Neptune Ngorongoro Luxury Lodge, Ngorongoro Forest Tented Lodge, Hhando Coffee Lodge,


Ngorongoro Conservation Area is about 180 kilometers/ or 2 hours’ drive from Arusha Town and is easily accessed through Karatu Town, via Loduare Gate. Also get to this Conservation Area from its west through Serengeti National Park, on a gravel road via Naabi Hill Gate.

This Tanzania Protected Area can also be accessed by a chartered flight from Arusha Airport, Julius Nyerere International Airport or Kilimanjaro International Airport to the Airstrip at the edge of Ngorongoro Crater.

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