While the Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans just over 8,000 km², the Ngorongoro Crater, the area’s most well-known feature, spans only 260 km². And it’s precisely its small size that makes it a Tanzanian must-see!
Being a caldera, or collapsed volcano, it has steep walls 610 m high, creating a bowl in which vast numbers of animals roam. Within this small area is a diverse range of habitats; montane forest on the rain-facing wall and grassland on the drier west wall. The floor is a vast grassland with a couple of acacia forests, salt-lake Lake Magadi, and Ngoitokitok Spring, which creates a swamp in the east of the crater.
Due to the diversity of the habitats on the crater floor and sides, an incredible number of different birds and animals, including the Big Five, call Ngorongoro Crater home and provide visitors with spectacular game viewing in gorgeous surroundings.
Around the rim of the crater are various accommodation establishments, mostly high-end, top-class luxury, that provides visitors with incredible views across the crater floor.
Things to see and do in Ngorongoro
- Game drives within the crater
- Walks along the crater rim
- Meet the Maasai and learn about their culture and traditions
- Day trips to the fascinating Olduvai Gorge, known as the ‘Cradle of Man’
- See Empakaai Crater, the lesser-known, younger sister of Ngorongoro Crater
Best time to visit
The crater can be visited through out the entire year, even in the rainy season between March and May. Actually it’s a good time to travel since you’ll have the crater pretty much for yourself. The dry season begins in June and ends in October. Even the months of December to March, right after the short rains are recommended. Expect a lot of dust in the crater during the dry season.
You can reach the Ngrorongoro Crater by vehicle from Arusha in around 3 hour drive.
Charter flights are available from Arusha, Dar es Salaam as well as all parks in the area.