Ngorongoro Crater Region Featured, Parks and Reserves
Ngorongoro Crater is a Tanzanian ‘must-see’. Situated within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a vast park of spectacular beauty, this caldera, or 'collapsed-in' volcano has created a mini game reserve with many habitats in a very small area. This provides home to an incredibly diverse range of birds and animals, including the Big Five, in a concentrated space.
* Ngorongoro Crater Region Highlights
- ∞Diverse scenery and spectacular bird- and wildlife
- ∞Abundant wildlife concentrated within a small area
- ∞Densest population of Maasai Lion in the crater
- ∞Great opportunities to meet and interact with local Maasai people
- ∞Spectacular accommodation both on the rim of the crater and in the area
- ∞Walking safaris mountain biking and trekking in the area
Spanning just over 8 000 km², the Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the Olduvai Gorge, vast highland plains, forests and mountains stretching to Serengeti in the north-west. It is known for its beautiful scenery, archaeological and geological significance and concentrated wildlife, especially within the crater.
The area is unique in the fact that it is a conservation area which allows human habitation. The local Maasai tribe still live within the area, subsistence farming. This also means that the area is not only a wonderful place to see the animals of Africa, but also to get to know its people.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a caldera, or collapsed-in volcano, with walls 610 m high and a floor covering 260 km². 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, the salt-lake, Lake Makat, and Ngoitokitok Spring, which creates a swampy area in the east of the crater. The diversity of the habitat provides home to an incredibly wide range of animals and birds.
South-east of the Ngorongoro Crater lies the Karatu area, in the highlands. It’s a lush area with many coffee plantations and a variety of wonderful places to stay, a little away from the crater itself.
Animals of Ngorongoro
Within the Ngorongoro Crater, there is an incredible abundance of wildlife, including all of The Big Five. hippo, zebra, crocs, a wide range of antelope, leopard, cheetah and lion all live here. It’s estimated that about 25 000 big animals live within this natural enclosure. The salt lake in the crater is often home to hundreds of beautiful, pink flamingos and over 500 species of bird live in the area, making this a birdwatcher's paradise.
Things to See and Do in Ngorongoro
- Game-drives within the crater
- Hiking, trekking and safari walks within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Meet the Maasai people and learn about their culture and traditions
- Hike to Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano known as the “Mountain of the Gods’
- See Empakaai Crater, the lesser-known, smaller sister of Ngorongoro Crater
- Mountain biking
When To Visit Ngorongoro
The wildlife living in the crater itself are there all year, so from an animal-viewing point-of-view, it’s good all year. Due to its size, the area may get crowded during peak tourist seasons which are in the dry season from July to September and the baby season after the first rains, between December to February. March and April are generally the wettest seasons and heavy rains can make some roads unpassable.
By car: Ngorongoro is about 185 km from Arusha by road. The trip can take between two and four hours.
By air: There are daily flights from Arusha to Lake Manyara Airstrip, from where it is a scenic, 1½ hour trip to the crater. Arusha is served by two airports: Arusha Airport has daily flights from numerous local destinations and Kilimanjaro International Airport has daily flights from local, African and international airlines.
Before you go to Ngorongoro Crater Region Things you should know before you go!
Malaria is a consideration in Ngorongoro Crater Region
Learn more about malaria areas and malaria prevention with our resource article.
Malaria Areas & Prevention