Ngorongoro crater is part of Ngorongoro conservation area, along with the Empakai and Lengai volcanoes, the rift valley and the Olduvai Gorge, probable origin of mankind. The landscape is a mixture of mountains, plains, forest and semi-arid areas. The difference between the park and conservation area is that here, the Maasai are allowed to live and raise their cattle, which gives a rare vision of domestic animals and wild animals side by side.
It is a must for whoever comes to Tanzania for the first time and the only place where it is possible to see most of the animals in a very short time, due to their concentration in the crater, promising an extraordinary African safari.
The crater is in fact the biggest caldera in the world, which was created two to three millions years ago. In its centre, there is Lake Magadi, rich in minerals and which never dries totally out , what contributes to the all year round presence of animals. The only active volcano of the area is the Oldonyo Lengai, whose last eruption goes back to 1983. The other lakes of the area are Manyara and Natron.
In the crater, you will be able to see all animals, except for giraffes (too steep for them?). There are also some of the few rhinos of Tanzania.
The main attraction will be the flamingoes, but there are more than 550 different birds to be spotted here, amongst which the secretary bird, storks, eagles and parrots.
When and how to visit?
Ngorongoro Crater can be visited all year round. This park is particularly interesting for people with little time or children, as it is just 3 hours from Arusha and it is possible to view most animals in two half-days safari. Otherwise, it is mostly visited in combination with Manyara and Serengeti parks. The lodges and campsites are on the crater rim from where you mostly have a stunning view of the crater itself.