Best African Safaris: Ngorongoro Crater
Called the eighth wonder of the world and stretching across some 8,300 sq km, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania is one of the best safari destinations, boasting a blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeology that is unsurpassed in Africa. The volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and mountain forests are home to an abundance of animals and to the Maasai.
The park is located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, and is just a few short hours’ drive from Arusha, Mount Meru and Mount Kilimanjaro. It is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater which is the largest unbroken caldera (collapsed volcano) in the world. The crater (610 metres deep and 260 square kms) is a microcosm of East African scenery and wildlife, and as such has gained world renown. Scenic grandeur and stunning views are the hallmark of this wonder of the world, and your first view of the crater will almost certainly take your breath away.
There are 25,000 larger animals within the crater itself, mostly Zebra and wildebeest. However, this is undoubtedly the best place to see black rhino in Tanzania as well as prides of lion that include the magnificent black-maned males. Also expect to see elephant, warthog, impala, buffalo, hartebeest, eland and other smaller mammals. The more fortunate may also enjoy sightings of cheetah and leopard.
No fences border the crater walls, and although animals are free to enter or leave this contained environment, the fresh water spring lakes, lush forests and grasslands growing from rich volcanic soils encourage both predators and prey to remain.
Open grasslands cover most of the crater floor, although this African Eden also provides superb game viewing around the river and swamps as well as in the shaded glens of the Lerai forest, where elephants graze in the midday heat. These pockets of forest are also home to the elusive leopards, as well as a variety of monkeys, antelope and baboons.
There are lots of colourful flamingoes and a variety of other water birds around the soda lake Makat, filled by the Munge river. More than a 100 species of bird not found in the Serengeti have been found in the crater.
There are a number of lodges and bush camps built high on the crater rim, which afford amazing views over and into the crater - the perfect setting for a well deserved sundowner. Popular activities from the lodges include 4x4 game drives, bird watching and walking safaris. The crater and surrounding area is a photographer’s dream.
The Ngorogoro Crater is included in a Tanzania Northern Circuit Safari, usually visited for one or two nights after the Serengeti. After the vast open expanses of the Serengeti the crater may seem surprisingly small, and you may see several other safari vehicles.
To visit the Ngorongoro Crater, one of the world’s best safari destinations, contact Fish Eagle Safaris. We will be delighted to help you organize your East Africa safari vacation.