Ngorongoro: a crater of an ancient volcanic caldera of 20 km in diameter (the largest in the world) with an impressive quantity and variety of animals living here throughout the year. Site recognized as a World Heritage Site by UNESCO in 1979.
Ngorongoro: what to expect on a Safari
Thanks to the great variety of habitats, from the savannah to the forest of yellow-stemmed acacias, and to the swamps and lakes that guarantee the constant presence of water, Ngorongoro hosts about 30,000 animals that live in this area all year round. Zebras, gnu, buffalo, elephants, lions, rhinos, cheetahs and hippos and a large variety of birds such as ostriches, eagles and flamingos. On the other hand, there are not giraffes in the crater.
Ngorongoro is essentially the only park in Tanzania in which it is possible to see the rhinoceros; in fact they are also visible in the Serengeti, but not easily and almost always they are far away. The population of rhinos throughout Tanzania is, unfortunately, very small: at the moment there are 167 samples compared to 133 in 2015. A slow but very promising increase, which is also a sign of the success of the fight against poaching.
A peculiarity of the place is the possibility of observing the lions up close. In fact, during sunny days, since the crater is very exposed and has many areas of savannah without trees, the lions approach the machines to take advantage of the shade.
It is also possible to observe elephants with large tusks in this area. In fact, compared to Tarangire, the elephants here were protected from poaching in the 80’s and many “elders” can be found.
Conservation of the ecosystem
The crater belongs to the largest area (about 8300 square km) of the Ngorongoro nature reserve (Ngorongoro Conservation Area). In this area Ndutu’s zone is also located, an area of fundamental importance in the rainy season as a scenario of the great migration.
The area is managed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an independent authority from Tanzania National Park, which also has different rules. In order to have a more sustainable and respectful tourism of the natural ecosystem, the visit to the Crater can last a maximum of 6 hours.
It’s not possible to spend the night inside the crater (there are only a few lodges and public camping area that are located on the edges of the crater).
The Ngorongoro crater is unique in the world and is definitely a “must to visit” in any safari in northern Tanzania. Despite its beauty, the presence of all the “big five” and an incredible amount of animals, we believe that the 6 hours provided by the NCAA are enough to visit it.
We prefer to dedicate more time to the Serengeti and its endless plain. In Serengeti, in our opinion, it is possible to appreciate the true spirit of the savannah.
In Ngorongoro this spirit tends to get lost due to the very large number of daily visitors and the small size of the park.