The breathtaking Ngorongoro Crater is undoubtedly the centerpiece of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. This crater formed about two to three million years ago when a volcano exploded and collapsed on itself.
The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and was voted as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa by the Seven Natural Wonders organization in 2013.
- Wildlife rating: 5 out of 5
- Scenery Rating: 5 out of 5
- Bush Vibe: 3 out of 5
A home to one of the densest mammal populations in the world, the Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places to see the Big Five (African lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, African leopard, and Rhinoceros). Other animals like gazelle, wildebeests, zebras, cheetahs, golden jackals, and topi are also found here in large numbers. For a relatively compact area of 260 square kilometers, it has an astonishing number of over 500 bird species.
The safaris here are amazing because you can see animals in every direction of your vehicle. Spotting the big five in one single day is highly likely. You can even get out of your vehicle in a few predetermined locations.
- Year round opportunities of enjoying the view of the majestic wildlife.
- Big Five and hundreds of other species of birds and animals are found within the crater.
- Can get crowded in the peak season (July - October).
The closest you can stay to the Ngorongoro crater is along the Crater rim overlooking the floor. There is no accommodation within the crater itself.
Another option is the Rift Valley Escarpment in Karatu, which is about 20 kms away from the Ngorongoro Crater. The lodges and camps in Karatu are more affordable than the ones along the Crater rim.
The animals in the Ngorongoro Crater will be within the crater throughout the year, so you can see them regardless of when you visit.
The weather is good during peak season (July - October) with little to no rainfall. However, large number of tourists visit during this period and it can get crowded at times.
To avoid the crowd and get a more quiet experience, you can visit Ngorongoro Crater during low season (January - April). However, heavy rainfall may dampen your plans to some extent.