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Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Crater: A place of unparalleled beauty

Millions of years ago, a volcano the size of Mount Kilimanjaro rose from the highlands of northern Tanzania. Its eruption formed the largest unflooded caldera in the world, the Ngorongoro Crater. Now inactive and filled with wildlife, the crater is a playground where you can enjoy game drives in search of the Big Five. Our Africa specialists have been on safari here and in the wider Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Using their own experiences, they can help plan your time in and around the crater.

The natural protection of the crater’s 600 m (1,968 ft) high walls helps many species to thrive. This is the best place in Tanzania to see critically endangered black rhino. Wildebeest, zebra, eland and gazelle carpet the short grassland, watched hungrily by lion, cheetah, wild dog and hyena. And the waters of Lake Magadi are often mottled pink by flamingos.

Shoulder Season Travel

During the high season, the Crater can get very busy with visitors. We recommend travelling in the shoulder or low season for a more intimate experience.

The Big Five

This huge protected area allows ~1.5 million wildebeest to continue their internal drive of travelling over 1000km towards fresh grass and breeding grounds.

UNESCO World Heritage Site

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is recognised by the UNESCO for its natural as well as its cultural heritage.

Exploring the wider Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Crater is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site that spans 8,300 sq km (3,200 sq miles) across Tanzania’s Crater Highlands. Away from the hive of activity around the crater you can take in more volcanic scenery, including two smaller craters — Olmoti and Empakai. You also have the sheer cliffs of the Great Rift Valley, and the vivid waters of Lake Natron, a salt and soda lake tinged raspberry and orange by salt-loving microorganisms.

There are lots of hiking opportunities in these untouched areas, taking you through forests, grasslands and rocky outcrops, and into volcanic craters along Maasai cattle trails. You can also spend time in Maasai communities for an authentic taste of their culture, where you can have a go at herding cattle and visit a local soko (market).

Within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is Olduvai Gorge, one of the most significant sites for hominid fossil discoveries in the world. It was in this steep-sided gorge that the earliest known human ancestors lived just under two million years ago, and some of their petrified remains were found here during the mid-20th century. You can visit the gorge’s museum, where real fossils and casts of the early human skulls are on display.

When to Go

The good news: No matter the month, wildlife viewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is great! There are a few things to consider when choosing the travel time that’s best for you personally though. July to September is peak travelling season in Tanzania. This is because it’s the dry season which means sunny weather, dry roads and short grass – all important conditions for successful wildlife sightings. That being said, it also means the Crater floor will get busy and you will have to share sightings with quite a number of other safari vehicles.

If you are looking for a more intimate experience, consider the rainy season months April and May. Vegetation is lush and green and it’s the only time of the year the Crater is less busy. When choosing the best time to travel, do consider the other national parks you would like to visit during your stay as well. Often, shoulder season – the months in-between the peak and the low season – will get you the best of both worlds.

June to October & December to February

Best for wildlife sightings, but it can get very busy.

November & March to May

Lush landscapes and fewer visitors in the Crater.

Why to Go

While we don’t like to push destinations and experiences as “Must See” or “Must Do” – the Ngorongoro Crater might be an exception. If this is your first time to Tanzania, we would definitely recommend you allocate time and budget to a game drive in the Crater. It may not be as wild and untamed as the Serengeti or the parks in Southern Tanzania, but it is absolutely unique and breathtakingly beautiful. The density of wildlife on the comparably small space intensifies the experience even more. Additionally, the Crater’s location in the Ngorongoro highlands offers the opportunity to experience the Tanzanian way of life. On tours around a coffee plantation or visits to the small town of Karatu, you can get out of the safari car and get in touch with the locals.

Things to Do

Classic game drives in a 4×4 safari vehicle on the Crater floor are the highlight of a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater. But if you like to get active, you have the option to go on a walk along the Crater rim enjoying wonderful views and the natural world around you. If you overnight in Karatu, make sure to visit a coffee plantation to learn about this important sector of Tanzania’s economy.

Reasons On Why Going On Safari With Us

Choose Nyamera Treks & Safaris for an unforgettable safari with expert guides, tailored packages, and luxurious accommodations. Enjoy unique experiences like the Great Migration and support conservation and local communities. Nyamera Treks & Safaris ensures a memorable adventure.

Best Vehicles

We use only new Land Cruisers produced in 2016-2023 and fitted with a fridge, Wi-Fi and sockets

Smart Planning

Our team of qualified safari experts knows how to tailor your adventure to your individual travel style

Licensed Operator

Annually approved for tour operating activities by the Ministry of Natural Resources and Tourism

Quality Control

We personally inspect every lodge and park before they land on your travel itinerary

Experience Africa with Us

Discover the adventure of a lifetime with Nyamera Treks and Safaris. Experience thrilling game drives, intimate walking safaris, and serene boat trips, all guided by experts. Enjoy up-close encounters with the Big Five, visits to Maasai villages, and luxurious accommodations. Book now for an unforgettable, personalized safari adventure!