• Ngorongoro Crater Camp, Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area

Often referred to as the Eighth Wonder of the World, the Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Almost with the appearance of a natural amphitheatre, it is world-renowned for being the most incredible sanctuary for wildlife, enjoying the highest density of mammals in Africa across its crater floor. 

Located in Northern Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater is notably one of Africa’s most famous national parks. This ancient volcano was supposedly as high as Mount Kilimanjaro two to three million years ago until it later imploded, leaving the world’s largest intact caldera, complete with 600m-high walls. The attraction of game to this area comes from the high fertility of the soil along with a year-round supply of water, satisfying one of the highest concentrations of life in Africa. Measuring approximately 16 miles in diameter, tusker elephants, leopard, rhino and lion all roam the depths of the crater. It is a place where wildlife and game viewing is easy and excellent year-round, making it one of Tanzania’s most popular places to visit, and the best location in the country to view the ‘Big Five’.

You can contact our Destination Specialists to help you get the best out of your trip to Ngorongoro National Park.

Tanzania Ngorongoro Crater Grid

Wildlife of Ngorongoro Crater

Set in the Northern Circuit of Tanzania, the surrounding highlands of the crater create some of Tanzania’s most beautiful landscapes. Combined with areas of forest, wetland and grassland make the Crater a perfect habitat for both grazers and predators and they tend to remain in the crater year-round.

The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places in Africa to spot the Big Five (lion, buffalo, leopard, rhino, elephant). Populations are increasingly strong within the crater and even the elusive leopard can be found in the Lerai Forest and the Crater rim. Due to the Crater’s high walls, a self-contained ecosystem has been built, causing wildlife to remain within the area, choosing not to migrate.

With sprawling plains and acacia woodland, it is no surprise there is such an abundance of wildlife. Alongside the famous Big Five populations, the Crater is further home to Burchell’s zebra, cheetah, Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles, eland, spotted hyena, hartebeest, baboon, warthog, and black-faced vervet.  With veins of lakes and tributaries running throughout, hippopotamus, waterbuck and many other species reside at the water’s edge.

Birdlife is an outstanding sight to see within the Crater, with over 200 species within, it is an ideal haven for birdwatchers! One spectacular sight is the extortionate numbers of common and dwarf flamingos congregating along the soda lake, where these beautiful avians feed upon crustaceans and algae. Other species residing in the area include many varieties of raptors including the marsh harrier, black kite, white-backed vulture, augur buzzard and tawny eagle. Other unique bird species habituating the Crater include hoopoe, little grebe, ostrich, fan-tailed widow-bird, speckled pigeon, grey-rumped swallow and cattle egret.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Tanzania

What to do in Ngorongoro Crater

Activities within the crater itself are limited to game viewing, whilst the wider conservation area offers a wider range of activities such as visits to local Masaai tribes, trekking and walking trails. Picnic areas on the Crater’s floor are a great way to spend an afternoon in the company of amazing wildlife views, with the safety of guides and rangers.

The wider conservation area is a dramatic range of volcanic peaks and craters on the Western side of the Great Rift Valley, which also includes the Olduvai Gorge, one of Africa’s most important archaeological finds. This is where the ‘Nutcracker Man’ was discovered from a 1.75-million-year-old fossil jawbone in 1959, after almost 30 years of excavation, one of the most significant prehistoric discoveries in human history. Nearby this extraordinary site, the three-million-year-old fossilized Laetoli footprints can be found, the most ancient hominid tracks ever discovered. Inscribed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area still comprises of the traditionalist Maasai and Datoga pastoralists and Hadza hunter-gatherers who all co-exist harmoniously alongside the abundance of wildlife.

Tanzania Ngorongoro Crater Grid

Why book you Safari to Ngorongoro Crater with NWS?

Working closely with conservationists, we can offer the change to join habituation safaris and more. Our exclusive network on the ground links us to all the best lodges in the region and we are often able to add that little NWS twist to your trip, transforming it into something really special.

Jongomero Camp, Tanzania

Your Next Steps

Talk to one of our specialists for more details on travelling to Tanzania. Please note we recommend a budget of from  £7,000 / $10,000 USD per person for our style of trip to this destination.