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Ngorongoro - tanzania SAFARI

Ngorongoro Properties by Star Ratings: 

About two-and-a-half million years ago, the Ngorongoro volcano bulged with molten lava, which rose to form a great igneous dome. Gradually the lava beneath the dome flowed elsewhere and the dome above collapsed. What remains of that cataclysm is the Ngorongoro Crater, the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Some 30,000 large mammals live on the crater floor, primarily zebras and wildebeest, many living out their lives within the walls of the caldera’s rim.

The focus of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is, naturally, upon the great crater itself and the abundance of East African wildlife found within its arena. The crater floor is popular with safari groups, too, and during high season it sometimes feels as if game-viewers outnumber game.

But, beyond the crater walls, the sanctuary also encompasses grasslands, mountains, forests, rivers, swamps, and shimmering alkaline lakes. The Oldupai Gorge (formerly Olduvai), where paleontologists have discovered the remains of humankind’s earliest ancestors, lies within the conservation area, as do the Crater Highlands, a collection of volcanoes, craters, and calderas that rise from the western wall of the Great Rift Valley. The geologic forces that created the rift set the stage for the region’s volcanic activity. Those forces are still at work and the volcano known as Oldoinyo Lengai (“Mountain of God” to the Maasai) is still active, last erupting in 1983.

Quick Facts  

  • The rocky rim of the crater rises 1,900 to 2,500 feet (600-750 m) above the crater floor, enclosing an area of 164 sq mi (264 sq km).
  • The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers an astonishing 3,200 square miles (8,280 sq km).
  • Ngorongoro Crater is really a “caldera” ‒ a collapsed volcanic dome.
  • While the crater floor rests 2,000 feet below the rim, it's still 6,000 feet above sea level.
  • Lodging at the Ngorongoro Crater is on the rim; visitors aren’t permitted on the crater floor overnight and all vehicles on the floor must return to the rim by 6:00 pm every evening.

The Wildlife - Beyond the Big Five (buffalo, elephant, lion, leopard, and rhino), all of which lucky visitors might spot in a single morning, the crater also hosts up to 30,000 large mammals. Most are grazers, zebras and wildebeest accounting for about half this number and among the remainder are gazelles, buffaloes, elands, hartebeest, and warthogs. The high concentration of herbivores has led to an extraordinarily dense population of predators. Lions and hyenas are well represented, but cheetahs, jackals, leopards, and even the housecat-sized serval hunt within the crater, too.
Eland, topi, and giraffes won’t be spotted on the crater floor, but they are found elsewhere in the conservation area.

Significant Mammals - Baboon - Impala -  Buffalo -  Leopard -  Elephant -  Lion - Cheetah -  Rhinoceros (Black) -  Dik-dik - Thomson's Gazelle - Duiker - Topi -  Eland - Warthog -  Giraffe -  Waterbuck -  Grant's Gazelle - Wild dog (African) -  Hartebeest -  Wildebeest -  Hippopotamus - Zebra 
 
Significant Birds - Ostrich -  Grebe -  Pelican - Cormorant & Darter - Heron - Egret & Bittern - Shoebill - Stork - Ibis - Spoonbill - Vulture -Kingfisher  


Activities - Game Drives: Early morning game drives begin just before sunrise, when one is woken to a cup of Kenyan highland coffee. As the sun rises, you are comfortably aboard your 4x4 or safari van, witnessing the reserve and its wildlife. Afternoon game drives begin late after the mid-day heat has relented and end just before darkness falls. You are accompanied by a driver-guide who is knowledgeable about the flora, fauna, landscape, and the local culture.
Bird watching - At Ngorongoro bird watching is done during safari walks or game drives accompanied by competent bird guides. Because so much of the reserve is open grassland or bush, the birds are relatively easy to spot.

Cultural Visits - The Maasai are a proud, semi-nomadic cattle-rearing people who have wagered that they can protect their way of life by protecting their landscape. They have a reputation as fierce warriors and stubborn pastoralists, resistant to change, but, ultimately, their lifestyle depends on the health and vitality of their cattle, which must have access to range and forage.  During a cultural visit, you will take a brief peek into the Maasai way of life.

How to Get There - Ngorongoro Conservation Area is 118 miles (190 km) west of Arusha.
By Road - The average drive time from Arusha is four hours.
By Air - The flight from Arusha to Ngorongoro is 45 minutes.