An UNESCO World Heritage Site, Ngorongoro Crater is the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world. Its unique ecosystem has created the perfect sanctuary for wildlife and this spectacular bowl is home to a huge variety of animals, including the highest density of predators in Africa. With fantastic game viewing and sensational scenery, this natural wonder is one of Tanzania’s main attractions.
Formed over 2 million years ago when a catastrophic eruption caused a volcano to fall in on itself, we think Ngorongoro Crater is undoubtedly one of Africa’s most mesmerising sights. Measuring over 16 kilometers wide and surrounded by 600 metre towering walls, it is top of many guests’ lists when visiting Tanzania, for the unparalleled experience it offers. The perfect basin shape and enclosed environment of the crater has led to the development of a unique ecosystem, creating the perfect sanctuary for a sensational range of bird and wildlife. The mineral-rich floor is largely flat and covered in nutritious grasses, landscaped by lush marshes, dry savannah, acacia forests and soda lakes.
With an estimated animal population of 30,000, the game viewing is spectacular, with plenty of elephant, lion, hyena, buffalo and wildebeest. Some of our favourite sights are here; well-fed lion lazing in the grass; leopard unwinding up in the trees and decorative pink flamingo bouncing on Lake Magadi. The crater even plays host to Tanzania’s healthiest population of black rhino. While the crater is hugely popular with tourists, drawing large crowds, the predators are surprisingly relaxed when it comes to safari vehicles, often hunting directly in front of an enthralled audience.
Owing to its popularity and to help minimise the herds of vehicles, the authorities now restrict visitors to six hours on the crater floor, a move which has had a positive impact on congestion levels. In addition, the wider area which includes the Ngorongoro Highlands, is now protected in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which we think is one of the most picturesque regions in northern Tanzania. Here you will find large numbers of coffee farms and if you’re a caffeine addict, we can arrange a visit to a plantation to see how the coffee is picked, cleaned, graded and roasted. We would also suggest a trip to Olduvai Gorge, where you can view some of the earliest human footprints, dating back over 3 million years. This was the site of the famous Leaky excavations, which helped to confirm the theory of human evolution.