The jewel in Ngorongoro's crown is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world. About 20 kms across, 600 meters deep and 300 sq kms. in area, the Ngorongoro Crater is a breathtaking natural wonder.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa’s most famous sites and is said to have the highest density of wildlife in Africa. Sometimes described as an ‘eighth wonder of the world’, the Crater has achieved world renown, attracting an ever-increasing number of visitors each year. You are unlikely to escape other vehicles here, but you are guaranteed great wildlife viewing in a genuinely mind-blowing environment. There is nowhere else in Africa quite like Ngorongoro!
Size of the Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. Forming a spectacular bowl of about 265 square kilometers, with sides up to 600 meters deep; it is home to approximately 30,000 animals at any one time. The Crater rim is over 2,200 meters high and experiences its own climate. From this high vantage point it is possible to make out the tiny shapes of animals making their way around the crater floor far below. Swathes of cloud hang around the rocky rim most days of the year and it’s one of the few places in Tanzania where it can get chilly at night.
NCA was established in 1959 by the NCA Ordinance No 413 of 1959 as a multiple land use area, designated to promote the conservation of natural resources, safeguard the interests of NCA indigenous residents and promote tourism. NCA is a unique protected area in the whole of Africa where conservation of natural resources in integrated with human development.
Main Feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area
The main feature of the NCA include the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Plains that support about 2.0 million migratory wildlife species of the Serengeti Mara-ecosystem (TAWIRI, 2003) and the catchment forest; the Northern Highland Forest Reserve (NHFR) known as 'Entim Olturot' in Maa language. Other important features found in the NCA are the archaeological and palaeontological site located at Oldupai Gorge and the early human foot-prints that were discovered at Alaitole in Ngarusi area. Because of these particular features and the harmonious co-existence between wildlife and people that has existed for many years, NCA was accorded the status of a World Heritage Site and listed as one of the International Biosphere Reserve by the UNESCO's Man and Biosphere Reserve Programme
The crater floor consists of a number of different habitats that include grassland, swamps, forests and Lake Makat (Maasai for ‘salt’) - a central soda lake filled by the Munge River. All these various environments attract wildlife to drink, wallow, graze, hide or climb. Although animals are free to move in and out of this contained environment, the rich volcanic soil, lush forests and spring source lakes on the crater floor (combined with fairly steep crater sides) tend to incline both grazers and predators to remain throughout the year.
Ngorongoro Crater: Wildlife Highlights
Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most likely areas in Tanzania to see the endangered Black Rhino, as a small population is thriving in this idyllic and protected environment. It is currently one of the few areas where they continue to breed in the wild. Your chances of encountering leopard here are also good, and fabulous black-maned lions. Many flamingos are also attracted to the soda waters of Lake Magadi.
Ngorongoro Crater: Maasai village trips
Part of the reason behind the Ngorongoro Conservation Area has been to preserve the environment for the Maasai people who were diverted from the Serengeti Plains. Essentially nomadic people, they build temporary villages in circular homesteads called bomas. There are possibilities to visit a couple of these now, which have been opened up for tourists to explore. Here you can see how the huts are built in a strict pattern of order according to the chronological order of the wives, and experience what it must be like to rely on warmth and energy from a fire burning at the heart of a cattle dung dwelling with no chimney. These proud cattle herding people have a great history as warriors, and even though they are no longer allowed to build villages inside, they continue to herd their cattle into the crater to graze and drink, regardless of the predators nearby.
Things to Do in Ngorongoro Crater
Experience Bushmen in Tanzania
Bushmen is one of the few remaining people whose tradition and culture remain crude and untouched in the land around Lake Eysi. This is a remarkable cultural attraction for tourists who tour the crater where they can see both its untouched and conventional culture as well as its apparent alignment with the environment. With a guide, you can speak to the Bushmen to discover how to live, how to fight for food, the cultural norms and the secrets of their cuisine. This indiscriminately truthful cultural trip through rural Tanzania is a real step back in time to visit.
Crater view walk
It’s very famous late afternoon stroll where you can travel on the western edge of the Ngorongoro crater to experience different natural habitats, such as open grasslands, dense green woodlands and acacia forests. See Schalow’s wheatear and white mountain head, very simply and eventually outstanding birding path with African cytrill sights, golden winged sunbirds, forest buzzard and white eyes slaty birdwatchers. Here you can have the chance to see Massai with her cattle along the way.
Enjoy the African drummers
The sound in African music is special and it is one of the stuffs you should make for yourself. It is first hand. Local drummers enjoy a unique culture and skill to their guests. Tanzanian society has a special instrument known as marimba, which gives a melodic instinct and you will soon be able to touch your toes. It’s an outdoor event, so it depends entirely on the environment and can include a few costs.
Hike the Empakaai crater
This is a powerful full day walk from the beautiful forests surrounding the crater of Empakaai to the birdlife of the impressive, stranglehold figs. The grey-headed Black Finch, Crowned Adler, Barred, Tailed Trogon, Greater & Lesser Flamingo and Steppe Eagles will also offer the opportunity for you to see the Greys.
Game drives in the crater take some time, the park offers game drives in two shifts, therefore, the visitors are given a game drive either morning or evening depending on your itinerary. During the game drive, you will descend into the crater bay a lush mountain forest where you will see a rich bird life and once you are in the crater, you will be thrilled to discover a variety of herbicide grass-growers and predators. Depending on the time of the year, hippos can also encounter an immense herd of roses around the shore of Lake Magadow and many other animal species found here.
A walk along Lake Eyasi;
Take a half day walk through Masai villages and open pastures that will make you experience both the culture and the way of life of the locals living around this area, in combination with a spectacular view of Lake Eyasi.
Take a visit at olduvai Gorge and shifting Sands tour
Olduvai Gorge is an archaeological site and human birthplace is mostly pointed to as the location of the oldest Homo Sapiens remains. You will then travel from here to the crescent, volcanic ash ridges known as shifting sands that unbelievably crawl around the desert land in reaction to the prevailing winds.
If you’re searching for a crazy ride, this incredible journey can carry you to your doors and fill you with an ecstasy.
|Languages spoken||English, Kiswahili|
|Currency used||Tanzania Shillings (TSH)|
|Area (km2)||8292 SQ. KM.|