Ngorongoro Crater is a large and unbroken volcanic caldera. It is one of the most spectacular safari destinations in Africa, with incredible scenery and game viewing. The crater is 610m deep and the floor is 260km squared. The steep sides of the crater mean that it has become a natural enclosure for a very wide variety of wildlife, including most of the species found in East Africa. Most of the lodges are built high on the crater rim and afford amazing views over and into the crater, the perfect location to watch the infamous African sunset.This is one of the most magnificent tourist destinations in Africa unparalleled in its distinguished scenic beauty, wildlife and atmosphere. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is an area situated 180km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands region of Tanzania.Land in the conservation area is multi-use, it is unique in Tanzania as the only conservation area, providing protection status for wildlife whilst allowing human habitation. The NCA is usually visited on the return journey from the Serengeti to Arusha. Stunning views and unique landscape are a certainty when visiting this spectacular region.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers 8,292 square kilometers. It is one of the three divisions that comprise Ngorongoro District in Arusha Region.
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.
The main feature of the NCA include the Ngorongoro Crater, The Serengeti Plains that support about 2.0 millions 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.
What to see and Do
A population of about 25,000 large animals, including the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the crater. These include black rhinoceros, hippopotamuswhich are usually very uncommon in the area. There are also wildebeest, zebra, eland, Grants and Thomson’s gazelles.The crater has the densest known population of lion. On the crater rim are leopard, elephant, mountain reedbuck and buffalo. Lake Magadi, filled by the Munge river in the centre of the crater is, like many in the rift valley, a soda lake supporting flocks of flamingo and a variety of other water birds;. More than a 100 species of bird not found in the Serengeti have been found in the crater including; ostriches, kori bustards, secretary birds, and crowned cranes as well as vultures, egrets, herons and geese.The rainy season lasts from November through to May, with the dry season running from June through to October. June and July are the coldest months of the year. The rim of the crater is often shrouded in dense cloud that pours over the crater into the vastness below.
Where to Stay
Offers 75 stylish rooms situated around the crater rim. Each room offers a private terrace offering spectacular views of the caldera. Ngorongoro Serena Lodge offers a unique location built from river-stone it blends in effortlessly with the natural surroundings. Ngorongoro Serena offers 75 stylish rooms situated around the crater rim. Each room offers a private terrace offering spectacular views of the caldera and has a spacious en-suite bathroom as well as air conditioning. The Lodge’s unusual design continues into the restaurant and bar as well as a sitting room and an outdoor balcony with a fixed telescope.
Crater Forest Camp:
Offers 15 luxurious and spacious tented rooms situated under cool thatch with en-suite facilities and private verandas offering spectacular views over the Ngorongoro Forest. Guests can enjoy complementary coffee and tea is served on their veranda in the morning. Each tent has its own small lounge area with a cosy traditional fire place. Facilities in the bathrooms include a shower, flush toilet, wash hand basin, soap, towels, bottled water, Mosquito nets, torch and electric lights in the tents and bathrooms. The evenings are a cosy and romantic affair with traditional hurricane lamps in the bar, restaurant as well as along the paths and tents. Other facilities at Crater Forest Camp include a restaurant and bar serving a blend of delicious African and international cuisine and fresh farm produce are used. The camp also offers a lounge and a Curio shop