A flourishing basin in the Ngorongoro Crater

Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater has been part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (a UNESCO World Heritage Site) since 1973. Aside from boasting a fertile floor and thus an abundance of wildlife (notably the Big 5), the crater is also the only intact caldera left in the world. Fun fact: many speculate—before Ngorongoro erupted—it would have been higher than the mighty Kilimanjaro.

Located 1,800 metres above sea level in the Ngorongoro Highlands, the crater’s vegetation ranges from forest on one slope and grassland on the other, to a floor consisting largely of grassland renowned for leopard spotting. The crater is densely populated with other wildlife, including a thriving lion population, endangered black rhino, elephants, and an impressive number of resident wildebeest reaching an estimated 6,000. Cheetahs are known for slipping in and out of Ngorongoro throughout the year.

The Maasai graze their cattle alongside the rest of the wildlife in the crater. Visitors to the area can organise cultural visits to nearby Maasai villages through the number of lodges located on the crater’s rim or in the nearby town of Karatu which offers more budget-friendly accommodation.

Highlights

  • Only intact caldera in the world
  • Part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • Home to the Big 5, as well as an estimated 6,000 wildebeest and a variety of other animals
  • Incredible diversity of fauna and flora all year round
  • Cultural visits to nearby Maasai villages
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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