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

  • Part of Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site
  • The crater is the only intact caldera in the world 
  • Ngorongoro Crater is also home to the Big 5 and is densely populated with other wildlife, including an estimated 6,000 wildebeest
  • Located close to the Serengeti National Park and Arusha 
  • A number of luxury lodgings available on the rim of the crater and more affordable options in the nearby town of Karatu
  • Best time to go:
  • Best
  • Mixed

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