Located between the Serengeti and Lake Manyara, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the famous volcanic Ngorongoro Crater and is one of Tanzania’s most popular wildlife viewing areas. This huge volcanic crater has a permanent supply of water, which draws thousands of animals who stay in this area rather than migrating. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area was declared a World Heritage site by UNESCO in 1979 because of its beauty and the uniqueness of its ecosystem. The Ngorongoro Conservation area is the world’s largest unbroken, un-flooded caldera formed when a giant volcano collapsed some three million years ago; the microclimate inside the crater forms the ideal habitat for numerous animal and vegetation species, a true heaven on earth.
Inside the crater there is the savannah, small marshy areas, a salty lake and some forests of acacia trees, a variety that contributes to the survival of numerous animal species inside the caldera. The slopes of the crater are covered with a dense forest that is home to numerous animals and, due to the difference in temperature between the bottom of the crater and the summit of the walls and the surrounding area, the forest is the cause of the constant fog forming along the rim of the crater.
A day-long visit inside the crater is an experience not to be missed and there are extraordinary possibilities of spotting animals; the only negative side is the jeep traffic along the two roads leading down to the crater, especially in the early morning, in the picnic areas and close to sighting spots.
Consider taking Highland walks in Ngorongoro Highlands! It offers one of the finest blends of culture, landscapes and wildlife in Tanzania. The best way to experience the highlands is by foot with a game ranger. Its diverse landscapes consisting of elevated volcanoes and craters, forests and vast grassy plains offers a remarkable experience for those hiking through this area. Hikers will have an experience on how the Maasai people, who live in these highlands and the wildlife have coexisted for generations. This excursion gets you close to nature in a unique way than from a safari jeep and allows you the chance to get that original taste of the Masai people.
This is 45 kilometers a gorge also called Oldupai gorge is located between Ngorongoro crater and the Serengeti, this gorge is named after the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant. This gorge is also known to be ‘the cradle of humankind’. Paleoanthropologists have found hundreds of fossilized bones and stone tools in the area dating back millions of years, leading them to conclude that humans evolved in Africa.
Game drives go into the Ngorongoro Crater through the green highland forest, with excellent birdlife to be spotted among the different tree species. Once on the short grass crater side, you will be greeted by abundant grazing herbivores, as well as the big cats that are attracted by this abundant supply of prey It is like an animal show. Depending on the time of year, you may see huge flocks of pink flamingo around the shores of the shallow Lake Magadi, while the surrounding swamp is inhabited by hippos.
For those who are into the ‘The Big Five’, it is all here waiting for you. Black rhino, elephants, lion, leopard and hyena along with healthy herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other wildlife includes serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, flamingo as well as approximately 400 species of birds.
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