Nearly 20 kilometres in diameter, the Ngorongoro Crater measures in as the largest intact volcanic caldera in the world. Views from atop the 600 metre high walls are spectacular and open up a new world of wonder to those visiting this gorgeous country.
The World's Richest Crater of Wildlife
A visit to the Ngorongoro Crater is an experience of a lifetime. There are few places that have wildlife densities and variety on this level.The Ngorongoro Crater offers some of the best wildlife viewing in Africa. All the major safari animals occur in great numbers. The resident population of black rhino is a real treat, as rhino are very difficult to spot elsewhere in Tanzania. The crater is also home to some very impressive elephant bulls with huge tusks. Lake Magadi often harbors large flocks of flamingo.
Ngorongoro Crater completely encompasses the traditional migratory routes of the wildebeest. A real special of the crater is the black rhino. Rhino is hard to see in Tanzania, and usually sticks to thick vegetation. This is not so in the crater, where they have a predictable routine of spending the night in Lerai forest, and the day in open grassland. Black-backed and golden jackal are equally common in the crater and the density of spotted hyena is quite extraordinary. The only exception is giraffe, which is present in the Conservation Area, but not in the crater because of the steep descent. Elephant are common, including some very big tuskers, and all the big cats are prominent as well. It is not unusual to see the Big Five in one day.
Best Time to Visit:
You can spot wildlife down on the crater floor at any time of year. But the viewing is better in the Dry season (June to October) when the undergrowth has receded and animals tend to gather conveniently around waterholes and rivers. The only advantages the wetter months offer are fewer people and low-season accommodation rates.
Special Things To Do In Ngorongoro Crater
Photography And Filming Safari
Photographers are advised to come with all equipment’s desired for filming and photography.Cameras with telescopic lenses for telephotos are recommended because off road driving is not allowed at all in the Area. At times the environment can be very dusty and therefore we recommend you bring with you protective gears such as dust cover, etc.
Best time for photography is early in the morning and late in the evening. Taking pictures of the Maasai along the road is strictly prohibited. This can be done with permission at designated places such as cultural Bomas. Remember to bring several full charged batteries and devices with enough storage capacity.
One can visit the Maasai cultural bomas in Ngorongoro to learn more about the unique culture of this tribe; or simply to take photographs or buy souvenirs. There is an entrance fee to be paid at the bomas.
One can visit the Maasai Cultural bomas in the NCA to learn more about their unique culture, to take photographs, and to buy mementos. There is an entrance fee to be paid but it is well worth it. Please be sensitive to the fact that it is considered bad manners to take photographs of people along the roadside without a permission.
Walking In And Around Ngorongoro Is Adventurous And Rewarding. Short Hikes Can Be Organized By The Lodges In The Area, Or At The Headquarters Of Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, Or Through A Tour Operator. Short Walks Includes Trekking Down Empakai Or Olmoti Craters. Long Walks Need More Planning And Are Easily Booked Through Tour Operators. Long Walks Include Trekking From Olmoti To Empakai, And Down To The Floor Of The Great Rift Valley; Trekking In The Northern Highlands Forest Reserve; And Trekking In The Eastern Plains Around Nasera Rock, Gol Mountains, And Olkarien Gorge.
All Walking Safaris In Ngorongoro Must Be Accompanied By An Armed Ranger.
Bird Watching Safari
The annual birds migrants from Europe and Asia inhabit the Ngorongoro Crater between September and April. Among the migrant birds in this area you can see the Lesser Kestrel, the European swallow, European bee eater, the Northern Wheatear, European roller, Pallid Harrier, Caspian Lapwing and the Montagu’s Harrier.
Furthermore, in the wet season you can see the Rosy-breasted Long claw and large flocks of European storks.
On the bare grounds or sand tracks in the Ngorongoro Crater you can see nests of Ostriches, Kori bustards, Secretary birds, Grey crowned Cranes, the ground nestling Northern Anteater Chat, Rufous-napped Lark, Capped Whater, Fischer’s Sparrow lark, Red capped Lark and the Grassland Pipit.
The tree nestling birds of the Ngorongoro Crater are the Superb Starling, Rufous Tailed Weaver and the African White backed Vulture. The Ngorongoro Crater is also inhabited by birds of prey such as: the Augur buzzard and the Long-crested eagle.
The soda lakes of Ngorongoro are the breeding grounds of thousands of flamingoes and other water birds such as ducks, waders and herons.
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