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Ngorongoro crater wildlife safaris Africa

Wildlife safaris destinations include Ngorongoro crater.

Ngorongoro crater is one of several tourist attractions in Ngorongoro conservation area.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA).

New 7 natural wonders Africa published in 2013 by Natural Wonders Organization based in USA are Okavango Delta, Mount Kilimanjaro, Sahara Desert, Serengeti Wildebeest migration, The Nile River, Ngorongoro crater and The red sea reef. Ngorongoro crater and Mount Kilimanjaro are Volcano tours destination and volcano are related. Hiking Kilimanjaro for One day is great acclimatization before climbing Mount Kilimanjaro.

Serengeti National park and Ngorongoro crater have one ecosystem and are best safari destination in Tanzania. All big 5 African wildlife species are seen. Famous Tanzania safari travel deals are 7 days 6 nights safari, 5 days adventure safari, 6 days wildlife safaris and budget camping safaris.

Ngorongoro is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and its 304 sq km floor is the ultimate ‘Big Five’ destination, home to elephant, lion, leopard, rhino, buffalo, and other safari favourites.

It is the centerpiece of the 8292 sq km Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), an easterly extension of the greater Serengeti ecosystem whose western plain attract up to 2.5 million antelope, zebras, buffalo and wildebeest seasonally.

As a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and an International Biosphere Reserve, the NCA contains many archaeological sites of international importance, and its traditional Maasai, Datoga and Hadza communities co-exist alongside the prodigious wildlife.

Ngorongoro crater is one of 7 natural wonders Africa winners announced in 2013 after voting competition conducted in 2012. Ngorongoro crater now is recommended for natural wildlife safari destinations in Africa. Tanzania safari package of 4 days or 5 days or 7 days includes Serengeti, Ngorongoro crater, Tarangire and lake Manyara. Wildlife safaris Tanzania need preparations like lodge rooms reservations and loading money to smart cards for entry fees.

What Makes Ngorongoro Unique?

Humans and our Ancestors have lived in the Ngorongoro ecosystem for more than three millions years.

NCA aims to maintain the historic balance of people and nature in way that has not been possible in most parts of Africa. Unlike national parks, the Ngorongoro Conservation area allows people and wildlife to live together without harm or destroying each other’s habitats.

At stake are the rich biodiversity and ecology of the Serengeti plains, the Ngorongoro highlands, the major paleontological and archaeological sites, as well as the increasingly vital water catchment areas. Ngorongoro is very good example of Ecotourism whereby it maximizes profits of communities without destroying natural resources, biodiversity, environment and cultural values.

A Holiday Tour to Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) involves a lot of vacation activities like walking safaris, game drives/wildlife viewing tour, nature trekking, cultural tourism around communities, horse riding in neighboring communities, or just leisure at the Safari Lodge.

Crater Landmarks

The dazzling jewel in Tanzania’s peerless northern safari circuit, the Ngorongoro Crater floor is dominated by open grassland. The Crater is 19.2 km in diameter, 610 deep and 304 sq km in area.

Wildlife – Big Cats

Big cats top the wish list of most safari goers, and here Ngorongoro truly excels.

The crater supports the world’s densest lion population, with up to 90 well-fed animals staking out their territories at any given time.

The World’s fastest land animal the cheetah, is exceptionally common on the short grass plains around Ndutu, but is often seen in the Crater. The elusive leopard is commonest on the forested rim but also occurs within the crater along Munge stream.

 Most big cats are available in Ngorongoro crater during wildlife safari tours Tanzania.


Wildlife – Predators:

Some 400 spotted hyenas live in the crater, communicating nocturnally with their eerie far-reaching whooping call.

Regularly seen in daylight, these oft –maligned creatures are adept hunters-indeed, ecologists reckon that Ngorongoro’s hyenas kill 90% of their prey and are regularly scavenged by lions.

Endearing bat-eared foxes and jaunty jackals are often seen in open grassland, while the more elusive serval cat and genet are present but seldom seen in day light.

Wildlife- Birds and Grazing Animals

Up to 25,000 plains grazers are resident in the Crater, a density of around 100 animals per square kilometer.

Buffalo, wildebeest and Zebra dominate but a diversity of antelope includes Thomsons’s and Grant’s gazelles and the mighty eland.

The grassland and marshes support a rich variety of birds, from the outsized Kori bustard and preening crowned crane to the exquisite rosy –throated long claw. Thousands of lesser flamingo often congregate at Lake Magadi, a dramatic sight below the tall crater wall.

Wildlife –Elephants.

Ngorongoro is a retirement home for elephant bulls, and swamps on the crater floor support some utterly magnificent old gents, with ground –scraping tusks of a stature elsewhere sacrificed to the ivory trade. Larger breeding herds occasionally descend to the crater floor, but are more likely to be seen on the forested crater rim, which has more suitable food. During walking safaris in Ngorongoro, elephants are seen in Ngorongoro forest.


The crater floor is one of the last strong holds for black rhino in northern Tanzania, and the best place to see this globally endangered creature. Rhino reside in Lerai forest overnight and early morning at Lake Magadi.


Empakaai Crater.

Set below the smouldering peak of Oldonyo Lengai, the Empakai Crater is utterly magnificent, yet its remoteness means it is reached by very few tourists. A 300 metre deep volcanic caldera with a diameter of 6 km, it is dominated by a deep emerald soda lake that attracts a wealth of waterbirds, like flamingo, sunbirds, turacos e.t.c Much of the 32 km long crater rim can be walked, providing spectacular views and the opportunity to see blue monkey, buffalo, bushbuck, leopard and other forest wildlife.

Empakai is most easily reached by driving through the Ngorongoro Crater or driving along the southern rim road which goes through the Maasai hamlet of Nainokanoka, where the Munge River waterfall can be seen plunging from the flanks of the nearby Olmoti Volcano (3,080m). At Nainokanoka you will meet your Maasai guides and donkeys. Transport is not 4-wheel drive but 4 –legged walk (ye, donkeys to carry your provisions and camping equipment). This is truly ecological way to explore Africa – the way Maasai have for generations past and will probably for generations to come!

The walk begins outside of Nainokanoka village, gradually ascending though silent stands of Nuxia, figs, crotons and the high-altitude Hagenia abyssinica, with its feathery leaves that collect and drip water from the misty atmosphere. Continue on the track, aiming north around the edge of the Embulmbul Depression, towards Empakai Crater (20 km, 6-8 hrs). To the east stands Lolmalasin (3700m a.s.l), the third highest mountain in Tanzania. Soon Empakai Crater and Oldonyo Lengai cone comes into view infront of you.

Camping is permitted on the rim of Empakai Crater, with number of basic accommodation options. Doing a lake tour and camping on the crater rim is a once in a lifetime experience as you get to witness Hyenas and other game birds hunt down flamingos in the lake.


Olmoti Crater.

Olmoti is an extinct volcano, whose forested rim rises to 3,099 metres altitude, immediately north of Ngorongoro.

The Maasai name Olmoti-‘cooking pot’ refers to its shallow crater, whose grassy floor supports eland and bushbuck along with Maasai herders and livestock. A small but spectacular waterfall exists the south side of the crater to form the munge stream, which feeds Lake Magadi on the lists Ngorongoro Floor.


Rainy season is (November through May). A Dry season of January and February may split the rainy season into short and long rains. It never rains at all time. There are short showers or storms, usually in the afternoon or at night. Clouds may hang around peaks, creating dense fog. When they lift, the views are spectacular, and the air is clear.

Dry Season is (June through October). Colder, with July the coldest and driest month. Highland temperatures may fall below freezing and grey overcast conditions are common.



Today, some 42,000 Maasai pastoralists live in the NCA, grazing their livestock seasonally on the plains, woodland and mountains, as do smaller numbers of Datoga and Hadza people. The one restriction on Maasai movement is that while they are permitted to bring livestock to the crater floor, they may not live or cultivate here.

Instantly identifiable with their toga-like red blanket, ochre –dyed hairstyle and colourful beaded jewellery, the Maasai arrived in the Ngorongoro area from the north about 200 years ago.

Visitors are welcomed at several designated Maasai cultural bomas-three along the road between the crater rim and the Serengeti, and another at Irkeepusi near Sopa Lodge.

People in Ngorongoro make important cultural tourism where these tribes live there -Maasai, Datoga, and hadzabe. Datoga and Maasai are pastoralists, while Hadzabe are Foragers.

Be considerate of other cultures, respect local customs, traditions, dress codes, language, beliefs and ceremonies.

Always ask permission before photographing people. Please use of the ‘cultural bomas’ which have been established as places where you can meet the Maasai and learn about their culture.



Oldupai Gorge/Olduvai Gorge.

One of the world’s most important palaeontological sites, sometimes dubbed the cradle of mankind, the Oldupai Gorge runs for 40km through the plains west of Ngorongoro Crater.

Olduvai Gorge is a site museum open daily. A replica of the Laetoli footprints is displayed in the Oldupai museum. The earliest sign of mankind in the NCA is at Laetoli where three separate tracks of a small-brained upright –walking early hominid Australopithecus afarensis are preserved in Volcanic rock dating back 3.6 million years.

Gol Mountains:

North West of the Ngorongoro highlands, the ancient pink granite cliffs of the Gol Mountains are book –ended by olkarien gorge, a nesting site for Ruppell’s griffon vulture, and the 80-metre tall monolithic Nasera Rock. Wildebeest herds and Zebra reside here at March and April.

Further South, Shifting sands, a tall black dune composed  of magnetic volcanic sand from Oldonyo Lengai, is being blown westwards across the plains at an average rate of more than 15 metres per year.

Lake Natron:

Northeast of the NCA, Lake Natron is a primordial sump whose caustic shallows forms the main breeding ground for Africa’s flamingos.

Lake Eyasi:

Southwest of the NCA, the shallows of Lake Eyasi are hemmed in by the steep Rift Valley escarpment. The remote Eyasi Basin is a home to the Datoga, pastoralists who arrived in the Ngorongoro Highlands at least 300 years ago but were subsequently displaced by the Maasai.

This harsh, dry landscape is also the haunt of the Semi-nomadic Hadza, sole remaining practitioners of the hunters-gatherer lifestyle that predominated in the Tanzania until 2,000 years ago.


West of Ngorongoro Crater, a rutted road descends verdant slopes into the vast expanse of open grassland known to the Maasai as Serengeti Endless plain.

Holiday safari activities:

-Walking safaris.

 The NCA is one of the few places in East Africa where tourist are encouraged to walk through areas teeming with wildlife.

Recommended routes include the hiking, trekking, nature trekking, waterfalls, from Olmoti to Empakaai and down to the rift valley, the Northern Highland Forest Reserve, and the eastern Serengeti plains around Nasera Rock, Gol Mountains and Olkarien Gorge.

-Bird watching

A varied mixture of forest, canyons, grassland plains, Lakes and Marshes provides an ornithological extravaganza, with 550 bird species recorded.


Lodges, campsites, luxury tented camps.

-Travel tips

Game viewing/wildlife safari is always good, any time of the year.

Wildebeest migration is in NCA over DEC-Apr, Calving Jan-Febr.

-Photographic safaris

A 300 mm (or longer) lens is ideal for wildlife safari photographic.


While in Ngorongoro Conservation area practices Ecotourism ethics.

-Keep to the authorized trail and stick to your guide’s advice

-Do not litter, Litter disfigures nature

- Do not uproot, pick, cut, damage any plant or any part thereof or be in possession of any part of plant in NCA.

-Do not light or cause wildlife.


Protect yourself:


In highland areas watch out for:

Stinging nettles- plants which cause temporary painful irritation to bare skin and may even sting through clothes. Shorts are not recommended.

Safari ants-small shiny brown ants that move rapidly in dense columns across trails. They are carnivorous, and if you step in them they crawl up your legs and start chewing. Tuck your trouser cuffs into your socks, and watch where you step.

In lowland or grassland areas watch out for:

Acacia thorns – the ‘cat claws’ of the wait-a-bit thorn (A.mellifera) can rip skin and clothing. The long straight thorns of many species can pierce soft-soled shoes and even car tyres –be very careful if you were sandals.

Ticks-can occur from in long grass, so check your body from time to time. If tick is firmly attached to you, grasp it close to its head with tweezers and pull the tick out gently but firmly.

Snakes-normally avoid you before you see them. The exception is the poisonous Puff Adder, a fat, sluggish brown or yellow snake. It may lie on paths at night, so if you must walk in the dark, use torch. Never catch or pick up a snake.

Scorpions-In dry country, small yellow scorpions lurk under rocks or dead wood and may climb into boots, clothing or other camp equipment left outside at night. Their sting can cause intense pain for several hours.


Be prepared for NCA’s physical extremes. In lowlands shade temperatures can reach 35 degree centigrade and shade may be scarce.

In the highlands it may freeze at night. Fine weather can change very quickly to fog and rain. Always carry a rainproof garment and some dry clothes in a plastic bag. To keep you warm, wool and synthetics are better than cotton or down. To keep you cool, cotton is best.

Always protect yourself from sun. A hat reduces the risk of sunstroke. Protect your eyes with dark glasses. Protect your skin with clothes or sun block lotion.

Drink as much water as you can (4 to 6 litres a day) to avoid dehydration. A diet high in carbohydrates will help provide the energy needed for hiking, trekking. Avoid alcohol at high altitudes.

Enjoy Game drives, wildlife viewing tour, walking safaris, trekking, and hiking, and cultural tourism in Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) with Safety, and comfortability.


More information: info@kili-tanzanitesafaris.com

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