The Ngorongoro crater is among the safari destinations in Tanzania and it is located in the northern part of the country. Safaris to the Ngorongoro crater can be done at any time of the year and the destination is known for being among the best places to see wildlife species during a tour in Tanzania. There are many other attractions which can also be seen during a safari around the Ngorongoro conservation area.
The best time to visit the Ngorongoro crater is during the dry season from June to October when the weather is favourable. During the months around December, January February and March, tourists can visit the Ndutu area which is part of the Ngorongoro conservation area and see the wildebeest migration.
Around the Ndutu area, wildebeests can be seen grazing as the calving season takes place which also attracts many predators like lions, leopards, cheetahs among others. Over 8,000 calves are born in the Ndutu area during the calving season.
The Ngorongoro crater also has beautiful scenery and is a good destination in Tanzania for wildlife photography. From the crater view point, tourists can enjoy the spectacular views around Ngorongoro during their safaris.
What is unique about the Ngorongoro crater is that it is the world’s largest inactive caldera covering over 260 square kilometres. The Ngorongoro crater is about 600 metres wide and numerous wildlife species can be spotted around the crater during game drives and other activities that are carried out at the destination.
The crater was formed over 2 million years ago as a result of collapse of an active volcano. The steep nature of the walls of the crater act as a form of natural boundary that keeps the wildlife species within the crater making them easy to see during wildlife safaris around the Ngorongoro crater.
Ngorongoro conservation area consists of grassland, woodland and also forested area which acts as habitat for wildlife species at the destination. The different wildlife species which can be spotted around Ngorongoro include kudu, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, hyenas, warthogs, buffalos, impalas, rhinos, lions, wildebeest, zebras, gazelles, hippos, hartebeest, waterbucks, reedbucks and many others.
Many predators are found in the Ngorongoro conservation area and they can also be spotted during the calving season. The Ngorongoro crater is also home to the rare black rhinos which can also be seen during game drives around the destination.
Attractions found around the Ngorongoro conservation area include the following;
The Ol duvai gorge is an archaeological site which is among the places to visit around the Ngorongoro conservation area and it is also referred to as the cradle of mankind. Discoveries of human fossils were made at the Ol duvai gorge by Dr Louis and Mary Leakey. You can also visit the museum during a tour of Ngorongoro and get to learn more about the discoveries made at Ol duvai.
The Ngorongoro crater is also home to over 400 bird species which can also be seen during a tour. Flamingos are among the bird species which can be seen around the destination and other birds in Ngorongoro include ostriches, spoonbills, rufous tailed weavers, starlings among others. The best time to see these birds during a safari is in the months of November to April when migrant bird species are found in the destination.
You can also interact with the Maasai during a tour of the Ngorongoro conservation area. The Maasai are known for their unique culture and way of life and they live around Ngorongoro. Cultural tours to the homesteads or bomas of the Maasai are very exciting experiences to take part in when visiting Tanzania. During the cultural tours with the Maasai, tourists get to know more about their way of life, culture, traditional dances among other things. Maasai can also be encountered as they graze their livestock such as cows, goats and sheep as they move around Ngorongoro.
Another place to visit when touring the Ngorongoro conservation area is Lake Magadi which is a shallow alkaline lake in Ngorongoro crater. Flamingos can be spotted along the shores of this lake during tours.
Apart from the attractions mentioned above, there are other wildlife viewing destinations found in the northern part of Tanzania which can be visited after or before going to Ngorongoro conservation area and they include Serengeti national park, Tarangire national park, Lake Manyara national park and also Arusha national park.
A number of activities can be carried out during safaris around the Ngorongoro conservation area and they include game drives, hot air balloon safaris, nature walks, bird watching and also cultural tours.
Charges which are incurred during safaris around the Ngorongoro conservation area include;
Entrance fee for nonresidents is 71 USD for adults above 16 years of age while children aged 5 tears and below 16 years are charged entrance fee of 23.6 USD.
Expatriates or residents living in Tanzania aged above 16 years are charged 35.4 USD and children aged 5 years and below 16 years are charged a fee of 11.8 USD for visiting the Ngorongoro crater.
East Africans and Tanzanians aged above 16 years of age visiting the Ngorongoro conservation area are charged entrance fee of 11,800 Tanzania shillings and children aged 5 years and below 16 years are charged entrance fee of 2,360 Tanzania shillings.
Crater service fee for Ngorongoro is charged per vehicle or per trip and is 295 USD for non-East African citizens and 11,800 Tanzania shillings for Tanzanians and East African citizens.
Visit Ngorongoro and enjoy a wildlife viewing experience during safaris at different times of the year.