Ngorongoro Crater

The Nature Zoo Famous Ngorongoro Crater, 2,286 meters above sea level, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. Surrounded by very steep walls rising 610 meters from the crater floor, this natural amphitheater covers 260 square km. That’s 100 square miles and is home to over 25,000 large mammals. About half of the animals are zebras and wildebeests.

There are also gazelles, buffaloes, elands, hartebeests, warthogs, and the rare rhinoceros. Occasionally Maasai can also be seen bringing their cattle down the crater walls to the lake below. Such vast numbers of animals attract many predators, including lions, hyenas, cheetahs, and leopards. More than 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti can also be spotted here. Countless flamingoes from a pink blanket over the soda lakes.

The Crater has been declared a World Heritage site. The Ngorongoro crater lies within Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 8,000 square km. It is bounded Lake Eyasi in the southwest and the Gol Mountains in the north. Roughly in the center is the Olbalal Swamp and the arid.

Olduvai Gorge: It is dotted with extinct craters and high plains and to the north is Oldonyo le Ngai, a grey, forbidding perfect cone that is a still-active volcano.

History and geography

Based on fossil evidence found at the Olduvai Gorge, it is known that various hominid species have occupied the area for 3 million years. Hunter gatherers were replaced by pastorialists a few thousand years ago. The Mbulu came to the area about 2,000 years ago, and were joined by the Datoga around the year 1700. Both groups were driven from the area by the Maasai in the 1800s. Massive fig trees in the northwest of the Lerai Forest are sacred to the Maasai and Datoga people. Some of them may have been planted on the grave of a Datago leader who died in battle with the Maasai around 1840.

No Europeans are known to have set foot in the Crater until 1892, when it was visited by Dr. Oscar Baumann. Two German brothers farmed in the Crater until the outbreak of World War I, after leasing the land from the German colonial administration then in control of East Africa. Dr. Baumann shot three rhinos while camped in the crater, and the German brothers regularly organized shooting parties to entertain their German friends. They also attempted to drive the wildebeest herds out of the crater.

The Ngorongoro area originally was part of the Serengeti National Park when it was created by the British in 1951. Maasai continued to live in the newly created park until 1959, when repeated conflicts with park authorities over land use led the British to evict them to the newly declared Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

Land in the conservation area is multi-use, it is unique in Tanzania as the only conservation area providing protection status for wildlife whilst allowing human habitation. As such land use is controlled to prevent negative effects on the wildlife population, for example cultivation is prohibited at all but subsistence levels.

The area is part of the Serengeti ecosystem, and to the north-west, it adjoins the Serengeti National Park and is contiguous with the southern Serengeti plains, these plains also extend to the north into unprotected Loliondo division and are kept open to wildlife through trans-human pastoralism practiced by Maasai. The south and west of the area are volcanic highlands, including the famous Ngorongoro Crater and the lesser known Empakai. The southern and eastern boundaries are approximately defined by the rim of the Great Rift Valley wall, which also prevents animal migration in these directions.

The Maasai people had been grazing their livestock in the open plains which they knew as “endless plain” for over 200 years when the first European explorers visited the area. The name Serengeti is an approximation of the word used by the Maasai to describe the area. German geographer and explorer Dr. Oscar Baumann entered the area in 1892. Baumann killed three rhinos during a stay in the Ngorongoro crater.

The Serengeti is Tanzania’s oldest national park and remains the flagship of the country’s tourism industry, providing a major draw to the “Northern Safari Circuit”, encompassing Lake Manyara, Tarangire and Arusha national parks, as well as Ngorongoro Conservation Area.


A population of approximately 25,000 large animals, largely ungulates along with reputedly the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa, lives in the crater. These include the black rhinoceros, whose local population declined from about 108 in 1964-66 to between 11-14 in 1995, and the hippopotamus, which is very uncommon in the area. There also are many other ungulates: the wildebeest (7,000 estimated in 1994), the zebra (4,000), the eland, and Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles (3,000).

Sample Itineraries

Pickup from your hotel at Arusha or Moshi, as early as 06.30 hrs in the morning by our driver you will embark on a 3 hours drive to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

We will cross the Great Rift Valley on our way and ascend the stunning escarpments of the rift valley with a brief stop at the Rift Valley Escarpment’s view point (if you wish). We will have a brief stop at the Loduare Main Gate where we will undergo the registration process briefly for some 5 to 10 minutes then proceed to the Crater Rim where we will make another short brief stop to have nice and stunning views over the Crater floor as well as take photos.

After taking some photos we descend to the Crater floor and spend the whole day doing game drives inside the world’s unbroken Caldera which is also one of the UNESCO world heritage sites found in Tanzania. Ngorongoro Crater is famous for spotting a lot of animals at a very close range including the Big Five with just a little luck in one day. Other animals that can be spotted include; zebras, hartebeests, wildebeests, impalas, gazelles, topis, hyenas, jackals, and many birds including the flamingos.

Picnic lunch will be served at one of the sites in the Crater floor then continue with game drives until 15.30 hrs or 16.00 hrs when we drive out and proceed back to Arusha arriving early in the evening with lots of memories and photos to share!

Day 1
Safari Sarts from Arusha Drive to Lake Manyara National Park

On this day, you will be picked up from your hotel in Arusha with your lunch boxes and drive to Lake Manyara national park and late afternoon you will break for picnic lunch, then continue with the game drive till late evening and exit the park to Ngorongoro Marera Mountain View Lodge for dinner and overnight.

The game in Lake Manyara national park includes plenty of elephants, wildebeest along with so many Giraffes, and Buffalos in addition the park is also very famous for its large number of Zebras, Impalas, Warthog, and Waterbucks on the slope of escarpment.

Day 2
Full Day Game Drive at Ngorongoro Crater

Early morning drive to Ngorongoro for crater tour with picnic lunch.

Party of the reason behind the Ngorongoro conservation area has been to preserve the environment for the Maasai people who were diverted from the Serengeti plains. Essential nomadic people, they build temporary village in circular homesteads called homes.

Then we will break for picnic lunch, then later drive back to Arusha. End of our Safari.

Day 01
Arusha – Ngorongoro Crater

First day of your Ngorongoro Safari tour you leave Arusha town as early as 07.00 – 08.00 AM and drive through the Masai Steppe and pass Lake Manyara area in the Rift valley; drive up the escapement and across Karatu area to the Loduare Gate of Ngorongoro Conservation Area. After a short stop at the gate for registration we drive up to the View point where we make a brief stop to get some of the most breathtaking views over the Crater floor and take some photos. We then descend into the Ngorongoro Crater floor for game drives for the rest of the day. Picnic lunch will be served at the picnic site by the hippo poolside then continue with game drives later in the afternoon we drive up the Crater rim and out to Karatu for overnight at a lodge. Overnight at a Lodge in Karatu. Lunch and dinner included.

Day 02
Ngorongoro Crater

After breakfast you will descend into the Ngorongoro Crater also often referred to as the “Eden of Africa” . The largest unbroken caldera in the world; the Ngorongoro Crater is unparalleled in terms of wildlife concentration. Your drive will be in constant contact with other drivers to locate the best sightings of animals and with a little luck you will be able to spot the big 5 inside the Crater. Lunch will be served at the picnic site and late in the afternoon we will drive back to the Crater rim and drive to your lodge at Karatu.

Day 03
Ngorongoro – Arusha

On this day after a leisurely breakfast at the lodge you will choose between visiting a Masai Village and going for a nature walk in the forests of Ngorongoro (at a small extra fee ). Guided by an armed ranger you will walk in the forest trails and if lucky you might bump into herds of buffaloes, elephants as well as other forest species like the duikers, also lions leopards etc.

After the activities you will drive back to Arusha town with a brief stop at Karatu and Mto wa Mbu market towns where you may mingle with the locals and do some shopping if you so wish.

End of the 03 days Safari in Ngorongoro Crater.

End of Tour.

Safari Prices Depend on number of persons coming with you and the accommodation used.

This safari can be done from Zanzibar or Dar es Salaam with a flight into Ngorongoro or Arusha town.

The same safari to Ngorongoro can be done starting from Mwanza

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Discover the real wild side of Africa on an adventure safari, choose an exciting tour that will ensure you have the holiday of a lifetime. Plan your exciting Tanzania Safari Tours with us and feel how adventure and expertise bring you satisfaction. High Peaks Expedition Ltd, is the best safari tour company in Africa specializing in African Safari Planing, Mountain Trekking and Beach Holidays tours.


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