Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site that offers a unique biosphere, one which still remains the same over time. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, established in 1959, covers a total area of 8292 square kilometres. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located 180km west of Arusha, in the crater highland areas of Tanzania. Ngorongoro is governed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an arm of the Tanzania government.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area

It is in Ngorongoro and barely elsewhere in the world that such a large population of wildlife can be seen throughout the year. The Ngorongoro Crater itself is a beautiful place with amazing landscape, from where tourists have a very good chance of spotting the Big5 almost immediately. The African Big5 include the lion, elephant, buffalo, rhino and leopard; which can still be found elsewhere while on an African safari but almost not together in the same park. other wildlife in Ngorongoro include jackals, cheetahs, Thomson’s gazelle, bat-eared foxes, elands, wildebeests, and so many more, as well as well over 400 bird species like the silvery-cheeked hornbill, grey crowned cranes

Attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Apart from the amazingly abundant wildlife including bird species that roam Ngorongoro Conservation Area, there are other attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area that pull thousands of tourists to visit on a Tanzania safari and they include;

The Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Crater is a 260 square kilometres wide densely populated game area in the whole world. An estimate of 25000 wild animals have been recorded to inhabit the crater floor, including the Big5. The rim of Ngorongoro Crater is approximately 600m above the crater floor, with a salt lake in the middle. During the night, large herds of elephants and zebras climb to the edge of the crater while the Maasai herd their cattle and goats down at the crater in the daytime, allowing them graze on the very lush green vegetation of the Ngorongoro crater floor.

Apart from the Ngorongoro Crater, there are other craters that attract tourists to visit say the Olmoti Caldera famous for its amazing waterfalls, and Empakai caldera famous for having a deep lake with lush green walls.

Olduvai Gorge

The Olduvai Gorge runs a 45km stretch along the Great Rift Valley between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, and is referred to as the ‘Cradle of mankind’ from where the oldest human skull was discovered by both Dr. Louis and Mary Leakey. Due to its historical and especially anthropological attachment, the Olduvai Gorge is visited by a number of tourists all year long.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Activities

With the above attractions in Ngorongoro Conservation Area, there are a number of activities that tourists can do while on a Ngorongoro Crater safari. These include;

Game Drive

Game drives in Ngorongoro are very rewarding, for they usually take tourists to the Ngorongoro Crater through lush highland forest from where stunning birdlife can be spotted, as well as wildlife. During a game drive at the grassy Ngorongoro Crater floor, tourists are rewarded with amazingly high numbers of wildlife grazing around as well as predators hunting down their prey. With over 25000 wild animals recorded at the Ngorongoro Crater floor, tourists are sure to tick off all their list of animals expected to encounter while on an Africa safari. During a game drive around Lake Magadi, depending on the time of the year, tourists can see pink flamingos around the shores of the lake, with serried ranges of hippos inhabiting a nearby swamp. Game drives in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are the big deal, and probably incomparable to many other Africa safari destinations. 

Birding in Ngorongoro Conservation Area

There are over 400 species of birds in Ngorongoro, enough to keep a birder busy for more than a day. Bird watching safaris are done through guided nature walks, via paths well known by the gird guide. A keen birder clad with a good bird guide and a pair of binoculars can spot at least 100 birds a day. 

Highland walk

The Ngorongoro highlands are a fine blend of stunning landscapes, wildlife and culture that tourists who do take time to take part in the highland walk get rewarded with such amazing views and get to experience the Ngorongoro on foot. The highland walk is done in the company of an armed ranger.

Cultural experience

While on a Ngorongoro crater safari, tourists get to have a cultural experience of especially the Maasai people who were the early inhabitants of the area and coexisted with the wildlife therein till they were relocated to the nearby communities outside the conservation area. Tourists get an authentic cultural experience, and take part in various activities they may be doing like herding cattle and goats, milking, or even dancing with them their traditional dance.

Other activities in Ngorongoro Conservation Area that tourists can do include walking safaris, visiting Oldupai Museum, as well as picnicking. 

The best time to visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area.

It is during the dry season which runs through the May to October that is the best time to enjoy game drives since the wild game all collect in the available water areas to have a drink or a dip. During the wet season however, which runs through the months of November to April, tourists get to enjoy the amazingly green and beautiful landscape as well as wildlife as they graze on the lush green pastures with the predators at bay just to paunch at them. It is therefore safe to say that Ngorongoro can be visited all year through.

How to get to Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Tourists can get to Ngorongoro by both air and road. By air, tourists can charter flights from Arusha Airport or Kilimanjaro International Airport to any of the airstrips in the Ngorongoro area. By road, tourists travel about 160km from Arusha to Ngorongoro, spending about 2 hours on the road. A road transfer to Ngorongoro Conservation Area is very eye opening for tourists get to see the Tanzanian countryside.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Conservation Area Accommodation

There are various Ngorongoro accommodation facilities that tourists can stay in while of safari. These range from luxury to budget, and can be found both in and outside the conservation area. The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge and the Ngorongoro Forest Tented Lodge offer super luxury to those clients after extra comfort and services. Tourists should know that all campsites in Ngorongoro with the exception of Simba are classifies as special which means that tourists are required to carry their own facilities.

Reach out to a reputable tour operator to help you put together a wonderful and memorable Ngorongoro Crater safari, or check out any of our well-developed Tanzania safaris packages that you can choose from, or better yet customise to befit just your preferences.

book a gorilla trip