Any Northern Tanzania Safari should ideally include a visit to Ngorongoro Crater: it is one of the most beautiful natural wildlife safari sites in the world and an exceptional place to interact with people from the Maasai tribe.

The Ngorongoro Crater and surrounding highlands together form one of Africa’s most beautiful regions. Volcanic craters form stunning backdrops to some of the most fertile and richest grazing grounds in Africa. The most famous such crater is without question Ngorongoro, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera and home to the highest density of big game in Africa. Ngorongoro is justifiably one of the continent’s most famous safari destinations.

Ngorongoro Crater Location:

slightly off the popular northern Tanzania Safari Circuit, the park lies between the meadows of Masai Steppe to the south east and the lakes of the Great Rift Valley to the north and west. Within the northern part of Tarangire is the permanent River Tarangire also known as the life-line of the park particularly in the dry season when most of the region is totally dry. This flows northwards until it exits the park in the northwestern corner to pour into Lake Burungi. There are a number of wide swamps which dry into green plains during the dry season in the south.

What to Expect in the Park:

With more than 25,000 large animals and hundreds of bird species, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area lives up to its reputation for incredible wildlife viewing. The Ngorongoro Crater is home to wildebeest, zebra, buffalo and Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle. From the crater rim, watch the herds journey across the base in long columns. Keep an eye open for black rhinos in the bushes and old bull elephants with long, majestic tusks around the Gorigor Swamp. Leopards lurk in the Lerai forest, while prides of lions prowl the plains. On the northern flank of the Olmoti volcano, you may spot buffalo, zebra and hyena. Hike down to the Empakaai Crater to see thousands of pink flamingos around the edges of the soda lake.

Best time to Visit the Park:

Since the wildlife mainly stays in the crater all year round, there is really no good or bad time to visit. However given that the crater floor does get busy with vehicles, it can be more pleasant to visit during low season. Higher water levels in Lake Magadi (in the centre of the Crater) also result in higher concentrations of flamingos.  Whenever you visit to Ngorongoro, you are guaranteed excellent safari action. The beauty of an Ngorongoro safari is because of its unique micro-climate, it can be enjoyed year round.