Ngorongoro Crater

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Why

Renowned as a UNESCO world heritage site and protected wilderness area, Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places in Tanzania to see the famous Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo) and for this reason is a popular choice amongst safari enthusiasts. A safari in the Serengeti or reserves in northern Tanzania is not complete without a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater.

Encompassing volcanic craters and fertile grazing grounds, Ngorongoro affords incredible game viewing all year round. Renowned for its big game and plentiful predators, game drives in this region are exciting and offer great photo opportunities. Experiences to be had in the Ngorongoro Crater include big five game drives on the crater floor, bird watching, interactions with people from the Maasai tribe, and visits to Olduvai Gorge.

There is a selection of lodges that nestle on the rim of the crater, offering phenomenal views, gorgeous sunsets, and convenient access to the crater floor. A short distance away from the crater is Karatu which offers fewer crowds, smaller and more intimate lodges and additional activities such as walking and mountain biking.

When

Due to the fact that the Ngorongoro wildlife remains within the confines of the steep-walled crater throughout the year, your decision as to when to visit is not likely to revolve around maximising your game viewing experience. What is likely to influence your decision, however, are the highs and lows of the tourist seasons as the crater floor can become rather crowded with visitors at certain times of the year.

Visitor numbers tend to be at their highest during the dry season from around June to September as this is generally considered to be the best period for wildlife watching. The game usually gathers around rivers and water holes during the dry season and the vegetation is at its thinnest, making the animals much easier to spot. The dry season’s days tend to be warm and sunny but early mornings and evenings can get cold, so be sure to pack plenty of warm clothing.

Visitors numbers then typically decrease significantly during the rainy season which begins around the end of October and continues until the end of May. Tourist rates are generally reduced during this time and the landscape becomes beautifully lush and green. The higher water levels in the Ngorongoro Crater’s Lake Magadi also result in higher concentrations of both resident and migratory water birds including large numbers of flamingo for which the area is known. Aside from the months of March, April and May, when the rains are at their heaviest, the rains are usually short afternoon showers and are unlikely to affect your safari experience. Note that travellers who are eager to experience the wonders of the calving season, should plan their trip during the wet season, particularly during the months of December, January and February.  

Where

Forming part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Tanzania. This pristine expanse of wilderness is comprised of a large area of short-grass plains on the southern border of the Serengeti National Park as well as the exquisite Ngorongoro Highlands region, featuring a range of dramatic ancient volcanoes on the western side of the Great Rift Valley.

The area’s star attraction is undoubtedly the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact volcanic caldera, which forms a unique 300 square kilometre natural enclosure for around 30, 000 wild animals. The crater is renowned for containing the highest density of big game in Africa including all of the ‘Big Five’ as well as cheetah, serval cat, jackal, hyena, Grant's and Thompson's gazelle, and over 400 species of bird. In addition to its astonishing array of wildlife, the crater features the wonderfully scenic Lake Magadi; the Lerai Forest, considered one of the best places in Africa for leopard sightings; and the lovely Ngoitokitok Spring area, inhabited by countless hippos, elephants, and lions.  

Other popular attractions within the greater Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area include the smaller Empakaai Crater, known for its exceptionally large flocks of flamingos, and the spectacular Olduvai Gorge. This steep-sided, 50-kilometre-long ravine is one of the world’s most significant prehistoric sites boasting a fascinating museum displaying replicas of some of the hominid and animal fossils unearthed at the site.

Must see: The magnificent Ngorongoro Crater containing: an impressive abundance of resident wildlife, an acacia forest crawling with leopards, a beautiful lake teeming with waterbirds, and the Ngoitokitok Spring area, inhabited by countless hippos, elephants, and lions.

Why

Renowned as a UNESCO world heritage site and protected wilderness area, Ngorongoro Crater is one of the best places in Tanzania to see the famous Big Five (Lion, Leopard, Elephant, Rhino, Buffalo) and for this reason is a popular choice amongst safari enthusiasts. A safari in the Serengeti or reserves in northern Tanzania is not complete without a visit to the Ngorongoro Crater.

Encompassing volcanic craters and fertile grazing grounds, Ngorongoro affords incredible game viewing all year round. Renowned for its big game and plentiful predators, game drives in this region are exciting and offer great photo opportunities. Experiences to be had in the Ngorongoro Crater include big five game drives on the crater floor, bird watching, interactions with people from the Maasai tribe, and visits to Olduvai Gorge.

There is a selection of lodges that nestle on the rim of the crater, offering phenomenal views, gorgeous sunsets, and convenient access to the crater floor. A short distance away from the crater is Karatu which offers fewer crowds, smaller and more intimate lodges and additional activities such as walking and mountain biking.

When

Due to the fact that the Ngorongoro wildlife remains within the confines of the steep-walled crater throughout the year, your decision as to when to visit is not likely to revolve around maximising your game viewing experience. What is likely to influence your decision, however, are the highs and lows of the tourist seasons as the crater floor can become rather crowded with visitors at certain times of the year.

Visitor numbers tend to be at their highest during the dry season from around June to September as this is generally considered to be the best period for wildlife watching. The game usually gathers around rivers and water holes during the dry season and the vegetation is at its thinnest, making the animals much easier to spot. The dry season’s days tend to be warm and sunny but early mornings and evenings can get cold, so be sure to pack plenty of warm clothing.

Visitors numbers then typically decrease significantly during the rainy season which begins around the end of October and continues until the end of May. Tourist rates are generally reduced during this time and the landscape becomes beautifully lush and green. The higher water levels in the Ngorongoro Crater’s Lake Magadi also result in higher concentrations of both resident and migratory water birds including large numbers of flamingo for which the area is known. Aside from the months of March, April and May, when the rains are at their heaviest, the rains are usually short afternoon showers and are unlikely to affect your safari experience. Note that travellers who are eager to experience the wonders of the calving season, should plan their trip during the wet season, particularly during the months of December, January and February.  

Where

Forming part of the greater Serengeti ecosystem, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is an impressive UNESCO World Heritage site in northern Tanzania. This pristine expanse of wilderness is comprised of a large area of short-grass plains on the southern border of the Serengeti National Park as well as the exquisite Ngorongoro Highlands region, featuring a range of dramatic ancient volcanoes on the western side of the Great Rift Valley.

The area’s star attraction is undoubtedly the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact volcanic caldera, which forms a unique 300 square kilometre natural enclosure for around 30, 000 wild animals. The crater is renowned for containing the highest density of big game in Africa including all of the ‘Big Five’ as well as cheetah, serval cat, jackal, hyena, Grant's and Thompson's gazelle, and over 400 species of bird. In addition to its astonishing array of wildlife, the crater features the wonderfully scenic Lake Magadi; the Lerai Forest, considered one of the best places in Africa for leopard sightings; and the lovely Ngoitokitok Spring area, inhabited by countless hippos, elephants, and lions.  

Other popular attractions within the greater Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area include the smaller Empakaai Crater, known for its exceptionally large flocks of flamingos, and the spectacular Olduvai Gorge. This steep-sided, 50-kilometre-long ravine is one of the world’s most significant prehistoric sites boasting a fascinating museum displaying replicas of some of the hominid and animal fossils unearthed at the site.

Must see: The magnificent Ngorongoro Crater containing: an impressive abundance of resident wildlife, an acacia forest crawling with leopards, a beautiful lake teeming with waterbirds, and the Ngoitokitok Spring area, inhabited by countless hippos, elephants, and lions.

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AndBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is situated on the rim of the gorgeous Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Boasting incredible crater views and amazing architecture, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is often called the game lodge at the top of the world

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FROM
£
/NIGHT
AndBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is situated on the rim of the gorgeous Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Boasting incredible crater views and amazing architecture, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is often called the game lodge at the top of the world

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4.7
out of 5 based on
177 reviews
Nov 26, 2022
We had an amazing first safari…
We had an amazing first safari experience with Safari.com! 💯Thanks to Dolan for the well planning and ensure our itinerary goes smoothly and safely!
CSY
,
ZA
Oct 21, 2022
Superior service, knowledgeable, transparent, amazing can-do attitude
These guys get 10/10. I have booked with them a few times. To Kruger National Park, including both public and private(concession) camps, flights and car hire. Their senior agent, Dolan is exceptional. Nothing is too much trouble. Attention to detail, transparency, and 'can-do' attitude are out of the ordinary. I recently came into contact with Tanya at safari.com as well. It looks like all their agents are similarly well trained. Thank you. I cannot recommend Dolan and his team highly enough.
customer
,
AU
Nov 18, 2022
Cape Town miracle
I was in Cape Town, South Africa recently for an athletic competition and had allowed myself a week of personal time to relax and properly conclude the trip, but had not bothered to plan a safari to occupy the time. I was skeptical of the cost and whether I would enjoy the experience, however a couple days into that final week it occurred to me, in a bit of a panic attack, what a waste it would be not to take advantage of this opportunity. I hopped online and started looking at flights to Johannesburg (almost all the safaris in SA start there with an early morning pick up), but it was basically impossible to get a flight early enough and/or to coordinate with the multiple safaris operating in or just outside of Kruger. With no apparent options available to turn my remaining 4 1/2 days into even a 3 day safari I stumbled on the most obvious website one could imagine, Safari.com. I'd completely given up negotiating all the variables on my own but here was a safari travel agent that might be able to help me .. and they were based right out of Cape Town, literally a stones throw from my lodgings. Serendipity, or so i hoped. I immediately sent out an email and crossed my fingers .. for roughly an hour and a half, at which point Dolan from Safari.com responded to me requesting I give him a call so that we could expedite potential arrangements. My in country phone plan wasn't able to make calls, but we arranged for him to call me and not 3 hours after being in the grip of despair Dolan got through to me and far from notifying me of how absurd it was to hold out hope for a literally, last minute safari adventure with barely 4 days available to me, he had already worked out all the details I'd sent and created a preliminary safari trip that would bypass Johannesburg airport for a flight the next morning to a closer, much, much smaller airport where I would be picked up taken, not to a 3 day safari, but a full 4 day safari, then back to the tiny, tiny airport for a return flight to Cape Town with 2 hours to spare for my return leg all the way home. It almost feels like an afterthought, after the minor miracle Dolan was able to conjure up, but the safari itself at Simbavati Lodge was just an absolutely stunning experience. The single "tent" he booked me was as luxurious as any 4 star hotel I've stayed in, the game drives, one every morning, one every evening were more amazing than I could have ever imagined, and the food, 3 meals a day with snacks and an open bar was sublime. I could go on about the wonderful staff, or the wonderful other safari goers you can meet and grab a drink with, or the different animals walking through the open lodge facilities daily .. but I've gone on long enough. I'll simply conclude by saying .. safari, absolutely, yes, do it, it is amazing. And when you do decide, Safari.com will do you right and if you have the pleasure of working with Dolan, do give him my thanks .. the entire experience was the best part of my trip :)
Damian Glennon
,
CA
Nov 12, 2022
A great company
What to say! We planned a South African Safari for 2020 with Safari.com. We researched companies and took a chance on one we had never heard of before. Henry Franklin was our agent, we gave him our budget and wish list. He came up with a wonderful looking trip and we made our choices! Then came Covid, preventing us from going. We couldn’t have been in better hands. Henry rebooked everything for the next year. He kept us updated on how things looked there. When in 2021, we decided it still looked iffy, he rebooked us a second time for 2022. We couldn’t have been happier with the service we had in a rough time for all. We had a wonderful experience on our trip when we finally got to go!! Henry had everything so well organized and gave us a detailed list of what transfer companies would be meeting us and when. When Airlink bumped us and put us on standby returning from Victoria Falls, we called the concierge number Henry had given us and Catherine worked hard on this and got us back on our flight. The Safari.com team had our back and we have no regrets. Would definitely use them again. Our lodging was wonderful, saw the big 5 within first 2 drives. Henry definitely knew the territory and did a great job matching what we wanted with where he suggested we go and stay. Thanks Safari.com, Henry and Catherine!
Heather Carlson
,
US
Sep 5, 2022
For a second time I booked a safari in…
For a second time I booked a safari in South Africa by Safari.com and had the great pleasure to be assisted and followed by Dolan Sequera. I have to say I really appreciate his way to communicate with me by phone and/or WhatsApp/mail, I always got a very quick answer to my questions with solutions and or suggestions which solved the doubts/problems I had. A really very very knowledged and professional person I will surely suggest to friends of my or who ever is plannig to visit South Africa! Thank you very much Dolan
antonio caccia
,
IT
Sep 5, 2022
Trip of a life time
Well where to starter, África always been my number one dream vacation, I found safari.com didn’t know anything about, but pascal made me feel very confident.pascal put my whole trip together (everything I wanted) a trip of a life time. Had the best time in Africa, was everything that I except and a little more. Pascal is the best and I will go back to Africa and will go through safari.com that I recommend and is 💯 legit.thank you for everything pascal, you rock!!!
Tricia moyses
,
US
Aug 31, 2022
I've recently interacted with Dolan and…
I've recently interacted with Dolan and hands down he's been the best travel agent that I've every worked with. He was a wealth of experience and knowledge which shows volumes. He took into consideration my budget and my individual needs to tailor make a package with recommendations for my preference,he knows Kruger and Greater Kruger like the back of his hands and I will wholeheartedly recommended his services. He is truly an asset to his institution.
prinolin
,
ZA
Apr 21, 2022
The best company
I have booked several trips with Safari.com and they are the best. They are personal and professional and always pay attention to the details to make your trip special. Casper is the best agent I have worked with. We are looking forward to booking another trip!!
Steven Hopson
,
US
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