Ngorongoro Crater

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Ngorongoro Crater

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10 Day Bush and Beach Safari
A professional driver/guide
2 nights at Mount Meru Hotel in Arusha
1 night at Eileen's Trees Inn in Karatu
2 nights at Serengeti Kati Kati Camp
1 night at Rhino Lodge Ngorongoro Crater
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$ 500 USD
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$ 500 USD
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10 Day Masai Mara, Serengeti & Manyara Safari
1 night at Hemingways Nairobi (breakfast only)
2 nights at andBeyond Bateleur Camp
2 nights at andBeyond Serengeti under Canvas
2 nights at andBeyond Lake Manyara Tree Lodge
2 nights at andBeyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
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$ 1260 USD
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$ 1260 USD
Per person per night
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6 Day Great Migration Safari - Natures Most Spectacular Show
5 Nights comfortable luxury safari lodging
Visit Tarangire National Park, Ngorongoro Crater Conservancy & Serengeti National Park
Thrilling Wildebeest & Predator sightings during the Migration
Ngorongoro Crater Tour & Exploration with picnic lunch en-route
Big Five sightings in their natural habitat
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$ 630 USD
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$ 630 USD
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10 Day Luxury Fly-in Kenya & Tanzania Tour
1 night at Gran Melia Hotel (breakfast only)
2 nights at Melia Ngorongoro Lodge
3 nights at Nimal Serengeti
3 nights at Entim Mara Camp
Transfers between lodges and airstrips
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$ 1410 USD
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$ 1410 USD
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Sub regions inside

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.

4.9
out of 5 based on
May 26, 2024
Great great service!
It’s my 1st time going to Africa and I didn’t even know where to start. Thanks to Safari.com (Jayson and Catherin), I simply have not had to worry about anything. Their service and help has gone beyond any travel agent I’ve ever experienced. Any doubt I have, they were responsive, quick and efficient. And always so so nice.
joao roseta
,
ES
May 26, 2024
Dorothy was absolutely amazing my dates…
Dorothy was absolutely amazing my dates on my Safari change a couple of times and she was more than accommodating making everything work for me with no stress. The resort she picked for me is absolutely amazing and I cannot wait to stay there. I’m also staying 3 nights in Cape Town and she took care of my hotel and of all my connecting flights . Was a big relief and spoke to her on the phone a couple of times. Very sweet highly recommend if you want a stress free vacation
Maria Mattaliano
,
US
May 24, 2024
Fast, Friendly, and Reliable Service
My travel advisor Mel was amazing. She was timely in her response, non judgemental about my budget, ans very helpful in figuring out potential safaris to fit my desires. She was super friendly and knowledgeable, and never once made me feel like I was out of my league.
Valerie Caswell
,
EG
May 23, 2024
My experience was excellent as Pascal…
My experience was excellent as Pascal responded to all my questions in a timely manner and provided all the details I required to make a decision.
Stephen Turner
,
US
May 23, 2024
Shann was excellent
Shann was extremely responsive and worked around the clock to help us with our trip. She was extremely flexible throughout our trip when we needed to make changes. Overall, it was excellent service.
Hope
,
ZA
May 23, 2024
Shann is a Star!
Dealing with Shann was an absolute pleasure. Responses were quick, & options were tailored to our needs correctly.
Sean Geiser
,
AG
May 23, 2024
Thanks Heleen
Thanks Heleen, great service!
Viv du Plessis
,
ZA
May 23, 2024
Great service from Jayson at Safari.com
Jayson and his team have worked hard to help us put together a safari package that would hit all the points on our wish list. After weeks of work, when we came with some changes to the itinerary, he worked it in and added time in a location we hadn't considered, but we think is worth the time. They provided lot's of useful information and respond quickly to our frequent questions. Though we will not be taking our trip for a few weeks yet, we are excited and looking forward to having a once in a lifetime experience!
Bob McCook
,
US
May 22, 2024
Thanks to Dolan for making this last minute booking such a success. We stayed in Kapama River Lodge recently
Food, staff members from the restaurant to the tour guides. Lastly, seeing 4 out of 5 of The Big 5
Gilbert
,
ZA
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