Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania is the largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera in the world. It was formed about 2 to 3 million years ago. Its amazing scenery and abundance of wildlife merge to make it a wonder of the natural world. Geographically, it has always been wrongly called a crater although it is rather the largest volcanic caldera in the world, with its floor of about 300 square km (100 square miles). Ngorongoro Crater activities include safari drives and nature walks along the crater rim in the Northern Highlands. Day trips & tours to Ngorongoro Crater from Moshi can be organised at a reasonable cost.
Ngorongoro Crater safari drive
Ngorongoro Crater is home to a large number of wildlife supported by year round water supply from the highlands and lots of food. Over 300 bird species have been recorded here. Amongst these species are Egyptian geese, flamingos, blacksmith plovers, ibises, hamerkops, cormorants, herons, storks and many more.
Lots of animals inhabit the crater. Amongst them are wildebeest, elands, zebras, gazelles, black rhinos and also predators like lions, hyenas, cheetahs, jackals and the ever-elusive leopard. As they are all bounded by the volcanic walls, they can be spotted in a very close range. Giraffes and impalas cannot be found in the crater floor since they are always hanging around the crater rim which is possibly due to the steepness of the crater wall. This can also be due to the fact that most of the time they have to tilt their heads up while walking so that the blood pressure going to their head is just right.
Most of the crater floor is an open grassland. More than 24,000 large animals get their food in this area, but mainly buffalos, wildebeest, zebras, black rhinos, gazelles and other smaller vertebrates and invertebrates. You can also find predators such as lions, jackals, hyenas, leopards and many birds of prey.
Lake Magadi is a soda lake at the center of the crater floor. It gets its water from the Munge River. Lake Magadi is the feeding site for some flamingos and other water birds. The lake and pools have become a hunting point for many predators that hide in the marsh to ambush large animals that come there to drink. In the severe dry season, Lake Magadi and most pools in the crater often dry up.
Swamps serve as a reserve of fresh water and food for big and small animals especial during the dry season. Elephants feed on giant sedges and hippos wallow in the pools. Other small and big animals also come to get water and to graze at the pool side. Giant sedges and tall grass provide shelter for frogs, birds and insects while predators hunt around the swamps.
Lerai forest is a sole forest patch on the crater floor. It provides food and shelter for animals such as vervet monkeys, baboons, bush-bucks, elephants and rhinos. Lerai is a name in Maasai for yellow barked acacia.
The temperature in the Ngorongoro Highlands can get quite chilly in the morning and evening as the altitude is about 2300m above sea level. The rainy season is between November and May. Camping and walking inside the crater is strictly prohibited by the management of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Cars allowed in the crater must be 4×4 and all cars should be off the crater floor before 6pm.
Starting and ending points are in Moshi/Arusha.
Included in the price