Ngorongoro Crater

The largest un-flooded and unbroken volcanic caldera on the planet – the Ngorongoro Crater – lies on the border of the Serengeti National Park.

Inside its walls is a mosaic of grassland, forest, marsh and lakes, home to 25,000 large animals including all the “Big 5” as well as spectacular birdlife. At various points, the crater walls reach up to 400m in height. The rim sits around 7,500m above sea level and is covered in ancient forests draped in lichen.

There is no accommodation within the crater itself but a number of outstanding hotels and safari camps are located on its rim, offering sweeping views of the landscape. Visitors can also stay in Karatu, a pretty area of flower farms and coffee plantations. Many of the lodges here are styled to resemble colonial homesteads, and offer an insight into the life of early European settlers.

Visitors can enjoy half or full day game drives in 4WD vehicles into the crater, however, off-road driving is not permitted. Stay in a property close to a park gate to get a head start on everyone else in the morning, or choose a tented camp set in a more remote section of the rim.

Aside from wildlife viewing, things to do in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area include interactions with local Maasai or Hadzabe, farm tours in Karatu and even volcano climbs. Visitors can also tour archaeological sites where early hominid fossils have been found such as Olduvai Gorge.


Ngorongoro Crater Highlights

  • A geological and natural wonder
  • Filled with diverse landscapes teeming with wildlife
  • Daily 4WD excursions descending from the rim to the crater floor
  • A range of exceptional campsites and lodges on the rim
  • Hike the Olmoti Volcano
  • Visit working farms in Karatu
  • Interact with local Maasai or Hadzabe communities

When To Go

Gameviewing in the Ngorongoro Crater is excellent all year round, with the animals easiest to spot during the dry months (June to September). The wettest months are March and April; however, this is also the quietest time to visit.

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Ngorongoro Accommodation

Below are some of our preferred tented camps and safari lodges in the Ngorongoro Crater and Karatu regions. Please contact us to tailor design a selection of accommodation options to suit the style of your trip, and your budget.

Featured Private Tanzania Sample Itineraries

The following itineraries are just some of the many experiences that we can design for you. All of our tours are private, independent and tailor-made to your personal travelling requirements. Please contact us to begin creating your personalised Tanzania experience.

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Tanzania Overview

Why Tanzania: Few places in the world can offer the immense diversity and quantity of game found in Tanzania, nor the ease of viewing it. Tanzania is also the arena for the great wildebeest and zebra migration and has some of Africa’s most stunning scenery.

Game Viewing: The best time to visit is November to May when the wildebeest herds amass on the Serengeti’s southern plains. Feb/Mar is when the herds are calving. The dry season (Jun to Sep) is the best time to visit Tarangire and the Selous.

Culture: With some 120 tribes, Tanzania is culturally very diverse, with peoples ranging from the Nilotic Maasai to Hadza bushmen, the Makonde (famous for their wood carvings) and Swahili-speaking coast-dwellers, some descended from Arabs.

Climate: Much of the Serengeti is over 5,000 ft so temperatures vary between 22°- 29°C. It is generally sunny and windy, with rain falling between Nov – May as isolated showers. The low-lying Rift Valley is much hotter (30°-35°C), while the coast is hot and humid. The Ngorongoro Highlands can be cool to cold at night.

Combine With: Kenya. Most visitors arrive via Nairobi in Kenya so it is easy to combine parks in the two countries. Kenya’s famous Masai Mara is an extension of the Serengeti and the wildebeest migration can be found here in September/October.

Getting There: You can fly via Johannesburg in South Africa then north to Nairobi in Kenya. Or fly via the Middle East to Nairobi. We can organise road transfers from there to Arusha, the “safari capital” of northern Tanzania; alternatively, you can fly into Kilimanjaro Airport.

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