NGORONGORO CRATER
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Ngorongoro Crater Overview


Ngorongoro Crater is thought to have formed about 2.5 million years ago from a large active volcano whose cone collapsed inward after a major eruption, leaving the present vast, unbroken caldera as its chief remnant.

The caldera measures between 10 and 12 miles (16 and 19 km) across and has an area of 102 square miles (264 square km). It’s heavily forested rim rises 2,000 feet (610 meters) above the caldera’s floor to an elevation of 7,500 feet (2,286 meters).

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania.

Game Drives

Enjoy thrilling game drives lead by highly qualified guides in a special customized 4 x 4 game viewing safari jeeps. Game drives are conducted mainly in the early morning when most predators such as hyenas, lions and the others nocturnal animals were going to rest after being busy during the night searching for food.

Also,late in the afternoonwhen the weather is not that sunny and the temperature is a bit calm in the Ngorongoro crater and on the rim, therefore the chance of spotting wildlife in these two conditions is very high.

Walking Safaris

Walking in and around the NgorogoroConservation Area encouraged, but should be done with guides. Short hikes can be organized with your lodge or the NCAA headquarters. Long walks can be adventurous and rewarding but need some planning.

Suitable walking routes include the area from Olmoti Crater to Embakai Highlands and down to the Great Rift Valley, the Northern Highlands Forest Reserve and the Eastern Plains around Nasera Rock, Gol Mountains and Olkarien Gorge.

Bird Watching

The mixture of forest, canyons, grassland plains, Lakes and marshes provide habitats for a wide range of bird life. The wet months see the arrival of the Eurasian migrants at the pools. White storks, yellow wagtails and swallows mingle with the local inhabitants: stilts, saddle-bill storks, ibis, ruff and various species of duck. Lesser flamingos fly in to feed from their breeding grounds at Lake Natron. Distinctive grassland bird’s ostrich, kori bustards and crowned cranes abound. The rest of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area also has areas which will reward the keen ornithologist.

Cultural Activities

One can visit the Maasai Cultural bomas in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area to learn more about their unique culture, to take photographs, and to buy mementos. There is an entrance fee to be paid but it is well worth it. Please be sensitive to the fact that it is considered bad manners to take photographs of people along the roadside without consent.

Around January – February, there is a mass calving of wildebeest on the Ngorongoro grasslands outside the crater area, with thousands of newborns, offering amazing photo opportunities. The wobble-legged infants stagger to their feet within minutes, carefully shielded by their mothers, but still falling prey to their entourage of prowling predators, ground hugging lion cubs practicing their hunts, fast-moving cheetahs, leopard, jackals and hump-backed hyenas.

From mid-March to May the long rains keep the plains lush and green. This is the green (low) season for northern Tanzania bush holidays attracting visitors looking to take advantage of reduced prices before the peak season kicks in June. But it is the prime viewing time for speckled bird-watching adventures with Bush 2 City Adventure in various habitats accessible in the crater.

Avi-migrants sampled include the pallid and montague’s harriers, caspian lapwing and rosy-breasted longclaw. Ground nesting birds include splay-footed ostriches, grotesque kori bustards and freakish secretary birds, together with elegant grey crowned cranes. Tree nesters range from huge white backed vultures to tiny rufous tailed weavers and blue mantled superb starlings. Augur buzzards and long-crested eagles soar above the caldera rim while thousands of lesser flamingos and other waders form a pink haze on central Lake Magadi. The dry season lasts from June to October.

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