The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the highlights of an East African safari and is one of the most visited places for safaris in Tanzania. The crater is the largest intact caldera in the World, which was formed by a huge ancient volcano. This creates a breathtakingly beautiful setting for some of the highest densities of wildlife in Africa. As one of the most renowned natural wonders in Africa, it can get busy with visitors and its not uncommon to have many vehicles on a lion sighting. For this reason, the number of vehicles in the park is limited, and you can only drive in one direction through the park.
The Ngorongoro Crater was formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed around 3 million years ago. Its cone collapsed, creating the caldera which today creates one of the most famous settings for a safari on the planet. Going on safari in the Ngorongoro Crater is the best place in Tanzania to see the Big Five. The crater has a population of Black Rhino and is home to some of Africa’s last Big Tusker Elephants. The crater is also home to good populations of lion, leopard and hyena along with healthy herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other wildlife here includes serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle and flocks of flamingos.
The Ngorongoro Crater is not the only crater in the region, but it is the largest. The whole area forms a UNESCO World Heritage Site due to the diversity and density of wildlife which occurs there. Archaeological research at Laetoli has uncovered the first evidence of bipedalism and finds in the Olduvai Gorge have been instrumental in studying the development of early hominin species, including early man.
Access: How to get to Ngorongoro Crater
The Ngorongoro Crater lies 3.5 hours by road from Arusha. Many travellers fly into either Kilimanjaro International Airport or Arusha Airport and then travel by road to the Ngorongoro Crater. However, many flights land late at night, so travellers often must spend the night in Arusha. The closest local airstrip for scheduled and charter flights into the Ngorongoro region is Lake Manyara Airport which is about a 2-hour drive to the crater.
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