Ngorongoro Crater | The eighth wonder of the world | Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater LodgeDining Deck at Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
Over time, the Ngorongoro Crater (a collapsed volcano), has turned into a veritable 'Garden of Eden' - a wildlife paradise protected by a circular unbroken 610m (2,000-foot) wall. This giant natural amphitheatre is home to up to 30,000 animals, half of which are zebra and wildebeest.

This provides plenty of food for the main predators; lions and spotted hyenas, although there are also lots of jackals and some leopards and cheetahs. Black rhino are usually seen in the Ngorongoro Crater, as are large herds of buffalo.

Female elephants and their young prefer the forested highlands around the caldera, but mature bulls with massive tusks roam the crater floor. Birds bring colour to the Ngorongoro Crater, in particular thousands of flamingoes that tint Lake Magadi's shallow soda waters with a pink flush.

Safari lodges are situated around the crater rim and have fabulous views. Each morning game-viewing vehicles descend into the amazing wildlife haven that is the Ngorongoro Crater, and spend the day amongst the animals. All vehicles must return before dusk and leave the animals in peace during the hours of darkness.

Birthplace of Man

Olduvai Gorge, not far from the Ngorongoro Crater, is thought to be place where man first walked on earth. In 1960 Mary Leakey discovered a 1.75 million-year-old Homo habilis here, whom she nicknamed the 'Handyman', as he was the earliest known toolmaker. He was man's first step on the ladder of human evolution and before him the landscape contained giant pigs with metre long (3-foot) tusks, sheep-like creatures with 2-metre (6-foot) horns and three-toed horses.

Nowadays, the Ngorongoro area is home to the tall and proud red-robed Maasai, who daily tend their herds of cattle, sheep and goats in an area that most of us would be privileged to see just once in our lifetime. Cultural encounters with the Masai enrich any East African safari experience.

Climate of Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro safari lodges are situated on the rim of the crater, which is 2,235 metres (7,264 feet) above sea level. It can get quite fresh up here, and gets very cold at night in the winter months of June, July and August, but is opposingly hot down in the crater during the day.

Dry Season:

The weather is usually dry from June to October. July is the coldest month and highland temperatures may fall below freezing. Dust and smoke from frequent fires can reduce visibility.

Rainy Season:

It rains anytime from November to May, which starts off hot then calms down to very pleasant warm days, with cool nights. The forested eastern slopes get much more rain than the arid country to the west. The amount and pattern of rainfall varies greatly and a dry period in January and February may split the rainy season into short and long rains. The rain arrives in stormy showers usually during the afternoon and at night, which cleanses the air to reveal lovely clear views.

Lodges of Ngorongoro:

  • Gibb's Farm
  • Ngorongoro Crater Lodge
  • Ngorongoro Rhino Lode
  • Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
  • Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge
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