The Ngorongoro conservation area is one of the world’s wonders and a UNESCO World Heritage Site located in northern Tanzania. This conservation area is part of Tanzania’s northern safari circuit and is 153 kilometers west of Arusha, a major tourism hub in Tanzania. The Ngorongoro conservation area is a unique safari destination in Tanzania and a part of the vast Serengeti ecosystem. The Ndutu region serves as the confluence between this conservation area and the southern region of Serengeti national park. Ngorongoro conservation area is located 50 km from Lake Manyara national park, 139 km from Tarangire national park, and 213 km from Arusha national park.
Ngorongoro conservation area is a unique destination with Ngorongoro crater as the primary attraction. Ngorongoro crater is the world’s largest unbroken volcanic caldera, with a depth of 600 meters and a width of 260 square kilometers. The Ngorongoro crater was formed by a volcanic eruption approximately two to three million years ago, after which it collapsed. 1979 saw the designation of Ngorongoro crater as a World Heritage site of global significance due to its uniqueness. In addition to the Ngorongoro crater, other stunning features in the Ngorongoro conservation area are other highlights of safaris in Tanzania in this conservation area. These features include the Oldupai or Olduvai Gorge, which is renowned as the cradle of man. Olduvai Gorge is a mystic archaeological site that contains the remains of the first human evolution on earth. The Ngorongoro conservation area also contains the Laetoli footprints, the Nasera rock, and the Olduvai Gorge Museum.
The Ngorongoro conservation area encompasses an area of 8,292 square kilometers, with a landscape consisting of numerous physical features including lakes, craters, and marshes, among others. Physical features in Ngorongoro conservation area include Ngorongoro crater, Empakaai crater, Olmoti crater, Lake Magadi, central plains, Lerai forest, Rumbe hills, Munge stream, Mandusi swamp, Gorigor swamp, Ngoitokitok springs, Gol mountains, Mount Lolmalasin and Losirua, Lake Ndutu, Lake Maseke, Olkarien gorge, and the shifting sands. The central plains of the Ngorongoro conservation area are dominated by grasslands within the crater, and they are an excellent location for Tanzania game viewing excursions within the Ngorongoro conservation area.
Ngorongoro conservation area is a wonderful habitat for a large concentration of wildlife species in Tanzania, which is one of the reasons why it is considered one of the top destinations for Tanzania wildlife tours. Ngorongoro conservation area is primarily comprised of the Ngorongoro Crater. Over 250,000 large mammals inhabit Ngorongoro crater, which is dominated by grass plains west of Gol Mountains, northeast of Ngorongoro crater, and in the vicinity of Lake Ndutu, which is near to the border of Serengeti national park. Predators such as lions, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, black-backed jackals, golden-backed jackals, waterbucks, Bohor reedbucks, elands, warthogs, hartebeests, wildebeests, serval cats, elephants, black rhinos, zebras, and many others are located in the Ngorongoro crater.
Ngorongoro conservation area is an excellent Tanzania birding safari destination with over 550 resident and migratory bird species. Birds in Ngorongoro conservation area include thousands of lesser flamingos inhabiting Lake Magadi, a salt lake on the floor of the crater, hornbill, turaco, goshawk, harrier, ostriches, kori bustards, crowned cranes, secretary birds, African spoonbill Lake Ndutu, Empakaai crater lake, and many savannah grasslands are the primary habitats for birds in the Ngorongoro conservation area.
Safari activities in the Ngorongoro conservation area
Ngorongoro conservation area is a very rewarding destination for Tanzania game viewing excursions, offering excellent views of game activity. Game viewing in Ngorongoro conservation area is accomplished by descending through lush forests to the crater floor in a 4X4 wheel vehicle. Game viewing sessions include morning game drive, full day game drive, and night game drive. The morning game drive is ideal for observing game activity, such as big cats such as lions and leopards hunting for prey, while the night game drive is ideal for spotting predators such as lions, leopards, and wild dogs using a spotlight.
On a game drive, keep an eye out for lions, spotted hyenas, cheetahs, leopards, black-backed jackals, golden-backed jackals, waterbucks, Bohor reedbucks, elands, warthogs, hartebeests, wildebeests, serval cats, elephants, and black rhinos from the windows of your vehicle.
Ngorongoro conservation area is a birding sanctuary and a must-visit destination for a Tanzania birding safari, with over 550 resident and migratory bird species inhabiting the forest crayons, grassland plains, lakes like Lake Magadi, and marshes. A variety of bird species such as hornbill, turaco, goshawk, harrier, ostriches, Kori bustards, crowned cranes, secretary birds, African spoonbill, capped wheatear, eastern double-collared sunbird, Egyptian vulture, fan tailed widow bird, fan-tailed widow bird, Hartlaub’s turaco, red and yellow barbet, scarlet-chested sunbird, white eyed salty flycatcher and many more are spotted on a birding safari in Ngorongoro conservation area. The highlight of birding in the Ngorongoro conservation area is observing lesser flamingos and other water birds on Lake Magadi, a salt lake on the crater’s floor.
The Ngorongoro conservation area is an exciting and rewarding destination ideal for Tanzania walking safaris; walking safaris in the Ngorongoro conservation area are an excellent way to appreciate the various tourist attractions on foot with a guide. The Ngorongoro conservation area offers a variety of walking safaris, including short walks, crater rim walks, a trek to the Empakaai crater, a climb up the sides of the Olmoti volcano, and a stroll along Lake Eyasi.crater rim treks begin early in the morning from Lemala gate on the eastern side of the crater and offer scenic views of the crater floor as well as numerous birds in the dense forest cover. Hike to the Empakaai crater is a full-day hike through the forests surrounding the crater. Climb the flanks of the Olmoti volcano begins at the highlands camp and follows a trail through mountain forests, grasslands, and outcrops to the summit of Olmoti Volcano.
The Ngorongoro conservation area contains numerous archeological sites that are visited on archeological excursions, such as Olduvai Gorge and Laetoli footprint, which contain traces of human ancestors. Olduvai Gorge is well-known for containing the remains of early Homo sapiens. At Olduvai Gorge, there is a museum with one room dedicated to Oldupai and another to Laetoli, displaying a collection of objects discovered by Dr. Leakey and his wife. In the 1950s, paleoanthropologists Louis Leakey and Mary Leakey discovered fossils in Olduvai Gorge, which can be encountered on archaeological excursions of Ngorongoro conservation area.
Ngorongoro conservation area is an exceptional location for a camping safari in Tanzania. There are numerous designated camping sites used for camping safaris, including public campsites and special campsites, some of which are located on the brink of Empakaai crater. Special campsites in the Ngorongoro conservation area have amenities such as food outlets and are typically large, whereas public campsites have fewer amenities such as toilets and showers and are allocated for backpackers. Camping excursions in Ngorongoro conservation area are reserved at the headquarters of the Ngorongoro conservation area Authority.
Cultural tours in Ngorongoro conservation area include a visit to the fascinating Masai people. The Maasai people have a culture that has not been influenced by modernity and technology, making them one of the finest tribes to visit on a cultural tour of Tanzania. Tourists will learn more about the cultural beliefs, traditions, and customs of the Maasai people during a cultural tour of their community in Tanzania. Other traditional Maasai activities include touring the cultural Bomas, sampling local cuisine, raising cattle, and dressing in shukas and adorning oneself with handcrafted ornaments such as large, colorful necklaces.
where to stay in Ngorongoro conservation area
In the Ngorongoro conservation area, a variety of lodges and cottages are available, each with one of three statuses: Luxury, midrange, and budget. Accommodation in Ngorongoro conservation area include Ngorongoro crater lodge, Lemala Ngorongoro Tented camp, Ngorongoro Spa Lodge, Serena Ngorongoro Lodge, Ang’ata Ngorongoro camp, Neptune Ngorongoro Luxury lodge, Lion’s paw cam, Ngorongoro Forest Tented lodge, Hhando coffee lodge, Ngorongoro wildlife lodge, Ngorongoro Rhino lodge, Ngorongoro Oldeani Mountain Lodge and many more.
How to reach Ngorongoro conservation area
The Ngorongoro conservation area is accessible via air and road, and is located approximately 173 kilometers from Arusha, a prominent Tanzanian tourist city. The road from Arusha city leads to Loduare Gate, which is located close the town of Karatu. There are also routes to Ngorongoro conservation area from other destinations on the northern safari circuit, such as Serengeti national park and Lake Manyara national park.
By air, direct flights and domestic chartered flights are available to Ngorongoro conservation area, and direct flights are available to Kilimanjaro International Airport, which serves as the gateway to Arusha and is 46 kilometers away. From Kilimanjaro International Airport, you travel to Arusha in order to catch a domestic flight to Ngorongoro or Lake Ndutu. Air Tanzania, Precision Air, Regional Air, Zan Air, Safari Air Link, and Coastal Aviation all offer domestic chartered flights to the Ngorongoro conservation area.