Why visit the Ngorongoro Crater?

Once a gigantic volcano, the Ngorongoro Crater is now the largest intact caldera in the world.

Some maintain that, before it erupted, it would have been higher than Mount Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa. Long since having collapsed and eroded, this three-million-year-old caldera now shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth.

The crater is also incredibly scenic, with towering euphorbia clinging to the crater walls, while fever and fig tree forests on the crater floor provide shade for an incredible array of wildlife. Lean Maasai, resplendent in their beads and furled in scarlet shuka robes, tend their herds on the crater floor. A burbling spring and a large soda lake quench the thirst of the crater’s inhabitants. Black rhino are protected within the crater rim, giant tusked elephant wander the forests, black-maned lion stalk the grasslands and flamingos crowd the soda lakes.

An estimated 25 000 large mammals are resident in this bowl of plenty, including a large population of lion. Cheetah move in and out of the crater, while leopard are most often encountered in the spectacular Lerai Forest. Among the smaller carnivores, both golden and black-backed jackal are abundant, while the normally shy and nocturnal serval are frequently seen during daylight hours. Vast numbers of buffalo, zebra and Thomson’s gazelle can be seen grazing the crater floor.

Why Visit?

  • The world’s only intact caldera – 610 metres (2 000 feet) deep and covers 260 square kilometers (100 square miles)
  • The rim of the crater is at an altitude of 2 400m (7 900 feet)
  • Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO world heritage site
  • Wildlife haven, with a very high game concentration on the Crater floor
  • Breathtaking views
  • Fresh springs and large soda lake within the Crater
  • See Maasai herdsmen graze their cattle side by side with predators and prey
  • The Lerai Forest is one of the best places in Africa for leopard sightings

Endangered black rhino are protected within its rim, giant tusked elephants wander the forests, black-maned lions stalk the grasslands, and flamingos crowd the soda lakes. An estimated 25 000 large mammals are resident in this bowl of plenty, including a population of approximately 6 000 resident wildebeest, 16 highly endangered black rhino and around 70 lions.

Cheetah move in and out of the Crater, while leopard are most often encountered in the spectacular Lerai Forest.

&Beyond Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, consistently recognised as one of the world’s most luxurious and elegant places to stay, sits right on the edge of the Crater, offering unbeatable views of one of the natural travel wonders of the world.

It boasts some of the best rhino sightings in East Africa, as well as large numbers of lion and hyena, which compete for a share of the abundant zebra, wildebeest and antelope populations, all set against the backdrop of its craggy walls and illuminated by the golden light of the African sun. The Ngorongoro is one of the quintessential experiences for any safari traveller. Entire days can fly by as you roam the wide plains on the crater floor and there is no better place than the Crater rim to sit and contemplate the majestic views as the sun begins to set.


Summer (September – April)
20°C/68°F Max: 30°C/86°F

Winter (May – August)
Min: 19°C/66°F Max: 25°C/77°F

Long rains: April to May (Monsoon)
Short rains: November to mid-December


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