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Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania

With its animal packed Ngorongoro Crater!

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area (809,440 ha) offers a great variety of landscapes. From vast expanses of highland plains to savannas and forests, but is mainly known for the Ngorongoro Crater.

Once an impressive vulcano, now an ancient natural wonder. The Ngorongoro Crater is the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world. Its size is about 20 km across and its walls reach a dept of 600 meters.

This three-million-year-old caldera now shelters one of the most beautiful wildlife havens on earth. Here you may find the most dense population of wildlife on earth.

Due to its unique features, the Ngorongoro Crater is officially recognised as a UNESCO world heritage site and one of the ‘7 official Wonders of Africa’. 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Crater: Highlights

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area with its Ngorongoro Crater gained it’s fame for many reasons. It’s officially established a conservation area in 1959.

Most people just visit the Ngorongoro Crater, but if you have the time, it’s worth to pay a visit to some of Ngorongoro’s other wonderful areas. 

Ngorongoro is often combined with a visit to Serengeti National Park, as you’ll have to pass through Ngorongoro Conservation Area to reach the Serengeti. 

The Ngorongoro Crater

One of the 7 official Wonders of Africa and highlights of Tanzania. The Ngorongoro crater is an old caldera that came to form a unique habitat that can support many, many wild animals, thus creating the most dense wildlife-packed area on earth.

The Ngorongoro Crater is home to many animals, both prey and predator. Since the Ngorongoro Crater is a relatively small and flat area of about 20 square kilometers, wildlife can easily be spotted. This makes the Ngorongoro Crater the ideal spot to finalise your ‘Big 5 list’. Especially if you still have the endangered black rhino, as chances of spotting one are the highest here!


The Maasai of Ngorongoro

Outside of the Ngorongoro Crater area, you will find wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai Tribes, who´re practicing traditional livestock grazing. The Maasai are an ancient tribe with fargoing knowledge about the bush and can survive from what is given to them by nature. They live in small, self-made villages, wear colorful clothing and have wholesome traditions, making a visit such a great addition to your safari. 

Olduvai Gorge

Extensive archaeological research has also yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, including early hominid footprints dating back 3.6 million years.

The Olduvai Gorge or Oldupai Gorge lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world. This site has proven invaluable in furthering understanding of early human evolution.

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Ngorongoro Conservation Area: Best time to visit

The Ngorongoro Conservation area and the Ngorongoro Crater can be visited year yound. Usually, the best time to travel is based on one’s personal preferences.

If great weather is preferred, the best time to visit Ngorngoro is considered to be from January to February or from June through September. 

However, there’s a downside to these months. The Ngorongoro Crater is a small, but very popular area and can get quite crowded in High Season. So if you’d like to avoid the crowds, the best time to travel for you would be between March and May. In this period you’ll find fewer tourists, but the heaviest rainfall as well. Apart from the beforemetioned months, November is a good month to visit as well, with less chance of rain (especially heavy rainfall), but still fewer tourists than in the high season. 

Wildlife of Ngorongoro

A short list of the ‘most wanted’ animals in Ngorongoro Conversation Area and in the Crater, including the chances of spotting them. Some animals are (almost) unique to each park or only appear in certain areas. It’s important to let us know your wildlife preferences, so we can give you the best chance of spotting your favorite animal.

The numbers listed are an estimation of how often we’ve seen these animals ourselves based on our visits. Some animals we’ve seen 100%, everytime we’ve visited. However, it’s not a zoo, so there’s always a chance you miss an animal. 

Feel like visiting yet?


Leopardhard to spot
Giraffeanywhere, except the crater
Wild Dogvery rare

Climate & Seasons

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area has a mild, temperate climate. The nights are often quite cold and the days nice and hot. The temperature around the Ngorongoro Crater rim is different from the other parts of the conservation area, as the rim of the crater lies at 2 400m (7 900 feet). The nights here especially cold at this altitude. In the morning you might find yourself covered in a blanked of thick mist, especially around the crater area.

Make sure to bring a sweater and a change of clothes in the car as temperatures change quickly after the sun has risen or set. 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area knows various seasons. A dry and relatively cool season from May to August, a warmer and still quite dry season in September and October, and a rainy and quite hot season from November to April. January and February are usually the dry months in between the two rainy periods (long rain and short rains).

Activities in Ngorongoro Conversation Area

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and its magnificent crater offers more than ‘just’ wildlife spotting. There’s quite a few amazing activities you can undertake if you’re on your way to the park. 

For example:

  • Game drives 
  • Maasai Visit (there’s numerous small villages)
  • Mto wa Mbu village tours (multiple tours possible here)
  • Walking Safari’s (on the crater rim)
  • Hadzabe Tribe visit (this is a full day excursion, but definitely worth it)

For more info check out the activities on the right or contact us.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area: Where to Stay?

Ngorongoro Conservation Area: Accommodation

People often choose to overnight at the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, where you’ll find some gorgeous lodges and tented camps, overviewing the crater. This is however quite expensive, so another great alternative is to overnight just outside the Ngorongoro Conservation Area where theres loads of options available at a much cheaper rate. 

Here you will find some our favorite accommodations in/near Ngorongoro Conversation Area, available in multiple price ranges, from budget to luxury. Of course there’s also the option of camping, which isn’t mentioned in the accommodations listed.

We select our accommodations on a few criteria that guarantee the best possible experience. Some of these criteria are most scenic views, unique (efficient) and adventurous locations and of course the wildlife-experience! 

    Gibb’s Farm Karatu

    Gibb's Farm is a historic lodge located on the outer hills of the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania. Here you will immerse yourself in a unique […]

    Ngorongoro Rhino Lodge (NCAA)

    The Ngorongoro Rhino lodge lies in the Ngorongoro conservation area, close to the edge of the crater. One of the few 'budget' lodge/accommodation options in […]

    Oldeani Mountain Lodge Ngorongoro

    Oldeani Mountain Lodge is situated on a wonderful scenic hill with breath-taking views of the Oldeani Mountain, Lake Manyara and Lake Eyasi. A short 9 […]

    Pamoja Farm Lodge (Karatu)

    The Pamoja Farm Lodge is a cottage style accommodation with great views on the surrounding farmlands and the ngorongoro forest. This lodge has everything you […]

    Marera valley lodge (Karatu)

    The Marera valley lodge is a brandnew lodge with very spacious rooms, each room is equipped with their own, private fireplace to set the mood. […]

    Bougainvillea Safari Lodge

    Located between Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater, on the outskirts of the town called Karatu in Tanzania is the Bougainvillea lodge. As soon as […]

    Hhando Coffee Lodge Karatu

    Hhando Coffee Lodge is a new lodge located on 15 hectares of coffee farm, close to the gates of the Ngorongoro crater which is a […]

    Foresight Eco Lodge

    The Foresight Eco Lodge in Tanzania is a beautifully situated cozy lodge amidst nature in the surroundings of Karatu with several accommodation options to suit […]

    Rhotia Valley

    A beautiful traditional African-style lodge. Here at Rhotia valley you will enjoy nature without sacrificing any luxury. Rhotia valley lodge is located just 15 minutes […]

    Migombani Campsite (Mto wa Mbu)

    Migombani campsite lies in Mto wa Mbu. It's a small, eco-friendly campsite and lies on top of a hill, providing stunning views of Lake Manyara. […]

Driving Time & Distances

  • Driving from Arusha to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area will take about 3 hours, to get to the crater will take about 1 hour longer. 
  • Driving from Ngorongoro to Serengeti takes about 2 hours.
  • Driving from Lake Manyara to Ngorongoro takes about <1 hour.
  • Driving from Tarangire to Ngorongoro takes about 2 hours. 
  • Driving from Moshi to Ngorongoro takes between 5.5-7.5 hours depending on various traffic situations.

Note that you’re only allowed to drive in the parks between 6am and 6pm. 


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