Discover the dramatic landscapes of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, dominated by extinct volcano peaks and deep calderas. At the heart of this UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Ngorongoro Crater - over six-hundred metres deep, it has been described as ‘the eighth wonder of the world’.
The region is a great introduction to a safari in Tanzania. Luxury camps and lodges perch on the crater edge, where you can wake to wonderful landscapes before descending its forested walls to go in search of lion, cheetah, elephant, zebra, black and white rhino. Bird watchers will have plenty to tick off their checklist as some five-hundred species have been recorded in the area's diverse ecosystems - including swamps, forests and soda lakes. As well as luxury wildlife safaris, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to the Maasai. Visits to local villages will give a greater insight into this fascinating culture.
The volcanic peaks and deep calderas of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area provide a dramatic landscape, the central feature of which, of course, is the Ngorongoro Crater. Formed some three million years ago by a collapsed volcano, the crater is 610 metres deep and spreads over 260 square kilometres. The forested slopes of the crater form a striking natural bowl.
It was at Olduvai Gorge that Mary Leakey unearthed the remains of a hominoid, believed to date back 1.8 million years. Further excavations have led to the discovery of footprints over 3.7 million years old. This fascinating part of Tanzania is still actively explored by anthropologists and archaeologists, and can easily be visited from the Ngorongoro Crater Area.
The rich eco-systems of the Ngorongoro Crater attract a profusion of wildlife. As you descend the walls of the crater and traverse the crater floor on your safari, you may be fortunate enough to see lion, cheetah, black and white rhinoceros, elephant, warthog and zebra. One of the natural features of the Ngorongoro crater is its soda lakes and natural springs that attract many bird species - including flamingo.
One of the best ways to appreciate the dramatic landscapes of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is on foot. An ancient Maasai cattle trail leads you through the forests to ascend the Olmoti Volcano. Alternatively, you can explore the soda lake of the Empakaai Crater which attracts pink flamingos.
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to numerous indigenous people. Meet a local family with a visit to Thoma village to gain a greater understanding of the Iraqw culture, or visit a local Maasai community where you can learn about their traditional way of life.
Dine in an Ancient Volcano
After seeking out the wildlife of the Ngorongoro Crater on your morning safari, enjoy a well-deserved lunch on the crater floor. Mouth-watering dishes are served by butlers as you dine surrounded by nature.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area's climate is subtropical and influenced by the altitude. The temperature is mild during the day, and much cooler at night. Higher temperatures are felt during September to April, and lower from May to August, although the difference throughout the year is not great. Precipitation around the crater adds up to around 1,000 mm per year, and is higher than in lower, more arid surrounding areas. The figures in the grid below are averages.
These figures show monthly average maximum temperatures and monthly average rainfall for Ngorongoro Conservation Area.
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Travelling With Children or Without an Adult
Children travelling without both parents should be aware that some countries require documentary evidence of parental responsibility before allowing lone parents to enter the country or, in some cases, before permitting the children to leave the country. Please contact the relevant Embassy for the county you are travelling to for further information.
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Please be advised that a Yellow Fever Vaccination Certificate will be required for travel (in any direction) between South Africa, Kenya, Tanzania and Zambia. Health facilities, hygiene and disease risks vary worldwide. You should take health advice about your specific needs as early as possible. Sources of information include: www.fco.gov.uk.