Yes, a safari in Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is a must do! Why? Firstly, the Ngorongoro Crater is the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world. At approximately 20 km across and 600 m deep, this cavernous volcanic crater is a breathtaking natural wonder that will leave you speechless.
Standing on the rocky rim and looking down at the crater floor, you have the highest density of wildlife in Africa at your feet. Most notably, the Ngorongoro Crater gives you one of the best possible chances of seeing the endangered Black Rhino as this protected idyll is one of the few places where they continue to breed and thrive.
You might also be lucky enough to see leopards, majestic black-maned lions, and flocks of flamingos.
Little Known Facts About the Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania:
Interestingly, the name ‘Ngorongoro’ is onomatopoeic in origin. Maasai cattle herders reportedly gave the crater its name inspired by the sound of their cow-bells ‘ngoro ngoro’. Due to the establishment of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), these cows and their Maasai herdsman can still be seen in the crater making their descent to greener fields or grazing amongst the herds of wildlife.
Maasai People, shared Ecosystem and Culture
While Ngorongoro’s past stretches back to the ancient, the historical backdrop of the Maasai goes back around 200 years when these African pastoralists colonized the region in considerable numbers. Their traditional lifestyle of subsistence farming and cattle farming enables them to live in close proximity to wildlife and in harmony with nature.
This secured area is one-of-a-kind due to its efforts to protect the way of life for both humankind and wildlife. Inside the NCA, the Maasai people are allowed to march their cattle alongside the likes of antelope, buffalo, wildebeest, and zebra. No photo could do it justice – some things just have to be enjoyed in the moment and live on in the memory.
The Ultimate Guide to Safari in Ngorongoro Crater Tanzania:
From the Ngorongoro Highlands, Caldera, Olduvai Gorge & Laetoli to Serengeti National Park
If you’re a budding archaeologist or paleoanthropologist, Olduvai Gorge is a treasure trove. Located in the Great Rift Valley, between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park, it was formed about 30,000 years ago and is the site of some of the earliest human remains.
At Laetoli, west of Ngorongoro Crater, hominid footprints are preserved in volcanic rock that is believed to be 3.6 million years old, representing some of the earliest signs of mankind in the world. Three separate tracks of a small-brained, upright, walking early hominid have been discovered, and you can see the imprints for yourself at the Olduvai museum.
Buried in the layers of the Olduvai Gorge, archaeologists have found evidence of some more advanced descendants of Laetoli’s hominids, revealing a gradual increase in brain size and in the complexity of their tools. The first skull of Zinjanthropus, commonly known as “Nutcracker Man”, who lived about 1.75 million years ago, was found here. If history and heritage is what you’re after, it doesn’t get much better than Olduvai Gorge.
Volcano & Flamingo – Experience Lake Natron & Mount Oldoinyo Lengai
Literally translated as “The Mountain of God”, Mount Oldoinyo Lengai is revered as sacred by the local Maasai communities. It is apt, then, that as you stand on the summit you could almost be said to be looking directly into the fires of hell, as it overlooks the caldera of Tanzania’s only officially-certified active volcano and the world’s only carbonatite volcano. With an eruption every seven years, as smoke billows from the crater, locals are reminded of Lengai’s formidable power.
Climbing Oldoinyo Lengai is a demanding challenge as the rocky, ash-covered slopes are crumbly and unstable, and the ascent is steep. The heat can also be crippling, which is why it’s best to set out early in the morning and aim to reach the summit at sunrise.
Local Maasai Guide:
Escorted by a local Maasai guide, you can hope to see lions, leopards, zebras, hyenas, olive baboons, vervet monkeys, jackals, gazelles, impala and monitor lizards. Your reward for the grueling ascent is an unbroken view of Lake Natron, a salt and soda lake whose striking red waters throng with flamingos, pelicans and geese.
How to Plan Your Ngorongoro Crater Safari in Tanzania Like a Pro
Ready to start planning? Call us at 1-315-805-4040 to speak with your Tanzania safari expert and start planning your unforgettable journey to Africa.