Ngorongoro Conservation Area – The World’s largest crater

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located in Tanzania and is a UNESCO World Heritage site considered in 1979. It was established in 1959 and it was part of the Serengeti national park in the southern sector. The park is located in the highland craters of Tanzania and the name originates from the crater within the park called the Ngorongoro crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is among the 7 wonders of the world. The area was established for a purpose where it was to be used by the Masai semi-nomads who always moved from place to place in search of water and pastures for their animals. The Ngorongoro conservation area is a large and protected area with large wildlife populations, breathtaking landscapes, the world’s largest caldera, and many others.

Attractions in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

There are several attractions in the Ngorongoro conservation area and these attractions include;

Ngorongoro Crater

This is a major attraction in the Ngorongoro conservation area covering 264 kilometers of the area. During the visit to this crater, the tourists have a side view of the crater seeing animals during the dawn of the day. The crater also has lakes with soda water that attracts water birds like flamingos and other birds plus their predators.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Crater

Wildlife

The park is home to a variety of wildlife since it is vast with a lot of water and the swamps used by other animals for cooling. The conservation area is home to some of the big five animals like elephants, black rhinos, buffaloes, and lions. Other wildlife animals include wildebeest, antelopes, warthogs, jackals, and many others.

Bird species

The conservation area is considered a birding paradise since it is home to both permanent and migratory birds. The migratory birds are from Europe and parts of Asia where they usually migrate in September and April to Tanzania in the rainy season to lay for breeding.

Lake Magadi

This is a shallow lake with water containing sodium carbonate and it is a home to flamingos the lake usually crystalizes during the dry season leaving a crystalline thick layer used as a lick for animals like jackals, hyenas, elephants, and many others to supplement their diets. These birds include; European swallows, European rollers, Caspian lapwing, Montagus harrier, and many others.

Olduvai Gorge Museum

This is a small museum located in the Olduvai Gorge within the conservation area which is considered by Dr Leaky as an archaeological site where he discovered the remains of the early man in 1959. The place has the best views of the animals within the park during the visit to both Ngorongoro and Serengeti National Park.

Activities that one can do in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The conservation area has a variety of attractions and activities that attract large numbers of tourists each year and these activities include;

Game drive and game viewing

A game drive and game viewing in the conservation area aid in having a great view of the park while in the tour vans. Game drives usually start in the morning and the other in the afternoon. These offer a great view of the park. They involve driving into the crater. During each game drive, you will at least see some of the big five big five animals.

Crater walks

During this walk, the tourists will walk along the edges of the crater while having great views of the vegetation cover like the woodlands, open grass, and the Acacia type of vegetation, and also the view of the Masai community outside the park.

Cultural encounters

During your safari to Tanzania, the cultural encounters within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are among the bucket list activities. You will encounter the

and the last bushmen of Africa through understanding their way of living, feeding, and economic activities.

Hot air balloon safaris

This is one of the highly recommended activities in the Ngorongoro conservation area. During this hot air balloon safari, a tourist will fully enjoy the crater’s great aerial view in the sky. A picnic bush breakfast is usually organized to mark a remarkable adventure on your hot air balloon safari. It is a perfect opportunity to see the scenic views of the park from the top.

Birding

The conservation area is considered to be a birder’s haven since it is home to both permanent and migratory birds and these birds make the area a good place for birding. Birding tours in this area give travelers a chance to discover the hidden treasure on a Tanzania birding safari.

Accommodation facilities in the Ngorongoro conservation area

The accommodation facilities in the conservation area usually range from the midrange, budget, and high-end facilities and they include;

Lemale Ngorongoro tented camp: This camp is located in the ancient acacia forest on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater. The facility is luxury in nature. It is near the road to the Lemale crater in the eastern region of the park which offers quick access to the crater.

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge: This lodge is located at the highest point on the edge of the Ngorongoro crater. It offers unparalleled views of the caldera here the tourists take the opportunity to view the sunset with one of the fine cultural setups.

What is the best time to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area?

Like any other safari destination in Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area is open for tourists any time of the year. However, most of the safari activities in the park can easily be done during the dry seasons. The dry seasons in Tanzania span the months of June, July, August, September, December, January, and February. Talk to a Tanzania travel specialist now to plan your safari.

How to get there?

This area can be accessed by either road or air. By road, it is 185 kilometers from Arusha and it takes 2 to 4 hours to arrive at the park. By air, you will board a domestic flight from Arusha to Lake Manyara airstrip. Usually, there are daily flights from Arusha to Manyara. Additionally, on how to access the Ngorongoro conservation area, the area has several gates that you can access it from. These gates include;

Lodoare gate: This gate is found in the southern part of the conservation area and it is the most popular gate used by tourists since it is the nearest gate to Arusha. It also has quick access to Lake Magadi which hosts large flocks of flamingos and the hippo pool.

Naabi Hill Gate: This is another commonly used gate to access the Ngorongoro conservation area by tourists. It has two accesses to both the Serengeti National Park and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. While at this gate you will see the endless view of the plains of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Serengeti National Park.

Lemala gate: This is a mini gate found in the northern part of the conservation area and has both the entry and exit points of the conservation area. It is one hour away from Lodoare gate.

Seneto Gate: This is a mini gate in the western part of the conservation area. It takes an hour from the gate to reach the Olduvai Gorge.

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