Spectacular gray-green world full of wild animals

The Ngorongoro crater, a breathtaking place you should definitely see!

Descend into this perfect deep volcanic crater and experience the animals up close.
Because of the enormous concentration of animals, you most like see the Big Five!


  • Surface 260 km2 (20 km diameter)
  • Best travel season All year round
  • Spring rain seasonAround April
  • Fall rain season Around November

About the Ngorongoro crater

This world famous crater is one of the most important attractions in Africa and the area has been on the UNESCO World Heritage List since 1979.

The crater ground consists of grass, swamp, forest and the salty Makat lake.
Attracting wildlife to come drinking, wallowing, grazing, hiding or climbing.

Landscape of the Ngorongoro crater

The Ngorongoro crater is part of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area in northern Tanzania. The area borders the world famous Serengeti National Park. The entire protected area has an area of 8,292 km2. The area varies in height from 1,230 meters to 3,648 meters. One of the most spectacular protected natural areas in the world.

The Ngorongoro crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. A spectacular bowl of about 260 square kilometers, with edges up to 600 meters deep. It is home to around 30,000 animals. The crater rim is more than 2,200 meters high and has its own unique climate; colder and more rain.

The crater itself is a well-known tourist area, but when you have time there are many other areas to discover.
In the hills around the crater lie the Ngorongoro highlands, with the Empakai and the Olmoti Crater. These are beautiful nature reserves with many forest birds to take beautiful walks accompanied by a Maasai guide. Get acquainted with the culture of the special warrior tribe in the authentic Maasai villages.
Besides, there is the Ol’Dupai Gorge. The 1.8 million-year-old remains of the first human were found in this gap.

Climate & season

The Ngorongoro area has a mild, temperate climate. In the crater it never gets very hot during the day, but higher up on the crater edge it gets cold and can freeze at night. Warm clothing for the morning safari is a necessity.

Both the crater rim (approximately 2,200 meters) and the crater bottom (approximately 1,600 m) are located at great heights and are therefore colder than the rest of the area. The crater rim also receives quite a lot of rain.

June to October
The afternoon temperatures are usually around 19 degrees inside the crater. Sunny, cloudless skies are usual. It gets cold at night and it potentially freezes on the edge of the crater.

November and December
The afternoon temperatures are around 23 degrees in the crater and 6 degrees at night on the crater rim.
This is a period in which a showers can take place in the afternoon for a month. That will not be very disturbing.

January and February
This is the period of dry weather between two green seasons.

March to May
The wettest period of the year. It rains on most days, but not all day. During the day it is on average 21 degrees in the crater and 6 degrees on the crater rim. The temperature can be lower due to cold fronts.

Interesting facts

1. Lake Makat is a soda lake in the crater. It’s filled by the Munge river. Makat means ‘salt’ in the Maasai.

2. The animals are free to go in and out of the crater, but are blocked by the steep edges, the rich volcanic soil, the lush forests and water springs in the crater.

3. The Ngorongoro crater was created 2-3 million years ago and has not been active since.

4. However, the Ol ‘Doinyo Lengai was active recently (in 2008). Smaller bursts of ash and lava continue to fill the crater slowly. The name is Ol’Doinyo Lengai means ‘Mountain of God’ in Maasai.

5. The Maasai is a nomadic tribe, they know no national borders. Cattle are the most important for the Maasai. They eat their meat, drink their blood and milk, use their skins for houses and their bones for combing. They firmly believe that all cows in the world were a present by God.

6. Maasai wear many decorations and a garment to protect against the sun and the cold. They generally wear red clothing. For them, this colour symbolizes life and blood, and scares the wild animals.

Activities

The Ngorongoro crater is popular, therefore, to avoid the crowds, you go into the crater early in the morning.

The Ngorongoro crater is more than just a safari destination.
Take a walk in this beautiful area and get acquainted with the Maasai culture.

Safari

A safari by jeep in the Ngorongoro Crater is definitely a must if you’re spending time in the north of Tanzania. During the safari you travel with a professional safari guide in a private Landcruiser.

You decide on the day program together with your guide. His goal is to show you as much as possible. For example, you can go into the crater already at sunrise or after a tranquil breakfast. You can enjoy the safari until sunset, or drive back a little earlier for a quiet afternoon at the accommodation …. it’s all up to you!

Walking safari

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is an area of 8,292 km2 containing the world-famous Ngorongoro crater (260 km2). The area around the Ngorongoro crater is the perfect area for a walking safari.

Possibilities include:

  • A short walking safari from the lodge;
  • A one-day walk from the Ngorongoro crater rim to the lodge;
  • A multi-day trekking.

Maasai

The Ngorongoro area was protected to offer the Maasai a certain place after they could no longer enter the Serengeti.

Maasai live in circular cabins they call ‘boma’. A fence is built around these boma to keep the wild animals at a distance.  The cabins are made of braided branches, the holes of which are filled with manure and mud. They are approximately 15 m2 in size (3m x 5m).

A number of these bomas are open to tourists. Here you can see how the cabins are built according to the chronological order of the wives. In the middle of their home a fire is burning… without a chimney. These proud herdsmen are not allowed to live in the Ngorongoro crater, but still allow their cattle to graze there, despite the predators present.

The Maasai culture is a patriarchal culture. The elderly decide.

Animals in the area

Wildebeests and zebras migrate into the Ngorongoro crater. You also find many large predators and ungulates here, including the black rhinos.

Common animals include: elephants, hippos, rhino, lion, buffalo, zebra, wildebeest, cheetah and hyena.
Many flamingos are also attracted to the salty water of Lake Magadi.

Dieren overzicht Ngorongoro Crater

  • Buffalo
  • Bushbuck
  • Capricorn
  • Cheetah
  • Dik-dik
  • Elephant
  • Flamingo
  • Fox
  • Gazelle
  • Genet
  • Giraffe
  • Hartebeest
  • Hyena
  • Hyrax
  • Impala
  • Jackal
  • Lion
  • Mangoose
  • Monkey species
  • Moose
  • Redunca
  • Rhino
  • Savannah hare
  • Waterbuck
  • Wild boar
  • Wild pig
  • Wildebeest
  • Zebra

Are you joining our safari in the Ngorongoro crater?

Have a look at other example trips that can be fully adapted to your wishes or contact us directly!

example trips trip advice

Stays around the Ngorongoro crater

For a more authentic experience, better service and experience and a better price / quality ratio, we recommend staying outside the Ngorongoro crater, near the village of Karatu or in the Ngorongoro Highlands, in the authentic Maasai area.