Features:


Conservation Status:

Conservation Area (UNESCO World Heritage Site, International Biosphere Reserve)

Established

1959

  Location

Northern Tanzania, 245 Kms from Arusha

Size

8,292 Kms² (Ngorongoro Crater 304 Kms², 4% of the park's land area)

Maximum Length

140 Kms Southwest to Northeast

  Height A.S.L.

1,020 (Lake Eyasi) - 3,648 , (Lolmalasin). Olduvai Gorge 1,500 m, Ndutu 1,630 m, the plains in the North c. 1,750 m, the floor of Ngorongoro Crater c. 1,720 m.

Seasonal Variation

Two seasons - dry season from late May to October / November, rainy season from October / November to May (less rainy in January / February). Best season for visitors to see a big migration (Western and Northern plains) from November / December to May. The seasonal variation in wildlife in the Ngorongoro Crater is fairly insignificant. Main park roads passable all year round.

  Precipitation

Yearly average < 600 mm in the North (minimum at Olduvai, 450 mm), > 900 m in the South and Southeast (maximum at Empakaai, 1,500 mm). Rainfall very low from June to September, (July - August practically rainless), most rains from November to May

Temperatures

Temperatures: Highly dependent on the area - daily means of 24 - 30°C in Ngorongoro Crater, sometimes up to 38°C at Olduvai. Nights are cool or cold, close to zero from May to June higher up to the mountains.

Activities

Game drives, guided walking safaris, cultural tours to Maasai village


About Ngorongoro Crater:

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is as breathtaking for its landscapes as it is striking for its wildlife. The Conservation Area itself covers over 8,920 sq. km but its most famed feature is the Ngorongoro Crater, also referred to as "Africa's Garden of Eden" it is the largest un-flooded and unbroken caldera in the world - 19.2 km in diameter, 610 m deep and 304 sq km in area. Declared a World Heritage Site in 1978, it is undoubtedly one of the most impressive attractions of Africa, and one of the world's greatest wildlife locations. The view from its rim into the 260 sq km caldera could even rank as the most inspiring in wild Africa - when it can be seen.

The floor of the Crater is a vast natural amphitheatre, teeming with game, the rich pasture and permanent water supports a large resident population of wildlife of up to 30,000 animals. It is home to one of the highest densities of lions in Africa. Also, this is perhaps the best place to see the Black Rhino.

Of the large population of wildebeest in the crater, some join the annual migration, but any others remain all year round. Buffaloes, Grant's and Thomson's gazelles, Coke's hartebeest (kongoni), topi, zebra, eland, and warthog all occur in good numbers. The swamps and forest provide resources for hippo, elephant, waterbuck, reedbuck and bushbuck, baboons and vervet monkeys. The steep inner slopes provide a habitat for dik dik and the rare mountain reedbuck. Black-backed and golden Jackals thrive in the crater and bat-eared foxes live in the short grass areas. Predatory animals - lion, leopard, cheetah, serval cats - live off the abundant wildlife, and large packs of hyena roam the crater. There are lots of flamingoes and a variety of other water birds around the soda lake on the crater floor.

In addition to the Ngorongoro Crater, there are other, smaller craters in the Conservation Area to explore, notably Olmoti and Empakaai which are accessible. Empakaai is possibly one of the most scenic locations within these volcanic highlands, with one stunning view down to the deep soda lake that covers about half the crater floor, and others east to the snow-clad peak of Mount Kilimanjaro and north-east to Ol Doinyo Lengai. The latter is the active volcano, the Maasai people's 'Mountain of God' that still bubbles and belches steam and ash from its top.

Another two volcanoes - extinct ones - are landmark peaks for travelers winding their way down from the Ngorongoro highlands westward to the Serengeti plains. These are Lemagrut and Sadiman, and it was ash spewed from the latter that preserved the fossil hominid footprints and animal tracks at Laetoli further west and gave modern man an insight into his predecessors and other prehistoric inhabitants of this area. But even more has been learned about early hominids at Olduvai Gorge, at the base of these hills.

The archaeological site of Olduvai Gorge known as the 'cradle of man' is located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The gorge is a steep sided ravine, which forms part of the Great Rift Valley. It is situated on a series of fault lines which, along with centuries of erosion, has revealed fossils and remnants of early humankind.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area has much to offer the visitor. A walking safari with Maasai warriors and an armed ranger is a unique way to experience Africa. It is a way not only to see animals but to meet the Maasai peoples and learn about the culture. You will get to see, feel and experience the real Africa - wild & unexplored!