Ngorongoro Crater (Tanzania)

Ngorongoro Crater Travel Guide and Trip Resources


William Warby

Your safest bet to see the Big Five

Scenery which is like none other: towering crater rims and lush plainsCan get crowded during the high season
Wildlife abundance and high success rate for spotting the Big Five

I think it is not unfair to say that Ngorongoro is a place like none other. Chances are that if you have ever seen a documentary on African wildlife featuring elephants, lions and zebras against backdrops of vast expanses of lush green land (in the wet season) or rather withered grass (in the dry season), it was filmed right here in the Ngorongoro.

Tanzania's Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site since the 1970s, lies adjacent to the Serengeti and is best known for the extinct Ngorongoro Crater. This enormous caldera towers like a wall around the plains which, without shying away from superlatives, have been labeled a Garden of Eden or wildlife cradle.

The shape of the crater is quite apparent when looking at a map of Ngorongoro. Once inside of it however, it is not quite so easy as the diameter reaches as much as 20 kilometer (12 miles) across.

The landscape is spectacular, with the plains mostly being formed by grassland with here and there a patch of Lerai forest, a swamp or a lake. The crater edge itself, a few hundred meters higher up, is mostly forested.

Besides the magnificent scenery, center stage at Ngorongoro is taken by its abundance of wildlife. This is the territory of large mammals and predators, roamed by all of the big five. And whereas in other parks in Africa visitors can be left looking for days to spot them all, Ngorongo seems to have a higher success rate. Nevertheless, as over half a million tourist visit the crater each year, a safari can sometimes end up feeling a little less private than one would have imagined as all the best spots tend to be crowded. Visiting during low-season (April and May) would be your best bet, in terms of wildlife it won't make a difference.

In terms of accomodation, you can choose to stay either on the crater rim (which can get pricey), or further away in the surrounding highlands. [Review by jwillems]


Key info

  • Ngorongoro Crater is a region in Tanzania. It is situated at an altitude of 5696ft and the best airport to fly into is DAR (Dar Es Salam International Airport, Dar Es Salaam)
  • The currency used in Tanzania is the Tanzanian shilling (TZS)

Ngorongoro Crater Weather

Historical average maximum temperature per month (℉):

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
82 82 81 79 75 75 73 75 79 82 82 81

Historical average rainfall per month (inches):

JanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDec
2.8 3.4 3.8 4.1 1.7 0.4 0.2 0.2 0.2 0.7 1.5 3

More Ngorongoro Crater travel resources

There is quite a bit of information on the Ngorongoro available, though a lot of it tends to be linked to websites of travel agencies (that we are certainly not affiliated with!) However, as the quality of the content they offer is quite good we have no issue with directing you their way. Exampes are Safari Bookings and Tanzania Odyssey. The Wiki article offers more than its travel equivalent, while Lonely Planet always joins the party too. If you are into a good dull read, UNESCO is your friend, while a better read is this travel blog.


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Other travel destinations in Tanzania (by popularity)

Zanzibar, Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater, Mount Kilimanjaro, Dar es Salaam, Moshi [Browse all]