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Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Photo © Utrecht

Travel Guide Africa Tanzania Ngorongoro Conservation Area

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Introduction

After a good meal in Ngorongoro

After a good meal in Ngorongoro

© All Rights Reserved Utrecht

The Ngorongoro Crater with its steep walls of 610 metres has become a natural enclosure for a very wide variety of wildlife, including most of the species found in East Africa, except the giraffe. Aside from herds of zebra, gazelle and wildebeest, the crater is home to the "big five" of black rhinoceros, lion, leopard, elephant and buffalo, and is often an excellent chance to see wildlife. Be aware that the black rhinoceros does not like the wind, so in windy conditions it will retreat to the forests in the crater, making it much harder to find. Local Masai, generally clad in their distinctive red clothing, have grazing rights in the crater.

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Geography

The Ngorongoro Crater is essentially and ancient collapsed volcano. It is a natural "utopia" for East African wildlife, and thus is rich in a wide diversity of animals. Roughly 260 km² of savanna is completely encircled by a mountainous ring which is covered in dense jungles.

Fauna: Lions are in the highest density in the world in the crater, so there is a good chance of seeing them. There are herds of wildebeest, zebra, and a lot of buffalo and Grants' gazelles too. This is one of the best places in East Africa to see a Black Rhino. Hippos and flamingos are seen in Lake Magadi. Hyenas are a common predator, and cheetahs are frequently seen. Leopards are in the conservation area but rarely seen, along with Wild Dogs.

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Sights and Activities

  • Olduvai Gorge - One of the most important sites for the investigation of human evolution. There is a small museum with a collection that includes two million year old fossils and stone tools found in the gorge.
  • Empakaai Crater - This extraordinary caldera (collapsed volcano) consists of a ring of cliffs encircling, some 300 metres below, a salt lake around 6 kilometres across. Its colours range from vivid turquoise to sparkling marine to pewter, depending on the time of day and the mood of the cloudscape.
  • Olmoti Crater - Beautiful landscape for a hiking safari. Olmoti Craters’s floor is shallow and covered with tussocks of grass. Besides the Maasai and their livestock you can sometimes see eland, buffalo and reedbuck.
  • Ol Doinyo Lengai - is an active volcano located northeast outside the park. It's a long and difficult drive to reach it.

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Opening Hours

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Cost

For foreigners:

  • US$50 per person/day.
  • US$200 per car/day (not a car full of people, just the car).

No credit cards or cash are accepted, payment by prepaid TANAPA card only.

For Tanzanians it's Tsh 15,000 per day. Most of the locals believe that the bulk of the park fees go into pockets.

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Getting There

Most people come to Ngorongoro from Arusha on organized safaris. It is, however, cheaper to organize a safari from Karatu, a town 10 km from the gates. Here you can organize a safari with an independent driver. If using an independent driver, the profit will go to an individual Tanzanian instead of a larger safari company, however these vehicles are less reliable and are known to have parts fall off while driving around the crater. That can add or detract from your experience, depending on what you're looking for.

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Eat

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Drink

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Sleep

Budget

There are various camps near and within the crater. Note that the camps near the rim (such as Simba A) are very cold, even before the sun has gone down. Simba A is one of the most popular camps but, despite that, it has only a handful of electricity outlets and no hot water.

There are several lodges on the crater's rim:

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Contributors

as well as mohn (14%)

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This is version 5. Last edited at 10:29 on Sep 15, 17 by Utrecht. 8 articles link to this page.

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