Ngorongoro, Northern Circuit

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a reserve covering almost 8,300 square kilometers at an altitude ranging from 1000 meters to 3,577 meters. The area, which is home to the nomadic Maasai, features a blend of landscapes including volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls and forests, archaeological sites, and wildlife that is unsurpassed in Africa. The key attraction in the area is the Ngorongoro Crater, a natural amphitheater surrounded by steep walls rising over 600 meters over the crater floor, and covering an area of over 260 square kilometers.

The crater, which was formed over two million years ago, when a volcano exploded and collapsed on itself, is a natural sanctuary for over 30,000 animals including the “big five” of buffalo, elephant, leopard, lion and rhino, as well as cheetah, hippo, hyena, jackal, Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle, wildebeest, zebra and many bird species. It has one of most dense population of lions among various national parks. However, some species, including giraffe, crocodiles, and impala are not found inside the crater.

Since the wildlife mainly stays in the crater all year round, there is really no good or bad time to visit. The best wildlife viewing though is typically in the months of July to October, when it is dry and sunny and the animals are forced to come out to visit the few remaining watering holes. One thing to note is that the crater is about ten degrees cooler than the rest of Tanzania, all year round, and in the winter months it can get as low as 8 degrees celsius.


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