Ngorongoro Conservation Area covers about 8300 Square kilometers and next to the famous Crater is the Olduvai Gorge - a place (near its centre) were many fossils, some of which are ancestral to us, have been unearthed and hence the name ‘cradle of mankind’.

Ngorongoro Crater is one of Africa's best known game viewing areas and is Tanzania's most visited. This crater is about 20 km wide and it is also one of the largest collapsed volcanoes in the world. In the Crater you will find a variety of animals and vegetation, including grasslands, swamps, forests, salt pans and a freshwater lake! You are likely to see lion, elephant, the critically endangered eastern black rhino, buffalo, hippo and many of the plains herbivores such as wildebeest, Thomson's gazelle, Grant’s gazelle, zebra, coke’s hartebeest and the reedbuck together with a variety of birdlife and thousands of flamingos wading in the shallows of Lake Magadi (only during their migration). Despite its steep walls, there's a considerable amount of movement of wildlife in and out of the crater – mostly to the Serengeti, since the land between the crater and Lake Manyara is intensively farmed. This area remains a favored spot for wildlife because there's a permanent water supply and grassland on the crater floor. The crater, with its 264 square kilometers of various habitats, harbors 4 lion prides and a number of the endangered black rhinos, all of which are watched closely.

CLIMATE: The Crater rim, over 2,200 meters high, touches swathes of clouds for most days of the year, with cool high altitude vapors that seem to bring a clean lightness to the air, and also a chill. These highlands wake up to a misty fog in most months, other than the high dry season during December and January.

GEOGRAPHY: The Ngorongoro Crater is the world's largest intact volcanic caldera in an exceptional geographical position, forming a spectacular bowl of about 265 sq km with sides up to 600m deep and a diameter of 20km at the widest points. It is the stalking ground of 20 - 30,000 wild animals at any one time.
Ngorongoro is the only protected area on Earth where humans (Maasai) and their livestock interact and live freely and in peace and harmony with the wildlife.

HIGHLIGHTS: The alkaline Ndutu and Masek lakes in the west are particularly good areas for game viewing during the rainy season from March to May. In the east of the conservation area are a string of volcanoes and craters and along the southern border is Lake Eyasi, a salt lake around which the Hadzabe people (Tanzania's only original ethnic tribe) live. To the north-east on the Kenyan border is the beautiful Lake Natron. Ngorongoro Crater is also presently one of the most likely areas in Tanzania to see the endangered eastern Black Rhino, as a small population is thriving in this idyllic and protected environment (though a number of six eastern black rhinos have been reintroduced in Serengeti from South Africa recently).

The Ngorongora conservation area covers a large area of over 8000 square kilometers in and around the Ngorongora Crater, the largest dormant volcano crater that is still intact after explosion of this volcano which took place over three million years ago. Much of the caldera region is plain grassland that has thousands of species of animals both large and small. This area has been declared as the UNESCO Heritage site and is also declared as one of the Seven Natural Wonders of the World.

As the Ngorongora Crater area is one of the best wildlife viewing areas in Africa, there are many tours and safaris organized in this Northern Tourist Circuit of Tanzania. The actual crater is about 20 kms wide and the collapsed caldera has a wide variety of animals and distinct geographical areas such as grasslands, swamps, thick forests, salt pans as well as a large sweet water lake. You can see lions, rhinos, gazelles and wildebeest and a fantastic birdlife as well in this region.

There are Ngorongoro crater tours that are organized at distinct times of the year to enjoy different animal viewings according to the seasonal changes in the living patterns of different animals. Many animals are seen in the rainy season from March to May. The many lakes such as Lake Eyasi, Lake Ndutu and Masek, Lake Natron etc. are ideal viewing areas for the varied wildlife that exists here.

Different Ngorongoro crater tours are arranged to visit different areas of the Ngorongoro conservation area at different times of the year. The popularity of these tours is growing as this is one of the unspoiled regions of the world where animals, birds, plants and human beings live in complete harmony. The Maasai tribes that have lived in these regions for thousands of years cultivating the lands and tending to their livestock around the lakes still abound the place and live there peacefully. It is heartening to see and learn from their lives the secret of the balance that they have achieved with nature so that there is no disruption to the delicate ecosystems that co-exist there.

Ngorongoro crater tours will undoubtedly add to the repertoire of fine life experiences that you wish to have in your life time. Apart from the thousands of distinct species of animals and birds that you are bound to see, the wide panorama of nature that goes back to many million years is for you to witness as it was then; complete and unspoilt by human intervention.

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