Established in 1959 and a World Heritage Site as declared by UNESCO, Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a vast stretch of land, where wildlife co-exists with the semi-nomadic Masai pastoralists who till now practise traditional livestock grazing. This area in Tanzania has global importance in the field of biodiversity conservation because it witnesses the presence of globally threatened species, a dense inhabitation of wildlife and the spectacle of annual migration by wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, etc.
At A Glance
The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is situated 180 km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. This is a vast expanse of highland plains, savanna, forests and savanna woodlands. This area is administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority; a wing of the Tanzanian Government. The highlight of this area is the Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera which lies within the area.
The common route to Ngorongoro is from Arusha and most people take organized safaris to come here. However, as a cheaper alternative you can opt to organize your own safari from Karatu which is 10 km from the gates. However, with such independent trips, the vehicles are not very reliable for driving around the crater.
When to go?
There is actually no good or bad time to visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, since the game stays in the crater all the year round. However, visit during the off-seasons because there will be less crowd on the crater floor. Lake Magadi in the center of the crater witnesses higher flamingo concentration when it has more water. Yet, you are guaranteed a great time here at any time of the year!
Where to Stay?
You can stay both on and off the crater rim. However, staying on the crater rim can be expensive; the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge charges a whopping $3,000 per night. Staying off the rim is less pricey. And here you can stay in small plantations and guesthouses.
Some acclaimed accommodation options are:
- Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge
- Exploreans Ngorongoro Lodge
What to see?
This conservation area has a population of around 25,000 animals. The crater boasts of the highest density of mammalian predators. Large animals include black rhinos (whose population is decreasing) and equally uncommon hippopotamus. There are also wildebeest, zebras, eland and also the Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelles.
Lions have the greatest density in the crater. There are also leopards, elephants, buffalo and mountain reedbucks and hundreds of flamingos.
Nature has another thing to offer in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. Abundant stretches of grasslands and highland trees like peacock flower Albizzia gummifera, Hagenia abyssinica, yellowwood Podocarpus latifolia, and sweet olive Olea chrysophylla can be viewed here. There is also an extensive stand of pure bamboo Arundinaria alpine. Nature lovers are going to love it over here.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area is waiting for you with its huge bounty of Nature at its best! Come soon!