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  • February 26, 2024 5:12 am local time

Overview

Ngorongoro National Park

Ngorongoro National Park is in Arusha and connects North of Serengeti and East of the Great Rift Valley. It started as a conservation area to cater to wildlife and the Maasai people within the area. Ngorongoro is known for its human history. Most of the early humans are found there. Additionally, it's a diverse area where wildlife, especially endangered species are found. Notably, Olmoti and Empakai volcanic craters are there. The Olmoti boasts a waterfall, and Empakai boasts a deep lake and lovely green cliffs. Further, Ngorongoro has Olduvai Gorge, which is a 14 km stretch.

The park doesn’t receive many visitors because they control the number. It is a way of protecting the park, and to access the gorge and crater, you must have a permit.  Interestingly, the crater was started 2.5 million years ago. It resulted from a volcano as huge as Kilimanjaro that expanded and fell on itself, forming a deep crater up to 610 meters and 20 km wide. That makes it the largest dormant caldera in history.

Visit Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro is a favourite spot to visit in Tanzania. It is large, with 829 - 20 hectares, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site that is part of the Serengeti ecosystem. Its name is from the Ngorongoro crater, formed three million years ago, and it is the oldest dormant volcanic caldera in the world. Ngorongoro has 25 000 animals like black rhinos, giraffes, and lions, just to name a few. One of the most exciting activities here is hiking. It has a route to Olmoti and Empakai crater lake, where you will find thousands of flamingos. You can visit the site at Olduvai Gorge and at Alaitole in the Ngarusi region. The location is significant from both an archaeological and paleontological aspect.

The Crater

Being the home of more than 25 000 big mammals, it is the heart of Ngorongoro. Once you get to the Ngorongoro crater, you will see the big five and other animals through game drives. Here you can create memories by filming your experience or taking pictures. It only takes 40 minutes to reach the crater rim, so the earlier you start the journey, the better.

The Wildlife in Ngorongoro

The climate of this reserve changes from time to time. That means it can support different wildlife. For instance, it attracts flamingos because the crater basin has fresh water, marshes, swamps, and alkaline lakes. Additionally, more than 30 000 animals call this reserve home. Some stay here, and others migrate to settle here. The fertile soils ensure that most animals, like buffalo, stay here, especially during the dry seasons.

The reserve is not limited to only buffaloes; you will find lions, warthogs, wild dogs, jackals, foxes, etc. At the west of the crater, there is a lake called Ndutu. This is where you will find lions and cheetahs probably waiting to catch some prey. The black male lion and rhino also call Ngorongoro home. Unfortunately, you cannot get any giraffes here because they cannot cope with the steepness of the reserve.

Hiking Opportunity

One of the most enjoyable activities is hiking. It is a perfect activity for people visiting for several days. The experience allows you to view the Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano if you reach the rim. If you climb, you can also see Lake Natron and Kilimanjaro when there is no fog.

Climb Olmoti

The Olmoti climb is a 2 - 3 hours hiking experience. There is a Maasai crater that helps you reach Olmoti. You go through mountain forests and rocky outcrops. The starting and ending point is the highland camp. While trekking, you will see buffalo, zebras, some elephants, and hyenas.

Empakaai

It is 40 km northeast. If you have booked your stay at highlands lodge, the journey takes 1 hr and 5 minutes. You go through bulbul depression and will see so much wildlife before arrival. Once there, the stunning view of Oldonoinyo Lengai and Empakai Crater is visible. You need an NCA ranger to take you to the crater. It is a 30 - 45 minutes journey, and you pass through thick forests as you head to the crater floor. The base of the crater has a lake with birds like flamingos. When you are through with sightseeing, going back to your destination will take 1 hour and around 30 minutes. On your way, you might meet hyenas, elephants, and buffalo.

Best Time To Visit Ngorongoro

June to February is a beautiful time to visit for wildebeest migration. In March and April, there are rains, so if you want to visit around this time, expect fewer animals. But you can visit and enjoy the landscape. July to September is a great time to view wildlife. However, consider January or February if you want to see the lions chasing their predators. These months see the birth of wildebeest calves and less rain. Note that this season attracts many visitors. Still, if you are not keen on viewing wildebeest migration, come during the low season. You will see flamingos at lake Magadi and other animals since animals stay in Ngorongoro throughout the year.

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