The Magic of Ngorongoro Crater

The Magic of Ngorongoro Crater

With its ethereal blue-green vistas, close-range viewing opportunities and unparalleled concentrations of wildlife, Ngorongoro Crater is of Tanzania’s most visited destinations, and one of Africa’s best-known wildlife-viewing areas. At about 20km wide it is also one of the largest calderas in the world. Its steep, unbroken walls provide the setting for an incredible natural drama, as lions, elephants, buffaloes, and plain herbivores such as wildebeests, Thomson’s Gazelles, zebras, and reedbucks graze, stalk and otherwise make their way around the grasslands, swamps and forests on the crater floor.

Chances are good that you will also see a black rhino or two, and for many people this is one of the crater’s main draws. The birding is also excellent, including around Lake Magadi, the soda Lake at the Crater’s base, which attracts hundreds of flamingos to its shallows.

Despite the Crater’s steepness, there is considerable movement in and out, thanks to the permanent water and grassland on the Crater floor. Animals and birds are guaranteed to have enough water throughout the year.

During the German colonial era there were to settler’s farms in the crater; you can still see the huts.

Because of the crater popularity it’s easy to get distracted from the natural magnificence, especially when there several dozens of vehicles crowded around one or two animals, all to backdrops of clicking cameras and radio static. One of the best ways to minimize these distractions is by getting into the crater early (there are relatively few vehicles before about 09am). It’s also helps to pick one or several strategic spots and then stay put for a while, letting the nuances and subtleties of the crater’s environment gradually come to you rather than joining the mad dashes across the crater floor when drivers radio each other about particularly good sightings.

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