Nestled in the Crater Highlands of Tanzania, the Ngorongoro Crater is a conservation area and popular safari destination. It boasts an abundant African wild life, unprecedented natural beauty and a massive crater that is home to an estimated 30,000 animals. The Ngorongoro Crater offers a breathtaking view of the caldera and perfect sightseeing opportunities of the wildlife.
Covering an area of 8,300 square kilometers, this African wildlife conservation center was previously part of the Serengeti National Park. However, the animals needed more grazing area so Ngorongoro was reclassified as an African wildlife conservation area in Tanzania. The site was declared a World Heritage Site in 1978, meaning the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization has deemed it to be of special cultural or physical significance. It was listed for its “biodiversity conservation, due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife population the area, and the annual migrations of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains.”
The most spectacular part of the Center is the Ngorongoro Crater. It covers an area of 265 square kilometers, measuring 610 meters deep and 19 kilometers wide. It was once a volcanic mountain and after its collapse, turned into a giant caldera. It is the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world. The rim of the crater is 2,286 meters above sea level, resulting in a fantastic vantage point for a view of the crater and its inhabitants.
Another fascinating aspect of the Ngorongoro Crater is the Olduvai Gorge. It is where the remains of the ‘Homo Hablis’ were found. Also known as the ‘handy man,’ the remains represented mankind’s first step on the ladder of human evolution. 3-million-year-old human footprints have also been found at the gorge, along with many other prehistoric fossils.
The animals of the crater are bountiful, including wildebeest, zebra, buffalo, hyenas, warthogs, hippos, elephants, black rhino and lion prides. The animal population of the crater is dense, one of the largest in the world. Considering the endangered status of some of the species found in the crater, to see them living in their natural habitat will make for an unprecedented experience for any first-time safari explorer. This also makes the Ngorongoro Crater a perfect place for wildlife photography and sightseeing.
Even beyond wildlife, Ngorongoro is the ultimate safari experience. Between Lake Magadi, the Olduvai Gorge and the caldera, there are endless possibilities for the experience of a lifetime. There are mountains, lakes, forests and African plains that will rival your definition of beauty.