Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most beautiful places on earth for wildlife viewing. You can spot wildlife throughout the year. Because of its unique ecosystem, the animals don't leave the crater. If you want to combine Ngorongoro with other major National Parks in Tanzania and the Serengeti, June through September/October may be the best choice. However, every season is slightly different:
June - October: Dry season. The best months for game viewing / to spot wildlife. Animals gather around water holes. Fewer mosquitoes. Downside: Most crowds, highest rates, very busy. Jeeps and spots need to be shared with many others.
November - May: Wet season. Lush and green scenery. Not as good as the dry season for wildlife but still great. Special months within the wet season are January and February: You might see baby zebra, baby wildebeest and other newborn. Bird watching is also fantastic in January and February. In general, rain is limited and usually not that bad during the wet season. Except for March and April, where heavier rainfall can occur.
Go in March or April. Highest possibility of rain but least visitors and lower rates. Sometimes it can get difficult to use the roads during or after heavy rain. In other seasons you should definitely start your safari tour early in the morning and leave around 6:00 AM. Use the earliest safari possible. You'll avoid heavy crowds by being the first on the floor.
The crater is unique and offers a jaw-dropping setting. It is a completely separate ecosystem. It is the largest, unfilled and inactive volcanic caldera in the world. There are more than 30.000 animals, and there is no need to leave the crater. The top of the crater has an altitude of 2.300 m. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site since 1979 and called one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.
Top Tips and Facts
- Ngorongoro is the best place to see the 'big five': buffalo, leopard, lion, elephant, and rhino
- It's also the best place to see the critically endangered black rhino
- Game viewing is great throughout the year
- To avoid crowded areas, start your safari either as early as possible or as late as possible
- You can see everything in one day
- The price for a safari is about $300
- The national park fee itself is $60 plus VAT $70.80
- Serena Lodge within the crater is the most breathtaking way to stay the night
- Alternative: The nearby village of Karatu has great lodges as well
Where to Stay (Lodges) and Tours:
- The famous Serena Safari Lodge is probably the most stunning and luxurious accommodation there. It offers the most breathtaking views within the crater you can get! Otherwise, you can browse for more options here: Ngorongoro Hotels - Lodges
- The nearby village of Karatu (Google Maps) has great lodges as well for lower rates: Karatu Accommodations
- Adventure Tours: If you'd like to experience not only the crater, you might want to take a look at the G Adventure Tours: Tanzania Safari Tours - Serengeti | Ngorongoro | Wildebeest Migration and more
- Ngorongoro Crater - Official Website
- TripAdvisor - Bookings - Reviews
- Wikipedia - Ngorongoro Conservation Area
- Unesco - Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Pictures provided by Chris