Fairend Safaris

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located between Serengeti national park and Lake Manyara National Park. It was declared a world heritage by UNESCO in 1979 but was established in 1959. The conservation area covers a total area of 8,292 square kilometers and was named after Ngorongoro crater. This crater is found within the park and is the main water supply attracting most animals that drink from it.

Ngorongoro conservation area is one of the most visited places in Tanzania due to its beautiful landscape, wildlife species, and birds that attract most travelers around the globe. It is characterized by savannah plains, marshy areas, a lake, acacia woodland, and a forest.

How to get to Ngorongoro conservation area

Travelers can get to the Ngorongoro conservation area by both road and air.

By road, it takes about a 2-hour’ drive from Arusha to get there, it is about 160km away. Travelers are advised to use a 4WD vehicle.

By air, tourists can access Ngorongoro conservation area by flying from Kilimanjaro International Airport to any of the airstrips within in Ngorongoro area

Top attractions

Craters 

There are craters found in this conservation area including the Ngorongoro crater, Olmoti caldera, and Empakai.  Ngorongoro is the largest crater and the most famous due to its high density of wildlife species. In addition, the existence of Lake Magadi attracts bird species like flamingos and other water birds which can be found within.

Wildlife

Wildlife in Ngorongoro is very diverse with a very high number of wildlife species. These can be seen roaming the area including the big 5 which are rhinos, leopards, lions, buffaloes, elephants, and lions. The other animals found in this area are wildebeests, zebras, wild dogs, cheetahs, reedbucks, gazelles, spotted hyenas, hippos, elands, and blue monkeys among others.

Birds

There are a variety of bird species in Ngorongoro some being permanent residents while others are migratory birds that visit during nesting. The bird species found here include yellow wagtails, saddle-billed storks, ostriches, Kori bustards, and flamingos among others.

Olduvai Gorge

This is yet another amazing feature to see in this area, it is a 45 kilometers gorge located between Ngorongoro crater and Serengeti. This gorge was named after the Maasai word for the wild sisal plant. Paleoanthropologists discovered hundreds of fossilized bones and stone tools in this area which date millions of years back thus leading them to conclude that humans evolved in Africa.

Activities to do in Ngorongoro conservation area

Game drives

Game drives enable travelers to see the different wildlife species that can be found in this area. The crater has various wildlife species that can be seen around the crater area. The wildlife species to look out for are lions, leopards, cheetahs, elephants, buffalos, rhinos, gazelles, kobs, hartebeest, wildebeest, waterbucks, and zebras among others.  Game drives are usually done with the help of an experienced guide or ranger who helps in locating the animals.

Birding

Birding is still another amazing activitythat can be done around Ngorongoro crater area.  Travelers are able to see a number of bird species including flamingos, secretary birds, hammerkops, gray herons, pelicans, long-tailed lapwing, gray crowned crane, starlings, kori bustard, weavers and vultures among others. 

Hot Air Balloon safaris

Hot air ballooning is one of the most adventurous activities done in the Ngorongoro Conservation area, especially around the Ndutu region. It is a great way of exploring the huge crater and its amazing unique surroundings. During the wildebeest migration when the wildebeest are wandering or calving beyond the crater and the neighboring Serengeti hot air ballooning can be rewarding to have sights of the millions of the animals from above.

Cultural encounters

Travelers may get to visit the communities which are near this conservation area. The Masaii people live in these communities, they are pastoralists who have tried to conserve their culture. Visiting these people gives you an insight into how they live their day-to-day lives. Travelers get to learn more about their culture, and traditions and get to experience some of their crafts through performances, jewelry, clothing, and many more.  

Nature walks 

Nature walks are done on specific trails which reward guests with beautiful views of the open grasslands. Thus wildlife species can be seen grazing and drinking from the water points. The different nature walk trails include the crater rim walk, Eyasi viewpoint, Empakaai crater among others.  During nature walks tourists are able to see some wildlife species from a safe distance while in company of a guide or experienced ranger

Picnics 

Picnics are carried out in the open savannah plains where travelers get to experience this adventurous activity. Travelers may choose to have a bush meal or watch a sunset while watching the wildlife and enjoying the scenery around. There are picnic spots around the crater and some of them are found near the Gorigor swamp.

Where to stay when visiting the Ngorongoro conservation area

There are several accommodation facilities that travelers can choose from when visiting Ngorongoro Conservation Area. They range from luxury, mid–range to budget facilities and these include; serena Ngorongoro lodge. The highlands, Tioma Lodge, Sopa Ngorongoro Lodge, Rhotia valley, Rhino Lodge, Plantation Lodge, Ngorongoro Crater Lodge, Kitela Lodge, Lemala Ngorongoro camp, Mandhari Lodge, Crater forest camp and Gibbs farm among others.

When to visit 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area can be visited throughout the year however the best time to visit is during the dry season. The most rewarding time is from June to October when guests can enjoy game drives and animal viewing. Travelers interested in birding can visit from November to April which is great time to see migratory birds.