Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The spectacular scenery of Ngorongoro is well deserving of the UNESCO World Heritage status it carries, and it doesn’t disappoint on the wildlife front either. The attraction is two-fold, you can view the crater from above, from here the wildlife looks like thousands of tiny ants, criss-crossing the landscape then, as you venture down into the crater, you are in the thick of it. It’s a Big 5 area too, with the endangered black rhino making an appearance.

The Ngorongoro crater is the largest volcanic caldera in the world, at 20km wide and 600 metres deep and while you will see other vehicles on your safari here, with guaranteed wildlife viewing it’s well worth a visit. The varied landscape incorporating grassland, forest, swamps and lakes attracts many different animals and birds. When the flamingos appear at Lake Magadi it’s a spectacular site, blushing and pink – a splash of colour in the landscape. There is nowhere quite like the Ngorongoro crater, and it fits perfectly into a northern circuit safari.

Things to do in Ngorongoro

  • Game Drives in the crater– this is what the area is all about, it is rich in wildlife and the best way to cover a large area is by vehicle. All day game drives are the way forward here.
  • Picnic Lunch – enjoy a delicious picnic lunch down on the crater floor as part of your safari experience.
  • Birding – the birdlife here is prolific. Kori bustard, crowned cranes and flamingos are all found here.
  • Wildlife watching – this is Big 5 country with black rhino, leopard and majestic black-maned lions roaming the landscape.
  • Visit Olduvai Gorge – where Mary Leakey discovered an ape-like skull believed to be 1.8 million years old, an important archaeological discovery.
  • Laetoli footprints – also of anthropological importance are the ancient footprints left by human ancestors 3.6 million years ago. Though covered to preserve them, you can visit the site and also the Olduvai Gorge Museum which has casts of the prints and related artifacts.
  • Combine it with a trip to the Serengeti and Tarangire – Ngorongoro works perfectly as part of a northern circuit safari and is easily accessible from Arusha.

When to visit Ngorongoro

Wildlife viewing at the crater is excellent all year round but if you want the ultimate best time to go then opt for the dry season from June to September, early mornings are cold, so wrap up and wear layers. November to May is the rainy season. March and April sees the most rainfall, and the fewest visitors. This is an excellent time for birding due as many migratory species will be present.

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  • This is the dry season when wildlife viewing is at its best
  • Vegetation is sparse making wildlife easier to spot
  • Animals are drawn to water sources
  • There are fewer mosquitos at this time of year
  • Early mornings and evenings can be cold
  • In peak season the Ngorongoro crater will be crowded


  • Vegetation is lush and green, perfect for photography
  • The Ngorongoro crater has excellent wildlife viewing all year round
  • It’s at its quietest in April and May, so fewer crowds
  • There may be some good rates on offer for accommodation
  • Birding is excellent at this time of year
  • March to May sees the heaviest rainfall
  • Early mornings and nights are cold, you will need layers to stay warm

Ngorongoro holidays

Below you will find some Ngorongoro itineraries that we’ve put together as recommended suggestions. You might find one of these is perfect for your needs as we’ve put a lot of thought into including some wonderful experiences in each of these safaris, and we really love what they offer. However, if none of these quite fit the bill for you, do call us and let us know what you’d like. We ready to help you plan your perfect Tanzania safari holiday..

Luxury Serengeti & Crater Safari

Prices from £5,320 pp for 9 days
(exc. intl flights)

This safari is not about watching the pennies, it’s about some of the best quality game-viewing and a few of our absolute favourite places to stay…

A Tanzanian Family Adventure

Prices from £1,385 pp for 7 days
(exc. intl flights)

This classic safari is ideal for families, as there are no long road transfers but you still get excellent game viewing. It’s also great value for money…

Northern Tanzania Highlights

Prices from £3,990 pp for 7 days
(exc. intl flights)

Whether a first-timer or an experienced safari hand, you will find plenty to capture your imagination and set your pulse racing on this week long safari…

Elephants, Birds & Big Cats

Prices from £3,035 pp for 8 days
(exc. intl flights)

From Arusha to the Serengeti, via Tarangire, Lake Manyara and the Ngorongoro Crater, this is an unforgettable Tanzanian safari…

Maasai Culture & Wilderness

Prices from £3,330 pp for 8 days
(exc. intl flights)

Not the faint-hearted or safari first-timers, this serious wilderness adventure travels far off the beaten track to remote Lake Natron…

Tanzania Family Safari & Beach

Prices from £3,200 pp for 10 days
(exc. intl flights)

Animals and beaches are the two main ingredients of this holiday, both holding an appeal that crosses generations.

A luxury short break in the Maasai Highlands

Prices from £3,075 pp for 5 days
(exc. intl flights)

Instead of the Scottish Highlands, try the Maasai Highlands .. staying in a luxury domed pod.

Ngorongoro Highlands Trek

Prices from £2,195 pp for 4 days
(exc. intl flights)

Calling all adventurers! Discover Tanzania on foot and away from the crowds.

Mara, Crater & Zanzibar

Prices from £POA pp for 13 days
(exc. intl flights)

Spectacular wildlife viewing in a private Kenyan conservancy bordering the Masai Mara, in the Masai Mara reserve itself and in Tanzania’s Tarangire and Ngorongoro.

Wildebeest & Waterfalls

Prices from £4,390 for 11 days
(exc. intl flights)

Three of the most spectacular natural phenomena on earth: the Great Migration in the Serengeti, the vast Ngorongoro Crater and the colossal Victoria Falls.

Simba Safari

Prices from £2,495 pp for 8 days
(exc. intl flights)

An exciting safari in the famous northern circuit offering excellent value money and thrills a-plenty.

Where to stay in Ngorongoro

Ngorongoro has a host of different types and levels of accommodation, so there is something to suit all tastes and budgets. There are lots of options in town but if you prefer, you could opt to stay on one of the coffee plantations about 30 minutes away.

Tanzania and other countries