Ngorongoro Crater

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  • Tanzania
  • Ngorongoro Crater

When to Go

On an Ngorongoro Crater Safari

The Ngorongoro’s animals are contained within the crater and are resident all year-round. The best time to go to the Ngorongoro Crater is usually more a question of how many other visitors you want to see as well. And if you are also planning to view the wildebeest migration, it is doubly important to time your Ngorongoro safari accordingly as the migration takes place across two destinations – Tanzania’s Serengeti and Kenya’s Masai Mara.

Peak game viewing months in the Ngorongoro Crater are from June through September. Temperatures are mild and there is virtually no rain so much of the wildlife is concentrated near permanent water. This is when visitor numbers are at their highest; choosing an accommodation on the crater’s edge will get you onto the crater floor before most other vehicles.

The December to February antelope calving season is also a good time to travel to the Ngorongoro Crater. Predators take advantage of the seasonal bounty and your chances of seeing a kill are high.

If you want to have the crater and its wildlife mostly to yourself, then consider visiting during the March to May rainy season. There are far fewer visitors and the crater is wonderfully green and well-watered compared to the dusty dry-season landscape.

Dec/ Jan/ Feb
Some rain, antelope birthing season; combine with Serengeti for migration
Mar/ Apr/ May
Peak rainy season: very few visitors; combine with Serengeti for migration
Jun/ Jul/ Aug/ Sep
Dry season: best game viewing, combine with Masai Mara for migration
Oct/ Nov
Start of rainy season; combine with Masai Mara/Serengeti for migration
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The Crater

What to do at the Ngorongoro Crater

1. Spot the Big Five

Africa’s most sought-after sightings – lion, elephant, buffalo, leopard & rhino – can be enjoyed with ease at the Ngorongoro Crater; indeed, it’s not unusual to see all five in a single game drive.

2. Search for Predators

Lions & leopards join a long cast of predators in the Ngorongoro Crater: cheetah & spotted hyena are also resident along with jackal, wild cats & many birds of prey.

3. Stay on the Rim

There are exclusive lodges on the rim of the crater: not only will you get truly spectacular views but you’ll also be among the first onto the crater floor for the morning game drive.

4. Bring the Family

Easy game viewing, a comfortable climate & family accommodation – the Ngorongoro welcomes families with children, providing special activities, meal times & even childminders.

5. Live on a Plantation

There’s a choice of accommodation located away from the Crater; our favourite ones are set on picturesque old-world coffee plantations, complete with spa & massage service.

6. Visit a Local Community

Maasai communities dot the Ngorongoro landscape & several lodges offer the chance to visit local villages, chat to locals & gain an insight into life on the savannah.

7. Crater View Walk

This popular late afternoon walk along the western rim of the Ngorongoro Crater allows guests to experience various natural habitats, including the acacia woodland, thick lush forests and open grasslands.

8. Crater Floor Banquet

After your scenic descent into the Ngorongoro Crater, enjoy a tasty hot lunch served in breathtaking surroundings at a private picnic spot on the Crater floor, in the midst of the wildlife action.

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