After our time at Tarangire National Park, we visited the Ngorongoro Crater which can be found in Northern Tanzania. We spent around three weeks in Tanzania and fell in love with this vast land. Part of the Ngorongoro Crater conservation area is that it is one of the most famous safari destinations on the planet. When you start to learn more about the history and how many animals call it home today it’s easy to understand why.
1. The Ngorongoro crater was formed after a huge supervolcanic eruption.
A mountain believed to be higher than Kilimanjaro caved in on itself forcing hot magma into the ground, forming the base of the crater as we know it today. As a result, the Ngorongoro Crater has to have just about one of the best entrances you’ll find to a national park. As we approached the rim of the crater anticipation built on every turn up the mountain into the misty heights which surround the crater at 2000ft high. Occasionally we’d get a small snippet of what was to come when the midst broke to see an amazing view over the crater. The ascent and descent to get inside all add to the theatre making you feel like you’ve landed in the middle of Jurassic Park.
2. The Ngorongoro Crater formed 3 million years ago
And animals have been living there ever since, which makes our one day visit pale in comparison! It really puts into perspective how quickly and carelessly humans nearly wiped out the black rhino population too (1970 – 65000 black rhinos, 2018 – 2500 rhinos with 30 of these in Ngorongoro Crater)
3. You won’t find giraffes here due to the niggly and steep crater rim.
Some animals hang to the cooler and more tree-heavy areas at the top of the crater. Definitely watch out for the baboons and vervet (blue balled) monkeys at the entrance. Any open window or door and they will enter. Very viciously! You’ll also catch elephants and leopards amongst the trees of the crater rim but most animals are in the open plain right in the heart of the crater.
4. Although you can’t see giraffes here you can spot all of the big 5!
Yep, elephants buffalos, lions, leopard and Rhino all call this place home. If you don’t have time to see Giraffe’s in the wild you can always kiss a giraffe in Kenya.
5. At only 20km in diameter, it’s home to one of the densest population of animals anywhere in the World.
Approximately 30,000. Seriously the drivers can’t make a turn without coming across wildlife, whether it be zebras, flamingos or warthogs. And it’s particularly known for its lions!
6. Hyena’s have the strongest bite of all the animals in the wild.
(OK this one isn’t about the Ngorongoro crater but it was told to us by our safari guide whilst we were inside). One animal we grew fond of in the crater was the hyena. These guys will act goofy and roll around on their backs for laughs but are sometimes wrongly assumed to be scavengers. Hyena most certainly hunt on their own as well as in packs too. They’ll bite through bone like butter!
7. The crater is also known as the ‘Garden of Eden’ due to its breathtakingly beautiful setting.
Being so lost in the moment with the animals it was only when we looked back at our photo’s we could really appreciate the amazing backdrop from our shots inside the crater.
8. The munge river provides the water source for the crater.
Starting at the Olmoti Crater which lies 3,700m above sea level the munge river flows into Ngorongoro passing through volcanic soil. This creates the perfect conditions for grasslands and drinking water for animals. You can see why animals have chosen to live here for millions of years.
Given its amazing beauty and population of animals, the crater hosts hundreds of thousands of tourists a year. We didn’t have our most spine-tingling moments here when it felt like just us and the wild but we couldn’t have imagined our safari without the Ngorongoro crater either. We definitely caught some of our best shots here too. Great to incorporate as part of a wider trip and if you’re looking for a one day trip purely for animal spotting this definitely fits the bill! If you’re really interested in booking a safari then it’s well worth checking out our top tips for booking a safari too – getting this right is so important!
Russ & Fi