Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) protects some 3,200 square miles of short-grass plains and volcanic highlands extending eastward from Serengeti National Park. Its centerpiece is the sensationally scenic Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, comprising 100 square miles of moist savannah enclosed by sheer 2,000ft cliffs. A natural wildlife sanctuary, Ngorongoro Crater protects all the Big Five, along with large herds of wildebeest, zebra and other grazers. Uniquely among Tanzania’s major safari destinations, the NCA operates as a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve that aims to maintain a balanced and sustainable relationship between its Maasai inhabitants and the plentiful wildlife.
Discover Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Ngorongoro Crater is the only place in northern Tanzania where the endangered black rhino is regularly seen.
The crater floor supports Africa’s densest lion and spotted hyena populations. Other resident carnivores include cheetah, leopard, golden jackal and bat-eared fox.
An avian highlight is the flamingos that shimmer pink in the shallows of Lake Magadi.
The old bull elephants that reside in Ngorongoro Crater include some of Africa’s most impressive remaining tuskers.
Visits to a Maasai manyatta offer the opportunity to meet and engage with East Africa’s most charismatic traditional pastoralists.
A little-visited off-the-beaten track highlight of the NCA, the 5-mile wide Empakaai Crater, though smaller than Ngorongoro, is nonetheless hugely impressive. A steep guided hike to the crater floor provides a great opportunity to stretch your legs.
A site museum at Oldupai Gorge displays a replica of Nutcracker Man, a 1.75-million-year-old Australopithecine that ranked as the world’s oldest-known hominin fossil when it was unearthed there in 1959.