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Ngorongoro Conservation Area & Olduvai Gorge

Ngorongoro Conservation Area and Olduvai Gorge

Three volcanic craters dominate the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, with the Ngorongoro Crater being the most famous and largest. In fact, it is the largest un-flooded, unbroken caldera in the world. It is about 20 kms across, 600 m deep and 300 km2 in area and holds an astonishingly large array of wildlife. It is possibly the best place to see the ‘big 5’ in Tanzania. The crater is home to lion, leopard and hyena who prey on the wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. There is a large population of black rhino and a good place to see some large tusked elephants

Migrating herds, usually late November and December inundate the greater crater area, however there is a high density of resident game throughout the year. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area strives for a peaceful coexistence between man and animals, therefore  Maasai pastorals continue to walk this area, as they have for centuries. The Maasai are very distinctive in their red dress, seen herding their cattle.

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There is an abundance of short grass, great for grazing, and highland forests. In the west is Ndutu Lake, which has a healthy population of cheetah and lion. On the leeward side of the Ngorongoro highlands is Oldonyo Lengai, an active volcano that last erupted in 2007. It is Tanzania’s third highest mountain, after Mount Kilimanjaro and Mount Meru. At the foot of the  mountain is Lake Natron, a soda lake, made famous for the numerous breeding flamingos found there.

The whole area contains over 25,000 large animals, the vegetation is a mixture of lush green, rain watered plants and desert plants. Olduvai Gorge National Park is a small park also known as the cradle of mankind. It is one of the most prominent paleo-anthropologist sites in the world. Some of the findings here have shaped our understanding of early human evolution. At Laetoli, west of the Ngorongoro Crater, are humanoid footprints, preserved in the volcanic rock. They are thought to be over 3.6 million years old and represent the earliest signs of mankind so far that has been found in the world.


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