When is the best time to visit the Ngorongoro Crater?
The is no real best time to visit the Ngorongoro Crater. The Ngorongoro Crater is an all-year-round safari destination. The animals in the crater are resident so you can count on a great safari experience every time you visit. Due to the steep sides of the crater, you are unlikely to see any elephant but the bulls. The females and young tend to stay up on the crater rim and plateau rather than risk injury descending into the crater.
Why should I visit Ngorongoro Crater?
It is unique, beautiful and has the highest concentration of animals in Africa
Which of the Big 5 can I see in the Ngorongoro Crater?
5 of the Big 5. There is a thriving population of Black Rhino, that are carefully monitored and protected. Cheetah and the spotted hyena are common sights while the Wild Dog visit the crater from time to time. Leopard are present but rarely seen.
Special animals/behaviour in the Ngorongoro Crater.
Because the crater encoumpasses such a small area, the beauty of the Ngorongoro Crater is that you are guaranteed of seeing most of the resident animal species and they are not difficult to spot. The Ngorongoro Crater has the highest density of animals in Africa.
It is quite unbelievable that there are 5 prides of lions comprising 70 individuals in this small area. It is one of the best places in Africa to see the elusive Black Rhino.
Lesser known species that you are likely to encounter are the Bat-eared fox and Serval.
What is the weather like in the Ngorongoro Crater?
The Ngorongoro Crater has two distinct climates. The Crater rim, which is about 2300 m above sea level has an average daytime temperature of about 16° C from October to April. The temperature drops to 13/14° C during May to September. Nights are cool with temperatures as low as 10° C.
The Ngorongoro Crater floor is 1700 m above sea level and as normally about 3 to 4 °C warmer than the rim.
Other areas of the Ngorongoro National Park are even higher in altitude and can reach up to 3000m above sea level. These areas are colder and wetter and are often covered cloud and are heavily forested.
Is it best to stay on the Crater Rim than on the south, eastern slopes?
The question is a matter of choice. Although there is little more spectacular than enjoying your lodge with the Ngorongoro Crater as a back drop, the hotel/lodges tend to be large and less personal. The lodges on the slopes are smaller, more intimate and offer varied styles and experiences.
About the Ngorongoro Crater
Mount Ngorongoro was once one of the highest peaks in Africa. The Ngorongoro Crater is a UNESCO World Heritage site and is sometimes called the 8th Natural wonder of the world. The Ngorongoro Crater is a deep, volcanic crater, the largest unflooded and unbroken caldera in the world. It forms a spectacular bowl of about 265 km², with sides up to 600 metres deep. It is home to approximately 30,000 animals at any given time. The Crater rim is over 2,200 above sea level and experiences its own climate. Swathes of cloud hang around the rocky rim most days of the year and it’s one of the few places in Tanzania where it can get chilly at night.
The crater floor consists of a number of different habitats that include grassland, swamps, forests and Lake Makat (Maasai for ‘salt’). The source of this soda lake filled is the Munge River. All these various environments attract wildlife to drink, wallow, graze, hide or climb. Grazers and predators tend to remain in the crater throughout the year, even though they are free to move in and out of this contained environment. The rich volcanic soil, lush forests and spring source lakes on the crater floor (combined with fairly steep crater sides) are the reason they prefer to remain.
The south-eastern slopes of the Ngorongoro Crater are heavily wooded and home to some of the best properties in the area. Coffee plantations and other agricultural activities can be seen with some lodges making use of the produce they grow on site on these fertile slopes. Only a short distance from the gate, the slopes offer easy entry to the crater but have in addition interesting walks, both guided and unguided.