Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro conservation Area

ngorongoro
Ngorongoro Crater[Ngorongoro Conservation Area] is the world’s largest intact and unfilled
volcanic caldera, and is indeed the flagship tourism attraction of the Ngorongoro Conservation
Area.
Measuring an area of 260 square kilometers and extending about 20km in diameter, the crater is
actually a huge caldera of a volcano that collapsed to a depth of 610m about three million years
ago. Over the course of time, streams of water made their way down the crater to form little
ponds, and vegetation developed all over, attracting a wide range of wild animals. The crater
is host to over 25,000 animals including populations of large mammals such as

  • elephants,
  • buffaloes,
  • elands,
  • wildebeests,
  • zebras,
  • gazelles,
  • hippos, and
  • rhinos,

as well as such carnivores
as

  • lions,
  • hyenas,
  • jackals, and
  • cheetahs.

The ponds, or rather small lakes on the floor of the crater
also host a wide-range of water birds including flamingoes and pelicans. Away from the crater
floor, the forests on the crater rim is home to leopards, reedbuck, warthogs, and forest birds
to complete a natural zoo, and Africa’s ultimate destination to see the “Big Five” (lion, elephant,
rhino, leopard and buffalo).
Many animals stay in the crater for large proportion of their lives, but others move out and may
move back again.
There are nine craters in the Conservation Area, of which Ngorongoro Crater is the biggest and
most stunning. Before it collapsed, geologists estimate, its height was about 4,587m above sea
level.

zebra
The stunning landscape of Ngorongoro Crater combined with its spectacular concentration of
wildlife is one of the greatest natural wonders of the planet. The crater was voted one of the
Seven Natural Wonders of Africa in February 2013, by the organization Seven Natural Wonders,
based in the United States, which had conducted a campaign since 2008 to determine the most
phenomenal natural features of Africa.
Empakaai Crater
Empakaai Crater may not be as famous as Ngorongoro, but many travellers consider it to be
its match in beauty. Empakaai is about 8km in diameter, and holds a beautiful; round lake that
occupies nearly half its floor. The lake draws flamingos and other water birds and is surrounded
by steep-sided, forested cliffs at least 300m high. When flamingos are there, from the rim it
looks like pink beaches around the lake.
On the outside, the elevation of Empakaai on the western side is 3,200m above sea level and
on the eastern side, 2,590m above sea level. Because of this high altitude Empakaai is almost
always shrouded in mist, and the lake appears emerald or deep blue in colour.
Visitors to Empakaai can walk to the rim to catch the appealing scenery or hike down into the
crater. From the rim, visitors can view the volcanic cone of Oldonyo Lengai to the northeast, and
even the alkaline Lake Natron shimmering in the distance.
A trail descends from the rim to the floor of the crater through the mountain forest hosting birds
and monkeys.
The descent to the bottom of the crater takes between 30 and 50 minutes, and might take twice
that time to climb back up. Visitors hiking down Empakaai are required to be accompanied by
an armed ranger. There are special campsites on the rim of Empaka crater available in booking
in advance. Campers at Empakai should bring their own drinking water as well as camping
gears.
Olmoti Crater
Olmoti Crater is to the North of Ngorongoro Crater and south of Empakaai Crater. The floor
of Olmoti is shallow and grassy, and it is the source of the Munge River, which feeds the
Ngorongoro Crater.
Though not as famous as Ngorongoro and Empakaai, Olmoti Crater is worth visiting when
travelling North into the highlands. Trekkers can start a two-day walking safari from Olmoti to
Empakaai.
It is also possible to climb to the rim and descend down the floor of Olmoti. The highest point
at Olmoti is 3,080m and the crater is about 6.5km in diameter. There is a short trail that leads
to the Munge Waterfall. Beware of dangerous games along the way and visitor should be
accompanied by an armed ranger.


WILDLIFE IN NGORONGORO CRATER

rhino
There have been 115 species of mammal recorded in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The
two main areas for game-viewing, apart from the crater, are the short-grass plains west of the
Gol Mountains, northwest of Ngorongoro Crater, and the surroundings of Lake Ndutu close to
the border with Serengeti National Park.The two areas become the feeding and breeding ground
for over 2 million animals during the rainy reason as they support the great annual wildebeest
migration that spans the Serengeti ecosystem.

wildebeest migration

From around December to May (depending on
the rains), over one million wildebeests and thousands of zebras and gazelles move south to
calve in the short-grass plains around Ndutu that straddle the Conservation Area and Serengeti
National Park.
Elephants, elands, hartebeests, and the endangered rhinos are among the residents of the crater.
There are also resident zebras and wildebeests in the crater that do not take part in the annual
migration. Hippos are found in the permanent fresh water pools and the swamps in the crater.
Other non-migratory herbivorous mammals that are found in the Conservation Area include
buffalos, waterbucks, warthogs, and kudus and other species of antelope. Giraffes live in the
surroundings of Lake Ndutu, where acacia trees are abundant.
The carnivores found in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area include lions, cheetahs, hyenas,
leopards, jackals, serval cats, and the endangered wild hunting dogs.
There are over 550 recorded species of birds in the Conservation Area, of which some are
resident and others are migratory. Lake Magadi, a salt lake on the floor of the crater, is often
inhabited by thousands of lesser flamingos and other water birds. These birds can also be
observed around Lake Ndutu and in the Empakaai Crater Lake.
The forests of Ngorongoro are also abundant with birds, including species of turaco and
hornbill .Raptors such as the goshawk and harrier are common on the plains of the Conservation
Area.

Plan your Trip to Ngorongoro to experience a lot