Ngorongoro Crater, Tanzania: A Traveler’s Guide

Ngorongoro Crater is one of Tanzania’s most famous natural wonders, located in the northern part of the country. This unique geological formation is a massive volcanic caldera, or collapsed crater, that is home to a stunning array of wildlife and vegetation. Travelers to the area can expect to be awed by the incredible natural beauty of this region, as well as by the opportunity to experience some truly memorable outdoor activities. In this guide, we will explore two must-see places in Ngorongoro Crater, as well as two outdoor activities that are sure to delight and thrill travelers. Additionally, we will share one unusual tip that will help you make the most of your time in this stunning location.

Outdoor activities

Ngorongoro Crater has plenty of outdoor activities to offer. From hiking through lush forests to hot air balloon rides over the savannah, there's something for everyone. In this section, we'll highlight two of the best outdoor activities in the area.

Hot Air Balloon Safari

Hot Air Balloon Safari

For a truly unforgettable experience in Ngorongoro Crater, consider booking a hot air balloon safari. This thrilling activity offers a unique perspective on the crater’s stunning landscape, as you float high above the ground and take in the breathtaking views below. Many hot air balloon safari operators offer early-morning flights, which provide the best opportunity to see the wildlife that roams the crater floor.

Hiking in Empakaai Crater

If you’re looking for a more active way to experience the natural beauty of Ngorongoro Crater, consider taking a hike in Empakaai Crater. This massive volcanic caldera is located just east of Ngorongoro Crater, and it offers some truly stunning hiking trails that wind through forests, grasslands, and even a beautiful lake. Along the way, hikers can spot a wide variety of wildlife, including monkeys, antelopes, and flamingos.

Hiking in Empakaai Crater

Must See Places

Ngorongoro Crater is home to some of the most stunning landscapes and natural wonders in Tanzania. From towering waterfalls to volcanic sand dunes, there are countless places to explore and marvel at. In this section, we'll highlight two of the must-see places in the area.

The Crater Floor

The Crater Floor

One of the most iconic features of Ngorongoro Crater is its vast, flat crater floor. This area is a wonderland of grasslands, forests, and swamps, and it is home to a diverse range of wildlife, including elephants, lions, rhinos, and more. The best way to experience the crater floor is on a guided safari tour, which will allow you to explore the area in the company of an experienced guide who can help you spot and identify the many different species of animals that call this region home.

Olduvai Gorge

Another must-see destination in Ngorongoro Crater is Olduvai Gorge, a site of great historical significance. This gorge is one of the most important paleoanthropological sites in the world, and it has yielded many important discoveries related to human evolution. Visitors to Olduvai Gorge can explore the site’s museum and visitor center, which provide fascinating insights into the history and significance of this important location.

Olduvai Gorge

Unusual Tip

Here is an unusual tip that will help you make the most of your visit to Ngorongoro Crater. This insider information is sure to make your trip even more memorable and unique.

Maasai Village

Visit the Maasai Village

While many travelers to Ngorongoro Crater focus solely on the natural wonders of the area, a visit to a Maasai village can provide a fascinating glimpse into the culture and traditions of the local people. The Maasai are a semi-nomadic tribe that has lived in the area for hundreds of years, and they have a rich and colorful culture that is well worth exploring. Visitors to a Maasai village can expect to learn about the tribe’s history and customs, and may even have the opportunity to participate in traditional dances or rituals.

Hidden Wonders

These two unique destinations offer a different perspective of Ngorongoro Crater, and are not to be missed by curious travelers.

The Endoro Falls

Located in the nearby Endoro River Nature Trail, the Endoro Falls are a beautiful and secluded natural wonder that is well worth a visit. To reach the falls, visitors must take a short hike through a lush forest, which provides a lovely contrast to the open grasslands of Ngorongoro Crater. Once you reach the falls, you’ll be treated to a stunning view of the cascading water, as well as the opportunity to swim in the cool, clear pool at the base of the falls.

Endoro Falls
Shifting Sands

Shifting Sands

Located just outside of Ngorongoro Crater, the Shifting Sands are a fascinating geological formation that are well worth a visit. These large sand dunes, which are made up of volcanic ash and are constantly shifting in the wind, are a stark contrast to the surrounding landscape of grasslands and forests. Visitors can climb to the top of the dunes for a stunning view of the surrounding area, as well as to learn about the unique properties of these ever-shifting sands.

Shifting Sands

Accommodation Suggestions

From high-end lodges to budget-friendly campsites, there's no shortage of accommodation options in and around Ngorongoro Crater. In this section, we'll suggest four different accommodations to suit a variety of budgets and preferences.

High-end:

The Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is a luxurious and exclusive accommodation option located right on the edge of Ngorongoro Crater. This stunning lodge features a variety of suites, each with its own private deck and sweeping views of the surrounding landscape. The lodge also offers a variety of amenities, including a spa, a swimming pool, and a gourmet restaurant.

Mid-range:

For a more affordable mid-range option, consider the Karatu Simba Lodge. This charming lodge is located just a short distance from Ngorongoro Crater and offers a variety of comfortable and well-appointed rooms. Guests can enjoy a variety of amenities, including a swimming pool, a restaurant, and a bar.

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Budget:

For budget-conscious travelers, the Kudu Lodge offers a great value option. This cozy lodge features a variety of rooms, including traditional African-style rondavels, and is located just a short drive from Ngorongoro Crater. The lodge also offers a restaurant, a bar, and a swimming pool. 

Camping:

For adventurous travelers looking for a camping experience, the Simba Public Campsite is a great option. Located inside Ngorongoro Crater, this campsite offers basic facilities such as shared bathrooms and a kitchen, but allows guests to experience the stunning beauty of the crater in a more rustic and affordable way. 

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Ngorongoro Crater is a true natural wonder, and a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Tanzania. Whether you’re interested in wildlife, geology, or culture, there is something for everyone to enjoy in this stunning location.

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