8,292 km2 (3,202 sq ml)


Over 500,000 per year


Northern Tanzania

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Crater is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. 

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Crater, a magnificent natural wonder, stands as the crowning jewel of Ngorongoro. This deep, volcanic caldera is unparalleled in its grandeur, boasting a diameter of approximately 20 kilometers, a depth of 600 meters, and covering an area of 300 square kilometers.

Renowned as one of Africa’s most iconic destinations, the Ngorongoro Crater is celebrated for its remarkable wildlife density. Often hailed as the “eighth wonder of the world,” this spectacular crater attracts a growing number of visitors each year. While encountering other vehicles is likely, the captivating wildlife sightings and the awe-inspiring surroundings make it an unforgettable experience. Ngorongoro offers a distinct and unparalleled African encounter.

As the largest intact volcanic caldera on Earth, the Ngorongoro Crater captivates with its breathtaking bowl-like formation spanning approximately 265 square kilometers and featuring towering walls plunging 600 meters deep. Within this remarkable expanse, approximately 30,000 animals can be found at any given time. Perched at an altitude exceeding 2,200 meters, the crater rim experiences its own unique climate. From this lofty vantage point, one can witness the tiny silhouettes of animals navigating the crater floor below. Clouds often envelop the rocky rim, lending an ethereal ambiance, and the nights can be refreshingly cool – a rarity in Tanzania.

The crater floor comprises diverse habitats, including grasslands, swamps, forests, and Lake Makat, a central soda lake fed by the Munge River. These varied environments attract wildlife, providing watering holes, grazing areas, hiding spots, and climbing opportunities. Although animals can freely move in and out of the crater, the rich volcanic soil, lush forests, and abundant spring-fed lakes encourage grazers and predators to remain throughout the year, ensuring a constant presence of wildlife.

In addition to its natural splendor, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area also serves as a sanctuary for the Maasai people, who were relocated from the Serengeti Plains. Traditionally nomadic, the Maasai construct temporary villages known as bomas. Some of these villages have been opened to tourists, offering a glimpse into their way of life. Visitors can observe the ordered arrangement of huts, built according to the chronological order of the wives. Experience firsthand the warmth and energy derived from fires burning at the heart of cattle dung dwellings, without chimneys. These proud cattle herders, with a history steeped in warrior traditions, continue to bring their livestock into the crater for grazing and watering, despite the presence of nearby predators.

Ngorongoro Crater: Wildlife Highlights

  • The NCA covers an area of 8,292 square kilometers (3,200 square miles).
  • The Ngorongoro Crater is 260 kilometers (160 miles) in diameter and has a floor that is 1,200 meters (3,900 feet) below the rim.
  • The NCA is home to over 250,000 large mammals, including lions, elephants, giraffes, zebras, and wildebeest.
  • The NCA is also home to over 500 bird species.
  • The NCA is a UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its unique combination of wildlife, geology, and cultural significance.

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