The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is located in the Crater Highlands region of Tanzania, bordering the southeast Serengeti National Park, approx a 25 minute flight from Arusha and then an hour's drive from Manyara airstrip.
The main feature of this popular UNESCO World Heritage Site is the Ngorongoro Crater – a large caldera with sides 600m high, formed by the collapse of a volcano over two million years ago. Its grasslands, forests, swamps and soda lake are home to around 30,000 animals; the densest concentration of wildlife in Africa.
The rich and fertile landscape provides habitat for black rhino, hippo, Thomson’s gazelle, flamingo, wildebeest, buffalo, elephant, zebra, cheetah and a large lion population – but no giraffe, due to the lack of tall acacia trees and the steep crater walls. Towards the west side of the crater, the soda lake of Lake Magadi often sees flamingos line its shores.
Maasai tribesmen are permitted to graze their cattle in the crater during the day – look out for their traditional scarlet robes as they guide cattle down the steep crater walls.
There’s good game viewing year-round, as most animals do not leave the crater. The crater rim is at high altitude and can get cold and night and early morning, particularly between June and August.