Ngorongoro Crater is one of the main attractions in the conservation area.
The crater was formed approximately 2.5 million years ago, when a volcano erupted into itself and collapsed, creating a massive (100 square miles or 260 square kilometers) playpen for animals to roam millennia later. There’s a particularly rare animal in this area that will be mentioned towards the end of the article!
Plus, all of this activity happened high above sea level: the crater floor itself has an altitude of about 1,800 meters (5,900 feet). Driving up to the crater’s beautiful campsite will be your first indication of the change in not only altitude, but temperature.
It isn’t Antarctic, but at night you may experience temperatures below 10ºC (50ºF). Just be prepared for chilly evenings and mornings!
Ngorongoro Campsite: Unforgettable Sunrise Views
Speaking of mornings, one of the highlights of this vertical expedition is the views. The expansive crater lends itself to spectacular views, and some of the best are from the campsite (while others can be experienced from the crater’s rim as you descend through the entrance and to the base of the crater).
However, your morning there will present you with one of the most beautiful sunrises you’ve ever seen. Prepare your cameras, phones, (and eyes, of course) for an unforgettably peaceful and gorgeous sunrise before your game drive.
Then there’s the campsite, which is incredible on its own: impressively wide and open, surrounded by nature and communal areas for cooking and eating; it’s a scene stripped from a book or movie. Not to mention, you’ll also be provided with an internet connection here, making for the perfect overnight stop. You’ll come for the views, but want to stay for so many other reasons.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area, an Animal Playpen
Once you do leave the campsite, you’ll drive down into the expansive crater. This drive is where the real exploration begins. The entire conservation area is home to approximately 30,000 animals. There’s an amazing variety and inter-mingling that’s difficult to find in the impossibly colossal plains of the Serengeti or the constrained and compact forests of Lake Manyara, for example.
So what can you expect to find on your drive? Many of the classic safari animals, for starters. Zebras, wildebeests, cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, warthogs, buffalos, and even a few lions and elephants. Then, the particularly rare animal that everyone hopes to see: The endangered black rhino – of which there are fewer than 30 within the entirety of the conservation area – is one mythical beauty you’ll be searching for as you drive down and through the crater.
All in all, the Ngorongoro a place of marvel and exploration – you’ll love the time you spend here!