National Parks

Ngorongoro in Tanzania

The largest intact volcanic caldera & home to the highest density of lions in the world.

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Everything you need to know about Ngorongoro

The Ngorongoro region is definitely best-known for its eponymous crater, which is the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera. In fact, it is so well-known that it is often referred to as the 8th Wonder of the World. It is also one of the most popular safari destinations throughout Tanzania, and with good reason – the fertile volcanic soil and protected crater area has created an incredibly rich ecosystem where endemic fauna and flora thrive, making for an unbelievably varied biosphere.

Where is the region located?

The Ngorongoro District is one of the five districts of the Arusha Region in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. While it is not an official part of the Serengeti National Park, it falls within the same ecosystem. The largest ethnic grouping in this sparsely populated region are the Maasai people. The Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which includes a vast swath of short-grass plains on the southern side of the Serengeti Plain, the Ngorongoro Highlands, as well as a range of mostly extinct volcanoes towards the west of the Great Rift Valley, is protected under national law and has also been named a UNESCO World Heritage site.

What can you expect of the terrain?

Situated within 320 000 acres of wild and breath-taking landscape, Selinda is one of three concessions in this area that are privately owned. It also has the distinction of having a group of passionate conservationists at the helm. It is their mission to showcase the undisturbed and captivating beauty of Botswana. As such, what once was a prime hunting spot is now a stunning example of the varied and game-rich landscape that held sway in pre-industrial times.

About the region

What type of wildlife will we see?

If you’re on safari to experience African wildlife, this is the place to be. The sheer variety of flora alone is astonishing. Towards the south-west of the crater floor, you’ll find the Lerai Forest with its slew of yellow fever trees and fascinating soda lake, the east features the Gorigor Swamp (hippo territory), and the north is given over to wide open grasslands where the most sought-after game resides. The mineral-rich floor of the caldera is covered in nutritious grasses that draw vast herds of buffalo, zebra, gazelle, tsessebe and even black rhino. What follows is one of the densest populations of predators that you’ll find anywhere on the African continent. In fact, it has the highest density of lions (including black maned lions) in the entire world.

Top experiences to enjoy at Ngorongoro

The area is renowned for its exceptional wildlife, which means there are plenty of game drives on offer. If you want to get into the thick of things, a crater rim walk with a guide is a great way to get up close and personal with the region’s inimitable terroir. In season, the wildlife migrations make for some seriously awe-inspiring encounters, while excursions to the nearby Ndutu and Eyasi lakes add a further scenic element to any Tanzanian safari.

When to visit

The conservation area in and around the crater is a year-round destination, and wonderful to visit throughout high and low season, especially if your main aim is wildlife encounters. High season falls between December and March during calving season, and July to October during river crossing migration, which means rates are a little higher. Low season generally falls between November and mid-December (but this is actually a wonderful time to go, since there are fewer visitors and the weather is great); and April and May when there are heavy rains and quite a few properties are closed.

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