There are bigger and wilder parks but if you want some of the easiest and most rewarding game viewing in East Africa, an Ngorongoro Crater safari won’t disappoint.
A can’t-miss destination on Tanzania’s star-studded Northern Safari Circuit, the Ngorongoro Crater offers a classic Big 5 safari experience in the unique setting of an ancient volcanic caldera. Home to some 30 000 animals, the crater’s surprisingly diverse habitats are revealed on an Ngorongoro safari on all-day guided game drives; the scenery is spectacular, predators are abundant and it’s not unusual to see the Big 5 in a single day.
There’s amazing accommodation perched right on the rim of the Ngorongoro Crater, offering some of the best views in Africa, if not the world. Staying at these prime-location lodges will put you first in the queue to drive down to the crater floor in the morning but for more affordable Ngorongoro safari accommodation in an equally tranquil and not much less scenic setting, head for the town of Karatu, set some 20km south from the crater in the green rolling hills of the Karatu Highlands.
Here you’ll find several excellent lodges, some set on working coffee plantations and offering a range of additional activities that aren’t so accessible to visitors staying on the rim of the crater. Activities range from game drives to nearby Lake Manyara and local bird watching to cultural visits and mountain biking.
A hassle-free, ideal destination for first-time safari visitors and families, the wide range of resident wildlife and the ease with which the animals can be observed makes an Ngorongoro Crater safari an obvious choice for wildlife photographers too. The romantic cliff-top lodges provide the perfect base for a Ngorongoro honeymoon, while visitors who want to maximize their Tanzania safari experience will find that the Ngorongoro Crater combines seamlessly with the Serengeti, Tarangire and Lake Manyara.