The Ngorongoro crater is found in Tanzania in the crater highlands which are located west of Arusha. The crater is part of the large Ngorongoro conservation area which is a home to a large number of wildlife and a home to over 400 bird species. The Ngorongoro conservation area is found in the Northern circuit of the Tanzanian safari and can be visited while taking a safari to Serengeti, Tarangire and Lake Manyara National Park.
The Ngorongoro crater which was declared as one of the seven natural wonders of the world in 2013 is the largest crater in the world which is not filled with volcanic caldera, still intact and extremely inactive. Scientists believe that the crater was formed over 3 million years ago and was extremely high. When the volcano erupted, it collapsed within itself which led to the crater that we see today in Ngorongoro.
A safari to the crater can be done as a single trip however it becomes expensive and that is why it is advisable that you join the safari to the crater with other destinations so that you cut on the costs.
The crater safari cost
The accommodation type that you choose will determine the cost of your crater safari in Tanzania. There are no accommodation facilities within the crater itself but there are tented camps and lodges that are in close proximity to the crater. Some of these facilities have a clear view of the crater while others are scattered across the conservation area. Many of the lodges that are located in Ngorongoro were constructed in a way that they provide a clear view of the crater and the whole conservation area.
Kitela lodge costs $210 per person
Ngorongoro crater lodge charges $1,115 per person
Sanctuary Ngorongoro crater camp charges $620 per person
Gibbs farm charges $350 per person.
The Tanzania safari cost is paid per night and it is exclusive of the tips and transport.
Activities carried out in the crater
There are several activities that are carried out in Ngorongoro and you will be spoiled with choice. You can go for game drives, guided walking safaris, birding, and village safaris with the Masai and many more other activities.
Ngorongoro crater is a home to a large number of animals that are seen loitering around the conservation area and around the crater. A drive around the Park will give you sights of elephants, the black rhino, lions, hippos, giraffes although they are rare, cheetahs, the black backed and golden jackal, spotted hyenas and leopards.
Wildlife viewing is good all throughout the year although the best time is during the dry season which is experienced in the months of June to October.
Birding in the crater
The crater is home to over 500 bird species some of which are indigenous whereas others are migratory birds. The best time to do birding here is during the green season which is experienced from November to April. This is because during this period, many migratory birds fly into the crater and leave when the dry season sets in.
Some of the bird species that you should look out for include the rosy throated longclaw, the white eyed slaty flycatcher, Speke’s weaver, Rufous tailed weaver (endemic), kori bustard, Hartlaub’s Turaco, Kenya Rufous sparrow, Namaqua dove, African spoonbill, black kite, the pink lesser flamingo, black kite, Egyptian culture and the greater flamingo just to mention but a few.
Drive to Olduvai gorge
The Olduvai Gorge is located at the far end of the Ngorongoro crater. Archaeologists found old fossils at the gorge and these are believed to be the remains of the first human known as Zinjanthropus. These were discovered by Dr Louis and Mary Leaky 50 years ago and a drive to the gorge will take you back in time as you get the feel of how the first humans lived.
Village walks to Masai villages
There are two Masai villages that you can visit while in Ngorongoro and these are the Boma and the Irkeepusi village. The Masai people have a very rich culture, for example, the dressing code, the facial decorations and how the local chief manages the tribes. All tourists are welcome to join in the day to day activities that are carried out by the Masai but you should note that the locals consider it uncouth if you take their photos without their consent.
When to visit the Crater
The crater is an all year round destination however you should note that it also experiences two seasons that are the dry season and the wet season. The dry season is experienced from May to October. For all those that would love to see the different animals that live within the crater this is the perfect time because during the dry season, the vegetation is scarce and so is the water which forces the animals to converge around the few remaining waterholes making it easy for you to spot them. November to April comes in with the rains and this is considered to be the low season due to the fact that the safari costs are reduced at this time. The green season is the best time for birding and calving of the young herds.
Places to visit: Lake Manyara, Serengeti, crater and Tarangire
Tanzania Crater Safari Cost : $7450 per person
Size of group: 6 people
Age : all age groups
Day 1: drive from Arusha to Lake Manyara to view the game. Lunch and dinner are provided before camping for the night.
Day 2: after breakfast, you will drive to Olduvai Gorge, proceed to Serengeti after lunch and spend the night in Serengeti.
Day 3: after breakfast, you will spend the whole day enjoying the game drive. Lunch and dinner will be provided before camping for the night.
Day 4: day 4 is also spent in Serengeti mainly following the wildebeest migration. After dinner, you spend a night in Serengeti.
Day 5: after Serengeti, you drive to the Ngorongoro crater where you will get to enjoy the beautiful scenery within the conservation area.
Day 6: drive from the crater to Tarangire before heading back to Arusha either at the airport or your hotel.