Ngorongoro Crater

The largest unbroken caldera in the world - and it's full of big wild animals


Unique is a thoroughly overused word, but it really does apply to the Ngorongoro Crater and here's why...

This is the largest unbroken caldera in the world - and it's full of big wild animals. The difficulty here is remembering that what you're looking at isn't artificial. And this becomes harder when you realise the only thing to rival the animal population in Ngorongoro is the tourist population...and for this you must be prepared.  On a bad day you'll can find yourself persued by minibuses full of camera-toting tourists each time you stop.  It's probably harsh to suggest that you should miss the Crater out altogether on account of the traffic jams, but our advice would be plan to leave wishing you'd stayed longer, rather than the other way round.

Tourists or no tourists the Crater itself is one of those sights you really have to see to believe; formed with the collapse of a massive volcano (quite possibly rivalling Kilimanjaro in height) it's been preserved as a perfect bowl some 18 km across. The ground area is just over 260 square kilometres and within this relatively small space most of the major east African habitats and mammal species are represented. What's more you have an incredibly good chance of seeing them here on your safari.

The Crater is over a third of a mile deep and the scale and perfection of the thing is staggering. Once on the Crater floor, most of the animals at Ngorongoro, whilst totally wild, are very used to vehicles. This means that they all but ignore them (which at times must be very hard to do) and as a result they can be approached fairly easily. This makes the Ngorongoro Crater an ideal stop on any safari and an excellent place to take children as intervals between animals are generally short and the game is often close enough that you won't need to look with binoculars.


Ngorongoro can be visited at any time of year and the game viewing is always as reliable as it is excellent. While the game viewing is consistently good, the climate of the crater varies considerably and this can have a big impact on temperatures and in particular light for photography.

The early dry season – June to August is very popular with tourists, but it’s  also known for high winds and the low stratus cloud that can cover the Crater for much of the morning making photography difficult. This is one of the reasons why it’s well worth visiting Ngorongoro during the green season between November and May. Far from being something to avoid, it worth recognizing that the rains bring life, great air clarity and a richness of light. Combined with low season prices this makes this time of year a no-brainer for the Ngorongoro Highlands in our view.


When it comes to accommodation the choice is bewildering from boutique camps and lodges to some more esoteric and wild choices.

Whether you have your heart set on a stylish seasonal camp or you'd like to get completely off-grid in this vast and wild park, we've got you covered. Check out some of our favourites below. 

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A luxury camp sitting on the edge of the crater

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2 / 3


Ngorongoro Crater Lodge

Extravagant boutique lodge in a truly dramatic location

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Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

One of the best located lodges allowing good access the crater floor

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Our experienced travellers include:

Rod Tether
Rod Tether
Vanessa Janion
Vanessa Janion
Andrea Hulme
Andrea Hulme

It takes genuine local knowledge to craft trips that go beyond the ordinary.

All of us at Natural High have over 20 years’ experience in the countries we offer. We’ve lived there, worked there and arranged countless one-off journeys for clients. We live to travel – and love to share our tips on what’s really worth doing. For expert advice (and a traveller’s tale or two), speak to one of our team. They’ll be happy to let you in on their travel secrets, and help you plan a tailor-made trip that’s truly unforgettable.


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