The Ngorongoro Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna, savanna woodlands and forests. Established in 1959 as a multiple land use area, with wildlife coexisting with semi-nomadic Maasai pastoralists practicing traditional livestock grazing, it includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest caldera. The property has global importance for biodiversity conservation due to the presence of globally threatened species, the density of wildlife inhabiting the area, and the annual migration of wildebeest, zebra, gazelles and other animals into the northern plains. In 1979, listed in UNESCO Heritage list.
Located 180 km (110 mi) west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania.
About Ngorongoro Conservation Area
1. The area is named after Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area. The area has been subject to extensive archaeological research for over 80 years and has yielded a long sequence of evidence of human evolution and human-environment dynamics, collectively extending over a span of almost four million years to the early modern era. This evidence includes fossilized footprints at Laetoli, associated with the development of human bipedalism.
2. The stunning landscape of Ngorongoro Crater combined with its spectacular concentration of wildlife is one of the greatest natural wonders of the planet. Spectacular wildebeest numbers (well over 1 million animals) pass through the property as part of the annual migration of wildebeest across the Serengeti ecosystem and calve in the short grass plains which straddle the Ngorongoro Conservation Area/Serengeti National Park boundary. This constitutes a truly superb natural phenomenon.
3. Ngorongoro crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world. The crater, together with the Olmoti and Empakaai craters are part of the eastern Rift Valley, whose volcanism dates back to the late Mesozoic / early Tertiary periods and is famous for its geology. The property includes Laetoli and Olduvai Gorge, which contain an important palaeontological record related to human evolution.
4. The variations in climate, landforms and altitude have resulted in several overlapping ecosystems and distinct habitats, with short grass plains, highland catchment forests, savanna woodlands, montane long grass plains and high open moorlands. The property is part of the Serengeti ecosystem, one of the last intact ecosystems in the world which harbours large and spectacular animal migrations.
5. Ngorongoro Conservation Area is home to a population of some 25,000 large animals, mostly ungulates, alongside the highest density of mammalian predators in Africa including the densest known population of lion. The property harbours a range of endangered species, such as the Black Rhino, Wild hunting dog and Golden Cat and 500 species of birds.
Best Time to Visit
If you are planning a Travel to Tanzania then best time to visit Ngorongoro Conservation Area is dry season, May to October. The dry season holds its own beauty. In Africa the dry season is the best time for game viewing because the animals are concentrated along permanent water sources. Within the Crater game viewing is excellent during this time. However, keep in mind that the Short Grass Plains become completely devoid of game during this season. This is the best time of the year to visit Empakaai and Ndutu, which has resident game that remains around the lake all year round. Late February, early March is usually a good time to see the migration on the plains. In turn, this attracts large number of predators and results in spectacular interactions between predators and prey.