Ngorongoro National Park
We drove 190 km from Arusha to Ngorongoro
Crater Conservation Area through the small
villages of Mto Wa Mbu and Karatu with wonderful
views of the high altitude rain forest surrounding
the Ngorongoro ring. We visited the Maasai village
on the rim of the crater where we were entertained
with traditional dance and educated on their
culture. Overnight we stayed at the Ngorongoro
Serena Lodge on the crater rim (2,400 metres).
Nights can get icy cold but one of life’s
great pleasures is to sit around the roaring
fire, drink in hand, re-living the day’s
This is quite possibly the most famous of
all Africa’s conservation areas, and
is worth visiting at least once in your lifetime.
It is one of Africa’s best places for
viewing game. As a world heritage site, it
is the largest intact volcanic caldera in
the world, and some scientists maintain that
before it erupted, it stood higher than Mount
Kilimanjaro, the highest point in Africa.
Covering a mere 260km², the 600 metre
deep crater is home to a permanent population
of more than 30,000 animals, and is one of
the only places in Africa where you stand
a very good chance of seeing the “big
five” (lion, leopard, buffalo, rhino
and elephant) in the course of a game drive.
There are around 100 lions in the crater,
and about 20 black rhino. The spectacular
Lerai Forest is one of the best places in
Africa to spot leopard. Lake Magadi is home
to thousands of flamingos.
Unique to the crater is that the local Masai
tribesmen who graze their cattle on the floor,
and it is not unusual to see Masai cattle
and buffalo grazing together, with a lion
kill just a few hundred metres away.
The 260km² crater forms but a small
part of the 8 300km² Ngorongoro Conservation
Area Visitors should visit Olduvai Gorge,
the “Cradle of Mankind” with
its fascinating archeological history and
also do a circuit heading north west to Olmoti
Crater, Empakaai Crater, and, with time and
a tough vehicle, to Ol Donyo Lengai, the
periodically active volcano that the Maasai
believe is the home of their god.