Ngorongoro is a world heritage site of great beauty and home to the Ngorongoro Crater and Olduvai Gorge – an archeological site famed for its hominid fossils showing evidence of human evolution. The crater is the major draw to the region at 102 square miles and home to 25,000 larger animals, including the black-maned lion and the black rhino, 100 species of birds, and the Big 5. You can’t sleep in the crater itself so the crater is explored by doing day-trip game drives (6:00am-12:00pm or 12:00pm-6:00pm). We prefer the morning time slot.
The major downside to Ngorongoro is that, unlike almost every other region of Tanzania, it gets extremely crowded. Game drives in the crater can often feel like zoos as there are lines of vehicles waiting to enter and exit at the gates and there are masses of people wherever there are animal sightings. This is especially true between June and October. Game sightings are excellent in the crater and it’s very beautiful, but it’s best to visit in the off-season to avoid the crowds.
There are no properties inside the crater, but we like Ngorongoro Crater Lodge which is located on the rim. Otherwise we like Exploreans Ngorongoro Lodge, the Manor at Ngorongoro, and Gibb’s Farm which are a little farther from the crater. Given the challenges in entering the crater, we find that 1-2 nights in Ngorongoro is usually enough.
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