Safari to Ngorongoro Conservation Area
Safari to Ngorongoro Conservation Area: Ngorongoro conservation area is located in northern Tanzania and its one of the most visited destinations in Tanzania due to unique and abundant wildlife species. The conservation area was established in 1959 as a multiple-use area where traditional pastoralists live and rare their livestock together with the abundant wildlife. Ngorongoro conservation area was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979 due to its unique and natural beauty including landscapes with vast grass plains, dense mountain forests, Ngorongoro crater which is the largest volcanic caldera and abundant wildlife including the big five mammals which are elephants, buffaloes, rhinos, lions, leopards and other animals like wildebeests, zebras, different bird species like .
What to see on your safari in the Ngorongoro conservation area
Wildlife, Ngorongoro conservation area harbors abundant animals including the big five mammals (elephants, buffaloes, leopards, rhinos, lions) and other animals like wildebeests, gazelle, zebras, hippos, spotted hyenas, black backed jackals, waterbucks, hartebeests, bushbucks, bohor reedbucks, warthogs, elands, serval cats, primates like vervet monkeys, baboons among others.
Birds, the conservation area is one of the top birding destinations in Tanzania in that it harbors more than 550 birds species including migratory birds from Europe, endemic species, near endemic species, grassland birds and water birds such as lesser flamingos, kori bustard, ostriches, crowned cranes, augur buzzard, fan tailed widow bird, Kenya rufous sparrow, namaqua dove, hartelaubs traco , Hildebrandt’s starling, scarlet chested sunbird, white naped raven among others.
Ngorongoro crater, this in the world’s largest inactive volcanic caldera that is 600m deep and 260 square kilometers wide. The crater was formed when a volcano exploded and collapsed on itself about 2.5 million years ago and it’s known for harboring large populations of wildlife.
Ndutu area, Ndutu is an oasis that lies at the border of Ngorongoro conservation area and Serengeti national park. The area has two soda rich lakes with saline water that is Lake Ndutu and Lake Masek, the area around the lakes is surrounded by woodlands and short grass plains hence making it the best area to spot lions and animal migration.
Gol Mountains, the Gol Mountains are the oldest geological formations that lie in the northern part of Ngorongoro conservation area. They were formed a million years ago and surrounded by lush green vegetation which harbors large populations of animals and also home to the Maasai.
Activities to engage in Ngorongoro conservation area
Game drives, this is one of the popular activities in Ngorongoro conservation area where visitors explore the park in a 4WD safari vehicle with a professional driver guide who is well conversant with different game tracks. Game drives in the conservation area are best done very early in the morning because it’s the time when animals are more active grazing in the plains and big cats on the hunt. During the game drive visitors will therefore have an opportunity of spotting different animals such as elephants, buffaloes, zebras, wildebeests, lions, leopards, gazelle, warthogs, waterbucks among others. Visitors will also be able to view different birds, landscapes, beautiful sunrise among others.
Guided nature walks, this is an exciting and adventurous activity where visitors are allowed to walk in and around Ngorongoro conservation area on foot with the company of an armed park ranger to protect you from any danger. You can either go for the short walks where you will hike to Empakai or Olmoti crater or long walks where you will hike from Olmoti to Empakai, to the Great Rift Valley floor, hike to the northern highland forest reserve, around Nasera rock, Gol Mountains and Olkarien gorge. During the guided nature walk you will walk through the rocky outcrops, grasslands and mountain forests where you will have spectacular views of animals in their natural habitat, birds, beautiful views of the landscapes, sunrise/sunset, butterflies, listen to birds singing in the trees, enjoy the cool breeze, take great photos, have an encounter of the Maasai people with their cattle, have among others.
Bird watching, Ngorongoro conservation area is one of the best birding destinations in Tanzania in that it harbors over 550 bird species which include migratory species from Europe, endemic species which are only found in the Serengeti ecosystem, near endemic species which are also found in the neighboring countries, grassland species and water birds. Birding is best done carried out in the Ngorongoro highlands, crater, forests, grassland, Lakes Magadi and Ndutu where bird lovers will be able to spot different bird species such as pink colored flamingos, rufous tailed weaver, Livingstone’s turaco, Jacksons widow bird, white eyed slaty flycatcher, ostriches, kori bustard, crowned cranes, secretary birds, Kenya rufous sparrow, Hildebrandt’s spurfowl, black winged lapwing, black kite, lesser flamingos, augur buzzard, Egyptian vulture, Hildebrandt’s starling, namaqua dove, red and yellow barbet, scarlet chested sunbird, rosy throated long claw among others.
Camping, Ngorongoro conservation area is one of the best destinations for camping for example Ndutu special campsite which is located on the shores of Lake Ndutu. During camping visitors will be able to spend a night under the stars while listening to lions roaring, see some animals drinking water from the lake and others wondering around the camp.
Cultural tours, this is an exciting activity where tourists visit the neighboring villages around Ngorongoro conservation area and interact with the Maasai people. During the cultural tour you will be able to interact with the local people which gives you an opportunity to know more about their culture, tradition, way of living, dress code, visit their farmlands, schools, health centers, taste their traditional food, learn how to make craft items, listen to ancient stories, buy some craft souvenirs like jewelry, bags among others.
Where to stay during your safari in Ngorongoro conservation area
There are a number of accommodation facilities ranging from luxury, midrange, budget and campsites where visitors can stay during the safari in Ngorongoro conservation area. The lodges include Ngorongoro Serena safari lodge, Ngorongoro wildlife lodge, Andbeyond Ngorongoro Crater lodge, Lemala Ngorongoro tented camp, Ngorongoro wild camp, Ngorongoro tented camp, Ngorongoro Farmhouse, Ngorongoro Kuhama camp, Neptune Ngorongoro luxury lodge, Ngorongoro Rhino lodge, Pakulala luxury safari camp, Ngorongoro Tortilis camp, Angata Ngorongoro camp, Simba campsite among others. The lodges are strategically located which gives you great views of animal, offer great amenities like breakfast, laundry services, delicious meals, free wifi among others.
When to visit Ngorongoro conservation area
Ngorongoro conservation area can be visited all year round though the best time is in the dry season during the months of June to October because this is the period when there is little rainfall therefore vegetation will be sparse and animals will gather around the water bodies to drink water which helps you to have great views of wildlife and take clear photos.
The conservation area can also be visited in the wet season during the months of March to May and November because this is the best period for birding where bird lovers will have great views of migratory bird species.
How to get to Ngorongoro conservation area
Ngorongoro conservation area can be accessed by road transport means where visitors will drive from Arusha town to the park headquarters which takes about three hours drive. Due to the fact that the conservation area is located in the northern circuit visitors can also connect to the park headquarters from Serengeti national park.
The conservation area can also be accessed by air transport means where visitors can book scheduled or chartered flights from Arusha town which is the starting point of all safaris in Tanzania or Dar es salaam to an airstrip in the conservation area or fly to Serengeti airstrip and then drive to Ngorongoro park headquarters with great wildlife views on the way. Flights to the conservation area can be booked by your tour operator.
Visitors interested in going on a safari in Ngorongoro should contact tour consultants at Focus East Africa Tours for more information about the conservation area or safari bookings.