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The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most unique and stunning locations in Africa, let alone the world. It is a must-see when visiting Tanzania’s northern safari circuit for the first time. There are a small number of lodges and camps located along the crater rim. Quaint and peaceful retreats are located a short drive from the crater, in the lush coffee estates that surround the small town of Karatu.

The crater is a two-million-year-old geological wonder formed by the implosion of a massive volcano. When this enormous mountain collapsed upon itself, it created a rich-soiled caldera that is now home to close to 25,000 mammals, including all of the Big Five. The anticipation builds as you drive up the forested edges of the crater to a viewing point where you have a chance to take in this geological wonder. Making your way into the crater takes you down the 1800-foot-high crater wall and drops you into an amazing microenvironment brimming with wildlife. This unfenced area allows wildlife to move in and out of the crater, although most animals remain due to the fantastic grazing. During the peak season, the crater can become congested with visitors. By looking past this, you can appreciate this surreal and extremely unique environment, self-contained within the massive crater walls.


The Ngorongoro Crater typically experiences two rainy seasons. The heavy rainy season lasts from March until May, and the short rainy season lasts from November to December. November’s rains occur at the end of a prolonged dry season and bring intermittent mild showers, clear skies, and relief to the parched terrain. The short dry season from January to February is marked by good weather with a slight chance of showers. This precedes the long rains from March to May. From June to September, the region moves into the dry winter season with cooler temperatures, especially at night.

HIGH (F°) 76° 76° 74° 72° 70° 68° 68° 70° 72° 74° 74° 74°
LOW (F°) 50° 50° 50° 52° 50° 46° 46° 46° 46° 48° 50° 50°
RAINFALL (mm) 108 89 136 213 100 22 12 15 11 55 114 137



Prides of lions, hyenas, and a small population of black rhinos reside in the crater. Large numbers of wildebeests, zebras, elands, and gazelles can be found grazing in the plains on the crater floor. Along the crater’s dense forest slopes live leopards, big-tusker elephants, and buffalo. Wildlife viewing tends to come easily in this naturally enclosed environment, where animal interactions and a scenic backdrop create an exciting experience.

  • Take a day trip to the Ngorongoro Crater! Before descending, stop along the rim to take in the incredible panoramic view of this geological wonder. Travel down the crater walls into a surreal wilderness to discover its wildlife and amazing landscape.

  • Enjoy a lakeside picnic at one of the hippo pools. Eat your lunch surrounded by the crater walls, and celebrate in the morning’s sightings.

  • Visit a local coffee farm and experience traditional coffee cultivation and roasting. Enjoy the aroma and taste of a cup of wonderful organic, fresh-roasted Tanzanian coffee!

  • Enjoy a spectacular view as the sun’s golden rays illuminate the valleys below when the African sunsets.