The game rich Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania

by Sandy Salle on October 31, 2017

If you’re visiting Tanzania on an African safari, you must include a day down inside the Ngorongoro Crater.

You may be staying a few days in the Ngorongoro Highlands or one of the properties on the Crater Rim, either way we encourage you to get up early so that you don’t have to wait in line for ages to actually get into the Crater.  We woke up at 5am, got a light breakfast and were first to the gate at 5.45am.  There’s a reward if your guide is Mohamad or Solo, they gave us fresh bananas and avocados!!  The gate to the Crater opens at 6am, and you get your pass and enter.  So being first in line is huge.

From the gate, it probably takes about half an hour to get down into the Ngorongoro Crater.  The road is windy and bumpy, but there are beautiful views and guessing who’s going to see the sunrise first is always a game you can play, or who’s going to see the first giraffe.

Once in the crater, hopefully you’re the first, you’ll have a good morning to enjoy this teeming wildlife oasis before the crowds and vehicles arrive.

The Crater does get busy, and I mean very busy.  So to enjoy it, take my advice and get up early.  We recommend staying two nights in the Ngorongoro area, and one day in the Crater getting to see as many animals as you can.

The Crater is one of the best places in Tanzania to see The Big Five – elephant, rhino, buffalo, leopard and lion.  We got to see 4 of the 5, missed the leopard.

The Crater is also home to a very healthy population of elephant, zebra and wildebeest too.  The bird life is absolutely special and you could spend hours gazing into the distance – the heat rises off the water and creates a certain kind of magic.

As we drove around during the morning, we had some special interactions with a pride of very lazy lions.  They were very sleepy, until one got up and started to jump across little puddles.  They sure don’t like water.

In the afternoon, I would suggest you ask your guide to take you to a local Maasai village where you can learn how to build your own fire, learn how the Maasai people live and see inside their homes.

We traveled with some friends who are dentists and we visited the school to hand out toothbrushes and toothpaste.

If you’re looking for an African Safari vacation that is totally customized to YOUR desires, please do give us a call at 1-800-940-9344 or email us at


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