DAY TRIP TO NGORONGORO CRATER
Driving Time: 3 hours 30 minutes
To have as much time as possible exploring the Crater, you will want to start with a very early breakfast at your accommodation. Your experienced guide will pick you as soon as breakfast is done, and you will start on the road to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the world-famous Ngorongoro Crater.
During the drive towards Ngorongoro, watch for Maasai herding cattle and goats, villages and markets you pass by, and daily life in rural Tanzania. Depending on the time of year, you may see peanut butter flowers, papyrus, lily pads, and other vegetation. You are also likely to see a variety of birdlife. After a few hours, you will pass by Mto wa Mbu, a vibrant village with a population of up to 120 different tribes. If you had more time, you might stop for a tour with the fascinating cultural guides, but on this day trip, simply soak up the sights and sounds as you drive through. You will also pass through the Karatu region with its very red earth and distinctive scenery.
Arriving at the entrance gate to the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, use the facilities if you need to and stretch your legs for a few moments. Just watch out for the baboons who are there to greet you – and steal your lunch if they can! Now prepare to be amazed as you enter the Ngorongoro conservation area and are greeted by stunning views down into the Crater. Stop for pictures at the viewing area, and then descend into the Crater itself.
Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA) is home to one of the continent’s most impressive safari experiences. This UNESCO World Heritage Site includes one of the seven Natural Wonders of Africa; the Ngorongoro Crater, which is an inactive volcanic caldera (a large crater formed by volcanic explosions) measuring 30,000 hectares. Inside the Crater, you see a wide variety of animals and distinct landscapes within a small area. There are grass plains, volcanic peaks, rainforest treed areas, and calm crater lakes.
Enjoy your game drive through the crater and watch for the plethora of wildlife all packed within this relatively small area. You will certainly see wildebeest, elephants, lions, Cape buffalo, Zebras, Warthogs, and many more. If you are lucky you may even spot the rare black Rhinoceros off in the distance.
Partake of your boxed lunch at a picnic site (possibly under the beautiful yellow fever trees), and then enjoy a second game drive in the afternoon. Learn from your experienced guide about the wildlife and birdlife, and observe them interacting in their natural habitat. Look up at the Crater walls and imagine what it must be like for the Maasai, whose traditional land this is, to walk their herds of cattle down into the crater and then back up before nightfall. Watch for more animals as you continue to explore until, far too soon, it will be time to start your drive back towards Arusha. Enjoy the afternoon game drive as you head up and out of the Crater, and start on your journey home.
Your driver will deposit you at your accommodation, where you can relax and replay your day’s adventures and sightings. Maybe this trip will simply whet your appetite for more!