Tantalizing Tanzania Part 2: Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater is a very unique landscape set and the world's largest unbroken caldera in the world, where the majority of the animal population is resident and doesn’t participate in any migratory pattern. It is known for its amazing abundance of wildlife and diversity, as well as, having several different ecosystems all contained into this collapsed volcano. It's a relatively compact conservation area at 264 km² with over 30,000 animals, so you are almost guaranteed some pretty incredible animal sightings. This is also likely the best place in Tanzania to get a chance to see the extremely rare and critically endangered black rhino. We were lucky enough to actually catch a glimpse of this practical dinosaur from a distance a few times, which is probably for the best, given they are notoriously known for having incredibly irritable personalities.
On the downside, it is also known to be a place that can get a little crowded with safari vehicles during high season as well. Ladies and gentlemen, I am here to tell you, book your travel to this amazing
place as soon as possible. With current pandemic conditions, the crowds during high season are virtually zilch. Yes, we did encounter other vehicles, but never more than a
handful at any, one sighting. Thus, the animals were more relaxed, and I highly believe, as did our guide, that it enabled us to not only see the famous big 5, but also smaller animals that are much rarer, and elusive, like the caracal cat below!
Other amazing and interesting sightings included lazy lions passed out in the middle of the roads while safari vehicles had to drive around them, one heck of a lucky male ostrich performing two back-to-back mating dances for his adoring lady birds, as well as an array of avian species from pelicans to flamingos to crested cranes to Bateleur eagles that would make any birding (and even this non-birding enthusiast) excited by the diversity. There are over 550 species of birds alone in this Unesco World designated site.
You can easily cover both sides of the Crater in two days, but I would recommend a 3 night’s stay, so you can really spend the two full days exploring and relax in your amazing surroundings. We made a worthwhile splurge to stay on the Crater Rim, so we could have easy access into the crater floor and stunning sunrise and sunset views overlooking it. We enjoyed five star dining every night, 24 hour butler service and gourmet picnics. On top of that, we loved our gorgeous private bungalow where came home after a long day in the Crater to a welcoming hot bubble bath with fresh rose petals every day. We’d highly recommend considering this, if you plan to go. Accommodations are few and in high demand at the crater rim, but we are happy to help you navigate your best options, as well as help you get best pricing. You can also see more in our video coverage about this beautiful lodge experience on our DreamscapeTraveler Facebook page.
A funny note about the Crater specifically. There is a common picnic site where all guides take their guests for lunch near a hippo pool. One very enterprising Tanzanian saw great opportunity to serve both the tourist and guide alike. This entrepreneurial individual foresaw the deep need of fresh coffee after very long morning game drives and sets up shop every day at lunch time around the park’s only picnic site.