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Ngorongoro Crater & the Rift Valley

Why visit the Ngorongoro Crater & the Rift Valley?

This famous ancient volcanic crater is one of the unmissable natural wonders of northern Tanzania, and a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The reasons you should visit are:

  • Unique and beautiful scenery of high forested crater walls encircling a 16 km diameter sunken world of grasslands, acacia forest, freshwater and soda lakes.
  • Ngorongoro offers excellent wildlife viewing all year round with prolific and diverse species including the ‘big five’, from cheetahs to black rhinos, lions to hippos, elephants, hyenas, zebras and many other plains game as well as good bird life. About the only species you won't find here are giraffe and impala.
  • The wildlife here is so used to safari traffic that you often get very close. It's not uncommon for lions and other creatures to use vehicles as shade, so you might find yourself closer than you expected to the wildlife.
  • The Rift Valley highlands around the Crater are Maasai lands. Excellent for hiking, volcanic scenery and traditional cultures.
  • The Lake Natron area, including Ol Dony Lengai (the Maasai Mountain of God) is a fascinating part of Tanzania’s Rift Valley.

When to go on safari to the Ngorongoro Crater

This is a year round destination and wildlife viewing is almost always good. It is nearly always very busy here (occasionally annoyingly so), but it's worth putting up with the traffic for at least one, maybe two visits. April and May are generally quite rainy, but much quieter and cheaper because of that.

Ngorongoro Crater Safari: How to do it?

It's only about 4 hours drive from Arusha, though you can fly to nearby Manyara and drive roughly 1 hour from there. You pass the Crater on the way to/from the Serengeti so don't miss it if you're heading for the Serengeti. Due to the number of visitors, most people take just one safari in the Crater (up to 6 hours is allowed per permit), but you might want to do two drives - an early morning one day, and an afternoon another day.

Accommodation at the Ngorongoro Crater

choose from the few lodges on or near rim of crater (the large sopa serena, and luxurious ngorongoro lodge have best views) stay outer slopes highlands in karatu village where there is more choice including some gorgeous smaller places with character good service (such as plantation gibbs farm)

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Ngorongoro Crater & the Rift Valley accommodation

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facts and information

Time: GMT +3 hours

Flight time:

Flights from UK to Tanzania take about 9 hours direct or 10-11 with a brief stopover en route if from Europe.

Language: Kiswahili and English are Tanzania's official languages. Although most people in the cities speak some English, a few phrases of Kiswahili are useful in more rural areas.

Visas:

Most nationalities require a Tanzania visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

Health:

Most nationalities require a Tanzania visa, obtainable from the High Commission in London (or on arrival into International Airport.

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Otley, Suffolk, IP6 9JW.
Office hours: Monday - Friday: 9am to 5.30pm
Telephone: 01473 890499

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