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The Ngorongoro Crater - Tanzania

The Ngorongoro Crater is often called ‘Africa’s Eden’ and the ‘8th Natural Wonder of the World,’ a visit to the crater is a main draw card for tourists coming to Tanzania and a definite world-class attraction. Within the crater rim, large herds of zebra and wildebeest graze nearby while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist. Just outside the crater’s ridge, tall Masai herd their cattle and goats over green pastures through the highland slopes, living alongside the wildlife as they have for centuries.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes its eponymous famous crater, Olduvai Gorge, and huge expanses of highland plains, scrub bush, and forests that cover approximately 8300 square Kilometers. A protected area, only indigenous tribes such as the Masai are allowed to live within its borders. Lake Ndutu and Masek, both alkaline soda lakes are home to rich game populations, as well as a series of peaks and volcanoes and make the Conservation Area a unique and beautiful landscape. Of course, the crater itself, actually a type of collapsed volcano called a caldera, is the main attraction. Accommodation is located on its ridges and after a beautiful descent down the crater rim, passing lush rain forest and thick vegetation, the flora opens to grassy plains throughout the crater floor. The game viewing is truly incredible, and the topography and views of the surrounding Crater Highlands out of this world.

This truly magical place is home to Olduvai Gorge, where the Leakey's discovered the hominoid remains of a 1.8 million year old skeleton of Australopithecus boisei, one of the distinct links of the human evolutionary chain. In a small canyon just north of the crater, the Leakey's and their team of international archaeologists unearthed the ruins of at least three distinct hominoid species, and also came upon a complete series of hominoid footprints estimated to be over 3.7 million years old. Evacuated fossils show that the area is one of the oldest sites of hominoid habitation in the world.

The Ngorongoro Crater and the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are without a doubt some of the most beautiful parts of Tanzania, steeped in history and teeming with wildlife. Besides vehicle safaris to Ngorongoro Crater, Olduvai Gorge, and surrounding attractions, hiking treks through the Ngorongoro Conservation Area are becoming increasingly popular options. Either way you choose to visit, the Crater Highlands are an unforgettable part of the Tanzanian experience.

Rising up from the floors of the Rift Valley, the Crater Highlands form a lush chain of mountains and volcanoes that includes the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the surrounding Masai tribal lands.

What to do: Visit neighbouring Serengeti National Park, Olduvai Gorge, Ol Doinyo Lengai volcano and Lake Natron's flamingos.
When to go: One will see game any time of the year. If you are visiting the Short Grass Plains or Ndutu, then Jan-Mar is the best time to see the migration; however, Ndutu is rewarding in the dry season as well. If you plan to visit Empakaai Crater, the dry season is better, since the roads become treacherous during the rains.
Note: The route and timing of the wildebeest migration is unpredictable. Allow at least three days to be assured of seeing them on your visit - longer if you want to see the main predators as well. 

 
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