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Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Enjoy a full morning or afternoon exploring the Crater and viewing its impressive wildlife.

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area expands across rich, diverse wildland, hosting a vast array of wildlife and beautiful, natural tourist destinations. The area was established in 1959 after a major ecology survey was carried out about the Serengeti. Bordering the Serengeti to the north and west, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area contains a picturesque blend of landscapes, wildlife, people and archaeology. Within the conservation area lies the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, the Ngorongoro Highlands, the historical Olduvai Gorge and a stunning variety of wildlife and culture.

This region was declared an International Biosphere Reserve, and became a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1979. It is a region where pastoralism, conservation and tourism co-exist. The Ngorongoro Crater, centerpiece to the conservation area, is surrounded by lush highlands, volcanoes, waterfalls and mountain forests. This mixture of habitats makes it possible for the large number of wildlife to thrive and provide an ideal climate for the pastoralist Maasai people.

While the Ngorongoro Crater is the most visited in the region, other surrounding craters are also well worth the visit. The peaceful Olmoti Crater hosts the Munge Stream, which runs across the shallow floor, providing the main source of water for the larger Ngorongoro Crater. The spectacular Oldonyo Lengai Crater is a popular destination for walking safaris, given its rewarding vistas of the region and the bubbling caldera floor at the top of the mountain. Empakaai Crater is dominated by a large soda lake that supports a wide variety of exotic bird life.

The annual rains bring lush vegetation to the Ngorongoro Crater attracting wildlife and the migration herds.

The grasslands surrounding the craters are largely impacted by the herds of wildebeests and zebra that pass through on the Great Migration. Other wildlife in the region include leopard, elephant, mountain reedbuck, buffalo and the densest known population of lion. Black rhino and hippo are both extremely uncommon but can be found in this area.

The Olduvai Gorge is protected by this conservation area as well. It is a famous archaeological site that was originally excavated by Louis and Mary Leakey in the 1950s. It continues to be excavated by the Leakey family today and provides intriguing insight into the history of humans. Visit the Ngorongoro Conservation Area on many of our Tanzania safari adventures.