Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania has to be one of the most beautiful safari destinations in the world.
It is a huge caldera of an extinct volcano, and is absolutely teeming with wildlife, including the largest concentration of lions in Africa.
I have been two times now to Ngorongoro, and as with wildlife, each time was unique in its own way.
A Safari In Ngorongoro Crater
Both times visiting was on the way back from a Serengeti safari, and you camp on the crater rim at night for great views and one magnificent sunrise.
Going to sleep with the sound off zebra eating grass right by the side of your tent is entrancing, and maybe the roar of a male lion very close by, sending shivers up your spine.
At dawn you pack away the camp and descend into the crater.
Inside the crater is a lake, often with some flamingos present that add a touch of colour to the place.
The rest of the land is mostly open grassland, some marsh that rhinos love to hide in, and a small bit of forest.
With so many lions, it doesn’t take long to spot a male resting, with some very brave zebra and wildebeast close behind.
A female vied for the males attention, but he was not in the mood, and continued to be lazy on the open ground.
With lions around there is normally some kind of kill nearby, or maybe the leftover scraps of meat for the jackals and hyena to fight over.
Jackals are brilliant little scavengers, being much smaller than the aggressive hyenas, they still bravely try to get past the hyenas.
Hyenas have the second strongest jaw bite of any land animal, crocodiles being the first, so you don’t mess with them lightly.
You can see many wildebeast and zebra moving around, big herds moving in single file across the landscape, continuously circling the crater.
Zebra lead the way with their greater eyesight, with the wildbeast taking up the rear. More lions are spotted resting in the shade of a tree.
A group of zebras spot them and there is a standoff, but the lions being cats, they are to lazy to move in the heat of the sun, and so the zebras move on.
A family of warthogs are seen, with the male being protective off his group, and a jackal is jumping into the deep grass catching rodents, elegantly pouncing deep into the undergrowth.
Further ahead some zebra and wildebeast are right beside the dusty road, allowing you too get within a few metres.
With the day spent, it was time to leave, encountering two lionesses on the way out, who seemed to be thinking about stalking some wildebeast ahead, but after observing for a while gave up.
Back on the crater rim, with the sun shining and no clouds, you can see the absolute beauty of Ngorongoro crater, one of the best wildlife safaris in Africa.
Continue reading about safaris in Africa in my very detailed guide on some of the best safaris you can do in East Africa.
And for backpacking Tanzania have a read of my recommended itinerary.
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