CRATER’S GREATER FOR WILDLIFE
Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater and surrounding highlands form one of Africa’s most beautiful regions. Volcanic craters form backdrops to some of the most fertile and richest grazing grounds in Africa. Ngorongoro, the world’s largest intact volcanic caldera, is home to the highest density of big game in Africa. Ngorongoro forms the centerpiece of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a UNESCO World Heritage Site 180km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. Formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself two to three million years ago, the crater is 610m deep with a floor covering almost 260sq km, and is home to a huge diversity of animals. A healthy population of black rhino and some of the largest tusker elephants left in Africa today are prize sights, but the crater is also home to populations of lion, leopard and hyena, along with healthy herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other wildlife here includes serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, flamingo and bat-eared foxes, as well as about 400 species of bird. The wildlife stays in the crater all year so there is not a bad time to visit. However, given that the crater floor does get busy with vehicles, it can be more pleasant to visit during low season, when higher water levels in Lake Magadi (in the centre of the crater) also result in higher concentrations of flamingos. More information at sanctuaryretreats.com.