When to Go in Ngorongoro crater

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Ngorongoro Crater, one of East Africa’s most visited destinations, stretches 20km wide, featuring turquoise vistas and close-up views of unparalleled wildlife. It is the world’s largest volcanic caldera featuring over 25,000 large animals. Here you are likely to encounter lions, cheetahs, buffaloes, elephants, wildebeests, Thomson’s gazelles, zebras, redbooks, rhinos, waterbuck and colorful flamingos. This crater is also home to the Maasai tribe, whose cattle often share the land with these wild animals.

The crater can be visited any time of year, but April and May are the worst times to visit, as the land is wet and difficult to negotiate. During these months sometimes the floor of the crater is restricted to tourists. Also, visitors with their own car must have a 4WD during April and May (wet grounds). This time of year the weather gets chilly at the rim of the crater, so come prepared with a windbreaker.

Before booking your safari at Ngorongoro Crater, check out Howard Hillman’s advice on visiting this area. His safari guide will help you save time, money, and disappointment.

Getting to the Crater:

The best way to get to the crater is from Arusha, Tanzania. Hop on the large white Ngorongoro Crater bus that travels daily between Arusha and the NCAA headquarters (the gate to the crater). Bus leaves at 10am, and the price is negotiable. You can also arrange for a guide and a vehicle hire for US $100/$140 for full/half day. You may be able to find cheaper guide outside the parks, but make sure the guide is knowledgeable about the park and where to spot the animals.


Simba Campsite: Featuring basic facilities (toilets and cold showers), this campsite, located on the road from Lodoare Gate, has great views of the crater. You can camp here year round, although in the spring the ground is often muddy. Its only a short walk to the lodges, where you can buy food and drink.

Ngorongoro Wildlife Lodge: This lodge features basic but comfortable rooms with magnificent views of the southern rim of the crater. Full bathroom and phone service are available. You can purchase snacks at the hotel bar. Prices range from $100-$180/night.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge: Featuring top-end service and amenities, the Crater Lodge is decorated eclectically with a myriad of local and international artwork.  Rooms here begin at $300/night.

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge: Very popular with the wealthy travelers, the Serena Safari Lodge is located on the southwestern rim and features day hikes to Olmoti. Comfortable rooms, full bathrooms, bar, and restaurant available. Rooms start at $285.

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