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Ngorongoro Crater Tour

The Ngorongoro Crater, at 2,286 m. above sea level, is the largest unbroken caldera in the world.

Surrounded by very steep walls rising 610 meters from the crater floor, this natural amphitheater

measures 19.2 km in diameter and 304 sq km in area. It is home to up to 30,000 animals, almost half

being wildebeest and zebra. Buffalo, elephant, hippo, hyena, jackal, lion, ostrich, serval, warthog, bushbuck, eland, hartebeest, reedbuck, waterbuck and huge herds of both Thomson’s and Grant’s gazelle are easily seen on the crater floor.

Thanks to anti-poaching patrols, the crater is now one of the few places in East Africa where visitors can be certain of seeing black rhino, with the number now approaching 25.

Leopard may occasionally be seen in the trees of the forest surrounding the crater while cheetah are also present but rarely seen.

Large herds of giraffe live on the rim of the crater and will be seen on the drive to Olduvai Gorge and the

Serengeti.

Countless flamingo form a pink blanket over the soda lakes while more than 100 species of birds not found in the Serengeti have been spotted.

The crater, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage site, lies within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, which covers more than 8,300 sq km. It is bounded by Lake Eysai in the southwest and the Gol Mountains in the north. Roughly in the centre is the Olbalal Swamp and the arid Olduvai Gorge.

Getting there: A three hour drive, or one hour flight, from Arusha. A two hour drive from Manyara or

Tarangire.

Located within the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, a short drive off the main road between Ngorongoro

and the Serengeti, the name Olduvai derives from Oldupai, which is the Masai word for the type of wild sisal that grows in the gorge.

It was here that, in 1959, Dr Louis Leakey and his wife Mary discovered the skull of first Zinjanthropus Boisei, or “nutcracker man”, and then, a year later, the remains of Homo Hablis or “handy man” regarded as mankind’s first step on the ladder of human evolution. But many more fossils have been discovered here including those of prehistoric elephants, giant horned sheep and enormous ostriches. There is a small museum and an observation platform, overlooking the gorge, where visitors can listen to an informative talk from the resident guide.

Getting there: A four hour drive, or one hour flight, from Arusha. A two hour drive from Lake Manyara

or Tarangire National Park.