Ngorongoro lies just 60 kms NW of Lake Manyara, 190 km W of Arusha and 145 km SE of The Serengeti. At the heart of this huge and diverse conservation area (8,288 sq km) lies the incomparable crater, once a young volcano that eventually collapsed leaving a perfect calder 18 kms across and 1 km deep – the largest in the world.
At the craters edge isa fantastic panorama. You enter by descending the thickly wooded rim, a mixture of Strangler Fig, Red Thorn Acacias and Rub Vines, attracting a variety of birdlife, on to the crater floor with its prominent soda lake, Magadi. The stage is set which includes Seneto Springs, Gorigor Swaps, Terai Forest and the Gol Mountains. This microcosm supports some 30,000 large mammals, including Plains Game, Lion, Leopard and Buffalo. Clambering in the trees are Olive Baboons, Blue Monkeys and Bushbabies. Olduvai is famed for its fossil finds – about 150 species of prehistoric mammals including the Leakey’s discovery of 400 fragments of a skull. Discovery here began by accident back in 1911. Olduvai gains its name from the Masai word for the wild sisal that is prolific here.
The Ngorongoro Crater stands 7,600 feet high at the rim with a floor some 2,000 feet below. This magnificent spectacle has long been regarded as the original Garden of Eden. Whilst the high ground around the rim lies under a thick canopy of lichen-draped tropical forest—often shrouded in the mist—the floor of Ngorongoro teems with all kinds of Africa’s best know wildlife.
At the heart of the crater’s ten mile wide grassland plain lies a soda lake that often attracts vast numbers of flamingo and other water birds. Visitors to Ngorongoro will seldom leave without seeing rhino, elephant, buffalo, lion, cheetah, zebra and many species of antelope and even an occasional leopard. The roads in and out of the crater are an adventure in themselves and require four-wheel drive vehicles. Lodges are on the crater rim only. This was once the home of the Masai tribe and they still take their herds of cattle into the crater at certain times.
The Ngorongoro Crater Trek
Once you are in need of this wonderful trekking trail in Tanzania, one must travel to Ngorongoro conservation area through Loduare Gate, up to heroes point and then turn right while scaling to Ngorongoro. The road will lead
you to a Sopa Lodge junction, drive straight up to North – East crater out let – Drive straight following Nainokanoka village where the ranger post is situated.