The jewel in Ngorongoro’s crown is the volcanic crater. Spanning approximately 264 square kilometres with 600-metre-high walls, this spectacular bowl was created millions of years ago when a volcano exploded and collapsed in on itself. Today, it’s home to lush landscapes and around 30, 000 animals, including the highest known density of lions. Safaris offer the chance to see the Big Five (lions, elephants, leopards, rhino and buffalo), plus wildebeests, hippos, zebra, eland, gazelles and countless birds. Highlights include the hippos at Ngoitoktok Springs, flamingos at Lake Magadi and elephants at Lerei Forest. Another major draw are the endangered black rhinos, which tend to reside between Lerei Forest and the Lemala road.
Though the wildlife is free to roam wherever, the rich soil, verdant forests and water sources mean that both predators and prey tend to remain in Ngorongoro crater throughout the year. This means that no matter when you visit, you’re guaranteed to see a variety of animals - even though you’ll probably encounter other vehicles along the way.
If it’s views you’re after, you won’t be disappointed. A road snakes around most of the crater’s rim, and through the trees you’ll be able to glimpse some amazing vistas. Some of the best vantage points are at the top of the Seneto descent at the western end of the crater and at the top of the road from Lodoare gate - just make sure you don’t forget your camera!
In terms of cultural attractions, there are a few Maasai bomas dotted around the crater. Here, you can gain a fascinating insight into the traditional lifestyles of these humble people and see how they live in harmony with the wildlife. You’ll also have the chance to purchase some unique handicrafts to remember your trip.
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A visit to one of the Maasai communities is a cultural insight into Kenyan heritage like no other. Traditional bomas – made from mud, sticks, grass and cow dung – are configured into circular villages which are then enclosed by a fence fashioned from thorned Acacia branches to protect their cattle from any roaming lions.Discover more
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