Ngorongoro Conservation Area


Area: 100 sq. miles on the Crater floor

The Ngorongoro Crater Conservation Area spans vast expanses of highland plains, savanna woodlands, and forests. It includes the spectacular Ngorongoro Crater, which is the world's largest caldera. From the viewing point hundreds of meters above Ngorongoro Crater, the panorama spreads out in a vast arena. The hills rise smoothly from the Crater floor through evergreen forest, and rain clouds cascade over the eastern rim. The stunning landscape of Ngorongoro Crater combined with its spectacular concentration of wildlife, is one of the greatest natural wonders of the planet. Spectacular numbers of wildebeest pass through the property each year. 

Zebra and wildebeest mix on the Crater floor along with some 50 lions, 400 spotted hyenas, Grant and Thompson gazelles, various types of jackal, greater and lesser flamingo and many other species. In all, Ngorongoro has some 25,000 animals, making this the most intensive game-viewing area on earth. Ngorongoro Crater is one of the most likely areas in Tanzania to spot the endangered Black Rhino.


Grassland, lakes, swamp, woodland, heath, dense montane forest.


A population of approximately 25,000 large animals lives in the crater. The crater has the densest population of lions. Wildebeest, zebra, gazelles, black rhinoceros, lion, hartebeest, spotted hyena, hippopotamus, buffalo, elephant, mountain reed buck, leopard, serval, ostrich, kori bustard, Kilimanjaro Swallowtail butterfly.


Olduvai Gorge is on the Serengeti's eastern plains and physically in Ngorongoro Conservation Area. The site is strangely eerie as befits its ancient status. Here in 1959, Mary Leakey uncovered the skull of Zinjathropus or the "Nutcracker Man".

The first European to have seen the Olduvai Gorge was a German butterfly collector, Professor Wilhelm Kattwinkle. In his notes in 1911, he described Olduvai as containing "the book of life" and he took back to Berlin a considerable number of fossils including the teeth of an extinct three-toed horse known as Hipparion.

Twenty-five miles to the southwest of Olduvai are the 3.6 million-year-old Laetoli footprints, the earliest our forebears are known to have left. Today the Maasai people live and herd their livestock in the area they call Oldupai after the endemic sisal that grows wild in the area. "Ol" means place and "dupai" means sisal.