This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Learn more

Skip to main content

Talk to an expert 1-800-242-2434 Lines open now

User menu
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro offers a rich game viewing...

...and some great scenery.

Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is a wonderful and unique accommodation option.

The lake is a good spot for watching the birdlife.

Safaris usually start early...

...you may come across some lions...

...as well as large herds of zebra...

...and beautiful spots to admire the landscape.

You also may encounter some hippos while having a break by the lake.

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater & Conservation Area

Like the Grand Canyon, nothing can quite prepare you for the moment you first stare into the Ngorongoro Crater.

Declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1978, the Ngorongoro Crater has easily earned its fabled reputation as one Africa's greatest natural wonders. The habitats on the crater floor are diverse, the wildlife varied and the concentration of animals is especially dense.

Short-grass plains thrive on the mineral-rich soil of the bowl’s floor, providing nutritious grazing for numerous herbivores. These large, mixed herds in turn attract an impressive density of predators.

The variety of flora and fauna is so impressive here that rewarding sightings can be had almost anywhere: from the flamingo-fringed waters of Magadi soda lake to the leopard-frequented yellow fever trees of Lerai Forest. The only surprising absentees from the crater floor are giraffe and impala, but that is more than compenstaed for by good populations of eastern black rhino, large elephant herds and improving numbers of cheetahs.

There is no accommodation inside the Ngorongoro Crater itself, but you can access the crater floor from the lodges and camps dotted around the crater rim and further to the south on the Rift Valley escarpment slopes. Some of the lodges and camps overlooking the crater floor have spectacular views, but it's also worth considering their proximity to the crater’s entry points. The lodges and camps scattered further afield all make comfortable bases, and many are uniquely designed and full of character.

The various walking options in the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and around nearby Olduvai Gorge offer further, strong lures for visiting this area. Hiking areas include the Empakaai and Olmoti craters, both of which have breathtaking panoramic views. One of the world’s most important prehistoric sites, Olduvai Gorge, offers fascinating insights into the early species of human-like hominim who once lived there.

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro Crater: in detail

Safaris visiting Ngorongoro Crater

Just ideas, we'll always tailor-make a trip for you


Map

Crowned Hornbill Guided Safari

6 days • 3 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Explore Tanzania’s renowned northern circuit with a private guide during this driven safari. Stay in three well-positioned and economical lodges that provide fast access to fantastic wildlife viewing and cultural visits to local communities.

Visiting Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti

US$3,960 - US$5,220 per person

Read more about the Crowned Hornbill Guided Safari

Map

Firefinch Drive-Fly Safari

9 days • 3 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Enjoy a combination of privately guided and shared game drives during this good-value exploration of Northern Tanzania. Explore game-dense regions from three comfortable bases where there are a variety of activities on offer.

Visiting Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and 1 other area

US$7,790 - US$10,280 per person

Read more about the Firefinch Drive-Fly Safari

Map

Flufftail Guided Safari

10 days • 3 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Stay in three uniquely special camps as you safari across the Ngorongoro Crater and iconic Serengeti Plains with your private guide and 4WD vehicle: a trip of comfort and autonomy, filled with excellent wildlife.

Visiting Serengeti, Ngorongoro Crater

US$11,190 - US$14,720 per person

Read more about the Flufftail Guided Safari

Map

Marabou Stork Fly-in Safari

13 days • 5 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

Four luxurious camps enable exploration of Tanzania’s north and southern regions. With a range of land and water-based activities available throughout, decidedly comfortable accommodation and applicable long-stay discounts, this adventurous safari is excellent value.

Visiting Tarangire, Serengeti and 3 other areas

US$13,390 - US$18,440 per person

Read more about the Marabou Stork Fly-in Safari

Map

Gorillas and Serengeti Safari

11 days • 4 locations • 2 country
KIGALI AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Combine three iconic experiences – Rwanda’s gorillas, and the Serengeti plains and awe-inspiring Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania.

Visiting Kigali, Ngorongoro Crater and 2 other areas

US$10,920 - US$11,860 per person

Read more about the Gorillas and Serengeti Safari

Map

Tinkerbird Fly-in Safari

8 days • 4 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Explore Tanzania’s famous northern circuit with safari in Tarangire National Park, the Ngorongoro Conservation Area and the Serengeti National Park. Four smart sister camps offer a high level of care, first-class guiding and wide range of activities.

Visiting Tarangire, Serengeti and 1 other area

US$8,630 - US$12,000 per person

Read more about the Tinkerbird Fly-in Safari

Map

Regal Sunbird Fly-in Safari

12 days • 5 locations • 2 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO DAR ES SALAAM AIRPORT

Experience the highlights of Tanzania with a safari in the country’s famous northern parks followed by historic Stone Town and the palm-fringed beaches of Zanzibar, staying in high-quality accommodation throughout.

Visiting Tarangire, Ngorongoro Crater and 3 other areas

US$7,780 - US$12,040 per person

Read more about the Regal Sunbird Fly-in Safari

Map

Fringe-eared Oryx Fly-in Safari

7 days • 3 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Stay in three superbly positioned camps during this exploration of Tanzania’s famous Northern circuit. Excellent views over the surrounding area, remoter locations and game-rich habitat make for an exciting and varied safari experience.

Visiting Serengeti, Tarangire and 1 other area

US$6,520 - US$10,870 per person

Read more about the Fringe-eared Oryx Fly-in Safari

Map

Avocet Fly-in Safari

7 days • 3 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

This luxurious safari explores three iconic African reserves from exclusive lodges in unbeatable locations. A very high standard of food, care and guiding ensure that you can focus on the amazing experience.

Visiting Lake Manyara, Ngorongoro Crater and 1 other area

US$7,740 - US$11,660 per person

Read more about the Avocet Fly-in Safari

Map

Lovebird Fly-in Safari

5 days • 2 locations • 1 country
KILIMANJARO AIRPORT TO KILIMANJARO AIRPORT

Visit two consistently impressive wildlife destinations during this excellent-value safari in northern Tanzania. Enjoy a range of walks and cultural visits from sister camps at the Ngorongoro Crater and in the heart of the Serengeti.

Visiting Ngorongoro Crater, Serengeti

US$3,190 - US$4,730 per person

Read more about the Lovebird Fly-in Safari

Inspire me

Need inspiration?

Let our trip chooser narrow down the options for you

Inspire me

Our travellers’ wildlife sightings in Ngorongoro Crater

This is their success for sightings in Ngorongoro Crater.
Click on a species for more detail. How we work this out.


Giraffe

100% success

Zebra

93% success

Lion

90% success

Hippo

90% success

Elephant

89% success

Wildebeest

89% success

Buffalo

86% success

Spotted Hyena

81% success

Black Rhino

73% success

Eland

55% success

Striped Hyena

22% success

Leopard

17% success

Wild dog

9% success

Aardvark

0% success

Pangolin

0% success

Map of Ngorongoro Crater

Choices for where to stay in Ngorongoro Crater


Reference map

Most recent reviews of our safaris to Ngorongoro Crater

Click below to browse all 242 reviews from Ngorongoro Crater.
All from our travellers; all are in full & unedited.


98%
242 reviews since August 2007
Excellent
228
Good
15
Average
1
Poor
0
Terrible
2
Mr A from Switzerland

Arrived 7 Feb 2020, 17 nights

"Amazing honeymoon in Africa"

"Excellent service and we highly recommend Maruska. …" Read Mr A’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Dr C from Newmarket

Arrived 29 Jan 2020, 8 nights

"My Jan 2020 trip"

"completely blown away by the magnificence of Tanzania …" Read Dr C’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

KS from Currie

Arrived 1 Nov 2019, 29 nights

"Super Safari!"

"Super Safari - we would have no hesitation in recommending Expert Africa …" Read KS’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Ms S. from Bainbridge Isla

Arrived 21 Oct 2019, 20 nights

"Oct/Nov 2019 trip"

"We had a wonderful trip with many momentous adventures …" Read Ms S.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Good

Mrs B. from Basel

Arrived 4 Oct 2019, 17 nights

"Trip of a lifetime"

"Thanks to Expert Africa for the expert knowledge! Trip of a lifetime …" Read Mrs B.’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Jonathan from bronte

Arrived 5 Oct 2019, 7 nights

"My Oct 2019 trip"

"An incredible experience with our 3 young children...Our driver was fantastic. …" Read Jonathan ’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr & Mrs S from Teddington

Arrived 3 Oct 2019, 14 nights

"My Oct 2019 trip"

"Everywhere the people were friendly and helpful; they really made the trip …" Read Mr & Mrs S’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Sisters from London

Arrived 7 Sep 2019, 13 nights

"My Sep 2019 trip"

"Excellent - It was great trip …" Read Sisters’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

The C family from Surrey

Arrived 23 Sep 2019, 11 nights

"So pleased we visited Northern Tanzania"

"Great, varied experience. …" Read The C family’s full holiday review

Overall rating: Excellent

Mr D. from Cambridge

Arrived 4 Sep 2019, 10 nights

"My Sep 2019 trip"

Overall rating: Good

See all Ngorongoro Crater reviews

When to go to Ngorongoro Crater

Our month by month guide: What it's like to visit Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania


Jan

Feb

Mar

Apr

May

Jun

Jul

Aug

Sep

Oct

Nov

Dec

Tanzania in January

January usually marks the start of the short dry season, although the exact timings of this are a little unpredictable. You can expect clear blue skies and sunshine, if the short rains have stopped, and the temperatures will be building. The short dry season is a little less pronounced in Southern Tanzania, and so it can still be wet in these areas. It is an interesting time for avians as resident birds go into breeding plumage and migrant species can be present. Once the New Year busy period has quietened down, January can offer great value and quieter parks, although the weather can be variable, and in the Selous and Ruaha the wildlife is more dispersed.

  • Variable weather: clear & dry or cloudy with some rain.
  • Occasional thunderstorms may occur.
  • A good time of year for birding as and many migrant species are around
  • The wildebeest migration is gathering in the southern Serengeti.
  • Busy in early January, quietening down through the month.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in January

Tanzania in February

February is during the short dry season and is one of the hottest months in Tanzania, with temperatures reaching around 33°Celsius. This can be a good time to visit, as some areas of the Northern Circuit are comparatively quieter than during the European summer months, and lodge rates are also a little lower. The wildebeest will typically be on the southern plains of the Serengeti for their calving season, which tends to occur in a 2-3 week window in early-mid February – although this does vary year on year. This is also a particularly rewarding time for birdlife, as northern hemisphere migrants join the resident species.

  • Hot and dry weather.
  • Wildebeest migration calving on Serengeti’s southern plains.
  • Ngorongoro Crater and southern Serengeti busy for the migration.
  • Selous and Ruaha are typically quiet at this time.
  • The parks are likely to be lush and green, leading to pretty landscape

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in February

Tanzania in March

The heavier ‘long rains’ start in earnest in March although exactly when varies year on year. With no need to stay close to permanent water sources, migratory wildlife disperses, and so game viewing starts to become more challenging. This is most prominently seen in Tarangire National Park. The wildebeest migration may still be calving, or have moved on into the central regions of the Serengeti. Many of the camps in the southern parks close mid March and mobile tented camps in the Serengeti will wind down towards the end of the month in order to move location or carry out refurbishments, ready for the new tourist season.

  • Hot with building humidity, before the rains begin at some point.
  • Wildlife viewing is variable depending on the start of the rains.
  • Parks are quiet and rates are low.
  • Not great for southern or western Tanzania.
  • March can be a good time for birding, with many migrant species.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in March

Tanzania in April

April is in the middle of the long rainy season and is the wettest month, with on average 250mm of rain. Temperatures are fairly high and humid in comparison to the rest of the year. Expect the bush to be lush and flowering, and alive with insects, birds and smaller animals. It is however also dense, allowing wildlife to hide, which in turn makes game viewing harder. This is a very quiet time in terms of visitor numbers. Many of the tented camps are closed in April, however the larger lodges remain open. The rates are significantly cheaper, and so if you are willing to work harder to spot the bigger game, some accommodation bargains can be had.

  • Heavy rain expected, with impressive thunderstorms and lightning.
  • Many camps closed and roads impassable due to ground conditions.
  • Rates are at their lowest all year round, with very few other tourists
  • Places that are open are green and vibrant, wildlife more dispersed.

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in April

Tanzania in May

As Tanzania is close to the equator there is no dramatic difference in climate throughout the year, but temperatures do start to drop a little in May. The rains are likely to still be present, although potentially clearing towards the end of the month. Visitor numbers and lodge rates are still low. The wildebeest migration is making its way through the western regions of the Serengeti, crossing the Grumeti River. Virtually all camps in southern Tanzania remain closed, and many of the roads and tracks in the Selous become impassable.

  • Heavy rains and storms are likely, this can create some dramatic skies
  • Blissfully quiet in northern Tanzania, and a good time to avoid crowds
  • The parks are likely to look lush and green, with long grass.
  • Wildlife is likely to be more dispersed, with fewer sightings.
  • The low prices make safaris much more affordable at this time.

Our view

This is not a great time to visit

Weather in May

Tanzania in June

The rains come to an end at some point during the month and migratory wildlife begins to be drawn back to perennial water sources as the land starts to dry up. It’s likely that the parks will still be quite green and the grass high though, so walking and fly-camping may be unlikely. This marks the start of the season with camps reopening, but prices are still more affordable than the subsequent months. The migration may still be in the Western Corridor, or on the move northwards towards the Mara River. Western Tanzania presents more challenging conditions for chimpanzee trekking in Mahale National Park, as the chimps are higher in the mountains.

  • Variable weather: clear & dry or cloudy with some rain.
  • A transitory time for the migration – moving from west to north.
  • The parks may still be quite green, and grasses high.
  • Wildlife may be dispersed still.
  • Relatively low visitor numbers and good value, shoulder season prices.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in June

Tanzania in July

July is considered to be the start of the peak season, with no rainfall expected and pleasant daytime temperatures. As the parks dry, the wildlife congregates in fewer areas, grass is eaten and trampled by the migration, and game viewing gets better and better. The wildebeest are typically arriving in the northern Serengeti, ready to begin their period of crossings of the Mara River. In the Selous and Ruaha wildlife sightings can be fantastic, with animals gathering around the lakes and rivers. Great conditions and school holidays mean the parks are at their busiest, with Ngorongoro and the Serengeti particularly crowded.

  • Dry and warm daytimes, chilly and windy in the mornings and evenings.
  • Great wildlife viewing, as water sources diminish.
  • The most popular time of year with very high visitor numbers.
  • Prices are at their highest due to the great conditions on the ground.
  • To avoid the crowds consider Tanzania’s southern parks.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in July

Tanzania in August

August is the middle of the long dry season, with clear skies and sunny weather. You can expect some cooler weather at night and first thing in the morning. Remember to pack layered clothing, so you can wrap up warm on your early morning game drives, but remain comfortable as it heats up throughout the day.
August is a very popular time to visit, so accommodation prices are at their highest and advanced booking is necessary. It can get noticeably busier in some of the northern parks – in particular the Ngorongoro Crater and northern Serengeti, as visitors flock to the area in hope of witnessing an exciting migration river crossing.

  • Dry and warm daytimes, chilly in the early mornings and evenings.
  • General wildlife viewing should be excellent.
  • An exciting time of year for the wildebeest migration.
  • Certain areas will be very busy and camps fill up fast.
  • Great wildlife sightings in the Selous and Ruaha, and fewer people.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in August

Tanzania in September

September can be an excellent time of year to visit Tanzania. As the parks continue to dry up the wildlife becomes increasingly reliant on the remaining water sources, leading to high densities of animals. Whilst early September can be busy, with fewer families traveling at this time the parks typically become quieter as the month goes on. You are still likely to see the wildebeest migration in the northern Serengeti, with river crossings occurring on a regular basis. Tanzania’s southern parks are also fantastic at this time of year, generally receiving far fewer visitors than the north, and wildlife sightings can be great. Prices remain high and the weather generally remains good.

  • Wildlife viewing in September can be fantastic.
  • Whilst still fairly busy, often the parks are typically a little quiet
  • The parks will start to become very dry, with little new vegetation
  • Cooler mornings and evenings, warming up during the day.
  • Prices remain high.

Our view

Fantastic: the very best time to visit

Weather in September

Tanzania in October

At the tail end of the dry season, the wildlife should be the easiest to spot, although photographers should be aware that it can be a bit dusty at this time of year, as there has been no rain for several months. Great general wildlife viewing throughout as animals are attracted to remaining sources of water. Elephant numbers are particularly high at this time in Tarangire, and Mahale and Katavi are especially rewarding with frequent wildlife sightings close to camp. There is a chance of rainfall towards the end of the month, if the short rains commence. While prices remain high, visitors numbers are significantly lower than in July-August.

  • Mostly dry and temperatures comfortably warm, with the chance of storm
  • Great game viewing although the landscape can be a bit barren.
  • Much lower visitor numbers than the earlier months.

Our view

A very good time to visit

Weather in October

Tanzania in November

In November you can expect the start of the short rains, although the start date varies every year. The rains are highly localised, and are much lighter and more unpredictable than the long rains that occur earlier in the year. These should not really interfere with your safari – as the game viewing at this time is still good - but you should pack a waterproof jacket and be prepared for some short rain showers! The majority of tented camps remain open, but some of the mobile camps in Northern Tanzania will close for the latter half on the month. Given the seasonality, camps are charging shoulder season rates so there are often some bargains to be had. Early November can offer great value for money and the weather conditions are likely to be comparable to late October.

  • Variable weather: clear & dry or cloudy with some rain.
  • Parks are comparatively quiet and prices at the lower end.
  • Some camps will close towards the end of the month for maintenance.
  • Good wildlife sightings, but animals will disperse when rain starts
  • The wildebeest migration is on the move and the location unpredictable

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in November

Tanzania in December

December is also during the short rainy period, but this does not stop Tanzania being a popular destination to spend the festive period. Be aware that many of the lodges book up early, and charge peak rates over this time. Advanced booking is essential over this period, especially if travelling in larger family groups.
Travelling in December outside of the festive period allows travellers to make use of excellent shoulder season rates. Temperatures are pleasant with the averages of 27Celsius, although there is the chance of intermittent thunderstorms.

  • Variable weather:clear & dry or cloudy with some rain and thunderstorm
  • Good general game viewing in parks with low seasonality - Serengeti.
  • Very quiet early in the month, becoming exceptionally busy.
  • Prices reflect this – great value rising to the highest they are.
  • The wildlife in southern Tanzania is more dispersed.

Our view

A good time to visit, with pros & cons

Weather in December

Tanzania fact file

Useful information and advice to help you prepare for a trip including Ngorongoro Crater.


Excursions in Ngorongoro Crater

Optional extra day-drips and excursions possible whilst your staying within Ngorongoro Crater. Talk to us: these are usually best arranged before you go.


Crater Rim Walk

Crater Rim Walk

Half day - two hour walk

For some fantastic views, and the chance to see flora and fauna up close, take a walk along the rim of the magnificent Ngorongoro Crater. Led by an experienced safari guide and accompanied by an armed ranger, you will be able to take in the scale and beauty of the landscape from a different perspective.

More about Crater Rim Walk
Empakaai Crater Hike

Empakaai Crater Hike

Half day, two - three hour walk

Spend a half day hiking through the Empakaai Crater, in the Highlands area of the Ngorongoro Conservation Area (NCA), led by an experienced guide and accompanied by a ranger.

More about Empakaai Crater Hike
Lake Manyara Safari

Lake Manyara Safari

Half-day or full-day

Set against the spectacular backdrop of the Rift Valley escarpment, Lake Manyara National Park makes a great safari destination. Here, along with elephant herds and plains game, you’ll find jungle-like forests that are home to blue monkeys, a soda lake tinged pink by flamingos and some of Tanzania’s best birding.

More about Lake Manyara Safari
90% (31 reviews)
Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway

Lake Manyara Treetop Walkway

Usually one hour

Experience the forest of Lake Manyara National Park from a whole new perspective – high up in the trees. The first suspended walkway in Tanzania, it stretches underneath the canopy for 370m between the mahogany and fig trees, giving intrepid visitors a unique view of the surrounding flora and fauna.

More about Manyara Treetop Walk
60% (1 reviews)
Maasai Village Visit

Maasai Village Visit

Two to three hours - afternoon activity

Gain an authentic insight into Maasai life, visiting one of the villages in the highland areas of the Ngorongoro Crater. Far from being a commercialised, contrived experience, this is a genuine opportunity to visit a real village, and to be welcomed by the villagers.

More about Maasai Village Visit
Mto Wa Mbu Village Walk

Mto Wa Mbu Village Walk

Two to three hours

Discover the intricacies of day-to-day life in the large Tanzanian village of Mto Wa Mbu with a knowledgeable local guide. This is not a village set up for tourists; Mto Wa Mbu is a real community and offers a chance to see a side of the country that many visitors pass by.

More about Village Walk
Olduvai Gorge visit

Olduvai Gorge visit

One - two hours

See for yourself the renowned archaeological site of Olduvai (or Oldupai) Gorge, which lies en route between the Ngorongoro Crater and the Serengeti National Park. Famed for the discoveries of early hominin remains as well as the Laetoli Footprints, the site offers beautiful views, an engaging museum and potentially the opportunity to visit an active dig.

More about Olduvai Gorge visit
95% (8 reviews)
Olmoti Crater walk

Olmoti Crater walk

Half day - two to three hour walk

Follow an ancient Maasai cattle trail on this private hike up the Olmoti Crater, led by an experienced guide and accompanied by an armed ranger. The crater may not compete in size with the neighbouring Ngorongoro Crater, but the birding is good, the mountain views wonderful, and the array of ferns is a botanist’s dream.

More about Olmoti Crater walk
Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

Safari in Ngorongoro Crater

Typically a full day

To drive into the Ngorongoro Crater is to immerse yourself in a renowned wildlife park. Prides of lion and clans of hyena patrol amongst herds of zebra, wildebeest and Thomson’s gazelle, whilst flocks of crowned cranes keep out the way of jackals. Come for elephants with big tusks, too. And then there are the rhino…

More about Ngorongoro Crater safari
95% (37 reviews)

Login to Expert Africa

Sign in with password

Sign in with email link


New to Expert Africa? Create an account

Forgotten your details?

It's free & quick to set up

  • Order a brochure
  • Save your wish-list
  • Send us an enquiry
  • Pay online for your trip
  • Subscribe to our newsletter
  • Give us feedback on your trip
  • Full site benefits of the site

Need some help? Talk to our team

Africa