Best time to travel to Tanzania

Ngorongoro Crater in Tanzania

This unique World Herritage Site with stunning natural surroundings offers some of the best safari opportunities, archeologically important discoveries, and encounters with the Maasai tribe

Best time: October–June

Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater
Ngorongoro Crater

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is listed as a World Heritage Site hosting the largest inactive volcanic caldera in the world. It was formed from two to three million years ago, as the result of a volcano explosion. It is 610 metres deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometres. In February 2013 this crater was voted to be one of the Seven Natural Wonders of Africa.

In the center of the crater, there is Lake Magadi, waters of which provide a constant food supply for flamingoes you can meet here. Ngorongoro Crater is also one of the best places in Tanzania to see the big five. Black rhinos, tusker elephants, lions, leopards, and hyenas, together with herds of wildebeest, buffalo, and zebra, can all be found here. It is also a prime birding spot as here you can find some 400 various species.

Other wildlife like serval cats, cheetahs, jackals, Grant's and Thompson's gazelles, and bat-eared foxes can also be spotted in the area. Except for large game and bird watching, visitors can explore the conservation area in Olduvai Gorge, an important archaeological site. Here you may see some ancient skull and bone fragments of early mankind. The oldest known footprints of human ancestors, even before the usage of stone tools is also a must see.

This area is a great site to meet and interact with the Maasai people. Hiking and treking here may be one of the best experiences of your entire life. This is also the reason it can get really busy in the high season from June to October. Thus maybe the low season will be less crowded and more pleasant.

Practical info

When is the best time of year to visit Ngorongoro Crater?

For those planning to visit Ngorongoro Crater, the ideal time is between October and June. This is a dry period; all water sources tend to attract more animals during this period. Although the peak season is from June to October, it also coincides with the high tourist season. However, some areas of the road may be inaccessible during the wetter months of November, April, and May. Show more

Where is the Ngorongoro Crater located in Tanzania?

Ngorongoro Crater is in the north of Tanzania and about 180 km from Arusha. It is governed by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority and includes other tourist attractions such as Oldupai Gorge, Empaakai, and Olmoti Craters. Its location is between Lake Manyara National Park and the Serengeti, and is often referred to by many as the Garden of Eden due to its magnificent wildlife, forests, and stunning beauty. Show more

What kind of wildlife can be seen at Ngorongoro Crater besides the big five?

Various exotic mammals and birds can be seen apart from the big five; these include Thomson's gazelles, zebras, cheetahs, pink flamingos, waterbucks, Egyptian geese, spotted hyenas, and serval cats. Additionally, leopards, golden cats, and bat-eared foxes are known to reside in the Crater. Visitors can also witness vultures species and eagles, such as Verreaux's Eagles, Augur Buzzards, and Ruppell's Griffon vultures, to mention a few. Show more

How do visitors interact with the Maasai people while at the Crater?

When touring the Ngorongoro area, travellers take guided tours to the traditional Maasai boma (homestead), where they interact with the Maasai people. Visitors learn about Maasai traditions, way of life, local crafts, and experience classic Maasai performances with traditional dances and songs. The Maasai lead the guided tours and display an extensive knowledge about the area, allowing visitors to appreciate the local attractions better, accompanied by a rich history lesson. Show more

What archaeological discoveries can be found at Ngorongoro Crater besides the ancient footprints?

Olduvai Gorge, located at Ngorongoro Crater, is a historical and archaeological site that has been significant for more than eight decades. This more than 90 km long Gorge boasts skull and bone fragments of early mankind and mammals that existed more than 1.75 million years ago. Tourists interested in archaeology can also learn about early tool-making and human evolution via the interactive displays at the Olduvai Gorge Museum towards the ancient footprints exhibit, among other things. Show more

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Last updated: by Eleonora Provozin