Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania: where it is, when to go and what to see

Who I am
Joel Fulleda

Author and references

The view from the edge of the crater is so splendid that it leaves anyone amazed and as you enter the extinct volcano it becomes more and more amazing. Ngorongoro is the volcano belonging to the homonymous national reserve, one of the most famous in Tanzania and is compared to Noah's Ark due to the numerous presence of animals, such as lions, elephants, zebras, wildebeest, buffaloes, cheetahs and hyenas. Not only that, thanks to a habitat characterized by lakes, streams and swamps, it is very easy to spot flamingos, hippos and crocodiles.

During a trip to this country you cannot miss a safari in this protected area considered one of the most beautiful in Africa. Here's one guide on the Ngorongoro Conservation Area, Tanzania: where is it, when to go and what to see!


  1. Where it is
  2. When to go? Info on climate and best time
  3. What to bring: recommended clothing and equipment
  4. 10 things to see: animals and places of interest
  5. Excursions and guided tours in Ngorongoro Park
  6. How much does it cost to visit Ngorongoro Park? Prices, offers and advice
  7. User questions and comments

Where it is

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a natural area located in the caldera of the homonymous volcano located in the Serengeti plain, northwest of the capital Arusha and east of the Serengeti National Park. The crater at 2.200 meters above sea level is 16 km in diameter and occupies a total area of ​​265 sq km. The area also includes two other smaller craters, Olmoti and Empakaai, in addition to the archaeological site of the Olduvai gorges.

Coe to arrive

  • From the main European capitals: there are no direct flights to Arusha. From Amsterdam, KLM flies to Kilimanjaro and Dar Es Salam. From London, British Airwais calls at Dar Es Salam. From Paris, Ethiopian flies with a stopover in Addis Ababa (flight duration between 18 and 24 hours) - Compare flights

How to reach the Ngorongoro Conservation Area

Once you have landed in Arusha you can reach the area by covering 3 km of asphalted road B146 -A144 in about 104 h. Although it is possible to rent a car, in Tanzania it is strongly discouraged since it is not possible to drive inside the parks if you are not an authorized guide.

Therefore it is suggested to rent a car with driver at a cost of approximately $ 160,00 (€ 140,00) or purchase organized packages from local or international agencies.

When to go? Info on climate and best time

  • Weather: subtropical, however influenced by the altitude with mild temperatures during the day and cool at night, especially on the edge of the crater, when it can even reach 0 ° at night. Two seasons: a dry season from June to September with little rainfall and a wet or rainy season from October to May, divided into a period of short rains from October to December and a period of long rains from March to May
  • Best time: from June to September, the rains are rare and although the night temperatures are slightly lower (around 8 °) it is still the dry period. To spot the great migration of zebras and zebu the months of January and February, in the rainy season, is the most suitable time
  • Period to avoid: from October to May, especially April which is the wettest month of the year

What to bring: recommended clothing and equipment

  • Clothing: long pants, cotton t-shirts, heavy sweater, heavy rain jacket, comfortable trainers, hat, heavy pajamas
  • Equipment: for those who intend to camp tent, mattress, camp kitchen, heavy sleeping bag. Binoculars, utility knife, water bottle

10 things to see: animals and places of interest

  1. Waking up at dawn on the Ngorongoro crater: to see the sun rise and begin the descent that takes you inside the volcano in 30 minutes by jeep
  2. Go on a safari: inside the Ngorongoro to spot the flora and fauna present here. You will see lions, elephants, cheetahs, wildebeest, zebras, rhinos (although very rare)
  3. Stop near ponds and marshes: inside the crater, in addition to seeing flamingos and hippos, you can see numerous animals that go to drink
  4. Park birds: with the help of a telescope and an expert guide you can identify different types of birds
  5. Sleeping in a lodge: enjoying the sunset from the terrace of one of the spectacular lodges located on the Ngorngoro crater is an experience to live
  6. Olduvai gorge: an important archaeological site within a 40 km depression, where the first traces of human settlement have been found
  7. Empakaai Crater: in addition to the Ngorongoro crater, the area also includes the Empakaai crater, on the bottom of which there is a large lake ideal for birdwatching
  8. Ndutu region: is part of the northern section of the Ngorongoro conservation area; here in addition to a lake there are undulating grasslands dotted with alkaline lakes that attract flocks of flamingos and acacia woods
  9. Masai village: since the Masai tribes have the right to graze in the Ngorongoro area, we suggest you take an excursion accompanied by a guide to get to know these tribes
  10. Eyasi lake: wonderful lake located on the southernmost border of the area, offering beautiful views and the chance to spot local wildlife

Excursions and guided tours in Ngorongoro Park

How much does it cost to visit Ngorongoro Park? Prices, offers and advice

Visit the Ngorongoro Crater it's not very cheap; first of all, to enter the area you have to pay a fee of $ 78,00 (€ 71,00) per person per day. And to this you have to add the cost of the permit for the vehicle of $ 297,00 (€ 270,00).

As regards the overnight stays on the top of the crater, there are different solutions: from the cheapest camp with services and showers at a cost of $ 20,00 (€ 17,00), to the most expensive lodges with prices ranging from $ 120,00 to $ 300,00 (from € 110,00 to € 270,00) per night. Regarding the Easter, it is possible to organize independently with a field kitchen, and in this case it is advisable to go shopping in Arusha, or you can eat in the lodges at an average cost of $ 30,00 (€ 28,00)

  • Hotel and b & b starting from € 110,00 per room -
  • starting from € 820,00 -

Travel informed: useful information

  • Inhabitants: 44.928.923
  • Capital: Dodoma
  • Languages: Swahili, English
  • Local currency: Tanzanian shilling (€ 1,00 = 2.543,68 TZS); the US dollar is widely used (€ 1,00 = $ 1,10)
  • Weather: tropical, with two seasons, from dry June to September, and rainy from October to May.
    In the southwest, the rains are only from December to April, while in the central western area from October to December there is the season of small rains and from December to May of heavy rains - find out more
  • vaccinations: against yellow fever it is mandatory only for those who enter Tanzania by land from countries at risk or if they transit with stops of more than 12 hours in airports of countries at risk. We also recommend malaria prophylaxis during the rainy season, vaccine against hepatitis A and B, tetanus and anti-diphtheria
  • Entry requirements: passport with residual validity of 6 months. The visa can be obtained directly on arrival at the three international airports of Tanzania ($ 50,00, € 44,00) or it can also be requested at the Embassy of Tanzania in Rome or at the Consulate of Tanzania in Milan. The application form can be downloaded from the official website
  • Travel / health insurance: recommended.

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