- GENERAL INFORMATION
- SPECIAL FEATURES
The Ngorongoro Crater is a natural amphitheatre created about 2 million years ago when the cone of a volcano collapsed into itself, leaving a 100 square mile (259km²) caldron-like cavity. This caldera, protected by a circular unbroken 2,000-foot high rim (610-metres), contains everything necessary for Africa’s wildlife to exist and thrive.
Area: Crater is 12 miles (19 km) across and covers 102 square miles (264 sq km)
The Ngorongoro crater has a tropical savannah climate with a distinct wet and a distinct dry period. Most rain falls from November till May. During the rest of the year precipitation figures are much lower. Because of the altitude at which the crater is situated it is much cooler here than in other parts of Tanzania.
Ngorongoro is home to lush green, rain-watered vegetation, as well as desert plants. The area has uncultivated lowland vegetation, arid and semi-arid plant communities, abundant short grass used for grazing, and highland forests.
Approximately 25,000 large animals, Large animals include the black rhinoceros ,the African buffalo or Cape buffalo, and the hippopotamus ,the wildebeest , Burchell’s zebra ,the common eland, and Grant’s and Thomson’s gazelles . Waterbuck occur mainly near Lerai Forest. Cheetah , African wild dog , and leopard are rarely seen.
is home to over 550 species of birds, many of them endemic. Ruppell’s Griffon Vulture and The Egyptian Vulture can be seen soaring on the thermals. Endemic birds include Fischer’s Lovebird, The Northern Anteater Chat and The Jackson’s Widowbird.
RED-HEADED ROCK AGAMAS RUWENZORI SIDE-STRIPED CHAMELEON possibly even the endemic HANANG HORNLESS CHAMELEON.
• The crater has the densest known population of lions, numbering 62.A side effect of the crater being a natural enclosure is that the lion population is significantly inbred. This is due to the very small amount of new bloodlines that enter the local gene pool, as very few migrating male lions enter the crater from the outside. Those who do enter the crater are often prevented from contributing to the gene pool by the crater’s male lions, who expel any outside competitors.
• Giraffe is not found in Ngorongoro Crater. It is present in the Conservation Area, but not in the crater because of the steep descent of the Caldera and also as they favour the umbrella acacia and wait-a-bit thorn trees found higher up around the Rim.
• Elephant herds are noticeably absent from the crater floor the Elephant cows and calves tend to prefer the forested highlands. They sometimes appear at the crater rim but only rarely venture down into the grasslands. Only mature bull elephants roam the crater floor carrying around some massive tusks.
• The Ngorongoro is the best place in Tanzania to see the big five. A healthy population of black rhino and some of the largest tusker elephants left in Africa today are the prize spots, but the Crater is home to strong populations of lion, leopard and hyena along with good herds of wildebeest, buffalo and zebra. Other game in the Ngorongoro includes Serval cat, cheetah, jackal, Grant’s and Thompson’s gazelle, flamingo and bat eared foxes along with approximately 400 species of birds including the Kenya rufous sparrow, Rufous chatterer, Hildebrandt’s spurfowl, Black kite, Black-winged lapwing , Lesser flamingo.