April 28, 2014
Article by Global Pre-Meds
Hospital doctor shadowing & global health experience programs.
The Ngorongoro Crater is one of the many popular tourist destinations in Tanzania and has been considered by many as one of the top destinations in the world for safaris and wildlife tours. This volcanic crater has created a lush, rich grazing highland that is home to some of the most exotic species of wildlife in Africa. The large grazing grounds are surrounded by crater walls which extend up to 600 meters. This ensures that the crater forms its own little world for all kinds of animals all throughout the year.
Located in the Northern part of Tanzania, Ngorongoro is a must-visit destination to get a complete feel for the natural beauty of Africa.
Like many other popular tourist attractions in Africa, Ngorongoro is a great place to see the ‘Big Five’- Rhinos, Elephants, Lions, Cape Buffaloes and Leopards. With a large population of the Black Rhino and the Tusker Elephant that roam the crater, these often become the highlight of most people’s trips. But there is also an abundance of cheetahs, leopards, wild cats, buffaloes, zebras, hyenas and jackals amongst others. And for those who are bird enthusiasts, there are over 400 species of birds that can be found in this crater alone!
The Ngorongoro Crater is open throughout the year. Since this crater is full of grasslands and greenery thanks to its volcanic nature, the animals are always out to graze and you will always get to spot plenty of wildlife no matter when you go. During the rainy season the lake that is in the centre of the crater gets full, attracting a large population of flamingos, which are an added bonus if you go during this season.
The Crater, like many other tourist attractions in the country, is basically a wildlife sighting destination. There are a number of fabulous safaris available. Besides that, there are also parts of the crater that are open to the public for picnics and walking. This could be the perfect way to round off your day at the Crater rather than just sitting in a safari jeep. If you enjoy trekking, there are treks conducted that give you a personal wildlife experience on foot. There are also trips that are conducted where you can visit the local tribes of the area, which could make for a fascinating experience as you get to experience their ways and their culture up close.
Instead of a rushed visit to this amazing destination, an overnight stay is highly recommended. Depending on your budget, there are different options available in the area. For those who want to stay as close to the crater as possible and live in style, the Ngorongoro Crater Lodge is located right on the rim of the crater and boasts of giving the best wildlife experience in the area. Of course, this also comes with a steep price of $3000 a night! Instead, the Serena and Sopa hotels are equally good and much more affordable options. They also offer a great view of the crater. If you don’t mind not having a view of the crater from your hotel room, you can move a little further into the nearby coffee plantations where there are a lot of guesthouses and affordable living options that are comfortable and have their own charming ambience.