Favorite thing: Having your group around a camp fire at night is fantastic. As it gets very chilly at night (you're over 2500 above sea level here) a fire is a great way to both warm up and bond with your fellow travellors. If you have things sorted out then you may even have a few snarlers (sausages) sizzling over the fire.
Favorite thing: The view from the top is breath taking with the soda lake in the distance and the floor of the crater stretching out for miles. The bottom of the crater is so far below that no animals can be seen (with my eyes!!) unless you have some powerful binoculars.?
Ngorongoro Crater is not in fact a crater, but a caldera. A volcano’s crater is the vent through which it erupted, whereas a caldera has a diameter many times greater, having been formed by the inward collapse of the volcano. So, Ngorongoro is the world's largest unflooded and unbroken volcanic caldera. It is 610 metres deep, 20 kilometres across and 260 square kilometres in area. It was formed when a giant volcano exploded and collapsed on itself between two and three million years ago. Before it collapsed, it was said to have been 4587m above sea level and 2,440m high.
The reason for Ngorongoro’s presence here, and that of several other volcanoes, is the nearby Great Rift Valley. Caused by movements of the earth’s tectonic plates, it created instability and fractures in the surrounding area through which molten lava could escape and form volcanoes. Only Oldoinyo Lengai (Maasai for the Mountain of God) is still occasionally active.
Both the caldera and the surrounding Conservation Area is a UNESCO World Heritage Site, listed for both its geological and ecological values in 1979. The crater floor benefits from a number of ecological environments that include grassland, swamps, forests and Lake Makat, a central soda lake filled by the Munge river. Although animals are free to move in and out of the crater environment, the rich volcanic soil, the grazing in the verdant forests and the reliable sources of water on the crater floor predispose both grazers and predators to remain throughout the year. This can lead to problems – see my Things to Do Tip for the impact that the resultant inbreeding has had on the lion population.
We took our Safari with Fun safaris and they were nothing short of brilliant.
Our 3 day safari in the Serenget and Ngorongoro Crater with transport from Arusha and back, all of our meals and camping with our own equipment cost around 350USD.....It was worth every cent!
Our guide Livingstone was fantastic....very informative and looked after us in every way.
Sorry, I don't know the exact name of this type of monkey but she was very clever (experienced). Some 4-5 monkeys are around the picnic place... and waiting for cars to park. As soon as the travellers get out and go a bit away, they run to the car, jump in and steal any food they can find inside.
The monkey on the picture opened one of our picnic lunch boxes and took out an apple (this is what she eats on the picture... :-))
There is another picnic site next to a lake where there is an even bigger danger for your picnic lunch: some hawks (or eagles) are flying around and hunting for your food. They are quite aggressive and brave enough to take the food out of your hands so, funny though, you'd better eat inside the car :-)
Favorite thing: You should definitely have a look at the hippo pool (I guess your driver will take you there anyway) to see how these big and dangerous animals enjoy themselves in that puddle turning around and playing a farting concert :-)
To avoid the tourist chaos, it's best to start your game drive as early as possible in the morning. After a quick breakfast, you pack your lunch packet at the hotel and are on your way.
Admist our early morning rush to get ready and pack (we were headed back to Moshi after our safari), I forgot to head to the restrooms. Naturally an hour or so later, when we were right in the bowl of the crater looking for lions, I wanted to go. Our driver did a quick check of the surroundings and gave me the green signal. It was a thrilling moment trying to answer nature's call in the middle of the open crater (hope noone was watching through those powerful binoculars back at the crater lodge!) looking out for approaching wildife. Not to forget the tourist vehicles!!
Well, there is a tourist and picnic facility inside the crater, we were just too far away from it and headed in the wrong direction to make it there in time!
The Lerai picnic area is south of Lake Magadi and is usually the last place you stop before taking the ascent road out of the crater. There are clean restrooms here and it's a nice quiet spot to have your lunch.