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Tanzania Destinations

Ngorongoro Crater

 

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It is a place of superlatives. The crater is the largest unbroken caldera in the world, and is home to one of the largest concentration of predators on the planet. It is a perfectly formed circular caldera, 12 miles across capable of holding the bulk of London inside its 3,000 ft walls. It was “discovered” by Europeans little more than a hundred years ago, but it has been the home of Maasai pastoralists who have lived in relative harmony with the wildlife for hundreds of years. Ngorongoro Crater has been described as a “Garden of Eden.” Within its walls you can find the whole of Africa condensed. There are forests and plains, hills and valleys, lakes and swamps. When the rains start, wildflowers bloom across the landscape. Giraffe, wildebeest, impala and fat zebra graze there providing amble prey for the lions, cheetah, hyena and other predators.

Ngorongoro is not a national park. It is a conservation area. It once was a part of the Serengeti National Park, but because it had been an important grazing land for the Maasai people, it was re-designated as a conservation area so that the traditional lifestyle of the Maasai could continue within its 2,400 sq. mile boundaries.

Most parks, including the Serengeti do not allow any hiking trips within their boundaries, for obvious reasons, but here in the highlands surrounding Ngorongoro Crater, you can hike in some of the most beautiful and inspiring countryside in the world, and visit the Maasai communities that still practice a way of life basically unchanged for a thousand years.

The Ngorongoro highlands are just that, open forested and heather highlands ranging from 5,000 to 10,000 ft in elevation. Due to the elevation it can be quite cool at night and visitors are advised to wear warm clothes for the early morning games drives and chilly nights around the campfire. Ngorongoro also has some of the most spectacular and luxurious wildlife lodges built right on the rim of this magnificent crater. Camping is also possible on the rim of the crater at Simba Camp, and it is common to have elephants, bush pigs, baboons and other wildlife stroll through and around the camp.

 
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