Buffalo at river, zebra, lions drinking, Ngorongoro Crater view

Ngorongoro Crater

About 3hrs drive some 118 miles (180km) west of Arusha, Ngorongoro Crater is often regarded as the 8th wonder of the world with the largest perfect caldera in the world that has its wall intact. It is believed that the volcano was so high that it is possible that it would have overshadowed Mount Kilimanjaro had it not blown up instead, covering the Serengeti in ash and collapsing to the crater floor, which now covers 102 sq miles (260 sq kms).

The area boasts a blend of landscapes, including volcanoes, grasslands, waterfalls, and mountain forests which are home to an abundance of animals and to the Maasai tribe. Here, the wild animals, domestic animals, and Maasai live together in perfect harmony in what is called a parallel scheme or equal system and it's not uncommon to see Maasai children tending to cattle in an area which is known to have among the largest density of mammalian carnivores!

On a game drive to the centre of the crater, you will encounter some of the 30,000 resident animals, most of which are grazers with wildebeest and zebra comprising almost half as well as the Big Five. As a result of extraordinarily large numbers of herbivores, the crater also numbers one of the densest predators' populations in Africa, most of which are lion, cheetah, and hyena. As you cover areas as diverse as swampland, open savannah, grassland, forest and lake, it is not unusual to sight a dozen different species within the first couple of hours. You may even spot the extremely rare black rhino - especially first thing in the morning.

Ngorongoro Crater is suitable for exploring year round.