Tanzania’s Ngorongoro Crater is often called “Africa’s Eden” and the “8th Natural Wonder of the World”, a visit to the crater is a main draw card for tourists coming to Tanzania and a definite world-class attraction.  Within the crater rim, large herds of zebra and wildebeest graze while sleeping lions laze in the sun. At dawn, the endangered black rhino returns to the thick cover of the crater forests after grazing on dew-laden grass in the morning mist. Just outside the crater’s ridge tall Maasai herd their cattle and goats over green pastures, through the highland slopes, living alongside the wildlife as they have done for centuries.

Before dropping down into the floor of the crater it is possible to visit a traditional Maasai Village and learn a bit more about the culture and life of these famous people.

Ngorongoro Conservation Area includes its eponymous famous crater, Olduvai Gorge, and huge expanses of highland plains, scrub bush and forests that cover approximately 8300 square kilometres an run up to Lake Natron, the volcano, Ol Doinyo Lengai and the Kenyan border. A protected area, only indigenous tribes such as the Maasai are allowed to live within its borders. Lake Ndutu and Masek, both alkaline soda lakes, are home to rich game populations, as well as a series of peaks and volcanoes and make the Conservation Area a unique and beautiful landscape. Of course, the crater itself, actually a type of collapsed volcano called a caldera, is the main attraction. The game viewing is truly incredible, and the topography and views of the surrounding Crater Highlands out of this world.

Lake Magadi, inside the crater, attracts huge numbers of birds as well as a host of animals and you can expect to see a wide variety of antelope and zebra plus a good chance of seeing lion and possibly cheetah. The mass of animals on display has to be seen to be believed. The relatively small area of the crater floor supports higher densities of animals than probably anywhere else in Africa. The great wildebeest herds that migrate through the Serengeti and the Maasai Mara synchronise their calving in the area around February each year.

When visiting Ngorongoro we normally camp at one of the camp sites on the crater’s rim or travel up from Mto wa Mbu, near Lake Manyara, where we use one of two camps. Migunga Forest Camp is set in 35 acres of acacia forest in a secluded part of Migungani Village. Bushbuck and other antelope are sometimes seen on the property. Vervet Monkies and Dwarf Galago (bushbabies) are common and can be seen most days.

The camp consists of nine large, walk-in, self-contained tents. Ensuite bathrooms have running hot and cold water, showers, and flush toilets. There is a dining room and bar under thatch. At night lighting is provided by a 12 volt electricity that is supplied by solar power.

The other camp, close by and very similar in its layout, is Kiboko Bush Camp which also provides a limited amount of accommodation in large safari tents.