Ngorongoro Conservation Area | Private Safaris East Africa

Explore Ngorongoro Conservation Area

The Ngorongoro Conservation Area is a protected area and a World Heritage Site located 180 km west of Arusha in the Crater Highlands area of Tanzania. The area is named after Ngorongoro Crater, a large volcanic caldera within the area. The conservation area is administered by the Ngorongoro Conservation Area Authority, an arm of the Tanzanian government, and its boundaries follow the boundary of the Ngorongoro Division of the Arusha Region.



The construction of luxury tourist hotels in the Conservation Area allows people to access “the unparalleled beauty of one of the world’s most unchanged wildlife sanctuaries”, according to a government brochure, even as thousands of Maasai have suffered forcible eviction and have been denied access to water sources for their livestock



The main feature of the Ngorongoro Conservation Authority is the Ngorongoro Crater, the world’s largest inactive, intact and unfilled volcanic caldera. The crater, which formed when a large volcano exploded and collapsed on itself 2 – 3 million years ago, is 610 metres deep and its floor covers 260 square kilometres. Estimates of the height of the original volcano range from 4,500 to 5,800 metres high. The elevation of the crater floor is 1,800 metres above sea level. The Crater was voted by Seven Natural Wonders as one of the 7 Natural Wonders of Africa in Arusha, Tanzania in February 2013. There is more to ngorongoro than meets the eye. Take the plunge and visit the historic site.

Ngorongoro Crater

Ngorongoro is arguably one of the largest unbroken calderas in the world and still not a lake. With a surface of 264 sq and 19km wide, and Its steep walls soaring 400m t0 610 metres, the crater provides the best setting for a monumental natural drama as prey and predators graze and stalk their way around the wide open grasslands, acacia woodland and swamps on the crater’s floor.

Laetoli Footprints

Laetoli is a site in Tanzania, dated to the Plio-Pleistocene and famous for its hominin footprints, preserved in volcanic ash. The site of the Laetoli footprints (Site G) is located 45 km south of Olduvai Gorge. The location and tracks were discovered by archaeologist Mary Leakey in 1976, and were excavated by 1978. Based on analysis of the footfall impressions “The Laetoli Footprints” provided convincing evidence for the theory of bipedalism in Pliocene hominins and received significant recognition by scientists and the public. Since 1998, paleontological expeditions have continued under the leadership of Dr. Amandus Kwekason of the National Museum of Tanzania and Dr. Terry Harrison of New York University, leading to the recovery of more than a dozen new hominin finds, as well as a comprehensive reconstruction of the paleoecology.

Empakai Crater

The Lake-filled Crater is 23km northeast of Olmoti Crater, which may not be as popular as Ngorongoro, but still, many travellers consider it to be its equivalent match in beauty. The site, which draws flamingos and other waterbirds, fills most of the crater floor, which is surrounded by steep-sided, forested cliffs at least 300m high. The view from the crater rim is one of the most appealing in Northern Tanzania, but hiking down into the crater is a wonderful experience altogether.

Oldupai Gorge

One of a kind and is believed to be a paramount paleoanthropological location where human fossils and ancient tools dating back millions of years were discovered by famous anthropologist Louis Leakey in late 1920s. This discovery is said to have been invaluable in expanding our understanding of Human evolution. The extensive gorge was excavated thoroughly and more than 60 fossil remains of human ancestors were brought to light. It is located in the Great Rift Valley, a plummeting ravine spanning nearly 50 kilometers in length and just over 40 kilometers from another significant archaeological point named Laetoli where volcanic ash has preserved ancient human footprints. Just a few kilometers south of the park’s border, Olduvai Gorge is a handy place for every African dream traveller.

Gol Mountains

To the northeastern zone, the ancient Gol Mountains provide a dream-like wilderness environment of sheer, pink cliffs, enclosing the Angata Kiti pass, a bottleneck for the annual Great Migration of hundreds of thousands of wildebeest and zebra, searching for greener pastures and water as they return to their ancestral breeding grounds in southern Serengeti and the Ndutu wilderness. This haven also remains as home to Maasai who still clip lions as their rite of passage into warriorhood, and still live outside the cash society.

Lake Magadi

Within the Ngorongoro Crater itself, Lake Magadi, shallow, azure blue, fiercely alkaline from sodium carbonate, is hemmed by hundreds of long-legged pink flamingos. Most are lesser flamingos, distinguished by their dark red bills, which eat blue-green spirulina algae. But there are also many greater flamingos with black-tipped pink bills, slightly bent to facilitate sifting shellfish from the rich bottom mud. The lake shrinks noticeably in the dry season, leaving thick, crystalline salt pans that jackals, hyenas and other wild animals come to lick as a means to supplement their diet.

Shifting Sands

The dune is a result of fine ash blown by the wind from the Oldonyo Lengai’s eruptions which have collected into a rolling black dune that spreads across the Salei and Serengeti plains. Shifting Sands is a good example of a barchan or a crescent-shaped dune which is about 9m high and 100m along its curve. The constant wind blows from the east pushing sand grains from the back of the dune up its firm, rippled, windward slope. The grains scramble upwards only to topple over the steep leeward slope. Thus, the dune marches westward, grain by grain covering a distance of 17 metres a year.

Ngorongoro Serena Safari Lodge

Each room enjoys uninterrupted views over the Crater’s unmatched splendour. Facilities include; direct dial telephone and Wi-Fi, laundry, valet and shoeshine services, mineral water and toiletries, bathrobe and slippers, 24-hour room service, Safe and hairdryers (from reception), 24-hour medical service, children’s meals, beds/babysitting.

Ngorongoro Sopa Lodge

Because of its altitude the lodge can be chilly at night so each room has central heating; hot water bottles are placed in every bed during our evening turndown service; and our luxuriously appointed bathrooms have extremely spacious showers under which you can reminisce about the wonders of this awesome, almost magically mystical place called Ngorongoro. All rooms are equipped with amenities to ensure maximum comfort during your stay with us. Among these are our wake up calls and complimentary coffee and tea, all of which will help to kick start an early morning game drive

Ngorongoro Farm House

The hotel has 52 chalet type rooms (49 are standard type rooms and 3 are suites) built in the style of the old colonial farms and decorated rustically with local materials and tasteful details. All of them are spacious and connected by pathways divided into 3 sectors. Facilities include mosquito nets, internal phone, mineral water, room service, electricity 24hrs and a free parking lot.

Bougainvillea Lodge

The 32 cottages are spread out through the lushly landscaped property. 10 rooms in 5 double cottages are located in the coffee garden.  The rest of the rooms are located surrounding the pool area. Each cosy room has mosquito-netted king-sized or twin-sized beds, dressing area, a fireplace, large bathroom with shower and a veranda from which to enjoy the views of the lodge’s lush tropical gardens. Triplets are possible with prior notice and 2 of the cottages can be used as family suites with interconnecting rooms.

Country Lodge – Karatu

11 cottages house 2 rooms each. Both king-sized beds and twin bedrooms are available and we also provide triple bedrooms. The 22 spacious rooms offer king-sized or twin beds, mosquito nets, uniquely designed stone bathrooms with shower, plenty of closet space, bottled water provided, fireplace (lit on request), writing desk & chair, safari or lounge chairs and, veranda with chairs and tables.

The Manor at Ngorongoro

Each of 18 Manor Cottage Suites has its own private entrance and adjoining private sun terrace. A double open-fronted log-burning fireplace divides a room interior that mirrors the traditional Cape Dutch architecture. The en-suite bath and shower room possesses a Victorian-style claw-footed bath, as well as twin vanity basins and large ‘rainfall’ shower

Acacia Farm Lodge

All 28 chalets are identical in size, style and amenities and, are positioned within the coffee farm. Each chalet has a private deck with an amazing view of the farm. Each room has a king-size double/twin bed, a mosquito net, a mini bar, coffee station, plasma flat screen TV with satellite channels, intercom and international telephone line, internet connection, hairdryer, digital safe, a shower and a private toilet. The Main Area is Wi-Fi enabled and several computers can be found at the Business Center for guests’ use.

Rhino Lodge Ngorongoro

There are 24 guest rooms, all with verandah overlooking a stretch of high montane forest. Each room has its own shower, toilet and hand basin.

To keep away the cold each room has a wood-burning stove, and hot water bottles can be filled if the need arises.